Breaking Down The Barra Game

The sun had just set as the lure paddled through murky edge waters, slow, straight and without a clue. Not once but three times it was cast beyond then retrieved in front of six large barra. They were there to feed, the water feature advantaging these 10 to 15kg fish. Timing here was critical as the…

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feature had a shelf life and would soon vanish being replaced by cooler, cleaner ocean water on the incoming tide.
Such is the changing world of water, so too is the world above the water line. These fish would be active for about 10 mins before the bite ended. 10 minutes might sound short, but plenty of strategic fishing can be done in a short window.
Even though hungry, these barra could be easily spooked. They’d seen lures before, hundreds of them which caused a human-induced behaviour change.

Breaking down the game.

The biggest portion of the equation is done at home, content broken down to the millimetre then shuffled around each day to build the ‘fish tank of your dreams.’
When the powerful content is understood nothing will ever look the same. New eyes, new ears, new awareness….a new game.

Back to Strategy!

What was I going to do with this 10 minutes?
Confidence and experience let me play it calmly. We can’t catch 10 big barra in 10 minutes, probably not five big barra in 10 minutes, so a realistic goal of two fish in the next 10 was the aim.

Mathematically, it takes two casts to hook two barra; that’s one every five minutes on average; easily doable.

So instead of trying to jam 30 casts in 10 mins I focused on placement, timing, technique- all hinging from confidence and mindset.
Cast four was long, landing on target for a great line. It was crunched about 1/3 into the retrieve and an 1100mm fish broke the surface, hit the net, then photographed and released quietly.

(Six minutes left on the clock.) Instead of rushing the next cast I waited about two minutes, like a flathead settling back into the bottom. (hunt mode)
The next cast was belted and another metre+ cracker ended up in the net. The net was kept suspended off the deck so any kicks from the fish didn’t transmit through the hull, controlling the spook factor before release. (2 mins left)
No panic, just calm thoughts and focused energy. Three casts later fish number three belted the hardbody and she too ended up on deck……

Turned the key and headed home. Fish number four wouldn’t happen….. the window closed, job done.

I’ve spent decades refining my barra game, practising what I ‘preach and teach’, listening to our gun Masterclass clients relaying similar stories. Testing myself sometimes daily to produce a metre long wild barra on the first cast, making appropriate decisions before leaving home based on knowing heaps of cool stuff about barra and the earth’s rhythm, refining options on the water before even picking up a rod.
There’s so many levels to this game that consistency with big fish will never come until anglers grasp each key subject. It’s not a game of shortcuts, only one of action. The action creates the experience, the experience empowers the decision making, the rest comes down to execution (how you do it) which is another powerhouse portion bringing rewards.

If you’d like to join in learning the finer arts of barra hunting you may be interested in my Aussie Tour of the Saltwater Barramundi Masterclass Seminar.

Seminars are visiting Gladstone, Mackay, Townsville, Darwin, Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Cairns, Weipa.

Book early, this September for a 10% discount.

Johnny Mitchell


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