Find The Right School

Yes, you need the right school for children too, but this time we’re looking for the right barra school to target.

In pressured areas this is critical. Finding half a dozen fish or 10 isn’t what I’d call the right school unless they’re quality big fish, yet even then there’s no way 10 bites will come from that school.

In remote areas we once counted a school of 28 and hooked 25…… That will never happen again as the fish learn fast.

I just put 80 wild spawned, net scooped exotic freshwater fish in a tank and in 12hrs they were following my finger up the glass.

In 24hrs, feeding well and by 48 hrs had learnt the movement and rattle of the tiny lid on the tank was the place to school for the food drop.

So, if wild juveniles can adapt fast in two days, imagine what a three to six year old wild barra knows about boats, lines and lures. Now think about a 1200 at 10 years old. Tuned !!

Sooo, to find a school of six to ten average sized barra and expect good results is a back to front way to think. At best two or three bites might occur before they shut down and spook, zero bites are likely.

There’s merit in finding 20 to 40 fish in a school because safety in numbers is real. They also feel comfortable and confident in larger groups and there’s more likely to be feed behaviour occurring at some point. The more in a school the better the percentage works for the angler.  If one in 10 is hungry, that means five in a 50 school should be.

A numbers game.

To zoom up a creek to a known spot and find a small school and pepper it is a fundamentally flawed approach. There is merit in sounding vast expanses to learn where schools hang, then on the day of the hunt it’s essential to zip about as best possible to pick the best option on the day.

Yes, we also need to overlay Masterclass knowledge and strategies to make sure things will align, hence the importance of making the bottom tier strong by knowing 20 + barra spots in your region.

An easy thing to do, through sounding and commitment to the bigger picture.

There are times when feeding barra might break away from the pod to form singular or schools of two to three at a feeding station. These fish are targetable in small number as long as you’re aware they’re in a feeding position.

I’d certainly not cast at two or three pressured fish for more than 20 minutes at a time. They’ll spook just from the lure. The trick, to move on to another option. Cycle through your options. Eggs in one basket- risky….

On charter it’d be rare to pull up and fish on a school of less than 10 unless that’s all you find on a given day- that sometimes happens.

Driving away from that school of 10 to search for 15, 20, 30+ fish is the plan.

Knowing the weather and tide conditions in play speeds the search, ultimately a bigger school in the right environmental contour layout is the aim. None of this is achievable week in, week out without the knowledge and appreciating the importance of sounding and searching. This job will set you up for life.

Johnny Mitchell