Hunting 100cm Winter Fish- Mind Games

Life balance– something most of us go ‘head to head’ with, searching for more fishing time. How much time do we need? Some guys live 500 km from saltwater- there are no short barra trips happening there! Others with the luxury of living 15 mins from the water can make short trips- sounding, 20 mins casting, exploring or just watching the ebb and flow of the water.

Kids, wives, family, work, 10 – 14 hour days – surely time management allows one hour, 70 mins, 90 mins? Given some of the Masterclass triggers work around the clock I’d like to encourage you where possible to do sneaky missions. Think of a location, hook up the boat, and escape the world for 1 hr 10 mins. Therapy, motivation, positive energy- what comes from this is extraordinary, as you’re doing it, seeing it and learning from the water time, no matter how short. Rockhampton anglers, you have the town reaches, OMG, perfect.

How close to home can you catch a barra- go find out, even cast off the bank- 10 minute sessions- one cast could get crunched.

My life isn’t much different, a gazillion hours spent working in, on and near the business. At the end of the day I’m just as tired as the next guy, needing rest, but my point is being mentally tough or at least mentally disciplined will time and time again push you further, but it’s not as if a 70 min round trip is demanding like shovelling concrete, it’s low impact, gentle, relaxing – great for the mind.

The reward – staring one in the eye before release, where all effort seems to fade into insignificance.

An easy thought is this

“I couldn’t be stuffed doing that, hooking up the boat, rigging rods, fuelling up…….” – do all those fiddly jobs the days before so come time to go, you just hook up and sneak away. Zoom, zap, zing, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Next time you sit on the fence

Ask yourself, “How bad do you want barra success?” “How bad do you want to hold a 1200?” ” How tough are you?” Remember our mental strength is more overpowering than our physical.

“It’s freezing outside, the blanket is warm, the heater is on, the……………. barra are calling!” “F@*% it, I’m going!”

Make the decision, be true to yourself and GO!

Forming the mental strength to push through barriers was the only way this opportunity was created. Staring at it the 100cm + in the net was mega satisfying and formed the momentum needed to go again the next night.

Over the last few months the common hours available for JM personal fishing have been between 8:00pm and 5:00am. That’s it, the cards dealt, so we have to make them work.

Some sessions have been as short as 30 mins from home to home, others up to 150 mins. The rewards have been great, some cold nights, windy, shitty, others glassy, calm, serene. Basically, catching a wild salty barra per session averaging 90+ cm, up to 110cm. The smallest being 84cm. Some sessions, landing seven fish, prime bites.


Some fish were caught a metre under the surface on soft or hard lure, others were sounded and hooked from 30 ft down using paddle tail plastics. Interestingly, a hardbody produced the most fish, and the biggest. Using the sonar each trip was key, casting at small schools or at times just ones and twos. Accurate casts, boat positioning, all that detailed stuff needed consideration and was being practised and refined every trip. As discussed before none of the barra captures would have occurred without the mental strength to push out of the comfort zone.

The hungry angler gets the reward.


Johnny Mitchell