Impoundment Barra Fishing Mistakes

Starting off, or still learning about barra?
After watching people fish barra impoundments for over 20 years with mixed results, and helping people at the sharp end of the industry perform highly, there’s also the other end of the stick where many anglers on their own don’t do so well.

There’s a common number of mistakes made by visitors that almost guarantee failure. No one wants to fail and not catch but here’s a short list of common mistakes.

1. Not Knowing Where to Start

Understandable, because lakes are so big and misconceptions often lead anglers to think the fishing will be easy. It’s not, every angler works for their catch. Some catch more and in less time, yet that’s about knowledge and ability. The more knowledgeable, the better the position. Big lakes really spook beginners, unless they’ve done their homework.

2. Following Others

As soon as you follow another boat you’ve lost your identity and own direction. Doing your own thing is important, besides who is it you’re following? They might be lost too.
If knowing what to do and how to do it you will NEVER follow anyone, ever. Becoming confident to lead yourself to success is important.

3. Fishing in Someone’s Pocket

In lakes space is part of the success recipe. Going too close to another boat not only ruins their chances of success but can result in abuse from getting too close to that vessel. Barra are spooky, space is essential, so too is doing your own thing, but we must know where to start and what to do when on the water. Options are huge, space allows individuality and privacy should come with it.

4. Not Having a Game Plan

Having a plan and sticking to it is critical, yet it was common to see anglers pull up somewhere, cast in the wrong directions, drift ontop of the fish, start the motor and drive away to repeat the process somewhere else, never really knowing if they’re doing the right thing and never staying long enough to fish properly.

5.  Fishing Blind 

Probably the biggest mistake is not having much of an idea on the fish itself, its habits or behaviours. Without it, anglers are simply hoping to cross paths with a hungry one. Hope doesn’t win many games, luck isn’t going to provide consistency either. To be honest, the amount of productive fishing done by many is quite low. Out of a six-hour session spent on the lake many beginners would struggle to even fish effectively for 10 mins. Why? Because they’re often in the wrong spots and technique is often poor. Get those two mixed up and success is unlikely.

I recall spending 10 years guiding on freshwater lakes where the entire charter was about four to five hours long. The amount of effective fishing during that time window needed to be maximised. Putting clients in the right place and then working on their technique resulted in greater efficiency.

6. Assuming Results but Ignoring the Process 

Everyone wants good results, and fast. Imagine someone in a gym, they want results, yet if they never apply the process the results will not come. So instead of focusing on the result anglers should focus on the process, as a byproduct of applying the process is RESULTS.

Here’s some tips to get you started.

First things.

Taking a Knife to a Gunfight

The amount of time anglers get busted off by not fishing with suitable gear is crazy. Knots coming undone, leaders breaking because it’s too light, hooks straightening….

Start with 30lb braid, a minimum of 80lb leader (I recommend 100lb), 4000 sized spin reel, 7 foot rod.


There are barra in basically every direction, yet a good starting point is to fish an area where the wind is hitting the shoreline rather than fishing in a quiet back creek.


A basic guide.
Winter- fish in water around one to two metres deep.
Summer-  two to six metres deep.
Spring is a great time and favoured by many as lots of fish get caught on the lake edge during the day and early evening.


Learn how to cast, seriously. Unless you can cast 25m+ every time your chances crash considerably. Long casts at 25 to 40m catch more barra, I watched this daily during my guiding career on Lake Awoonga and Lake Monduran.


You will need a few tricks up your sleeve to entice barra to strike lures. At minimum three to four techniques is essential to begin with and each technique needs to match a standard or bites will be unlikely. Barra don’t just jump out of the water to eat a lure. Technique must be spot on. I guided on barra lakes for over a decade and each day had to put great work into making sure client technique was to standard. Results only came after technique was refined.

How Long to Wait?

Find a spot, (more on locations next) and either anchor or use an electric motor if lucky enough to own one. Fish each spot for about 20 minutes to half an hour while trying a mixture of different techniques in the area. If no luck occurs simply shift, find another spot and try again.

You could extend this up to 45 minutes to an hour if patience stretches that far, as barra can begin feeding at any time they like or move in from the depths to feed in the shallows.


There are so many varied places to fish in lakes but anglers won’t know about them until shown or discovering them over years of fishing. There are seven easy spots detectable by eye.
This is why I created the online training programme to teach people how to catch these impoundment barra and where to fish for them.

It also spells out methods of approach to catch barra by doing your own thing and taking control of the situatuon. Having a good starting platform is essential.

Click here to know more.

Hopefully this leads you toward better success by addressing potential high risk areas that easily lead anglers to failed trips. By building a better platform anglers put themselves in greater position for success.

I had to address all basic points daily for clients to get results. Take shortcuts and your score card crashes. If you want barramundi success in impoundments, start from the bottom.

Johnny Mitchell