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Travel Articles: Going Soft for Barra, by Andrew Darby

Going Soft for Barra, by Andrew Darby

It's All About......... Going Soft for Barra

Not so long ago the purists would tell you that the only way to catch BIG Barra is on Hard Body Lures, how things have changed!! Have we gone Soft? Soft Plastics that is.

It would be fair to say that the old Mister Twister has come a long way in the last ten to fifteen years. Now you hear Plastic Terminology like Weedless Profile, Snag proof, Pre-Rigged and brand names like Squidgies, Gulps, Tsunami and Atomic just to name a few.

One thing for sure is that the "Softy" has provided us with one of the most dynamic ways to fish, especially when fishing for Barramundi.

The ability to fish a plastic at varying depths and suspend the lure in the strike zone with a technique called "Noodling", and being able to match the size of the bait almost exactly are all reasons why the Soft Plastic is such a great producer.

Here is a guide of how to use a Softy to entice some Barra action in the Top End.
Once you have located your fishing area you should select the type of profile you are going to use, Weedless or standard Jig Head. The area could be a great looking snag system in a creek or along the bank in a river, during a run-out tide it could be the back eddies forming above and below a nice creek or drain as it flows into the river.

A general rule is to go weedless in heavily timbered terrain and standard Jig Head in clean or clear water.

This Picture demonstrates the distinct difference between the two styles. You add a small ball sinker to the Weedless profile by tying it into your loop knot, this will vary your sink rate to suit the conditions.


So you have selected the way you will rig the plastic now have a look around and locate any small fish which may be on the Barra's menu, they aren't fussy so it could be tiny Rainbow fish only 50mm long or 150mm popeyed mullet. This will give you an idea of the size of the body you should be using.

A little hint........ if you can't locate what the Barra are feeding on then adopt the "Jelly Bean" principle, this is when you select a small profile in a natural colour (in the Daly the Drop Bear or Pearl colour imitates our small herring very well) and the theory is that like us the Barra won't pass up a small snack even if he is not in the mood to feed. This is a deadly technique and can produce fish even if they are seemingly shutdown, in this situation use a softy no bigger than 80 to 100mm.

Now we have the location, style of rig and the size sorted you need to find out what depth they are holding or feeding at. At this point you should have a fair idea if the area is holding fish either by using your sounder, seeing nervous schools of Baitfish, or Barra actively surface feeding or "Boofing". "Boofing" is the sound a Barra makes when it feeds, they have no teeth and must swallow their prey whole. They do this by opening their mouth and flaring their gills simultaneously creating a massive vacuum sucking their prey in like a huge vacuum cleaner. The sound is known as a "boof" and we all love that sound.

The next step is the best part; you now need to cast that Plastic in as tight as you can to the strike zone. This could be under a shrub on the bank, along an undercut bank or bouncing your way deep into a complex snag. This particular part out of all is probably the most important. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of being accurate and tight into the snag and working that Softy down through the Strike Zone. Vary your retrieve and give the Softy some "up Flick" to suspend it in the zone for longer. I referred earlier to "Noodling" - this is where you use the current or drift to place your cast and with a combination of slow retrieve and slightly flicking the Softy up you can suspend the plastic in the strike zone for quite a few seconds making it look wounded. Usually a good noodle gets the strike!

I landed this beautiful 97cm Barra last week at the Daly "Noodling" an 80mm Squidgy in "Drop Bear" in a small drain. The fish was visibly feeding on tiny Herring and took the Squidgy on the 2nd cast.
This is where you will be rewarded; the best results are always going to come from the lure that is in the Zone the most and stays the wettest.... Having that lure stuck in a tree or sitting in the boat untangling an over-run during the hot bite (usually the last of the run-out for Barra) will result in a frustrating session. A hot Barra Bite is furious while it's on but it can end quickly, practice your casting and knot tying often so that when you finally get to the Top End and are in the middle of that "Hot Bite" you can take full advantage of it.

You will get exactly the same results and sharpen your skills at home on species like Bream, Jewies and Kingfish. Any fish that holds in structure and ambushes its prey is fair game for the Soft Plastic and its deadly "Noodling" technique.


Stuart Reid's 50lb Pending World Record PNG Black Bass

Pending World Record Black Bass

Papuan Black Bass are renowned the world over as the toughest pound for pound freshwater fish in the world, and the place to find the biggest Black Bass is PNG's Gulf province. The current all tackle world record Black Bass of 46lbs, and the fish pictured (caught on 19/6/14, by Stuart Reid, Fishabout) which is the pending world record at 50lbs, were both caught from these rivers.

Once you feel the strike you know that no freshwater fish can come close to the power. Watching 100kg guys get knocked over on the strike, reels give way, rods break in half and 130LB pound braid snap from the pound for pound strongest fighting fresh water fish is a sight to behold. If would like to experience the thrill of targeting PNG Black Bass and Barramundi in remote areas with very low fishing pressure contact us now. *2017-18 spots selling now* ... read more

Kadavu Island - Great Astrolabe Reef

Fiji Macky

The pristine Fiji Islands are home to the South Pacific's finest sport and game fish, including massive GT's, monster dogtooth tuna, yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, spanish mackerel, black marlin, blue marlin and plenty of reef fish. Many of these species are endemic to the Great Astrolabe Reef (one of the largest barrier reefs in the world), which is the reef that encompasses Kadavu Island, Fiji.Fishabout now offer 6 and 8 day fishing packages to explore this marine wonder of the world, which include 3 and 5 days fishing respectively. For more information call us on (02)8922 2651 or click here

Endyalgout Remote Fishing Camp

Sunset at Endyalgout

Fishabout is pleased to now offer remote fishing trips to Endyalgout Island, one of the best fishing locations in Australia. (Nestled on the south east of the Coburg Penninsula).

Situated on a shell grit beach under shady trees, are several permanent tropical friendly safari style tents, raised on wooden platforms.

Looking out past the resident Crocodile you can see miles and miles of enticing mangroves, barely touched creeks, rivers, rock bars and channels, all calling your name.

From monster Baramundi up to 130cm, to big Black Jewfish, Threadfin Salmon, various Trevallies, and some of the biggest Golden Snaper to be found anywhere, Endyalgout Island is truly a dream to fish.

Pricing ranges from $4350 (4 days, 3 anglers per boat) to $6910 (7 days, 2 anglers per boat)

For more information please call us on (02) 8922 2651 or click here