Land-based run-off barra
Jackson Bargenquast

Night fishing can be successful when chasing these awesome chrome bars. This fish was taken late at night on a Storm soft vibe worked over a mud flat. This is the author’s PB land-based barra at 76cm.

At any time of the year, the wild environment of Cape York always produces good numbers of fish. The species you catch and how and where you catch them can vary dramatically. This month I will be focusing on barramundi and the variety of other species that can be caught when chasing them. At this time of the year, barra fishing can be very successful. With all of the rain, why shouldn’t it be?

The wet season can see the whole of the Cape transform from a dry dusty desert into a rich green wetland in just a matter of days. While barra can be targeted in the wetlands and floodplains, in the area around Weipa most fish are in the main river systems. Areas where small freshwater drains and creeks run vigorously into the salt are the perfect environment for ambush predators such as barra and jacks to wait for passing prey like mullet and perch to wash down past their noses.

These drains can vary from creeks half as wide as the main river to tiny artificial storm and floodwater drains that would be no more than a foot wide. All of these drains have one thing in common: they all flow freshwater at this time of the year, which is essential when targeting barra.

The reason why barra and so many other fish hang around freshwater spill-outs is the freshwater brings food and nutrients down into the salt, such as fish, shrimps, water plants, fruits and algae, which every fish from mullet to queenfish enjoy. Estuarine fish and crustacean species need freshwater to mix with the salt for them to spawn.

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