Fishing Tips: How To Catch Barramundi During Breeding Season

Fishing for barramundi in the Northern Territory is one of the area’s most popular leisure activities. Tourists and fishing fanatics come from far and wide to try their hand at catching one of Australia’s most . Because of how popular this activity is, there’s even an event called the Million Dollar Fish competition during the barramundi breeding season. Fishos can win amazing prizes by showing off their skills and reeling in prize-tagged barramundi. Indeed, barramundi fishing is all the rage and a must-try for first-timers and veterans alike in the NT.

If you want to try your hand at reeling in these beautiful fish, here are some tips you need to know.

Bring the right fishing gear and bait for barramundi

The most effective fishing gear for catching barramundi is dependent on its size and behaviour. Fishing Booker recommends the following rod and reel combo for your barramundi fishing tackle:

  • Shorter (2 metres) rods made of graphite that can carry 2.25 to 7 kilograms for better accuracy
  • 700 to 4000 reel size casting reels
  • Monofilament and braided fishing lines
  • Abrasion-resistant leaders to protect your mainline from snags
    6/0 circle fishing hooks

As for the bait, fishos typically recommend live bait, specifically mullet, to catch them. This is because of the predatory nature of barramundi and the fact that they are more triggered by live bait. That being said, lures can still be effective. Unsealed 4×4 recommends minnows, soft plastics, popper lures, and frog lures among others.

Know when to retrieve slowly and quickly

Retrieving a barramundi fish either slowly or quickly depends on what you’re trying to do. Unsealed 4×4 says that slow retrieval is better when lure fishing. This is because barramundi typically like to catch their food via ambush and are also quite lazy. Therefore, they’re more the type to wait for slow-moving prey before eating. The slow retrieval helps to simulate the movement of that kind of prey, as moving too fast will make it less likely for them to take the bite.

Once you’ve caught them by the hook, however, fast retrieval and line tension is necessary. The barramundi have tough mouths and are known to spit hooks and lures. Releasing the tension will allow them to escape your line easily, making that another wasted catch.

To understand the habits and body language of the barramundi and better prepare how to catch them, we recommend doing what is called sight fishing. As the name suggests, sight fishing is simply spotting them in the water. Applying this technique helps you understand fish behaviour and patterns, and also teaches you patience and analysis so your catch is more fruitful.

Fish for barramundi at the right time and the right place

The barramundi breeding season is typically during the months of September until March, so plan your trips around that time. Furthermore, their activity and catch rate are higher in warmer temperatures. The water tends to be higher in temperature during the build-up and Wet Season, so keep that in mind as well.

As for where to fish for them, while they appear in both coastal areas and estuaries, they only spawn in the latter. Their habitats also include rivers and lagoons. These fish are found in both freshwater and saltwater.

It can be quite tedious to keep track of where to fish for these beauties, but luckily, fishos don’t need to do it on their own. There are barramundi fishing tours in Darwin that can take you to the best spots to fish for them.

Practise sustainable fishing and catch and release techniques

While sustainable fishing practices are not necessarily done to improve someone’s catch, they’re still there to preserve the fish and ensure there will be more of them for generations to come. Overfishing can lead to extinction of these wonderful species, and we must do our best, especially as fishos, to protect them.

Aside from that, catch and release techniques can also be done to help this initiative. This involves safely returning the barramundi “according to requirements of size and species to the water where it was caught.” When doing this, make sure to follow safety measures to ensure the fish isn’t injured during the release.

Barramundi fishing can be quite a challenge even during the breeding season when they’re most abundant. But by following the tips above, you can have a bountiful catch during your stay. To make it easier for you, why not avail our fishing packages at Matt Wright Wild Territory? We take you to some of the best places to fish barramundi and other species. We’ll also be providing you high-quality gear for fishing barramundi to your heart’s content. Book with us now!

We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present, and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation; we are proud to work closely with the traditional owners of the Northern Territory and to honour their land and culture in everything we do.

Matt Wright

Matt Wright's unique outback lifestyle and knowledge of helicopters, boats and airboats has led him to develop some of the most unique tourism experiences in the world, in Matt’s Wild Territory series

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