Summer Fun in the Local Impoundments - Matthew McArthur

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Matthew McArthur
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Summer Tactics

Sometimes the anticipation of summer fun in the local impoundments is nail biting to say the least, most tournament Barra fisho’s would have been preparing for this for some time and with fresh braid spooled and reels serviced they set out to finish a long comp year. But despite dam temps rising  

Summer Tactics

Sometimes the anticipation of summer fun in the local impoundments is nail biting to say the least, most tournament Barra fisho’s would have been preparing for this for some time, and with fresh braid spooled and reels serviced, they set out to finish a long comp year. But despite dam temps rising and the wet session weather rolling in, the barramundi impoundments are not always a walk in the park.

Weather and yearly cycles are never the same as the year before or the decade before that. Water level changes and a continuing changing in an impoundments eco system has a major effect on the leaders of the food chain which in this case is the gear busting Barra. As a side effect this usually makes this iconic fish fickle to say the least.

Matt with a Proserpine Brawler from last January.

Spring rains floods already decaying plant life which struggled through the colder months covers the rapidly growing grasses which have lined the banks. As a result we head into summer with some unfavourable water quality in some areas of our impoundments. Strong Northerly’s is a norm through the start of summer resulting in a rapid change in water quality across many impoundments sometimes resulting in small fish kills resulting from a rapid loss in oxygen levels. Combine an impoundment that had major water level rises in spring and you get the picture.

These impacts on an impoundment make the playing fields extremely wind and depth sensitive restricting hot zones around a normally plentiful recreational wonderland. This can be confusing for anglers with side scans coming up blank for many hours at a time as they pre-fish in preparation for any upcoming comps. Select hot zones and select deep areas will produce but the wind and fishing pressure and matching the hatch will have the last say.

Another Summer Barra taken at night.1


Matching the Hatch

It’s fair to say that most fisherman have usually way to many lures in the boat but in times of tuff fishing this is important and extremely apparent in the salt estuaries that are heavily impacted by Rec fishing and commercial nets, but a fickle impoundment can sometimes be a whole lot worse. As a result finding the right colour, size, acoustics and technique can result in the difference between one fish or ten and in a five or ten fish bag limit this is what makes or breaks the top teams.

In all my years of targeting these magic fish it’s painfully apparent that when dealing with moody big female barra you can never go to small of a presentation to get results. Then we run into problems with keeping the hooks in, so I like to use hooks that are straight shanked, and extremely sharp, like the Gamakatzu weedless, and T14 treble range. It's super important to also rig the bait corectly as this will also increase fish landed, combining trebles and single hooks definately helps in all suituations.

Barra of all sizes are internationally loved.

In a recent tournament at Teemburra Dam west of Mackay our go to soft bait was a weedless rigged 5” Castaic Jecky J in white, this bait was ripped and rolled out of weed areas which we selected due to their large numbers of smaller fish. Targeting smaller fish in a tough impoundment is also a good approach in getting a full bag as they are impacted less due to water conditions and are also always keen for a reaction bite.


Old School

As I stated above impoundments that are fishng slower than others due to environmental changes, its a good idea to target a smaller class of fish that are more confident to feed, and easier to catch. Getting an early bag limit, then targeting bigger upgrades later, cannot only bring confidence but also create a great vibe in the boat due to the simple fact it’s a dam fun way to fish. Seriously what's a better way to target any fish, than to target shoot cool looking areas where every cast deserves a fish.

McArther's barra knowledge stems decades, and he is regarded as one of the leading barra anglers nation wide.

This is your classic original Barramundi go to style from days of old, and is our choice once the sun lifted high enough to create the shadows needed, and the sun needed to work hard bodies in heavily timbered, and lilly pad riddled areas of the dam. Sometimes thinking outside the box and remembering the past not only helps remember old rewarding techniques, but also helps remember what baits worked at the time and why. Choosing lures with appropriate colour and flash helps bring resting fish out to fight over an enticing snack.


Don’t forget about the fly

Tough trips are usually the one that you learn the most from, and to be honest I personally like the challenge of working out these types of bites. We can’t always sit on a point and throw big plastics, day in day out and expect the barra to just line up and eat them at will. When trying to entice interest from shy, lazy, pressured fish, you can never go past the fly as a way to get a couple more fish on the brag mat, and sometimes it stands out more successful than lures. A slowly worked intermediate sink line with a classical black and bared deceiver dancing in and around weed and lilly pad edges is a hard bait to pass up for a juvenile Barra.  Or perhaps a full floating line with a sub surface fly stripped erratically through the lilies would also be a good tactic to remember in future events of hard fishing.

Barra on fly are just as fun as any other technique.

So next time your prepping for a comp or just taking the kids for a fish, make sure you bring a few different lures besides your norm, and have some fun as even a tough Impoundment can turn into one of your most rewarding days fishing that you’ll have for a long time.