Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius FBW Asset 728x90

Cool water barra secrets

by Lee Brake on 9 Jul 2013
Headland flats are great water warmers and if you target drains as the water drops you can pinpoint feeding barra. Lee Brake
This week Lee Brake takes a look at how best to target barra during the transition period between winter and spring.

I'm not someone who only chases barra and believes all other species are bycatch. No, I'll admit that when the temperatures in the early morning are below 15 degrees, chances are that barra are the last thing on my mind. However, as the sun starts to get that comfortable and very familiar warmth in it again, I can't help but get a twitchy casting arm. It's at that stage that my brain goes into overdrive and I'll start venturing back into the fray. However, if you chase barra exactly how you always have throughout the year when it's still jumper-wearing weather, you'll more than likely strike out.

So let's get the bad news out of the way first! Barra don't feed hard when the water is less than about 24 degrees.

Whether their metabolism drops or they just feed less because they expend less energy in their cool water docility, I do not know, but the fact is that they will not be actively looking for a feed for much of the time.


The good news, though, is that they still need to eat and they still need to defend their territory. This means that if you can specifically target certain bite times and certain locations, you will still catch barra!

This means your aim as an angler is to put yourself in the barra's shoes... fins. Look for warm water and areas that represent an easy feed without the barra having to expend much effort. Drains dropping off flats are my personal favourite.


The open, black, muddy mangrove flats that exist near the mouths of many coastal estuaries are great natural, solar-powered water-warmers. When the shallow, warmer water – and the bait in it – from these flats then starts to recede via winding drains and gutters, the barra can simply sit where the drain drops off into deeper water and wait for not only a feed but a rejuvenating flow of warmer water.

However, in saying that though, remember that during this time of year barra aren't the eat-till-they-spew-and -then-keep-eating fish that they are through summer. Instead, they are eating to get by. To cater for this, your offering needs to be an easy feed. It needs to be easy to catch and easy to digest. It's the famous peanut effect – if you're full, you'll snack on a peanut but ignore the prime rump steak. You'll also probably only be tempted by said peanuts if they are sat in front of you; you're not going to go chase a bowl that's carried past you by a fleet-footed bar tender.


Barra are the same. Think small lures with lots of hang time. Suspending lures or lightly weighted plastics are ideal and try to stay around 8cm - 10cm in size. Just watch the quality of the terminal tackle, as few small lures come off the shelf with barra-grade hooks and split rings. Once you've picked the offering, work that drain mouth repeated and really focus on the strike zone area of the drop off with the slowest retrieve you can manage.


This brings me into the second trick, which pretty much balls down to p!$$ing them off! Barra are not super territorial fish like mangrove jack or sooty grunter, but they can and do get agro if provoked. As someone who has a fish tank, I've watched barra a lot and have noticed that they will normally hold in a structured area when not feeding. However, if a smaller tank mate gets too close, the barra will give them a push or bump to give them the hint to back off. If the fish keeps coming back, the barra will get more and more agro. This little observation works very well in the wild as well. If you just know that a barra should be in a snag, then simply by casting into its territory enough, you can turn bumps and touches into hook-ups. Notice I didn't say 'bites'. This is because often you'll jag hook these fed-up barra as they swipe at the annoying lure.


The other option is to head to the impoundments. Dams heat up faster than the wild, as the water doesn't circulate as much. Look for shallow bays that have the breeze blowing into them. This will often bring a slight rise in temperature and a rise in barra activity. Technique wise, smaller lures like frog imitations, 100mm soft plastic paddle tails and sub-surface stickbaits are top options. Unlike in wild, tidal waters though, the barra in impoundments seem to respond better to plenty of action, noise and water movement. Explain to me why barra will carve the water like tuna while chasing a soft plastic frog cranked at rooster-tailing speed across the surface on a winter's afternoon! I have no idea, but I've seen them do it repeatedly! The thing with dam barra is to look for warm water and then let the fish know your lure is there. Afternoons through till dusk are also best, as this is usually when the water is at its warmest.

Well, that's it from me for the week. I'm off to pack the boat. All this talk of barra has my casting arm shaking like I've just drank my body weight in Red Bull. See ya next week.

Auckland On the Water Boat ShowSydney Harbour Boat Storage 660x82Protector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

Abandoned and derelict vessels in Florida and the Caribbean
Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) are a marine debris problem in many places around the United States In this region, which boasts both beautiful weather and waters, a high number of recreational and commercial boaters unfortunately equals a high number of ADVs.
Posted today at 12:50 pm
Boating Industry reader survey reports Ethanol repairs increasing
A new survey by Boating Industry magazine says those in the boating industry are seeing a growing number of problems A new survey by Boating Industry magazine says those in the boating industry that manufacture, sell, repair and store recreational vessels are seeing a growing number of problems caused by ethanol-related fuels. Said one Minnesota boat dealer in the survey, “Ethanol fuels are great for our service department but bad for our customers!”
Posted today at 4:41 am
Wet a line at the Sydney International Boat Show
No matter what research you do, it always points to the fact that more than half of all visitors attending the SIBS No matter what research you do, it always points to the fact that more than half of all visitors attending the Sydney International Boat Show have a primary interest in fishing.
Posted on 20 Jul
Safety first to build stronger fishing clubs
Sonya Kilkenny MP today presented Mornington Peninsula Fly Fishers club with a new defibrillator and first aid training Sonya Kilkenny MP today presented the Mornington Peninsula Fly Fishers club with a new defibrillator and first aid training as part of the new Defibrillators for Fishing Clubs program.
Posted on 18 Jul
10 rescued as 55-foot custom Sportsfisherman sinks off Charleston
Marine 101 of the Charleston Fire Department and members of the North Charleston Police Department marine unit responded A custom 55-foot, Paul Mann, cold-molded-wood Sportsfisherman sank off Charleston, S.C., on Saturday during the MegaDock fishing tournament. All ten people on board were rescued by a passing boat, before the Coast Guard arrived. The boat, Sportsmann from Kiawah Island, apparently hit something in the water. Charleston marine authorities said the boat had already taken on too much water...
Posted on 16 Jul
Terrapins released on restored Louisiana Barrier Island
The restoration at Chenier Ronquille was part of an effort to restore four barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. On July 6, NOAA, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and other partners released 21 baby terrapins on Chenier Ronquille barrier island. We restored the island using early restoration funding received after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Posted on 15 Jul
Six-month mission to survey whales and dolphins in Hawaiian Islands
The first half of the expedition will be aboard the NOAA Ship Sette and the second half will be on the NOAA Ship Lasker. Our goals are to estimate numbers of whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters, examine their population structures, and better understand their habitats. The extensive study area spans the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and covers approximately 1.8 million square nautical miles.
Posted on 15 Jul
Keeping your boat's interior clean
John Greviskis from Ship Shape TV joined Shurhold’s Tiann Berhoff to discuss helpful cleaning tips for boats interior. As everyone knows, space is at a premium inside the boat. That is especially true on long trips. For your next outing, consider these helpful tips for keeping your ride ship shape.
Posted on 15 Jul
Fishing phenomenon Al McGlashan joins Mercury
Al’s audience stretches around the world. He’s producing the TV Series Al McGlashan’s Fish’n with Mates for Channel Nine Fishing phenomenon Al McGlashan is the latest big name angler to join the Mercury Pro team. Like millions of other Australians, Al fishes from the back of his trailer boat. Unlike the rest of us, Al does it for about 180 days a year and has earned a global reputation as an angler, photographer and conservationist.
Posted on 14 Jul
C-Map unveils Genesis Edge premium custom mapping service
Genesis Edge offers even more, game-changing functionality for recreational and tournament anglers. The free version of C-MAP Genesis includes downloads of community-sourced digital Social Map charts, the ability to add personally mapped areas to Social Map, and custom-color depth shading.
Posted on 13 Jul