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Gearing Up for Barra by Jason (Birdy) Bird

MORE and more fishos are heading north to experience the best fresh water sportfishing this country has to offer and for those that are gearing up right now for the coming summer on the dams I thought I would answer some, if not all of the questions that come my way by way of shop visits and e-mails every month.
Firstly we will start with rods used.
Anything in the range nearing 10kg line weight and under six feet long is getting close to a serious barra rod in my books and with every tackle manufacturer having a go at them now it is not hard to find a rod to serve the purpose.
One of the major factors in choosing the rod is weight because remember you plan to do a heap of casting with it and if it is not soft enough in the tip to load under the weight of a barra lure you will have very sore wrists after a big day on a dam.
Rods that come to mind are the Penn Pin Point 10kg baitcaster, Shimano T-Curve XH baitcaster and very, very new to the market the Live Fibre Impoundment barra.
This selection covers most budgets and they will all do the job on the water with varying amounts of ease.
I chose to use one of the rods from the E-Grell stable, new to the market they are simply the best baitcasters I have ever put my hands on and while they are at the top end of the market they are well worth the investment made.
The B8-5 E-Grell is simply an awesome rod, at under 6 feet and a genuine 10kg stick I have stopped 90cm barra cold with their head down and going hard only to see them pulled back over their body length and jump.
Seasoned barra fishos will know pulling them back over their own weight is not easy but this is what it takes in the sticks to get them and the B8-5 has the grunt to do it but with enough tip to cast it all day and not get tired.
Great Rods!
We need good quality rods so we can cast lures all day but at the business is the reel, if the reel doesn't stack up to the pressure it doesn't matter what stick you have the fish will just tear line from you and rip you to bits and in the timber this is not good.
Baitcasting reels in my opinion are the best bet, some will argue spin reels are capable for sticks fishing but I disagree and while spin reels will handle open point casting Awoonga style the sticks is baitcasting country.
Shimano Chronarch BSV, Penn International 955, Penn Erskine 100, Shimano Calcutta 200B, these are all reels capable of handing the drag weights required to give it to the barra.
There are of course a lot of other reels that can and will do the job but these reels I have first hand experience with and can recommend them for the job without hesitation.
On the reel I run one line and that is 50lb Bionic Braid, it is without doubt still the best on the market in my opinion. 50lb sounds a lot but taking into account the way barra will scrap in the trees you will find yourself breaking it on big fish due to tree rub on those frightening runs of a 60lb fish.
One thing to remember is that you will never put 50lb of weight over a baitcasting rod with a small reel; it's just not do-able.
The reason we run 50lb is for the abrasion resistance gained using 50lb and you need the non-stretch characteristics of braid to get decent action out of the lure so heavy mono is just not an option as it doesn't cast or give the feel needed.
There is other braids on the market that are a good option to Bionic such as Matrix Pro, Daiwa PE, Platypus Superbraid and the trusty Spiderwire still gets a run.
On the end of the braid we need a leader of some kind, now this is the area where barra fishos differ more than any other, this is what I use.
I use a wind-on 80lb leader that is connected to the braid via a bimini-catspaw connection that I tie a loop knot in at the lure end to secure it to the lure.
Never use clips on barra of any size.
If you can't Tie one learn to tie a loop knot and just keep renewing the leader as it gets shorter as you change lures over the course of the day.
A hint is to glue all of the knots at the terminal end with superglue or if you want the best get some Loctite 406 for this purpose, do this and a knot will never let go.
I can hear the knot purists already saying you should not glue knots and I could not care less, I'm there to catch fish and not there for a knot tieing seminar.
Even not so good braid to heavy mono knots like the Improved Albright or Uni knot become close to 100 percent knots with some 406 on them, just don't glue the line to the rod blank or to you in the process!
Lures ……how long is a piece of string?
Most of the barra lures will catch just that but there are a few standouts in the pack that I will mention to get the collection started.
RMG Scorpion 125mm and 150mm,Halco Laser Pro 120mm,Lively Lures Arafura barra 130mm and 160mm,JML SM12S and Barra Baits are my pics.
Best colors for the impoundments are predominantly anything over chrome i.e. if the lure has a high sheen chrome undercoat the top color be it gold, blue, pink or whatever is somewhat secondary and most will work.
Something I have found to be very effective of late is to fit the 120 Laser Pro with 6X VMC no1 trebles and this will make them just on the heavy side of neutral and the ability to sit a lure in the zone without it floating out for periods of up to and over a minute at a time is deadly on barra that are not quite in the mood, those that are on song will belt them long before a minute is up.
On trebles for those like me who love the sticks and rate open point casting after dark just above the boredom of trolling you will need to upgrade both rings and trebles on most lures to hold these fish in the timber.

That's about it for the gear you hold in your hands, as for sounders, electric motors and other boat related barra aids well that's another story.

For detailed explanation of my leader system or anything else birdy@sweetwaterfishing.com.au


Related Topics:
Winter Barra, Shallow or Deep? - Garry Fitzgerald
Lake Awoonga - Information Page
Lake Belmore - Information Page
Callide Dam - Information Page

Dawson River - Information Page
Lake Maraboon (Fairbairn Dam) - Information Page
Theresa Creek Dam -
Information Page
Burdekin Falls Dam / Lake Dalyrmple - Information Page
Eungella Dam - Information Page
Kinchant Dam - Information Page
Koombooloomba Dam - Information Page
Teemburra Dam - Information Page
Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust Dam) - Information Page
Ross River - Information Page
Lake Tinaroo - Information Page
Chinaman Creek Dam - Information Page
Corella Dam -
Information Page
East Leichardt Dam / Lake Mary Kathleen - Information Page
Lake Fred Tritton - Information Page
Lake Julius - Information Page
Moondarra Dam -
Information Page
Manton Dam - Information Page
Lake Bennett - Information Page
Lake Kununurra - Information Page

Copyright© 2005 Jason Bird. Sweetwater Fishing Australia