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Anchoring and tying up to trees while casting, is a great way to fish, being very stealthy which is a great attribute for catching Barramundi in our impoundments as they can be easily spooked especially in shallow water.
Anchor rope with attached buoy, ready for deployment.

To assist you in being stealthy, tie a large loop splice knot on the end of a piece of rope about 15 metres long so that it can be easily thrown over short branches of trees to tie up to. About 600mm from the end of the rope tie a 150mm float attaching it by using a figure of 8 knot either side of the float to the anchor rope, this will stop the float from sliding. The end of the rope, now with a loop splice knot on the end of it can easily be tied and untied to the rail of the gunwale of the boat using a half hitch knot. Another reason for the float is if your casting towards a point and you want to do a windward drift adjacent to that point along a weed bed or into a bay, simply leave the anchor on the bottom of the lake where you have anchored, untie the knot from the rail on the gunwale and let the anchor rope float, going back to the float using your electric motor at a later date. The same method is used when tied up to a tree, with the float attached, your anchor rope can be easlily seen from a distance.
Anchored up to a gradual sloping point at Lake Monduran.

The biggest advantage for using the float on the end of the anchor rope is when your tied up to an area where there might be several boats fishing the same area in close proximity to where you're fishing, or you're fishing in an area of some tight structure. Once your solidly hooked up to a Barra you can simply untie the knot, let the anchor rope go and fight the fish using your electric motor already in position, away from the other boats or timber to fight the fish in more open waters. Hence your line won’t be caught around the other boats motors or submerged timber below the surface. You can then return back to your float using the electric motor, tie up and start fishing again all along not spooking other Barra which may be in the vicinity.

Casting techniques will vary with every lure you’ll use, there are so many variables as every lure manufacturer is different and qualities and attributes of every style of lure can also differ dramatically. Know what your lure is capable of, does the lure suspend when paused? Does the lure float, how fast does the lure sink and what action does it produce on a fast retrieve or using it with a slower retrieve? Also take into consideration on how deep the water is where you’ll be casting. All these questions need consideration before tying a lure onto the end of your leader.
In 2 metres of water, casting lures amongst the trees at a nice weedbed on Lake Monduran.

Casting lures within an area is a great way to cover lots of ground to seek out where these Barramundi are feeding. Cracking a pattern is one of the hardest things to do for any angler first visiting an impoundment on any given day. What may have worked the day before may not work tomorrow, what lures you used to catch fish today, may not work the following day neither. When you first come to an area where you consider likely fish to be feeding, a methodical pattern of lure casting is greatly advantageous, starting with your chosen lure making long casts, using a slow rolling retrieve whether you have chosen a hard bodied lure or a soft plastic. Keep casting using this retrieve fanning your casts in an anti, or clockwise direction covering the entire area. No fish? Then repeat the process again using the same lure with a different retrieval pattern, mix it up with twitches of the rod, causing the lure to erratically move, kill and burn the lure using an extremely quick retrieve, then stopping, letting the lure to either sink, float or suspend depending on the lures attributes.
Casting lures from the banks, a big Barra falls victim to a Rapala X-Rap "Walk the Dog" surface lure.

Still no fish willing to take your lure? Now it is time to change lures and repeat the whole process using the new lure. It maybe something so minute that triggers the fish to take a lure, usually the lures action and vibration that it exudes through the water column will trigger a bite over anything else, rather than what colour the lure is. Tie on a lure that is maybe constructed of timber, a lure that may suspend rather than the lure you used prior that may have floated when paused. When you have cracked the pattern and have found a lure that the fish are attracted to, it’s sometimes a good practice for others in your company to also change to the same lure of choice that has triggered these fish into a feeding mode. As hard as it is sometimes, avoid leaving fish that aren’t in a feeding mood, to find other fish. Meaning, if you know that there are Barramundi in the area to where you are fishing and they are not willing to take your lure, sometimes its best not to leave these fish to find other fish as they may start feeding moments after you leave that area. Something could change slightly environmentally, which may trigger a response or simply, their urge  to feed may change to a feeding mood. Keep at them until you find the method of madness.
Persistence paying off with a healthy Lake Kinchant Barra, unmistakenly engulfing this Berkley Ripple Shad soft plastic lure rigged with TT Lures 6/0 SWS hook.

Using suspending hard bodied lures or modifying your lure to suspend with lead weights using a pausing action during a slow retrieve can be a deadly combination to attract these fish as they opportunistically take your lure while it suspends in a vulnerable predicament. The power of the pause during a retrieval pattern has proven to be a great method of many Barramundi being caught. Many stories have been told around campfires about Barramundi being caught while untangling lines with the lure just sitting on top of the water dead sticking at the back of the boat.
Power of the pause! A paused suspending Rapala XR12 lure claimed this Lake Wuruma Barra.

Another technique when casting soft plastic lures or bibless crank baits along a slightly undulating slopping bottom after anchoring your boat within casting distance from the bank, is to let your lure sink to the bottom. Now by raising the rod slightly, combined with a with a few twitches of the rod tip, the lure will quickly rise off the bottom like an injured bait fish. Repeat this technique retrieving your lure back towards the boat letting the lure bounce of the bottom every time winding back slack line as you retrieve the lure. Be patient as the lure sinks, you’ll know when it has reached the floor of the lake when the bend in your line above the water suddenly goes slack. More often than not an unsuspecting Barramundi will take the lure as the lure drops after twitching the rod tip.
Mixing up lure retreival patterns and lure presentations in Bird Bay, Lake Monduran.

In deeper water where you know fish are holding, using deeper sinking lures such as weighted soft plastics are sometimes the only lure to use. The countdown method here is paramount, yet very effective when it comes to catching these fish down deeper. If you are fishing in 20 metres of water yet the fish are holding in a thermocline or just above it in about 8 to 10 metres of water, counting down your lure to the right depth, placing that soft plastic in their line of sight is crucial. How do you do it? Cast your lure letting it sink all the way to the bottom whilst counting how many seconds it took to reach its destination from the time the lure first hit the surface. Now that you know how many seconds it took to reach the bottom and knowing the fish are holding half way within that water column, it’s just a matter of counting your lure down halfway, engaging the bale arm of your reel and begin to retrieve your lure back to the boat. During this retrieval pattern it is also advisable to open the bale arm of your spinning reel several times just for a few seconds and let the lure sink again, this will keep the lure in the strike zone for longer as you slowly retrieve the lure back through the upper layers of the water.
A weedless rigged 6" Z-Man SwimmerZ soft plastic lure, rigged with TT Lures 8/0 Snake Head, attracts a Lake Kinchant Barra deeper within a water column amongst the hedges of weed.

Casting soft plastic lures for impoundment Barra has really changed the way we target these fish, especially surface fishing. In shallow waters and armed with several varieties of soft plastic lures such as surface frogs and paddled tail Shads in a variety of lengths and colours and rigged with a weedless, snaggless weight system jighead. Fast retrieval patterns across weed beds can make for some memorable occasions.
A 4" Z-Man FrogZ, rigged with TT Lures 6/0 SWS hook, makes for an awesome surface lure, retrieved at high speed to attract these fiesty fish in an aggressive feeding mode.

Within these vast weed beds, small pockets of deeper water that lay between them, give good cover for an ambush predator such as these feisty Barra to smash an unsuspecting baitfish, or in this case a lure off the surface. In some places where creeks flow into the lake from heavy run off rain, you may noticed that the weed may form underwater weed hedges and passages of deeper water allowing you to venture further into the weed casting deeper diving lures into the water column. However it is on the top layer of water where you can find plenty of action if these Barramundi are in an aggressive feeding mode, willingly taking your lures.
One happy angler(the Authors Dad, John Brace) luring this fantastic 115cm Lake Monduran Barra to the surface within Bird Bay, Lake Monduran

Like any weedless or snaggless rigged soft plastic, your hook up rate is minimized slightly due to the fish’s ability to penetrate the hooks as their jaws squeeze down on the presentation, a small price to pay for the action that can be experienced. The technique used in the shallows is a high rod action with an above normal fast retrieve, skimming the lures across the top of the water which can be exhilarating watching an explosion of water erupt before you as the reaction strike of the Barramundi engulfs your lure, making for a tremendous visual spectacle. In the slightly deeper water, a slower retrieve can be more permissible, still using a high rod action to keep the lure above the weed yet allowing it to be slightly submerged below the surface using a slow rolling retrieve. A different spectacle on how these fish hunt can be witnessed by using this different technique, watching bow waves from the Barramundi appear behind your lure getting larger and larger as these untamed fish encroached on the lures tail, just leaving yourself waiting in extreme anticipation before your lure gets slammed by the unwary fish.
Good mate, Shaun Parkinson landed this incredible Barra from Lake Awoonga using a Lucky Craft Sammy "Walk the Dog" surface lure.

With the rod now loaded up and the brawler well and truly hooked, another battle begins now fighting the fish with lower rod angles to prevent these notorious jumping fish from spitting your lure.
A Lake Monduran Barra doing its best to throw the lure to no avail.

Sometimes battles are won, sometimes they’re lost, but with the right preparation, equipment, and favourable lure presentations, battles with these Aussie Icons can be more often won than lost. With time on the water and valuable lessons learnt, getting to know what techniques work best when using various lures will become second nature and targeting these impoundment Barramundi while casting will become less complex than what they really seem. Look around you when you’re on the water, what are the Barramundi eating, replicate the baitfish in size with the lures you’re using, matching the hatch. These are some questions to ask yourself next time you’re chasing these iconic fish in regards to what lures may work best and the techniques to achieve the best results. Are the baitfish within the area you’re fishing, flighty and scattering erratically through the water or are they just cruising? Are they on top of the water or down deeper? Imagine what your lure looks like as you are retrieving your lure, sometimes you have no time for complacency as small windows of opportunities can sometimes be minimal when these fish are in a feeding mode.

Cheers Dave Brace
Author, Dave Brace with an 85cm Lake Kinchant Barra.

Great article Dave heaps of great tips I'm sure I can apply to the fly rod. All three of you in the pics look pretty happy with captures especially you Dad's fish that's huge ! Shaun and your's isn't to bad either matter of fact Shaun's is a cracker ! Cheers Pat.

Thanks Pat, yeah, the photo's reflect some pretty happy and special moments shared.

You're spot on in regards to applying the above information to all facits of fishing whilst targetting  a whole variety of species, not just Impoundment Barramundi.

Thanks for expanding on the article.

Cheers Dave

Nice bit of work Dave, clearly all coming from extensive experience. Thanks for the info, now all I have to do is get the bloody fish to co-operate.


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