fishing from boats is becoming more modernised with high tech
fishing rods, reels, lures, gps and depth sounders to name a few.
The basic form of "hunting" seems to be fading and elapsing.
In many cases it's not evident at all with a new age approach
from many anglers/boaties that far decreases chances of succeeding.
is it that we are actually doing out there on the water?
Are we actually fishing in the true sense of the word, or
are we actually 'hunting'? Take a step back in time- man
hunted in no shoes, with a stick and used sheer basics to
Trout and fly anglers stalk the banks in a quiet stealth
mode for great success.
Why? Because stealth is essential in any game where humans
challenge nature and wild animal instinct. Stocked barra
lakes are no different.
Lakes in Australia contain huge numbers of barramundi. If
left untouched and not ever fished, barra would remain a
relaxed, non-stressed and less questioned individual.
ever fishing trips in a 12 yr old lake never fished before
would result in record catch rates, why, because the fish
have never been tested by man before, nor have they been
tricked into making a mistake. Wayward techniques would
catch many fish as the barra themselves would add over 50%
of the equation for a hook-up. (The fish would unknowingly
rush for the lure/trap). Simply, they are virgin fish.
Their sensory system has never been tickled by artificial
stimulus nor have they had any severe negative experiences
with boats or lures.
Move to the opposite end of the scale. Extremely heavy fishing
pressure on a lake like Awoonga has taken its toll on the
impounded fish. They cannot escape; they need to adapt to
survive. Awoonga is a 365 day of the year fishery, and 24hrs
a day at that, so one does not have to do too much math
to see or imagine the number of lures that the average barra
has seen, heard or bitten over the many years.
Once bitten twice shy, is almost a fair comment here, but
it takes a bit more than that for a barra to 'smell the
Countless troll hours and millions of casts with vibrating,
rattling plastic fish become less appealing to the once
'virgin and eager' barra. They smell the rats, they tune
into their environment further and gradually become a more
wisened form of nature that now works harder to defy temptation
and also become more cautious when selecting the 'real deal'
prey item from the imposing/fake fish.
long quiet nights, fish have usually had a break from
most human activity, especially near the fringes.
Quiet approaches and zero onboard boat noises are
essential. Noisy stepping, or dropping pliers etc
are like mega alarm bells to barra. In calm conditions,
sound waves have a much more negative affect.
windy conditions waves will slap against any boat
making different forms of sound. There is more to
consider there with boat positioning to reduce the
noise factor on fishing grounds.
to stealth. Barra become tuned to boats and associated boat
sounds. Their personal space is exactly that, and once we
impose too close with our 'negative behaviour', we upset and
will disperse fish from their chosen location in many, many
Keeping our distance is essential if we wish to keep fish
in a relaxed state. Undisturbed, less pressured fish are easier
to catch than spooked fish. By far the best catch rates of
barra in Lake Awoonga in our terms occur in areas less trafficked
or in times when few boats are on the water.
Boating pressure such as boats traveling over weed beds will
upset the fish and will limit everyone's chances of getting
strikes. It pays to stay well clear. Trolling along weed edges
by day reduces chances by probably 1000% and by night at about
400% and I liken that style of fishing to sitting in the back
of a moving Ute facing backwards with a rifle, looking through
the dust while trying to spot a pig or a roo! Chances are
the action was in front and had moved away before you got
there. The same applies to many lake fish.
You still may catch the odd one, but the bulk that you were
never aware of had moved on, ducked into the weeds, or held
their fins over their mouth! (Sarcasm).
Boat pressure forces lots of fish deep, well clear of boat
activity on the surface. It's a safer, rarely intruded zone
So in actual fact, human pressure sculpts certain behavior
in fishes that needs to be noted in order to stay on the front
foot. In my experiences-
Coming in contact with any weed banks or foreshore areas is
a no no, as that pressures and disrupts fish no end. If 50
boats disrupted 50 weed banks in one hour, then by lunch time
on any given day there will be some hard ground to try and
fish. If boats stayed well clear, there would nearly always
be undisturbed fish on portions of weed banks all day. Traveling
at 25 knots along or over a weed bank is like throwing dynamite
in. Enough said.
closer than 100 metres to any fishing boat is a huge mistake
for all and sundry.
Anglers need space, most importantly the fish need more.
Quiet, stealth and distance are MAJOR fundamentals. Rattling
outboards and waves slapping on boats 20 metres away is
the same as throwing a tonne of rocks in where you are fishing.
Long casts are golden. Hence why keeping your distance fits
in with long casts.
Barra are not dumb, anglers need to be way smarter.
Basics will bring better results in the long run.
Barra numbers in Awoonga are huge- it just takes enhanced
planning and sensible application to undo a more vigilant
animal. Monduran is going through a great period for healthy
big solid barra. In time, it will become another Awoonga.
Anglers will have no new easy lake to then move onto, so
there will come a time when focus on approach and a new
era of thinking will be required by all anglers to seek
higher levels. The fish change, and we have to change with
Remember the caveman. If he was noisy, he would have starved ..
or been eaten,,,,,,, but luckily we are apex in this case!
motors are almost silent running, super important
for stealth in crystal conditions like these at Peter
Faust Dam. Electric motors still create sound and
vibrations, so they are not the total dead silence
we all hope for. Minimising sound is the name of the
game, but its a tough call to be totally silent when
in a boat.