Groote Eylandt Fishing Personality
Bomber is a high profile angler who has been living and fishing on Groote Eylandt for 15 years, but also fishes around Australia and around the world. Well known as a sailfish exponent and accomplished barra angler, Bomber turns his hand at whatever species are available at the time. And on Groote Eylandt, that’s a lot of species!
Bomber’s Blue Mud Bay Barramundi Tips
- Blue Mud Bay is a large, shallow expanse of water in East Arnhem, just to the North West of Groote Eylandt. It can be accessed by boat, but there is limited land access also, though a permit is required from the Northern Land Council before accessing the area.
- During the buildup, barramundi are found along the headlands and rocky coastlines of Blue Mud Bay, as well as in the many small creek systems that open into the bay. It’s not a place where there are large numbers of metre plus barra, but there are plenty of quality fish in the smaller sizes.
- At this time of year it can become very hot and steamy during the day, so keep up the electrolytes – it can still get cool at night though, so a sleeping bag can be very welcome if you’re camping.
- The bay contains a lot of reefs and gutters, but there is only one river system that can be accessed on all tides. Other creeks and rivers need to be accessed with caution at the top of the tide – there is only a 1.2m tidal movement in this area. Watch the wind also, it can affect tides dramatically. Once into the creeks you’re likely to be fishing in 3-4m of water.
- Blue Mud Bay can experience temperature fluctuations due to its shallow nature and wind exposure. On still days the water can heat up substantially, on windy days it can cool quickly. Wind can also cause currents that push water and can change tide heights or times from those you’d expect from the charts. Use the Gove Harbour tide chart and add 2 hours, as a rough guide.
- When the water I clear it’s not uncommon to be able to polaroid barramundi along the headlands, but the shallow nature and wind exposure mean that dirty water can also commonly occur.
- When approaching headlands, look for those that are in deeper water (1m or more) and have good water flow past them. Approach headlands by moving along parallel with the coast in water 2m or deeper and then turning at right angles and heading straight for the headland. Take care when the depth falls below 2m as there are numerous shoals, sandbanks and bommies to navigate. Look for bait and use side imaging to find fish.
- Some of the creeks are only 10-15m wide, others are 50-60m. Once you’re inside keep an eye out and be ready to fire out casts quickly when you see tailing fish, particularly if the water is clear and green.
- Use side imaging in the creeks to find underwater snags that don’t appear above the surface, these often hold barra. Some of the creek systems are so small you can tie up to a mangrove and fish the entire system from one spot.
- Bomber finds that Blue Mud Bay barramundi don’t seem to be overly sensitive to sound and has even seen fish being caught as an anchor and chain were being deployed.
- When accessing Blue Mud Bay via Bunyala campground, take care while towing a tinnie. Again, take extreme care when you’re in water less than 2m deep and target headlands with dark coloured rocks first. The Bunyala area is the only opportunity for land-based fishing at the current time.
- If the fishing is quiet, it’s worth trying a lure of the opposite colour to what you’d normally choose for the conditions. Going for a smaller, suspending lure isn’t a bad idea, either. Sometimes using small, clear weedless soft plastics can make a difference and change your fortunes. If you know there are fish there, work the lure as slowly as possible to keep it in the strike zone longer.
Bombers Blue Mud Bay Barra Tackle
- A Shimano SLX reel is a great compact, lightweight and economical reel that gets the job done. Couple this with a 5’8” or 6’ Saltie baitcast rod and you have a great barra combo. This rod has quite large eyelets, which is an advantage when you’re using heavier leaders and the knot is going through the guides. 30 lb Finns braid and a metre of 50lb fluorocarbon leader completes the setup.
Bomber’s Top Barramundi Lures
- A 15A Gold Bomber or a Tiger Lily Bomber. This lure is perfect for the headlands especially and can be worked around super shallow areas by keeping the rod tip up and twitching and pausing just beneath the water surface. If the water is deeper, this lure can also be twitched down to around a metre. Frequent pauses are critical for getting strikes.
- A 16A Chartreuse Bomber is a good selection on a higher tide around deeper headlands, especially if the water is a bit cleaner and there are some larger fish around, or for trolling or casting within creeks around shallow snags in the mouths of creeks in the clean, green waters. This lure doesn’t need to be twitched as hard as the 15A, but pauses are still important.
- A 120mm Classic Barra +10 FOW-126 colour, if you can get it! This is a great creek lure where the water is deep close to the banks. Cast tight to the bank and bust it through snags and structure. When the lure hits a snag, simply pause and give it a little slack line and it will back out of the snag nine times out of ten.
Humminbird Minn Kota take care of Bombers electronics needs, covering his side-scan sonar and trolling motor.
Bomber uses Shimano tackle and mentioned multiple times the importance of reliable, quality gear.
JM Gillies distribute rugged gear suitable for top end fishing, including the Bomber and Classic lures and Fins Braid mentioned in this interview.
Club Marine are an important part of any boating anglers life.
Yeti Coolers are essential gear for the life in the top end, especially for the extended forays Bomber often undertakes.
The wet tropics rivers and estuaries are often thought of as wet season options, but long time local guide Kim Anderson dispells that myth!
Koombooloomba Dam isn’t even on the radar for most northern impoundment fishos….. But it should be! Riley Ward explains how to catch football sized sooty grunter and metery barramundi from this stunning dam system.
Jimmy Falkenberg Far North Queensland Fishing Identity Jimmy is a Townsville based angler and social media personality who reckons winter should be all about sight fishing to Hinchinbrook barramundi, jacks and trevally in shallow, crystal clear water. Or battling with...