Dylan Brier-Mills Fishing Bio

Dylan Brier-Mills

Barramundi Fishing Guide

Dylan has forged a career from being a very capable barramundi fisherman. Since nabbing the junior world record for this species back in 2012, he’s earned a living as a barra guide and tournament angler. Growing up on the Atherton Tablelands he’s fished Tinaroo all his life and has recently launched a guiding service on this lake so that he can share his knowledge with others.

Dylan’s Top Tips For Tinaroo Dam Barramundi Fishing

  • Tinaroo barra have a reputation for being hard to catch. Fish in this storage have very tight bite windows and it’s much harder to catch fish outside of those times. The periods from 4-6am and from 4-9pm are typically when the fish feed hardest. 

  • Fish in Tinaroo are mobile, so you’re likely to miss them if you move around too much. A good strategy is to figure out some good locations and then stay put and wait for the fish to come through.

  • The tide changes on the coast are also good indicators of a bite on Tinaroo Dam. When tide changes in Cairns correspond with the the 4-6am and 4-9pm windows you’ll often find fish are active.

  • Wind is a good thing on Tinaroo Dam, creating water movement and minor currents, oxygenating the water and stirring food items up. Areas where the wind is creating a little dirty water often fish well. 

  • Fish the areas exposed to the wind, don’t make the mistake of fishing the sheltered areas. 

  • Both the new and full moons fish well. Typically, the new moon fishes best during the daytime and afternoon and the full moon fishes best at night. However, the new moon can also fish very well around first light at times.

  • Often there is a flurry of bites around moon rise or moon set. Definitely stay put for the half hour before the moon rise or set and keep waiting for fish to pass through.

  • If you’re fishing the right times on a tide change and moon rise with good winds and don;t see any fish on the sounder you can assume that spot just isn’t a good one. Try a different spot on the next trip!

  • There’s plenty of submerged timber in Tinaroo Dam and it holds a lot of fish, but Dylan finds them very hard to extract from those areas. The most productive areas to target are the plain, boring looking banks, points and bays.

  • Use those less productive hours of the day to explore likely spots. Explore the lake using side scanning sonar, cruising along parallel to the bank. When you see 3-4 fish in an area, that’s where you want to sit and fish through the bite windows. If you don’t have side scan on your boat or kayak, look for wind lanes and areas where the wind has created dirty water and come back at the prime bite times.

  • If conditions are perfect and you’re seeing fish on the sounder but not getting bites it can be worth trying small vibes or blades fished in small hops along the bottom. Alternatively, try casting a big surface walkers, even if it’s windy. Sometimes they can surprise you.

Dylan’s Tackle Recommendations For Barra

  • Dylan likes 10-17lb Dobyns rods in both spin and baitcast models and finds these are adequate to stop quality barra, even if you’re occasionally in the timber. He uses Suffix 40lb braid because there are some submerged fence posts and other structure that can create havoc.

  • For reels, Dylan uses Shimano Sustain spin reels (4000-5000 size) as well as Okuma Helios and Komodo 200’s models.

  • Heavy leaders of 60-100lb are required to handle the abrasive jaws, sharp gill rakers and abrasion on submerged structure.

Dylan’s Best Tinaroo Dam Barra Lures

  • Rapala XR12 shallow diving hard body lures are very shallow diving and are effective both slow rolled and fished with twitch and pause techniques. This lure is particularly affective in the periods just before dawn and just after dusk, when the barra often feed on bony bream near the surface. Cast them long and make them land almost on the bank, the strike usually comes within the first 4-5m of the retrieve.

  • The Jackall Squirrel 79DD is a great option for deeper water (6-7ft on the cast, 9-10ft on the troll). Dylan likes this lure around 4 in the afternoons when the fish are often in 8ft or so of water. This lure is a great option on those days when the fish are not super interested and are best worked by casting long, cranking down to depth and then pausing the retrieve for 6-10 seconds. The lure is them fished slowly in short bursts with long pauses between. Dylan usually likes the silent version of this lure, but he finds the rattling lure can occasionally work better, particularly when trolling.

  • The Zman 7” DieZel MinnowZ has an incredible swimming action fished dead slow. It’s a great option as a search lure during the low light periods in 6-8 feet of water. Rig them on a ¼ oz TT Lures jig head, cast long and slowly roll them back to the boat. Be prepared to hit the fish pretty hard when they take this lure.

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Barra Tackle Guide
Jase Wilhelm's Impoundment Barra Mastery

Dylan’s Barra Guiding Business

DBM Sportfishing Dylan is launching a new Tinaroo Fishing Charter this summer and is already well booked on the full and new moons through December. There is some availability in January 2020 though, so get in fast if you’re keen. HEADS UP: The first couple of customers to mention the ALF Podcast when they book will get 20% off Dylan’s normal rates, so get in fast and don’t miss out!

Dylan’s Sponsors

  • EJ Todd helps Dylan out with Dobyns Rods. which are nice and light for long nights of constant casting.
  • Humminbird Minn Kota have assisted Dylan with a solex sounder and trolling motor for his new guiding boat.
  • BMENQ are marine fabricators in Cairns and have assisted with Dylan’s boat build as well as his ABT tournament efforts.
Episode 591: Mackay Headlands Barramundi With Jono Clark

Episode 591: Mackay Headlands Barramundi With Jono Clark

Jono Clark is probably best known as an gun impoundment barra angler, but he also chases barra (and a ton of other species) in shallow water on headlands. Today he gives us the good oil on how to go about putting some solid fish on the deck.

Episode 591: Mackay Headlands Barramundi With Jono Clark

Episode 591: Mackay Headlands Barramundi With Jono Clark

Jono Clark is probably best known as an gun impoundment barra angler, but he also chases barra (and a ton of other species) in shallow water on headlands. Today he gives us the good oil on how to go about putting some solid fish on the deck.


  1. The Xtreme Armchair Angler

    It’s a bad day when you can’t learn something new about fishing from a trustworthy source.

    And it’s a pretty good day too when you hear something which confirms what you already knew(because that means you were on the right track).

    And it’s the best day ever when you learn something which challenges what you thought you knew but had got a bit skew-wiff. That’s the best lesson ever.

    And that pretty much sums up every ALF Podcast, but Dylan sure brings it home in spades.

    If it weren’t so darn far to Cairns I’d be fish’n with Dylan tomorrow … or rather Sunday on the next Full (see, I did listen), but that clashes with ABT and on some of my favourite barra locations too (Kinchant, Teemburra, Peter Faust) … Bugga!

    • DocLuresFishing

      LOL, thanks Jon! Don’t worry mate, I’ll see if I can organise myself a trip out with Dylan so that you can live vicariously through my adventure 😉


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