"Barra Dave" Donald

"Barra Dave" Donald

Barramundi Guide (Retired) And Author

There would be few anglers more qualified to talk about barramundi fishing the Weipa area than Dave. Aside from decades of distinguished service as a barramundi guide, Barra Dave has been writing about fishing the Cape York area since 1971 and is one of a handful of recognised pioneers of Far North Queensland fishing. Dave has lived, worked and fished the Cape for decades, calling Weipa home for much of that time.

Barra Dave’s Top Tips For Weipa Barramundi Fishing

  • Low atmospheric pressures cause the barra’s swim bladder to expand, making it feel bloated and lethargic. When the barometer is high the swim bladder gets compressed and fish feed more freely.
  • When fishing soft plastics it is common for the bite to be a “double tap”, and striking will only pull the lure from the fish’s mouth. To convert the striek into a hookup, point the rod at the lure and keep winding slowly until the rod loads with the weight of the fish. That’s the time to set the hook.
  • Key areas to try are the places where small drains cross the muflats. Fish will be working the areas around the mouth of these drains on the last half of the runout tide. The start of the run-in tide is also productive, until the drains are full and the water starts to flood onto the flats. Extend the bite window by moving upstream or downstream to find the drains that are still emptying/filling.
  • If there’s no run, there’s no fun, so avoid the neap tides as they usually fish poorly. The peak barramundi fishing tides around Weipa are 2-4 days after the full or new moon and a second bite period occurs on the rising moon also, on the jump tides.
  • Shore based barramundi options include the seawall on the southern side of the Rocky point boat ramp, under the Mission River bridge on the southern side and red beach to the north of Mission River.
  • Prepare for the fish you really want to catch. If you are hoping for a metre plus fish, make sure your tackle is adequate for a metre plus fish, especially leaders.

Barra Dave’s Preferred Barramundi Tackle

  • Dave uses a custom made Gary Lockwood on a St Croix blank, coupled with a Daiwa Zillion reel, 20lb braided line and Platypus 60lb hard leader.

Dave’s Best Lures For Weipa Barramundi

  • For surface work and shallow water, the original timber Leads Hijacker hard body is an excellent choice but hard to get now. There is a plastic version of this lure around – and Greg’s wooden lure making resources can help you make your own version of this lure. To fish the Hijacker, cast out and work back with short pulls to bring the lure beneath the surface 30-50cm, then pause and allow the lure to break the surface again. Repeat 4-5 times, then retrieve slowly with plenty of rod twitches.
  • A soft vibe is also effective, Dave prefers the fork-tailed options. Cast out and allow to sink to the bottom, the rod is then lifted and the lure can be felt to work on the lift stop lifting about 45 degrees, then drop the rod while winding slowly, allowing the lure to return to the bottom without getting slack in the line. This works well in deeper water near snags and deep banks, but it’s a versatile style of lure that can be worked in other areas too. Jackalls, Reidy’s Fish Snacks and Thready Busters are all good options.
  • A Sealure barra Pro (Bruce Hampton) is an 80-90mm lure that works down to around 3-4m. Cast out and wind down, then slow retrieve with light flicks of the rod tip. The RMG Scorpion 90mm, 3-4m diving is a good substitute for the Barra Pro and is Dave’s “go to” trolling lure.

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