Australian Barramundi

Australian Barramundi

The Mighty Barramundi!

Barramundi (Barra) is scientifically known as Lates Calcarifer, but the name Barramundi is a loanword from an Australian Aboriginal language of the Rockhampton area in Queensland meaning “large-scaled river fish”.


The species stand as a cherished catch among anglers and a culinary delight for seafood enthusiasts. Indigenous to the Indo-Pacific region, this iconic fish thrives in the coastal waters and estuaries of Northern Australia, Southeast Asia, and parts of the Indian subcontinent.



Recognised for its distinctive silver scales, formidable strike, and tenacious fighting spirit, the barramundi has evolved into a sought-after species for both recreational and commercial fishing.





Fishing for barramundi in Australia offers two distinct experiences: river fishing and impoundment fishing. River fishing provides a natural setting with fluctuating water conditions, requiring anglers to adapt to changes in fish behaviour and water flow. On the other hand, impoundment fishing takes place in man-made reservoirs, offering a more controlled environment with stable conditions.

In this article we're concentrating on river fishing!

Check out our article on 'Impoundment Barramundi Fishing in Australia' here >



Fun Facts:

  • Barramundi can live for around 20 years.
  • Barramundi have been recorded up to 150cm long.
  • Large females can produce 32 million eggs a season, but more than 90 per cent of eggs and larvae die within the first few months.
  • Saltwater Barramundi change sex: they generally mature as males in their third to fifth year, then change to females between four to eight years of age.
  • Barramundi like water temperature of between 23°C to 35°C.
  • Barramundi can travel great distances. One fish travelled 622 km between tagging and recapture. Though they generally stick to a river system.
  • A Barramundi can consume prey that is up to 60% of its own length.



Largest Catch: 

The quest for the biggest Barra catch is a never-ending dream for many fishermen. The International Game Fish Association lists as the world record a 98-pound, 6-ounce barramundi caught at Lake Monduran, Queensland, Australia in 2010.


During the warmer months from October – March the fish are a lot more active and so you’ll have a lot more chances at landing the “Big One”.





Barramundi Behaviour: 

The Jumping Acrobat


While barramundi are known for their powerful strikes, their acrobatic prowess is equally impressive. Barramundi are notorious for their jumping ability, often leaping out of the water in spectacular displays during a fight. Imagine the surprise and delight of an angler as their catch performs aquatic somersaults, adding a touch of humour to the intense battle between fish and fisherman.




Locations: Natural Barra Fishing Havens


For those yearning to test their angling skills against the barramundi, the expansive waterways of northern Australia provide a premier playground for this iconic species.

Daly River, Northern Territory:

Renowned as one of Australia's premier barramundi destinations, the Daly River boasts pristine waters and an abundant fish population. The river's scenic beauty and diverse ecosystems make it a favourite among anglers seeking the thrill of barramundi fishing.



See Offshore Boats Fishing Charters in Darwin >


Victoria River, Northern Territory:

Another gem in the Northern Territory, offering a mix of freshwater and tidal influences, creating ideal conditions for barramundi to grow to impressive sizes.


See Clearwater Island Lodge on Melville Island >


Mary River, Northern Territory:

The Mary River System is one of our most iconic barramundi destinations. Barra weighing over 25kg and measuring more than a metre are reasonably common, although the fishing changes dramatically with the seasons.


See Dundee Beach Fishing Charters in Darwin >


Fitzroy River, Western Australia:

Nestled in the Kimberley region, this river serves as a haven for barramundi enthusiasts. Its remote and rugged landscape adds an adventurous element to your fishing expedition, with the barramundi population thriving in the river's diverse habitats.


See Cannon Charters Fishing Charters in Darwin >




Fishing Gear for Barramundi Success in Australia:


Catching barramundi demands specific fishing gear and techniques tailored to the Australian waters. Here's a breakdown of what you'll need for a successful barramundi fishing expedition in the context of Fish Australia:


Rod and Reel: Opt for a medium to heavy-action rod paired with a reliable baitcasting reel. This setup provides the strength needed to handle the barramundi's powerful strikes and acrobatic leaps.




Fishing Line: Use braided or monofilament fishing line with a test strength ranging from 20 to 40 pounds. Barramundi are known for their sharp gill plates, so a robust line is essential to prevent break-offs during the fight.


Lures and Baits: Barramundi are opportunistic feeders, and they can be enticed with a variety of lures and baits. Popular choices include soft plastics, diving lures, and surface poppers. Live baits like mullet or prawns are also effective, especially when fishing in estuarine environments.





Techniques: Barramundi are often found near structure, such as submerged snags, rock bars, and mangrove-lined shorelines. Cast your lures or baits near these structures and use a twitching or jerking retrieve to mimic injured prey. Patience is key – barramundi are known to strike suddenly, so be prepared for an adrenaline-pumping battle.



Can You Eat Barramundi?

Yes! Barramundi is not only a thrilling catch but also a delectable dish. Known for its firm, white flesh and mild flavour, barramundi is a versatile fish that can be prepared in various ways.


Whether grilled, pan-fried, or baked, barramundi's delicate taste pairs well with a range of seasonings and sauces. It's a healthy option too, being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 


For more details on cooking Barramundi see our articles on fish recipes...



I hope this gives you a little more insight into the iconic Aussie Barramundi!

Happy fishing and Tight Lines, Bergie 


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