By Toby Hope
Living on the west coast of Tassie we endure some of the coldest winters experienced anywhere in Australia.  Blowing up from a south to south westerly direction producing bitterly cold winds, snow, sleet and freezing rain.

Due to these conditions indoor activities become the order of the day.  Reading is one of my favourite past times.  Over recent years I have become addicted to reading every fishing magazine I get my hands on, of which I’ve accumulated about half a tonne of fisho literature in my shed.
Being a ‘Read and Dream’ freak, reading tales of fishos heading north to chase the mighty Barra, I thought I must add a barra trip to my bucket list.

So on a recent trip to north Queensland to visit family, I had the chance to wet a line and maybe snag one of these famed Barra Mundy.  As I was being picked up on my arrival at Townsville Airport, a light drizzle began and by the following evening 407mm of rain had fallen causing major flooding in the area, from Southern Queensland to north of Cairns.  The deluge caused all the rivers and streams to burst their banks and made it difficult choosing a suitable region to have a crack at achieving my goal of bagging a big barra.  

My son in law Mick Anderson, had pre-arranged the use of a well set up tinnie for the duration of my visit.  The weather outlook over the next few days was very daunting, as far as wetting a line was concerned.  To make the best of my short time in Far North Queensland we decided to have a go in the Haughton River, about an hour’s drive to the south of Townsville.  Driving through half a meter of water on some of the roads to the launch site, we arrived at the Cromaty Creek boat ramp near Giru, at about mid morning.  We set a few crab pots and began trolling along the lower reaches of the river (6 hours in the pissing rain) and no barra.  Half a dozen muddies saved the day from being a total loss.
Moving north on the next day to the Bohle River for the same result ( – wet ass and no fish).  While in the Townsville area I was very impressed with the boat launching and parking facilities provided by the Queensland Amateur Fishing people.  However the difficulties caused by the inclement weather conditions put the kybosh on any further attempts at fishing.  But the visit with family was most enjoyable.
After a wet week at Townsville I made a move northward to Cairns noting on the way the devastation created by Cyclone Yassie a year ago.  Man I’m glad I live in Tassie.
My son Jason is a Correctional Officer in the Cairns area and had organised a few days off work.  So we hooked up his 4.8m Stacer Bow Rider and headed to the Atherton Tablelands to fish Lake Tinaroo.  I was keen to have a go in this impoundment having read about the mega fish inhabiting this magnificent water way.
We organised some accommodation at the motel situated right on the side of the lake.  The motel proprietor filled us in with a bit of local knowledge but was sceptical about our chances of catching much by trolling lures due to the influx of so much fresh water from the recent rainfall.  The Barron River was spewing torrents of dirty water and debris into the lake.
Not to be put off by the conditions we decided to fish the Barron River Arm.  Using a $4.50 perch pattern lure from the bargain box at a Tassie tackle store, we trolled against the flow of water entering the lake and I hooked up to my first ever barra within 45 minutes.  This fish didn’t put up much resistance, even though the fish topped 1.2m on the mat.  We discovered when landed that she was pretty knocked about with scars and missing scales, and concluded that it was probably from a recent trip over a rock weir in the flooded river.  I was totally gob-smacked at the proportions of my first ever barramundi.
Continuing on until the floating debris made trolling impossible, we did an about turn and moved out into clearer water where we hooked up again.
After a 15 minute tussle we had another magnificent Tinaroo giant alongside the boat.  A great deal of difficulty arose getting this fish aboard as only about one third of her length would fit into our landing net.  During our effort to net the fish, the treble hooks on the lure were straightened and became dislodged.  If she had flipped even once we would surely have lost her.
Having managed to eventually get the fish on board and on to the measure mat, the tally was an amazing 1.353m.
Well this was my introduction to “Barry Mundy” and I hope that any barra I catch in the future will not seem too insignificant after these two mega Tinaroo giants.

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