We are now halfway through what you would have to describe as a pretty good Build-up season.
With it have come humidity increases, some fairly hot days and plenty of great fishing opportunities.
The Build-up is one of the Top End’s two iconic barra fishing seasons, the other being the Run-off.
It heralds the transition from the cooler dry season months to the approaching wet season when, in a nutshell, everything warms up and starts getting wetter.
The Build-up also marks the start of the barramundi spawning season and in the saltwater estuaries and river mouths the big female barramundi begin to congregate, and smaller, mature male barras are on their scent.
Both sexes are excited, and at times feed like there’s no tomorrow… it’s a formula for angling nirvana.
Mind you, it’s not only in the saltwater realms that barra can fire up; those barra in landlocked inland waterways also get toey.
Mainly they are males, some mature, some not, but all with that DNA that sparks up when it’s time to spawn.
If you’re barra fishing during the wet season, what you’re really chasing is early runoff.
There are different scenarios but floodwater receding through a creek mouth into a flowing river, and creating an obvious colour change where the two water flows converge, can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Once the Runoff proper starts, and some or all the big rivers are dropping, you basically look for barra where there are feeding opportunities.
As always with this style of fishing, you need to find clear water; eg a feeder creek mouth colour change where clear, dark water is coming out of the creek, meeting the murky water of the main river.
It might also be way up a major creek where it narrows and is influenced mainly by the floodwaters coming off the plains.
Timing is everything: you need to be there as the baitfish come out of a creek mouth, or flow off a floodplain, and are ambushed by barra hovering on the colour change, swirling around in the eddies or hanging deep where there is a ledge.
Soft plastic vibes are deadly in this situation.
During runoff conditions, you’d be surprised at how many lures you need simply because there are so many possible scenarios.
Lure selection will mainly be governed by the type and size of bait the barra are likely to be feeding on, but where they are feeding will also be a major consideration.
Therefore, the following lures are just some of those you should carry to cover several situations.
In hard-body lures: Classic 120 in all depth sizes as well as suspending; Classic MantaRay; Classic F18; Classic Just Under; Killalure Barra Bait 8+; Killalure 2Deadly small and large; Killalure Needle Nose deep; Bomber 15A, 16A and 17A; Reidy’s B52 standard, Big, Big Ass, Big Ass 200; Reidy’s The Judge; Reidy’s Little Lucifer.
In soft-plastic lures: Squidgy Slick Rig various sizes; Squidgy Pro Range Prawn both sizes; ZMan SwimmerZ various sizes; ZMan MinnowZ various sizes; ZMan 3’ Slim SwimZ; Reidy’s Rubbers various sizes; Gulp Jerkshads 5 inch; Zerek Shrimp various; Zerek Cherabin; Zerek Flatshad various; Fuze various sizes.
In vibes: Transam; Zerek Fish Trap all sizes; Reidy’s Fish Snakz all sizes.
Roxy Woolley with one of her barra from a Build-up session up the Adelaide River.