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Alex's Column 18 August 2023

The next full moon is exactly two weeks away, falling precisely at the start of the build-up season when freshwater barra start to be more active at night.

A full moon at this time of the year is like a beacon to nocturnal fishos, as it can be the catalyst for some top night time barra sessions.

The inland billabongs are the place to be around the full moon for those who like to fish on the dark side.

There’s something quite special about being on a lovely moonlit billabong, the peace only disturbed by the boofing of barra and the splashing of tarpon.

There are a couple of ways to approach billabong barra at night. The most exciting is to cast surface lures, and it’s not a bad way to start out your session.

Small poppers can work well at times, or a fizzer to make even more noise on the surface.

Work them erratically with plenty of pauses – barra will often eye off a surface lure for quite a while before deciding to have a go.

The hook-up rate on the surface can be frustratingly low, but the concussive strikes will certainly keep your heart rate up.

Using a lure that floats tail down at rest can improve your hook-up rate. There are a number around that do this out of the box, or you can crimp a split shot on the rear treble to create the same effect on any surface lure.

If you can hear fish boofing but you are not attracting strikes on your surface presentations, it’s time to switch tactics in an effort to find something they want to eat.

Hard-body minnows such as medium-to-large Bombers or Reidy’s Big B52s are proven lures in the billabongs at night.

Another option is to go to plastics, either rigged weedless on a worm hook in snaggy areas or on a light jighead.

The world is your oyster when it comes to pre-rigged plastics, and the Squidgy Slick Rig is an established performer.

Colours are a contentious issue for night fishing.

Ask a group of fishos what they prefer and you’ll probably get as many contradictory answers as there are people around the bar.

Traditionally, dark colours were considered to be the best at night, with many anglers tying on black lures.

The theory behind this is that the fish are hunting by the silhouette, and the darker the lure the more it will stand out to a barra looking up at it from below.

While this theory is a plausible one, sometimes a different colour can trigger strikes.

A chrome finish can be dynamite at times - the moonlight glinting off the sides must be a good match for prey species like tarpon.

There are even lumo finishes available in both hard bodies and plastics if you’re looking for something that really stands out, although I tend to think these finishes are more effective in saltwater.

Don’t forget the trolling option too at night, particularly under electric outboard propulsion.

That’s a super-easy way to fish and quite relaxing at night, but just be careful that you don’t fall asleep and topple into the water… a midnight swim in a freshwater billabong is not a good idea.

How’s this for a magnificent Roper River barra caught land-based by Trevor Tierney on a Reidy’s B52? It measured 136cm.


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