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The author and a mid-80cm fish.

Hot action at Bli Bli Barra Fishing Park

Hi folks, this month I’m pleased to report on a recent trip to the Bli Bli Barra Fishing Park with my son and some friends.

It had been a little while since I’d been to the park for one reason or another, including major surgery during the peak fishing season last year, so it was good to be back.

On this particular day, we had a great session with about 15 nice fish landed, a number in the 80cm range and one spot on 90cm.

Though we lost almost as many through worn leaders and turbo-boosted runs towards the mangroves and side creeks.

I continue to learn from each session at the park, and like most things fishing, that’s why it’s simply so good.

So in this article, I’ll give a rundown on the park, gear and techniques we used.

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The barra park is a great place to bring interstate visitors to catch their first barramundi, as Sue did.

Location

The Bli Bli Barra Fishing Park is located at 367 David Low Way, Bli Bli, a 10-minute drive across the Sunshine Motorway bridge from Maroochydore.

It is also about an hour and 45 minutes or so from Brisbane, depending on traffic and originating location.

Right next to the park is the Bli Bli Watersports Complex, otherwise known as Aqua Park.

This is a series of inflatable slides, runways and other bouncy inflatables, which are a heap of fun.

If you or your family don’t want a full day at Barra Fishing Park, you can take both in.

Or alternatively, those who don’t want to fish, can go to Aqua Park while you fish.

Grab some tiny blackened hooks from the park to try disguising them in the pellet bait.

Catch and release

Some people associate and dismiss fishing parks as way too easy, that is, you throw in a line and catch a fish.

This may be the case with some catch and keep parks, but the Barra Fishing Park is a catch and release facility only.

What this means is that with age, the fish start to wise up a bit and become harder though far from impossible to catch.

This makes it a little closer to the challenge you might face in the wild, though these fish have a very different diet, with fish pellets being a large source of their daily diet.

Still, it isn’t quite as easy as throwing in a pellet and catching a fish.

But more on that later.

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The author’s son Josh with the best fish of the day, a 90cm barramundi.

Opening hours

From March 1 to May 31, the park is operating in winter hours.

That is Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.

From June 1 to September 15, it is open Thursday and Friday 12pm to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.

During summer, the park is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.

You then have the option of a session for 2.5-3 hours or a full day.

At the time of writing, winter memberships for June to August were available at only $99 per person.

The author baited up a live prawn with a light gauge circle hook.

 

Rod hire was also included in the cost, with the rods set up for pellet fishing.

Bait, including pellets, was an additional charge.

You’re also welcome to bring your own gear, which we did, provided all lure trebles are de-barbed.

You can also bring your own food and drink, though no alcohol, and even use the free barbecues.

Alternatively, you can purchase food and drinks from the kiosk or full service café and licensed bar at the adjoining Watersports Complex.

The park also has a kids’ playground and a few shelters for shade.

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Barramundi aren’t the only thing you can catch at the park. Gary with an extra-oversized bream.

The fishing

While barramundi are by far the main catch, you can also score some extra-oversized bream, mangrove jack, cod and assorted others.

I’ve even caught a massive mud crab on my line, which I duly returned.

The park is also divided into Barra Creek, which has about 1500 fish of an average size of 50-70cm, and Big Boy’s Pond, which has over 100 fish from 70cm to over 1m.

That said, on our trip we caught several fish in the plus 80cm range in Barra Creek, so this is probably the best spot if you want to target numbers.

A hard fought capture of an 80cm fish from Barra Creek.

 

Of note this year, Jedd from the park advised the fishing had been very good for the past couple of months, after the introduction of about 350 fish between 30cm (one year) and 60cm (two years) in mid to late-December 2023.

This led to more competition for food and, on those very warm days particularly, the fishing has been very good.

We certainly found that to be the case on the very warm day we visited.

A little cloud and small bit of chop on the water can also be good for the fish – for them to be more active and also to disguise your line and hooks in the floating pellet bait.

If you arrive on a clear glassy day, my tip is to throw some pellets as berley and cast towards the shadows and or around the aerated corners of the park supplying a bit of cover for the fish.

Going with a group with everyone catching fish, as we did, makes for a special day out.

Bait and tackle

As mentioned above, fish pellets are the barras main source of food, so they also make great bait.

The best way to present them is in a tiny size 10 or so baitholder hook, with the park having these available to purchase.

You also want to be using a fine light fluorocarbon leader of 8-10lb to present them as naturally as possible.

I then use braid of about 6lb, but you can go heavier if you use a super thin braid such as Shimano Grappler.

I match this on a 2500-3000 reel and about a 4-7kg rod.

The trick with the pellets is to try and bring the fish to the surface by tossing four to five in first as berley, then when they start ‘boofing’ or gulping them from the surface, throw your unweighted pellet in among the others.

The author’s son Josh with fish that fell to a live prawn.

 

While pellets can be very effective, probably the hottest bait and action you can get is by taking your own live bait, such as prawns, mullet or herring.

For our day out, I’d caught some banana prawns in a cast net the day before in my local creek and kept them alive by regular water changes and with an aerator.

On a number of occasions, as soon as these hit the water and started to flick, bang you were on, if not very soon after!

Watch the video on my Facebook page.

Fresh refrigerated prawns are your next best option, with frozen prawns a distant third.

Live mullet and herring are also great options as mentioned.

Alternatively, a whole pilchard with a 3/0 or 4/0 circle hook through the tail, positioned 1m or so out from the edge can also be a good option on the bigger fish, particularly late in the day.

When it comes to live bait such as prawns, you can step your gear up a little because the fish are less cautious.

Likewise for sunk bait such as pilchard.

It’s recommended you kneel when holding and supporting a big barramundi, in the event you accidentally drop it while getting a quick picture.

 

For prawns, I use a light gauge circle hook so as to not weigh the prawn down and about a 16-20lb leader and 15-20lb braid.

Again, Grappler is a super-thin braid and casts unweighted bait beautifully.

You can also put this on a heavier rod and reel if you wanted to – I use a 4000 reel on a 7’ 5-10kg or 7-15kg rod.

We have also used soft plastics successfully before, such as Z-Man 4’ StreakZ Curly TailZ with light 1/6 jig heads on a heavy gauge hook.

Hard-bodies will also work, particularly early or late in the day, but not as effective as live bait or pellets at times – make sure you crush the barbs though.

So, there you go.

Whether you are going on your own, with a group of friends, with family or for a birthday party, the Bli Bli Barra Fishing Park is an awesome location for a great day out.

Give it a go soon if you haven’t already.

Good for trying to catch your first barramundi, testing your skills on this species again or to prepare for a barra trip further north.

Until next month, follow along on my social media pages @Ontour Fishing Australia on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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