Matthew Zahl with an absolute beast of a salty barramundi caught in the town reaches of the Fitzroy River.

Targeting saltwater barra in spring

October is an exciting month, though it’s a bit of a sad time too.

You see, it’s the final month of the open saltwater barramundi season on the east coast.

Which is not easy if you’re an absolute barra nut like me and many other local anglers – to stop chasing a fish you love so much – so make the most of it.

Sure, you can chase them in impoundments but it’s just not the same in my opinion.

I think the difference is that when you’re fishing saltwater, there’s a long list of by-catch to be caught when chasing salties or if the barra are hard to catch.

Nothing beats spending time with the family and tagging a few barramundi.


Targeting a different species is only a matter of adjusting your technique and perhaps a quick location change.

If you’re targeting them in freshwater and they aren’t playing the game, there aren’t too many other options.

I get asked how I catch barramundi a lot.

There’s no short answer to that question and a detailed description would need an entire novel to cover all the information.

If you want to get good at catching barra, you’re going to need to invest some money.

A lot of people tell me how expensive electronics are and that’s true but, at the end of the day, if you want to become consistent, there are two pieces of technology you’ll need.

The author and his daughter Brooky caught a great king threadfin salmon out of the little tinnie. Understanding electronics is the business if you want to be consistent.


And you can’t look at these types of purchases as expenses – they’re investments.

The two pieces of electronics you need are a good detailed side down image sounder and a reliable electric motor.

With these two installed in your boat, it doesn’t matter what type of tinnie it is, as long as it floats.

I’ve proved that you don’t need a big flash boat to catch good fish, only a detailed understanding of working your electronics.

I had a Minn Kota Terrova and a Humminbird Helix mounted in my stepfather’s tinnie for more than 12 months.

The tinnie would have been worth about $1000 all up and had a reliable two-stroke Tohatsu on the back, with the hull made in the 1970s, and I was still able to spot lock and target trophy sized fish.

One day, I caught a black jewfish in it that was about the same width as the tinnie!

The author’s son Braxy about to release a caught and tagged barramundi.


I almost tipped it trying to pull that fish into the boat for a photo.

Some of the biggest creek mangrove jack I’ve caught in this area came from using this tinnie.

Because it was small, I could get it into places other boats couldn’t venture.

Check out the photo of this tiny tinnie if you’re keen.

The point I’m trying to get across is do your research, save your dollars and make the investment.

The electric motor will be able to hold you in position – spot lock – while you make your casts.

You can also use it to gently motor along a bank while making casts to snags and such, and it will also make retrieving a snagged lure easier.

A good quality side imaging sounder will find where fish are hanging out.

Big king threadfin salmon will be easier to catch in warmer water. Luke Peisker with a big Port Alma model.


If you’re going to try different techniques, knowing you’re casting at fish is important.

It can be a frustrating process, however it is a great way to get into barramundi fishing.

Currently, the Fitzroy River is on fire.

It doesn’t appear that we’re going to have any flooding, so the river will continue to fish well around neap tides for barra and king threadfin salmon.

The town reaches are a great place to target barramundi on bigger tides around a full and a new moon because the barrage stops a lot of the run.

The rock piles under the old bridge have been very reliable, as has the old collapsed wharf at the mouth of Gavial Creek.

Local gun Coby Pascoe with a big saltwater barramundi from the Fitzroy River.


If you have a good side image sounder, simply run along some of the timbered banks in the Fitzroy River because there are small barra everywhere.

Now is the time to get into barra fishing, with all the new recruits keen to eat lures or live bait.

Big thready schools have been common out at Port Alma and the mouth of the Fitzroy River.

Some of the schools have been in their hundreds, which are very impressive to see on the side image sounder.

So you can keep your side imaging on them, sitting out to the side of the school – by doing this you know they are still there and haven’t moved.

When the weather windows have lined up, some great reefies were on offer.

Red emperor and trout were a fairly common catch.

The anglers who put the time in to jig live yakka up have done a little better than others.

At the time of writing, it was only a few days before the 2023 Humminbird Fitzroy River Barra Bash kicked off on the mighty Fitzroy and throughout the Rockhampton net-free zone.

We’re expecting big things this year, so stay tuned for a run-down.

Hopefully our team will remain consistent and stay up the pointy end – only time will tell.

About John Boon

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