Hard work in the murk

BY CAL GREEN

As the weather cools down in southern Queensland and our local reef species tend to become scarce, we put our reef hunting skills aside for a month or two and turn our attention towards searching for the elusive winter barramundi, thready or maybe even a big Jew.

After a tiring week of mid-year school exams and work, my dad and I were itching to get out on the water during the weekend as the weather looked good and the tides had slowed enough to finally get out and have a crack at some winter Barra. After what seemed like an eternity Friday afternoon had came along and dad and I had my new 85 Aimrite Fury Roller setup and our gear sorted for an early rise the next morning.

After a good nights sleep, Dad, Grandad and I were all in the boat heading out as the sun rose the next morning. With the sun pocking its head over the horizon we arrived at a ledge that we hadn’t previously dived but knew it held Barra and sometimes even big threadies, before we knew it dad and I were geared up and in the water. Whilst the conditions were all aligned for some clearer water as is often the case it wasn’t until we were in the water that we realised just how dirty it was with a maximum visibility of around 1 .5 m. I told the old man not to shoot slateys, bream or flathead as we were here to shoot a Barra or our first thready. He reluctantly agreed to the restrictions on his usual catch.

Hiding our disappointment on the vis and accepting the less than ideal conditions we began diving one down, one up as we always do together. Although only diving 8 to 12m, with the vis so poor we used float lines so that we could keep a better track of each others whereabouts.

A great mate of ours Andrew Lindsay was the one that had been good enough to take me under his wing and teach me the tricks to the trade of hunting Barra in low visibility waters, so with his knowledge mind, dad and myself persistently dove most of the morning, waiting for that one fish to come in for a look. As we were slowly heading back to the boat a little deflated by the lack of action I took one last dive. After about a minute relaxing on the bottom, out of nowhere a huge silver figure appeared amongst the gloom, looking straight at me. As I slowly brought my aimrite roller around to the fish, it turned broadside and offered me the shot. Too close to stretch out and aim I pulled the trigger for the guns first time and the short green rubbers sent the 7.5mm spear straight through the metre + Barra and the fight was on!

After an adrenaline filled couple of minutes I managed to get the fish to the surface and get my hand in its gills, and the true size of the fish was revealed as it dwarfed my arm floating on the surface. A cheer, fist bump and congrats from my old man we gave Grandad a yell to bring the boat over. My first meter + barra was claimed and dragged onto the pod of the little Haines 146r, we all couldn’t wipe the smile of our faces, and our hard work had payed off!

 

After a few photos we headed back to the ramp for the drive home which is always so much sweeter with even a single trophy fish in the esky. What a way to christen the gun. Arriving home with just enough time before dusk to clean the fish, it measured a fat and healthy 101cm. Although while fishing I don’t usually take a Barra of that size, we knew that their numbers here were healthy and it wouldn’t hurt taking one for the plate.

This hunt was one to truly remember as there can’t be too much better than shooting a P.B. Barra, with your dad and grandad there to share the experience with you.

EBONY HARPER