Head to the Kimberley this season to catch some of the country's biggest and best Barramundi.
It may be the hottest and wettest time of year in the Kimberley, but this season the Ord, Pentecost, Fitzroy, and Keep Rivers are teeming with Barra. During the dry season (April to October), the Barra head out to sea where they breed in the salt water. At the beginning of the wet season (November to march), they collect at the river mouths and wait for the floods so they can head back up stream to give birth in the fresher water. As any Barra over 80cm is generally a female, this is the best time to hook a beauty.
Barra are elusive and tend to move freely between the rivers and the creeks. The run offs are usually a good place to cast a line, as the water is often fresher. Although the fishing is awesome at this time of year, the rivers are prone to flash flooding, so inexperienced fisherman, or those who are unfamiliar with the Kimberley, should head out with a local tour operator who knows the area.
Greg and Jane Harmon from Ultimate Adventures in Kununurra operate half day, full day, and overnight fishing trips along the Ord River, including transfers from Kununurra to Hairy Dog's Fishing Camp, all fishing supplies and refreshments. The tours are suitable for fisherman of all skill levels, and children are welcome as long as they are supervised by an adult at all times. Ultimate Adventures operate a maximum of three boats holding no more than three fishermen, so those fishing for the first time receive great one-on-one tuition.
While the full and half day tours are perfect for those who struggle with the heat or are short of time, the overnight stays offer a unique opportunity to spend your days fishing various sections of the Ord, and your nights in a genuine bush camp. The camp-site is located on the banks of the Ord and features open air shelters with panoramic river views, making it the perfect place to enjoy an outdoor evening meal cooked from the fish caught during the day. Fishing restrictions on the Ord limit catches to one fish per person per day, but if you chose to stay for a night or two you can head out and catch another fish to replace the one you ate the night before.
Herby from Derby's Big Barra Fishing Adventures (and yes, his name really is Herby), runs full day tours at secret locations along parts of the Fitzroy River on the privately owned Yeeda Station. The Fitzroy is one of the world's largest tidal rivers and many boats have been stranded for 12 hours on the riverbed when the 11m tides go out. To avoid being stranded Herby's guests travel from pool to pool by four wheel drive and fish from the riverbanks.
Herby's tours start at 6.30am and return between 6pm and 7pm that evening, and are perfect for both experienced fishermen and those new to the game. Included in your tour is all your refreshments, lunch, transport, and fishing gear, so all you are required to bring is some sturdy shoes and sun protection.
Herby assures us that Barra fishing is extremely easy and to prove it, even his most inexperienced guests have had a 100% strike rate over the last 12 months. Fisheries restrict Barramundi catches on the Fitzroy to two per person per day.
Derby is 90-minutes drive from Broome. If you don't have a vehicle you can arrange for Herby to pick you up, or Skipper Aviation operate daily flights between the two towns. If you're looking to stay for a couple of nights in Broome before heading out on your fishing adventure, Skywest have just announced their new flights to the area offering great accommodation and travel packages.
As the weather can be unpredictable in the Kimberley during the wet, it is a good idea to call and book your tour well in advance and allow yourself a couple of days to play with in case you have to take a rain check.