Pilbara Barra

With the looming Barra season upon us I would ask my fellow anglers to consider the resource we have on our door step.

By all accounts the small Pilbara creeks do not carry the large number of barra that the large territory rivers do. Being on the southern limits conditions do not cater for large numbers of this iconic fish in our waters.

Speaking with long time locals many creeks that for years saw little pressure have increasing numbers of boats in them.

Many newer residents are not aware that these creeks were netted decades ago taking a toll on Barra. I do not have any hard research on population numbers but people I spoke to that lived here in the 70's and early 80's said there were no barra here then and the ones that did -  said they used to net them - but the barra have slowly made a comeback.

As an angler that eats fish I do not lay judgement on others that fish within the regulations , However please consider the large barra are females carrying eggs  and if we want this fishery for years to come please look after these fish handling them correctly when releasing.  


Enjoy, Tight lines and good luck


The Mexican    

Braxi's picture

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Date Joined: 11/12/09

Well Said

Tue, 2012-10-23 05:30

There should also be a bag limit put on them as a super high risk species, maybe 1 per boat?? I have seen the number of boats out already and there are more than every. 


 Cant fish from home...

Posts: 443

Date Joined: 03/09/10

Port Smith

Tue, 2012-10-23 06:55

is where I witnessed some shocking goings on by seniors.

6" or 150mm BABY Baldies being filleted, when asked what they were, pleading ignorance of course,  I was informed they were a local species that didn't grow any bigger. I had to walk away.

This went on every day we were there.

Onto the Pilbara creeks, yes there are quite a few nice size Barra especially since the water has warmed up. We managed to land 15 from 60cm up to 81cm, kept two, 1 each for a feed on the way home which is what we did everywhere we fished.

Most of the fish that we kept was eaten on the trip by us or a few lucky foriegn tourists.

Two would be a decent possesion limit in the Pilbara seeing there does'nt seem to an abundance of them. JMO

There is a sign getting emailed around which is from Burk Town Aboriginal Rangers, is says it in a nutshell.

Gav475's picture

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Well said Mexican and I

Tue, 2012-10-23 06:59

Well said Mexican and I totally agree. Proves once again that rec fishers are leading the way in resource management as it is in our own interest to look after the stocks.

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Tue, 2012-10-23 07:20

Fair call and well put.  I dont see a problem with taking one every now and then, then again, I'd happily take a trout or red or rankin over a barra, or even a thready.


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With the expanding

Tue, 2012-10-23 09:34

With the expanding population, we need to change the regulations.  I personally never kill barra, why bother when there are trout and other species which are far better to eat.  1 fish per boat, is a fair limit.  Maybe a slot size eg 55cm - 80cm too would protect the females.

Some people dont realise, that most of our creeks are only 2-3km long and there is not much water at low tide.  Some systems may only have 1 or 2 holes which hold fish at low tide.  It really pisses you off if you venture a long way up the coast heading for a secluded spot only to find 3 boats already in the only decent hole.

These smaller creeks may only have a dozen or so barra in them at any time, so if they are biting, it is possible for these 3 or 4 boats to actually put a fair dent in the population.

I urge all fishos to go out and catch a few coral trout for a meal.  Return all of the barra.  They are too much fun to catch only once.

Webby's picture

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Well put mexican,I agree

Tue, 2012-10-23 12:09

Well put mexican,

I agree 100%. If someone asks me to take them barra fishing I always ask if they are planning on keeping barra. if the answer is yes then they dont get a gurnsy. if the barra disapear id probably have to move haha.



I live with fear every day... sometimes she lets me go fishing.

pricey10's picture

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Date Joined: 07/01/12

Yep your dead right guys it's

Tue, 2012-10-23 17:14

Yep your dead right guys it's a shame you can't get the message across to the wider community. Some people just don't get it


Karratha. WA

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Date Joined: 18/04/07

Education is key, After

Wed, 2012-10-24 20:47

Education is key, 

After explaining why I don't keep any Barra to guy's I take out - they are happy to get a good photo and release them at the same time as knocking off a few cold frothies and enjoying the place all the while knowing that we can do this for years to come.

We need to speak up in a non critical way if you want others to listen so if the opportunity arises explain the situation without being critical of others actions - many wouldn't really understand the situation until explained. 

As mentioned in other posts if we want a feed we go and get Trout, Blue bone, Snapper etc so it's not like I am against taking a fish for the table when needed.   


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Date Joined: 01/02/10

I dont mind keeping the odd

Wed, 2012-10-24 21:00

I dont mind keeping the odd Barra for a feed. Usually keep a couple every season. When you see how many get pulled out of little creeks for multiple weekends it makes you wonder. Lots of little ones around this year so thats a good sign.

Saying that I got a 95 the other day so some bigger ones about too.


Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Yewiefish85's picture

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will second the little ones

Wed, 2012-10-24 21:14

will second the little ones so far this season, have caught and seen more undersize barra caught and released this season so far than ever in over 20 years fishing Hedland good sign for sure.

snugget's picture

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So True..

Sun, 2012-11-11 10:37

Your exactly right.. Me personally every fish i catch is realeased usually to the disgust of others watching or onboard, but thats me as i enjoy targeting barra only for the action, and skill to land a prized sized fish.I preach and tell others my reason why and like you said, most people if educated about the local barramundi stocks will maybe catch one enjoy a feed and then start doing the same..Realeasing fish sometimes can be just as good as the catch..Myself i have seen and caught some good sized fish this season nothing over the ton mark but some nice solid fish that test you and your tackle out as well as the time in effort you put in to catch one of these iconic local species..Enjoy fishing and lets all preserve our local species..


114 thready



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Date Joined: 02/01/10

Good stuff Nugg.  You been

Sun, 2012-11-11 11:09

Good stuff Nugg.  You been getting most on lures or livies?


snugget's picture

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Mostly live baiting..

Tue, 2012-11-13 19:55

 Yeah rigger..been catchin most on livies and a few lure casting when there feeding, only a short time then they shut down and move on.Yourself?? beeen getin a few? Havent tested the usuall spots yet just locall around town



114 thready



jay_burgess's picture

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Good to see great attitudes

Wed, 2012-11-14 09:07

Good to see great attitudes by all the anglers in this thread

As for how it was decades ago, have spoken to a few long-time locals from work and it was pretty much unheard of to catch a barra in those days. When the netting stopped the population bounced back and numbers peaked at a time when angling pressure was minimal. Catches upwards of 15+ were common and anything less than 10 fish was considered a quiet day. Even when I first starting fishing the Pilbara creeks about 10 years ago for barra you could fish in a creek north of Karratha and not see another boat all day.

Ahhh this thread is making me want to fish for Pilbara barra again

Brucesta's picture

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well put and it's good to see

Wed, 2012-11-14 10:29

well put and it's good to see most people feel the same way, no probs with keeping 1 per boat or 1 per angler max 2 per boat but give me a mangrove jack and a thready in the eski anyday before a barra, they taste better anyway. looking forward to getting in the creeks again and catching more than 1 barra in 24 hours :)


Las Vegas - Rolling the dice and trying your luck. 1M+ Barra summer target. 100kg Black Marlin winter target

Braxi's picture

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Give this one another run before summer...

Fri, 2013-09-13 02:44

 As the waters are warming up by the day and the weather choppy like usual on days off, its probably a good time to re-raise this one as there are quite a few new fishos in town. Respect the sacred barra and return all that you can. The stocks are looking reasonable this year, maybe thanks to that deluge or rain we had over winter. Might be an early summer.


Good luck to all on the water but let them go for someone else to get the barra buzz.


 Cant fish from home...

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Yep, I let all mine go on the

Mon, 2013-09-16 16:47

Yep, I let all mine go on the weekend.  There are better things to eat than a stinky creek fish :)

The fish seem to be in great condition this year and of a much better average size.

Busted Arse's picture

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Are people replacing the

Tue, 2013-09-17 23:49

Are people replacing the trebles with singles either barbless or crushing the barbs? If so is there any noticeable difference with hook up rate and amount of fish lost in the fight?

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I usually crush the barbs,

Wed, 2013-09-18 09:25

I usually crush the barbs, but last week was using a new lure with owners which had not been crushed.  By the time I had released 6 fish the hooks were basically barbless anyway.

I feel that barbless does penetrate better, and if you keep the rod tip low to stop the fish from jumping I rarely lose them.