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An Overview of Barramundi Fishing in Australia
Barramundi is a popular freshwater fish found in Northern Australia. Fishers love to catch barramundi for sport because they put up a good fight in the water. Catching a barramundi fish is one of the best experiences an Australian fisher could ever have.
Aside from the sporting aspect of barramundi fishing, they are great to eat as well. Many Australian seafood restaurants always have barramundi on the menu because the residents love it. But why order it on the menu when you can catch the fish yourself?
Male to Female Conversion
Barramundi have long and narrow elongated bodies with huge, oblique-shaped mouths. You won’t have trouble recognizing barramundi fish because they have silver-toned scales all over their bodies.
The longest barramundi has gotten up to 1.8 metres in length (equal to 5.9 feet). Although, it would be rare to catch a barramundi of this size. The average fisher will catch a barramundi between 0.6 and 1.2 metres in length (2 to 4 feet). It is still a sizeable catch any which way you look at it.
All newborn barramundi are males. No female barramundi are born from a mother fish. They are only male fish when they are born. What happens is that the barramundi males turn into females at about age 3 or 4 years old.
Older female barramundi have no choice but to mate with younger male barramundi. If you ever witnessed the reproduction process of the two, you’d see a smaller male barramundi with a larger female barramundi.
The Maximum Weight
The maximum weight of a barramundi can get up to 60 kilograms (130 pounds). Although, only an older female barramundi could achieve a weight of this amount. Huge female barramundi can create up to 32 million eggs. So if you happen to catch a heavy female barramundi, it probably carries several eggs.
Most fishers don’t catch barramundi weighing over 45 kilograms (100 pounds). The average barramundi catch comes in at between 22 to 40 kilograms (50 to 90 pounds). If you fish for barramundi to harvest their meat, you’ll have plenty of meat to cut out and serve to yourself and your friends and family.
Don’t let the heavy weight of the barramundi fool you. These fish are fast swimmers and rarely stay in the same location for very long. Local wildlife officials have tagged certain barramundi fish in one location and later found the same fish over 400 miles away. Their weight sure doesn’t keep them stagnant!
Freshwater and Saltwater Habitats
Barramundi like to inhabit freshwater habitats, such as rivers and lakes. However, barramundi can also survive in the saltwater of the coastal areas around Northern Australia. They use saltwater for breeding purposes only.
Most barramundi are born in saltwater because of all the breeding that occurs in it. But they don’t stay in the saltwater for very long. Barramundi swim from the saltwater to the freshwater through estuaries, where the two water bodies merge. The estuaries connect the saltwater to the various lakes and rivers that exist inland.
Lakes are the best locations to fish for barramundi. They are where you will find the longest and heaviest barramundi in Australia.
Barramundi can be found in the Australian states of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. If you search for barramundi in Western Australia, you’ll have to travel north to the Kimberley region. The northern coast of the Kimberley region is adjacent to the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea.
The locals of the Kimberley region are quite familiar with the barramundi. It has become an iconic fish in this region of Australia. Recreational fishers compete to see who can catch the biggest and most barramundi each season. There are even prizes awarded to the winners.
Commercial barramundi fishing occurs in the Kimberley region too. Professional fishers take their boats out onto the tropical rivers and coastal salt waters to catch these fish and freeze them for food.
Barramundi are not only found in Australia. They have been spotted in the coastal sea waters of Southern Japan, Papua New Guinea, Southern China, and the Persian Gulf. But if you want the most abundant source of barramundi, look for them in the Kimberley region and all over Northern Australia.
Barramundi go through several different phases within their lifecycle. The reproductive phase starts in October and lasts until April. This time period is called the wet season.
Adult female barramundi travel through the rivers and coastal estuaries to mate with their male counterparts. Most of this breeding occurs in the coastal salt waters when the tidal waves are the most intense.
An old trick is to wait for a full moon to pass. That is the time when you’ll know the barramundi have mated successfully. The female barramundi will start producing eggs at an accelerated rate, somewhere between 10 and 30 million eggs.
Unfortunately, over 90% of the larvae and young barramundi will die after a couple of weeks or months. That is because most larvae don’t have a chance to develop fully before the eggs hatch. They cannot even open their mouths or eyes.
There is no off-season for barramundi fishing. The wet season makes it better for fishing because the environmental conditions are dark and rainy.
Contrary to popular belief, barramundi fish tend to be more active in darkness than bright sunlight. Rain startles the fish and causes more activity in the water. Then you’ll have an easier time catching the fish.
Australians like to get a head start on their barramundi fishing in August and continue until April of the following year.
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#Overview #Barramundi #Fishing #Australia