Lighting up the NT Barra

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Lighting up the NT Barra

Earlier in the year some old friends of mine mentioned they were going up to Darwin to fish the run off around Kakadu and, after the biggest wet season on record I thought I cannot pass this opportunity up.

This was a great chance to test out the Balista Cyclone model in a handful of rivers and creeks in the NT. With a number of good reports from Queensland impoundments in Lake Awoonga and Lake Proserpine it was time to put them through their paces in the swollen NT river systems

The Great NT

When we arrived in mid April the word was that we were two weeks too early for the ‘run off’, we had 6 days of fishing and we were going to make the most of every minute of it. With early tides at Shady Camp we made it onto the water at first light in the 5.5 metre boat that we hired from Hooked up boat hire and were trolling the mouth of the Mary River after a scenic 30 minute boat ride to the San pan. On the low tide there is a window of time where the larger Barramundi congregate at the mouth of the river with trolling being the most effective way to target these fish. There was an array of fish to be caught with Barramundi, Threadfin Salmon and Catfish destroying the Cyclone’s that we were trolling. One boat of locals found the metre long Catfish that we landed so amusing that whilst wetting themselves laughing they squeezed out ‘meowing’ sounds in addition to wiggling their fingers on their top lip. We couldn’t help but have a quiet chuckle at the amount of amusement they got out of it.

Later on that afternoon whilst trolling the main river the action had slowed up, we were slowly trolling along past a crabbers hut when the rod closest to the hut started bucking as line screamed from the reel. By the time Anthony picked up the rod we saw an absolute horse of a Barramundi jump behind the crabbers hut. In mid flight this 120cm plus Barramundi managed to cut the line on the hut and got away. Unfortunately it still had the lure in its mouth as we could see the lure hooked in the side of its jaw when it jumped again shortly after been disconnected. That fish had awoken every one of us, we looked around at each other in disbelief. As that was our last afternoon at the San pan we didn’t get another chance to tempt the fish we named ‘Mr Ed’.

After a couple of days on the Sanpan we made our way up the drenched Arnhem highway to Jabiru to fish the South Alligator River, with the assistance of Kakadu Fishing Tours. With 6 of us on the trip it meant that 3 of us could be on the charter and the other 3 would go out fishing the local rivers. Although the water was still over the floodplains and still a number of weeks from being the official run off our guide Gavin put us onto plenty of Barramundi up in the tributaries of the South Alligator for the most part and sections of the main river as the tide turned.

Although the fish were much larger in the South Alligator we were pleasantly surprised with the amount of fish that could be caught off the bridges in the creeks around Jabiru. The Cyclone was a bit too big for the smaller creeks so by switching it up and using the Juggernaut Lipless Crankbait we were still able to hook up plenty of Barra from 40-70cm.

L.E.D Technology

lightingup1There are a number of different theories behind the ‘blood red’ L.E.D technology that our Balista lures offer in the range. Through extensive testing we have found that the flashing red L.E.D can draw predatory strikes, as red is commonly known as a predatory color and a flashing red light sitting in your face would be enough to annoy anyone. The flashing L.E.D can also portray the lure as a bleeding baitfish and hence an easy meal for feeding fish. Either way anglers are always looking to give themselves the best chance of catching fish. Something unique that fish have not seen before can give you a real chance of hooking up on quality fish.

One of the most common questions I get about the technology is ‘are these L.E.D lures for fishing only at night’. In answer to that question the technology can be very effective when lure fishing in the darkness but is not the only condition you can use these lures. Once the lure gets down more than 2 metres the visibility of the L.E.D substantially increases. The L.E.D is more visible in overcast and darker conditions but even in the middle of the day the fish can still see the flashing light. Fish live off their sensitive vision and the smallest thing can draw a strike – like a twitch of the lure, a pause, or a ‘blood red’ flashing light.

Barramundi Specific

lightingup2 The Cyclone is a lure that we have designed specifically for Barramundi, it can be used for trolling or casting, getting down to 2.5 – 3 metres makes it ideal for a number of different situations.
This lure really comes into its own when you use it on the cast – the extra weight makes this lure ideal for casting long distance into the wind, it also means that it has a very slight buoyancy which allows you to work the lure like a suspended minnow twitching and pausing the lure in the strike zone making it an irresistible temptation.


After a memorable week in the NT it was time to head back to the much colder state of Victoria, and I was just getting used to the 30 degree days too! In conclusion to our testing for the week, I could not have been happier with the fish we caught considering that we didn’t make the run off. Keep an eye out on the Balista website as there are a number of new models coming out over the coming months to increase our range to cover all of Australia’s waters.

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