Not known to many, the name barramundi was created as part of an Australian marketing effort branching away from what the fish was called in the 1980s – the Asian sea bass. In Aboriginal language, “barramundi” means “large scale river fish”.
These days, avid anglers from all over make an effort to travel to Australia for a fishing adventure of their life in hunt for this iconic Aussie fish. And it’s all for good reason too – barramundi look great, taste even better and offer an exceptionally satisfying catch given the fight.
So, if you’re going to catch a barramundi and cook it, there’s no other place to get it done than in Weipa. Being the Barramundi Capital of Australia, it’s pretty much a tell-tale when we say there’s an abundance of barramundi to be caught and cooked.
The fun part about fishing for barramundi is that they’ll eat just about anything even if it’s 60% their own size. And a fun fact about barramundi is that they’re hermaphrodites, which means they’ll switch genders from male to female once they reach around 80cm long.
Is sea caught or fresh caught barramundi better?
Now, there’s a long debate about whether saltwater barramundi tastes better than freshwater barramundi.
As with most freshwater fishes, freshwater barramundi will have a muddier taste than seawater barramundi. That said, some people won’t notice the difference between the two. You can also still catch a decent freshwater barramundi from an estuary, given the know-how. So long as the fish isn’t landlocked, you should be in the clear for a good feast.
The tricky part about fishing for barramundi is that saltwater barramundi can be found in freshwater and vice versa. To differentiate between the two, freshwater barramundi tend to be darker and can come in colours of gold to olive and even brown. Seawater barramundi can be identified by their yellow tails and shiny chrome flanks.
How to catch barramundi in Weipa
Tip #1 – Barramundi are lazy but smart. They love hanging out in slow moving water that sits alongside fast moving water, as this helps them conserve energy while they wait to ambush their prey that scurries past. Find these hotspots in the water to fish for them.
Tip #2 – If you’re fishing at the end of the wet season, position yourself near colour changes in the water. The water that runs from the flood plains is pumped with nutrients that attract barramundi.
Tip #3 – Look out for crocs as they’ll be hunting barramundi too. If more than one crocodiles are congregating around edges or sand spits, it’s a sure sign that there are plenty of barramundi there.
Tip #4 – Barramundi often come in early with the tide. To catch on this opportunity, fish during the first flow of the run in tide and the last of the outgoing.
Tip #5 – Barramundis are fighters and you won’t be able to retrieve a barramundi lure too slowly. You have to keep it in the strike zone for as long as possible by using intermittent twitches, which will lure in a bite.
Tip #6 – Take a guided fishing trip with Weipa Sports Fishing for a guaranteed barramundi catching adventure.
Best lures for barramundi fishing
Gold Bomber is a great big barramundi lure with a successful track record. It doesn’t matter if the lures work out with no colour left, barramundis will still have at it.
The ZMan 4” Minnow is a great way to go quantity over quality with the ability to catch lots of barramundi by casting them and letting them sink before a slow retrieve. To maximise your chances, rig the ZMan 4” Minniw weedless.
The Barra Classic is a hard bodied lure with a big bib at the front with the ability to be twitched, making it ideal for maximising time in the strike zone.
How to cook barramundi in Weipa
Now that you know the tricks to catch barramundi in Weipa, it’s time to learn how to cook them the right way. Here’s a great recipe to cook a barramundi over the campfire.
- 1 freshly caught barramundi
- 1 brown onion
- 1 lemon
- 200ml soy sauce
- 150g thinly sliced ginger
- 120ml olive oil
- 40ml sesame oil
- 30g sugar
- 30g salt
- 30g pepper
- 2 bunches coriander
What you’ll need:
- Chopping board
- Fish scaler
- Sharp knife
- Heavy duty aluminium foil
- Cooking spray oil
1. Start the campfire and let it burn down to just the coals. While you wait, combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
2. Gut and scale the barramundi and score along each side with three incisions.
3. Tear off two sections of heavy duty aluminium foil large enough to wrap around the barramundi. Double the layers over each other and spray inside with oil before placing the fish inside. Turn up the edges of the aluminium foil to create a bowl effect.
4. Season both sides of the fish with salt, sugar, pepper, and add the marinade all over the fish – especially in the incisions. Add in a few wedges of lemon and half of the onion diced too.
5. Seal the aluminium foil around the fish and place it onto a bed of hot coals around 5cm thick.
For an excellently cooked barramundi, you will need to check every 10 minutes as cooking time varies between 15 to 35 minutes depending on how hot the coals are and how big the barramundi is.
A well-cooked barramundi is tender to touch with pearly white eyes. The flesh will be white and flakes easy away from the bones. Garnish with coriander when cooked.
How to eat barramundi the right way in Weipa
After a long and hard day’s fishing, it can be hard to lean over a grill or campfire to prepare a full cooking experience for your freshly caught fish.
So, why not leave the cooking to the pros?
At the Albatross Bay Resort, you simply take your catch to the kitchen where a team of highly skilled chefs will prepare and cook your catch of the day served with salad and chips for just $25.
It’s a barramundi catch and cook experience that mustn’t be missed in Weipa.
Image credit: Taste