The Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) is a species of diadromous fish in family Latidae of order Perciformes. The native species ranges from northern and eastern Australia through the Torres Strait to New Guinea.
They are mainly a summertime fish, but can be caught all year round, and may be found frolicking in disturbed waters. They are usually targeted with large hard-bodied lures or live bait fish. Although many fishermen are well known for catching and studying these fish, there is much to be discovered about these mysterious predators.
Impoundment barramundi, as many anglers recognise them, are growing in popularity as a catch and release fish. Popular stocked barramundi impoundments include Lake Tinaroo, near Cairns in the Atherton Tablelands, Peter Faust Dam near the Whitsundays, Teemburra Dam near Mackay, Lake Awoonga near Gladstone and Lake Monduran around an hours drive south from Lake Awoonga.
Fishing techniques revolve mainly around casting and retrieving all types of lures including soft and hard body lures. Trolling is also a favoured and productive technique for impoundment barramundi.
Impoundment barramundi are also a popular target with surface lures as they are known to eat all types of foods from the surface of the water including frogs, injured baitfish and even baby swans and other birds.
The distinct 'thunk!' noise which barramundi make when surface feeding can easily be recognised and echo up to long distances at quiet times like still nights.
Many anglers travel to Queenslands barramundi impoundments to catch the elusive 'metrey', a barramundi measuring in excess of a metre and weighing anywhere from 10kg - 25kg, depending on the fat level of the fish.
When hooked on a lure, the barramundi will often clear itself from the water several times throughout the battle and make long powerful runs. This is what makes it such a popular target and it is believed that when you have caught one, it can become addictive!
The eating quality of impoundment barramundi is quite low, with a rating of around 1.5/5 stars.
The flesh has a 'muddy' taste due to the barramundi spending all of its life in silty, freshwater environments. Although, some people do have their own cooking recipes for removing or masking the muddy taste.
Barramundi caught in salt water however is excellent table fare.
Consumers should be aware that Nile perch - a similar fish found in Lake Victoria, Africa - is often mislabeled as barramundi. However it does not fall under the recommendation for U.S. farmed barramundi. The species was originally assigned to genus Holocentrus, in the beryciform family Holocentridae.