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How to Successfully Target Barramundi when Visiting an Impoundment

Luke Galea shares his knowledge about barramundi and how you can catch them even if you're fishing in an impoundment for the first time.


Some things are just made to go together. Summer and cricket, beer and peanuts, fish and chips are just a few classic examples. The same can be said for marine electronics. You can certainly get a lot more out of your fish-finding unit if you use specific functions in conjunction with each other. Whilst they are certainly capable and do perform well by themselves, there is absolutely no denying the fact that better results come when using these tools in tandem.

Ask yourself, how would you target barramundi in an impoundment you had never been to before? Barra impoundments such as Monduran, Awoonga, Teemburra, Peter Faust and Tinaroo not only have a great reputation for producing big barramundi, but they are also massive and have structure as far as the eye can see. This can be a daunting experience for an angler as they may quickly become overwhelmed with where to concentrate their efforts. The whole damn place just looks fishy!

The way that many top anglers are tackling this is by spending a little bit of time at the start of the day covering ground with one eye glued to the sounder, looking around and identifying prominent fish holding structure. Whilst there are weed beds and standing timber available to the naked eye above the water, below the water is another “kettle of fish” (pardon the pun) entirely with old creek-lines, submerged weed bombies and laydown timber nestled firmly against the bottom. Let’s face fact. It’s the structure below the waterline that really matters and this is where top of the line sounders like the Lowrance HDS Live really come into their own giving a clearer differentiation of what lies beneath so that you, the angler, can make a better informed decision.

Old creek-lines are great spots to mark. Barramundi will use these creek lines as highways, moving along these depressions from the main basin back to the shallow feeding grounds at different times of the day. In-tune anglers will mark these locations (even if there are no fish visually present at that time) and will return to fish them during periods of enhanced fish activity such as a tide change, sunset/sunrise or moon set/rise knowing that the fish will move through around these times.


Running SideScan on 800kHz gives you superior detail/clarity and is best used when viewing less than 40m (120 feet) in each direction. If you want to see further than 40m, revert to 455kHz


Notice the two schools of fish 5-10m out on the left? The shadows make it obvious


Vivid yellow returns on the FishReveal signify large barramundi being present

An effective way to tackle a barra impoundment for the first time is to run SideScan on 455kHz and FishReveal in tandem. Setting your unit to 455kHz allows you to maximise your range capacity and see greater distances. Although you can choose to set the beam angle to read structure up to a maximum of 200m either side of the boat, a good compromise between range and detail is 80-100m either side of the boat. This allows the angler to patrol the dam and cover a huge area of 160-200m at once and still with enough definition to identify structure and fish. Once some structure worthy of a look has been identified, all the angler needs to do is simply tap the screen at that point which creates a waypoint. The angler should then motor over to that point and sit over the top of it whilst paying particular attention to the FishReveal/DownScan screen. For those people who have trouble differentiating between structure and actual fish, the FishReveal feature is worth its weight in gold and will help them immensely as it will take out all the guess work.


Large yellow arches show barramundi nestled firmly within this dense stand of trees. These fish would not be this easy to see if it wasn’t for FishReveal. Getting the fish out of there was the hard part


An old creek-line is the prominent feature out to the left of screen. Barramundi use these depressions as highways and will move along them at different times of the day. Locations like this are well worth marking. This was found by simply motoring around with one eye on the HDS Live

FishReveal is particularly effective when fish are hard up or concealed completely within structure. It does this by boosting solid sonar returns from the fish’s swim bladder and eliminating weaker ones (likely to be “noise” or debris in the water) to give a more comprehensive and accurate interpretation of the “real” scenario taking place beneath the water. As we approach Winter, barramundi tend to spend a bit more time in the shallow/weedy bays trying to get warm. Without the FishReveal function, it would be virtually impossible to distinguish between weed and fish when the fish are right amongst it.

FishReveal really is a game changer. There literally is no place to hide anymore. Locating the barramundi with SideScan and FishReveal is now the easy part. Extracting them from this structure however requires a little more effort and THAT is up to you!