Barramundi caught in Sydney Harbour

A strange thing happened during the Sydney International Boat Show on Friday. Fisho editor Jim Harnwell and I were at Darling Harbour as boats were returning from a pre-fish for the weekend’s major bream comp – the Berkley Evinrude Teams Event (BETS) Grand Final.

As we watched the sleek high power craft motor up to dock I took some photos. A nice trevally and a solid whiting appeared flapping from the live well of the boat closest to us – they were destined for a holiday in the promotional Supertank nearby.

The inevitable question of “how’d they go?” to Evinrude E-TEC’s Riley Tolmay, who’d been busy helping tie off competitors’ boats, brought a strange answer. One boat had reportedly made a very unusual catch. Team Nitro Scaffolding’s Ron Ashman and Scott Bilton had turned up with a barramundi in their live well. What the?!

After jumping on board the Skeeter in question, sure enough, a live, wriggling, albeit small barra was pulled from the well by its captors. Definitely a Lates calcarifer, the small barra unfortunately looked the worse for wear, probably not surprising considering its preferred range was in much warmer water many kilometres away.     

Ashman and Bilton had scored the wayward barra while fishing in nearby Blackwattle Bay. It turned out the fish wasn’t “legitimately” caught on rod and reel as it had  ignored cast offerings as it swam near the surface and was eventually scooped out in an Environet. 

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Ron Ashman (left) and Scott Bilton with their Harbour barra. Pic: Mick Fletoridis

This barra follows rumours of a similar fish taken on a lure a fortnight earlier in approximately the same location.
Last Saturday also produced a Sydney barra. Surprised specatators of the BETS event, including Fisho writer Mark “Captain” Phillips, watched as a barra cruised by close to the docking wharf before also being scooped up into a net – See top pic.  

While the origin of Sydney Harbour’s barra is unknown there has been speculation the fish have been released from the nearby Sydney Fish Markets. Fisho is currently investigating and will keep you posted.

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