There are many good reasons the barramundi are the best fish to catch when you are in the Northern Territory. Incredibly agile and strong, they are a worthy match for every seasoned or amateur fly fisher. Plus, they rival salmon when it comes to the nutrients they give. It is no surprise anglers go all the way to the Top End just to try their hand in reeling in the fish.
But apart from being the prized catch in many exciting run off fishing events, the barramundi have their own share of interesting facts. This family of catadromous fish is especially noted for many things. If you are planning to go on a barramundi fishing holiday, these bits of trivia will make your trip more exciting.
The Name Game
The barramundi, which means “large-scaled silver fish” in the Aboriginal tongue, are known by many names. They were originally called the Asian sea bass. Due to marketing reasons, however, the fish have eventually acquired the current label. Though distantly related, they belong to the same family as the famous Nile perch of Africa. This is why in some parts of the world, the barramundi is also known as the giant sea perch.
There is an Aboriginal folk tale that explains the origins of the fish. In the dream time when there were still no fish, two lovers Boodi and Yalima were forbidden to marry, because Yalima was expected to marry an elder. The two ran away and were chased by the tribesmen. They soon found their way to the edge of the sea. Having no other options, they dove into the water and hid among the mangrove in the form of the barramundi.
Complex Life cycle
Barramundi larvae start the lifecycle in mangroves and wetland habitats. They commonly feed on small plankton so they can grow to a considerable length. Once the floodplains begin to dry, they make their way upstream to freshwater to carry on the next phase. Once they become sexually active, they move to estuarine habitats to mate. A female barramundi can spawn up to 32 million eggs, which the high tides and floods wash into the wetland habitats.
Barramundi are protandrous hermaphrodites, which means they change genders during their lifecycle. They are born male, and usually undergo the change once they grow bigger, at around 80 centimetres, and already live in saltwater. Experts believe that the saltwater influences the fish’s sexual maturity, prompting younger males to mate with older females before becoming females themselves.
There are lots more to learn about barramundi. You can discover more about them on your next fly fishing holidays at the Top End. Book your trip now to see the fish in their full glory.