In our northern estuaries there’s one fish that dominates the headlines and social media posts, and that’s the barramundi. There is one fish, however, that while offering much the same in the way of sport and eating qualities as barra, constantly flies under the radar. King threadfin salmon can be found in many of the same areas, and many who fish for them consider their fighting and eating qualities superior to barra! But that’s a point best discussed around a campfire over a beer.
Targeting threadfin, or threadies, is not unlike barra fishing, but threadies do have a few peculiarities that warrant a slightly different approach. This is particularly apparent when they go shallow - usually in pursuit of tiny prawns - and this can offer some of the most exciting fishing anywhere!
Threadies are a tropical fish that have a similar distribution to barra, extending slightly further south. Unlike barra though, there is no closed season, meaning they can be targeted during their breeding times - something certain groups want changed in the future.
During periods of run-off, threadies will congregate around areas where the fresh flow enters the main system and wait for an easy feed. Sharing these same areas are other predators such as barra, mangrove jack and grunter.
During prawn hatches, where million of thumbnail size ‘jelly prawns’ flood the system, these same species will flock to the shallows to round them up, and usually the first to arrive are the threadies. Threadies seem to have a special preference for prawns, and bait anglers using live prawns will do very well.
For the lure anglers however, this is a chance to ply your trade and put your skills to the test. Replicating such small food items can be difficult if you’re not a fly angler, but there are lures that can come close. MMD Soft Prawns, Chasebait Flick Prawn Jnrs, Berkley Gulp! Shrimp Soft Plastics, Storm 360GT Coastal Soft Plastics and Zerek Absolute Shrimps are some great soft plastic prawn imitations if you ever find threadies gorging themselves on prawns.
Watching these fish lunge through water only a few inches deep to grab a mouthful of these tiny invertebrates is a sight to behold, and landing a small prawn imitation amongst the madness is enough to get even the most seasoned hearts pounding!
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