Fishing at the barramundi farm in Julatten, Steve Cooper

Fishing is where you find it, and sometimes you find it in unlikely places. Between Mount Molloy and Mossman in the Rex Ranges at a place called Julatten, I came across a couple of people fishing in a pond. I pulled over to check out the action. The place was called Barramundi Gardens and comprised 5.6 ha with six commercial aquaculture ponds and a tourist pond set up to hook passing anglers. Mick Petersen ran the park and was charging visitors $25 an hour, including tackle. The fish in his ponds averaged about 3–4 kg and offered a nice break on a long drive. ‘There is no pressure for anglers to keep their catch,’ Mick said, ‘but if they do, the barra will cost them $10 a kilo.’

Anglers are supplied with threadline outfits and soft plastic lures. Despite being pond water where the fish are fed regularly, they were not so easy to catch.

Mick said what made this fish farm different to others was the barramundi strain. He took me into his breeding shed and proudly showed off a tub full of 15 kg barramundi that were as white as snow, but had blue eyes so they were not albinos. ‘I’ll bet you’ve never seen anything like this before?’ he asked. ‘No one wants to breed this strain of barra so I thought I’d do it anyway.’

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