Barra a huge lure for anglers

Karumba Barra and Blues Festival a great place to land big catch


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AYE KARUMBA: Karumba's Barra and Blues Festival will offer the opportunity to catch some huge barramundi following recent floods. Pictured: Veronica O'Brien and Grandson Marlin Tompkins.

AYE KARUMBA: Karumba's Barra and Blues Festival will offer the opportunity to catch some huge barramundi following recent floods. Pictured: Veronica O'Brien and Grandson Marlin Tompkins.

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This year's Karumba Barra and Blues festival will offer the best fishing in years.

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ON a scale of one to 10, the fishing at this year's Karumba Barra and Blues Festival should be a solid eleven.

This year's festival will take place from May 4-5 and will coincide with the best fishing season in years and the launch of the town's barramundi interpretive centre, which has undergone 8.5 million worth of redevelopments.

Carpentaria mayor Jack Bawden said recent floods had transformed the north-western Queensland Gulf Savannah country into a lush, green, fishing paradise and the outback town was gearing up for an influx of visitors.

"Our wetlands are teaming with birdlife and the fishing should be extraordinary, especially for those wanting to catch our famous Barramundi," he said.

"Locals have been reeling in enormous barra with some catches longer than 90cm."

He said the ticketed blues concert on the Saturday night would feature ARIA nominees Ash Grunwald and Emily Wurramara, as well as award winning blues and roots artist Tim Griffin and local Normanton band Split Image. 

He said the redeveloped Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre gave visitors an insight into the history, life cycle and habits of the southern gulf barramundi that were bred in the adjoining hatchery. 

"The interpretive centre also showcases the wetlands, mangroves, birdlife and flora of the southern gulf," he said.

He said the redeveloped centre originated 25 years ago when a group of local fishermen decided to restock the local waterways with barramundi fingerlings to ensure sustainable fishing in the years to come.

"They developed a barramundi restocking program and hatchery and ultimately, a small interpretive centre which was upgraded to the new centre with funding from the Queensland government's Building Our Regions program," he said.

The centre will offer free guided tours and barramundi feedings during the festival.

Other activities will include free yoga, market stalls, blues artist workshops, the Big Barra barbecue and an outdoor screening of classic movie The Blues Brothers featuring best dressed awards.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland's chief executive Pip Close encouraged people to visit and to support communities who were doing it tough after years of drought and flooding.

Karuma is a nine hour drive west of Cairns and attracts 55,000 visitors a year, with most arriving during the barramundi fishing season from February to October.

Tickets for the Saturday night concert are $65.

For more information on the centre click here, or for more information on the festival, click here

IF YOU GO...

If you want a tour of the local sights, the best way is to hire the local taxi and ask for a conducted tour. The driver will point out the infamous "Animal Bar", which was so wild and unruly that at one point it had its furniture bolted to the floor and inspired a Red Hot Chili Peppers song in 2006,  the memorial to those who went to sea in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the MMG Century Mine loading facility and the town's port and main street. Locals Mark and Julianne Grunske also run the area's extremely popular croc and crab tours - aussietowns.com.au/town/karumba-qld

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