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Home » Fishing-Tips-Techniques » Freshwater-Fishing » How To: Zerek Fish Trap Barra

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By Liam Robinson and James Wilson (Anita Barra)

The Zerek Fish Trap was the lure we used to catch around 85% (50 odd) of our barramundi during the 2020 ABT Zerek BARRA Tour.

The Fish Trap has been a key ingredient in our improvement as anglers and played a big part in helping us win the 2020 Australian Barra Open at Awoonga Dam and after the following rounds come away with the ABT Barra Team of the Year. In this article we will take you through the Fish Traps we found successful, the tackle we use, the areas of the dam suited to Fish Traps and the different retrieve techniques to get impoundment barramundi biting.

Fish Trap Range

Fish Traps come in 65mm, 78mm, 95mm, 110mm and 160mm models in a wide array of colours. For barramundi we use the 110mm size most and will change to the 95mm size if there are smaller fish around the boat. In the dams we favour lighter, more natural colours during daylight and darker colours at night. Dark Ale, Ghost Catfish and Olive Guppy have all produced results during the day, while at night we like to cycle through Red Devil, Sunset, Black Jack GS1, PS1 And the newly arrived Anita until we find the lure the barra are biting on.

We will each run different colours to try and get the bite and work out a pattern. Some periods only one colour can entice the barramundi to bite. If this is the case, we will both use that colour. It is important if the bite goes cold to continue to cycle through different Fish Trap colours and sizes as the barramundi can change preferences several times during a night's fishing.

Fish Trap Tackle

The type of rod you use when fishing with vibes will make a big difference to the action you are able to impart to the lure. A fast action spin rod which is still sensitive enough to feel any bites is our preference. This type of rod helps us to manipulate the vibe with different actions while staying in touch with the vibe on the drop. We match these rods to a 4000 size spin reel.

Braid is essential to feel anything that touches your lure and with time you will become better at recognising whether your lure has just touched a log or you've had a bite (don't worry we still set the hooks into many logs!). Sometimes the bites on vibes are incredibly subtle for such large fish so good quality braid is a must. We used 30lb braid and find this is enough to handle just about all the fish you'll hook.

The lighter the leader the better when using vibes. We use 50lb almost exclusively until we lose a couple of fish to structure. When this happens, we will upgrade to 60lb. Anything heavier than this may affect the action of the Fish Trap and result in less bites.

Mustad Fastach Clips in the size 3, 75lb. Need we say anymore! You are completely mad if you are not using these. These lure clips are extremely easy to use, super strong and reliable. They are essential for cycling lures without having to retie leader.

A lure retriever such as a Tackle Back is important to ensure you don't lose too many lures to snags, especially when exploring new fishing spots for the first time. Since starting to use a lure retriever, we have drastically reduced the number of lures lost to snags. However, it's important to remember to check all your terminal tackle for damage if you're successful on a retrieve.

Areas to use Fish Traps

Fish Traps are versatile and can be fished in many areas of the dam. We like to work the Fish Traps in water depths from 4ft to 25ft. Most of the fish we landed in the 2020 ABT were hooked in the 15-20ft depth range.

Find somewhere you are going to be able to retrieve your Fish Trap with minimal interference from snags and weed. There can be structure around where you are casting, which is usually where a barramundi will ambush your lure. However, finding several corridors in a chosen area where you can work your Fish Trap along the bottom of the dam uninterrupted is important. The less time spent trying to get your lure off a snag, the more time you will spend presenting the lure to the fish.

A good quality sounder is essential for identifying areas where fish are or will show up later. When searching for new ground, the saying is old but always rings true, "find the McDonald's", the area where barramundi will eat not just mull around. Finding these areas takes time on the water, experience and a willingness to try different things. A good place to start looking is windblown points with structure present and at a depth of 8-15 ft.


There are a few rules when fishing with a Fish Trap that should be followed no matter the retrieve you are running with:

1. Always have a taut line and be in touch with your lure, feeling it vibrate and falling on the drop. This also applies as soon as practically possible after you have cast your lure. Once it has hit the water you should be feeling for any touches as your lure sinks. It's very common to get bites as your lure is travelling to the bottom.

2. Set the drag slightly loose so when the barramundi takes the Fish Trap, it doesn't pull out straight away. It should be loose enough for them to engulf it but tight enough to set the hook when you feel a bite.

3. Keep an eye on your sounder to see what the fish are doing. Factors such as whether they are high in the water column, directly under the boat, hugging the bottom, favouring one side of the boat or not showing on the sounder at all, will influence the retrieve we use.

The techniques we use to get bites on Fish Traps are:

Small hop.

When we say small, we mean small! Just a tiny lift of the rod is all that is needed to impart enough action. After one small hop let the lure hit the bottom and repeat the whole way back to the boat. We use this technique when the fish are showing very close to the bottom on the sounder.

Double hop.

A well-known technique where you sharply lift the rod twice, imitating a prawn/yabby. The double hop works well when the sounder is showing fish on the bottom or higher in the water column.

Big lift

When the barramundi are higher in the water column we use this technique. It's just a large slow draw with the rod to bring the lure up a couple of meters off the bottom. It is very important to not let your line bow after the big lift as you will miss bites. To avoid this, quickly retrieve the slack that is created at the top of the lift as you bring your rod tip down.

Vertical jig

If you can see 3-4 fish streaming through on your sounder, jig your Fish Trap up and down sharply under the boat. Try to match the depth you can see the fish moving in. It's amazing how many times you will get a bite, and it's a very cool way to hook up! These fish will be very green so you will need to be on your game to land one if you hook one.

Fast retrieve

Wind the reel as fast as you can for three revolutions and then stop dead. This technique can work well when there are lots of barramundi on the sounder but they aren't eating, (extremely common!). This will be a reaction bite and it often gets them interested to come and have a look at the lure or have a swipe. The bites from this can be savage, so hold on!


The Fish Trap truly is a versatile lure and breaks the old saying, you need big lures to catch big fish. They work straight out of the packet, have a large range of colours and sizes and don't need upgrading/meddling with, which cannot be said for a lot of barramundi lures! They are durable and can truly take a hiding over and over again.

We hope this article helps you catch more fish, tight lines.

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