Best inshore fishing lures to catch big barramundi

Best inshore fishing lures

People often ask me what are the best inshore fishing lures to take travelling or bring on a fishing charter to northern Australia.

As a charter guide for three decades, I have trialled innumerable lures with mixed success.

There are seven main categories of inshore fishing lures I use to maximise my chances to catch trophy fish.

We also have a blog on offshore fishing lures.

Watch the video for my favourites in each category.




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There are SEVEN main categories for inshore fishing lures we use here in the tropics.

By inshore we mean estuarine areas (saltwater to brackish) and island headlands chasing quality fish like barramundi, golden snapper and others.

1. Shallow Hard Bodies

Old Dog Guttermaster catching barramundi

The Old Dog Guttermaster is one of Ryan's favourites and has accounted for thousands of saltwater barra during his charter years. In addition, they are handmade timber lures made in Australia. Above all they are designed by Dave Killalea. Known as one of Australia's greatest lure makers. . Buy Old Dog lures > here.

Scaleblazer inshore fishing lures

Our very own Scaleblazer lures are a brilliant addition to any tackle box. Weighted rattles coupled with a streamlined shape make them easy to cast. Hence Scaleblazers account for most of our open water barra. Contrary to popular belief, we catch plenty of meterys in open water away from snags and other obstacles. We teach all our barra techniques in our Barra Basics course. In one of our most memorable charter sessions we landed 17 barra over 90 cm in open water on these lures. Used in the right application, they are the bomb. >> Buy Scaleblazer lures here.

2. Deep Hard Bodies

When it comes to inshore fishing lures in the tropics, the Halco Scorpion is my go to deep diving lures in both the 5m and 8m depths.

Halco Scorpion used inshore for barramundi are dynamite

Halco Scorpion 150 used inshore for barramundi are dynamite. If you can't find this colour pattern it might be because I made it up myself. Sometimes I do that for testing colours and shades haha. The 125 model can be used on Fingermark on rubble pads and the bigger 150 model for barra.

3. Sinking Stick Baits

After being sent a sinking stick bait years ago by a mate, and loved them. I've used them extensively and now prefer them to vibes. In fact, when I had trouble sourcing them I began to import them myself. I call them our Pillager lures and you definitely need some in your tackle box.

Pillager inshore fishing lure

Fish typically strike on the fall because the flutter on the fall is so enticing. They are very versatile hence they can be fished with a jerk or more erratic. We provide instructions on their use as part of the purchase process. Buy Pillager Lures > here.

4. Poppers and Surface Lures

Many inshore fish love smashing things on the surface hence why surface poppers work so well. Balista S-Pop has a flashing light perfect for night time.

The Drunken Mullet is great in calm water as it makes a good racket on the surface attracting fish. Reidy's J Walker is a floating stick bait with a rattle. We have been smashed next to the boat using these. So make sure you retrieve all the way!

5. Vibes

Once my go to lure for big barra in deep holes, vibes are still an essential addition to any inshore fishing lure collection.

I have used Quick catch vibes extensively on charter as they work great and are economically priced. Another favourite is the Nomad Vertrex.

6. Curly Tails

No inshore fishing lure arsenal would be complete without the humble curly tail. The Berkley Powerbait Nemesis is one of my favourites. Rigged on a jig head they should be retrieved slowly. We have some great examples of the retrieve in our Proserpine Dam blog. We got about 25 bites in three hours and accounted for some nice fish.



Curly tails (Berkley Powerbait Nemesis) accounted for this nice dam barra along with plenty others.

7. Paddle tail plastics

Low and slow is how I like to fish my paddle tails with the Keitech swing impact fat being my favourite.

Keitech inshore fishing lure with barramundi

The Keitech Swing impact fat is one of my favourite inshore fishing lures for big barra and golden snapper. I prefer natural colours in the 6.8.

Fishing on the fish

The secret to using inshore fishing lures (or any lures for that matter) is to fish on the fish. Because obviously you won't get baits from non-existent fish.

I never take my eyes off the sounder even while fishing because it shows me direction and depth of fish swimming past.

In our last Proserpine Dam trip we demonstrate a perfect example. Seeing the fish, modifying the retrieve and hooking up.

For a crash course in Sounder Skills our Sounder Skills 1 course is on sale at the moment.

Great value if you're looking to improve your inshore lure fishing skills.


How to use your fish finderOur most popular course to get you finding new spots and catching good fish.

I hope you enjoyed our video on the best inshore fishing lures.

For a cheat sheet of Ryan's favourite gear and tackle >> click here for the gear and tackle cheat sheet. 

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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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