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09 Jan, 2015

Barramundi, the Prized Fish of Legend

According to dreamtime legend there were once two lovers who, defying the wishes of their tribe's elders, ran away to be together, knowing this was punishable by death. The two lovers escaped to the edge of the land where the water began before turning and preparing spears to fight the tribesmen in pursuit.

They soon ran out of spears and, realising they were destined to die at the hands of the tribesmen, turned and leapt into the water together, becoming barramundi and swimming away with spears lodged in their backs. To this day, the spears can still be seen as the spines on the barramundi's fin.

 

Barramundi is an Aboriginal word meaning "large scaled river fish" and is often depicted in Aboriginal art, such as the painting above by Nelson Nayilibidj.

Traditional works by Nelson and many other Aboriginal artists are available from the Injalak Centre, an Aboriginal owned and governed, non-profit community art centre in Gunbalanya, Northern Territory. The Injalak centre is one of the wonderful stops on the Arnhemland day trip offered out of Bamurru Plains and offers fine art paintings on bark and paper, carvings, limited edition prints, natural fibre weavings and hand screen printed fabric items. 

 

The mighty Barramundi is a prized sports fish, inhabiting the freshwater floodplains and saltwater estuaries of Australia's Top End and challenging even the most experienced fishermen with its size and fighting strength. From February to April anglers at Bamurru Plains have the opportunity to take to the Mary River Floodplains by airboat and the Sampan Creek by riverboat in pursuit of this legendary fish. Accompanied by a specialist guide from an experienced team led by NT Barra Classic winner John Cooper, if your plan is to catch a prized metre long barramundi, there is no better place to do it!

 

Traditionally, barramundi was wrapped whole in the leaves of the ginger plant and cooked straight over hot coals. Bamurru Plains resident chef, Made Mustika, has plenty of recipes including this favourite;

Crispy Skin Barramundi
Dry the barramundi and score the fillet on the skin side
Salt the skin side and dust the fillet in flour
Using moderate heat, pan fry the barramundi fillet skin side down for approx 5 minutes or until golden and crispy in appearance
Place the pan fried fillets into an oven preheated to 180 degrees with the skin side up for another couple of minutes then set aside
Finger Lime Salsa
Slice the finger lime and squeeze out the granules from inside the skin, removing the seeds
Add 6 tablespoons of finely diced roma tomato and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Mix together and season with salt and pepper to taste
Serve barramundi over a bed of green beans and roasted chat potatoes with finger lime salsa on the side.
We've seen some great rainfall lately and the floodplains are already filling up nicely, creating perfect conditions for some Wild Bush Fishing come February. We are fully booked in March and April but there are a few days available in February if you fancy some serious barramundi action!