Which barra rod is right for me?

Browse Wilson Fishing Venom rods

img_6105Open a tournament angler’s rod locker these days and, to the average punter, what presents itself may appear more than overwhelming.

To the trained eye though there is a line-up of very specific rods suited to swimming certain baits a very particular way.  With the availability of affordable, high quality rods in the market these days it is becoming easier to arm yourself with a rod that has certain characteristics to suit any bait in your line up when targeting your chosen species, which in this case is the iconic barramundi.

Rod manufacturers have been able to keep up with the fads and trends of the market with new styles and designs of rods continually making an appearance, from most of the big name brands which allows anglers to keep pushing the boundaries with particular styles of fishing.

One brand that has been able to offer its customers high quality, Australian designed and made rods in an always developing market is Wilson Fishing and with their flagship Venom range of rods they have cemented their place as one of Australia’s premier rod builders.  The following are a few of their Venom rods and the applications in which they best suit my style and preferences when matching baits and combos for impoundment barramundi fishing.

Preferences, likes and dislikes vary considerably from angler to angler and is a great topic of discussion between boats come tournament time. What some fisho’s prefer might totally contradict what your ideals are for a certain rod for a particular purpose. Take anything you read further on as a personal guide through just a few of my choices when it comes to the business end of any tournament when chasing barramundi, just keep in mind that our mighty barra can and will test any rod, reel, line and especially terminal to its end and this gear is tried and tested thoroughly.

Venom Crank Bait PE 3-5 (RLFVCR5)

First rod off the rack is the pe3-5 Crank Bait rod, at 6’3” its short, sharp and packs a lot of punch through the middle third of the rod making it my ideal jerk bait rod. I have a low profile Vittatus reel matched to this model Venom, which makes it a great combo for snag bashing the timber with shallow to medium diving jerk baits and smaller sized swim baits. Accuracy is key with these styles of lures so my preference is a baitcasting outfit. Being able to handle a lot of drag, the VCR5 is at home having a thumbed drag when it’s needed which has made for a lot of fun on this combo.

img_6113Not being the tallest specimen in the gene pool I prefer the shorter style jerk bait rod which helps when aggressively working hard bodies, as it keeps me from slapping the surface with the tip when doing a deeper style retrieve with a downwards twitch. This also allows me to work a medium diver further up in the water column which is handy when fishing edges with submerged weed beds and timber that you want to work with the rod tip considerably higher above centre mass to avoid weeding up. The VCR5 rod also possess enough sensitivity through the tip and top third to work the lighter and finer actioned jerk baits which makes this rod ideal for prospect style fishing, working a tree lined edge or weed lined bank when looking for that extra bite. Its well-balanced light weight construction and Echrome Fuji micro guides makes it a pleasure to cast for long periods of time without sacrificing any accuracy, with bulk pulling power this short stick has a permanent place in my salt and impoundment rod line ups.

Venom Baitcaster 7’ 8kg (RLFVBC7/8)

Next up in the baitcasting range of my tournament rods comes the latest gift from the Wilson Venom range in the 7’, 8kg baitcaster model. The 7ft length of this model has given us the ability to get extra distance when casting larger surface lures and swim baits without taking anything away from the accuracy of a cast set up.

It has plenty of good stories to tell, like opening up retrieval techniques with some of my favourite swim baits where this light weight rod comes into its own. Its extra length gives the angler a greater range of movement when working swimbaits with a long, slow draw and pause style technique which has produced fish time and time again.  The medium action of this rod matches well with a low profile style reel with an approximate retrieve ratio of 6.3:1 as it also gives the angler the option to run large paddle tail plastics around the 7-9” range. Having a large paddle tail plastic rod suited to slow rolling these large baits is an absolute must as over the past few seasons we have seen a lot of decent bag limits reached using 170mm and larger sized plastics tuned with a stinger treble or two.

Venom Spin 10-20lb (RLFVS7)

The first spin rod I’ll take the time to mention is the 10-20lb Venom Spin which won the 2014 rod of the year award at the AFTA trade show.


This two-piece offering from the Wilson stable matched with a 3000 sized spin reel is ideal for getting the best out of running 110-150mm paddle tail plastics. With this style of lure being the staple for many barramundi anglers, this combo receives its fair share of attention from me and the barramundi. Its sensitive tip matched with some serious grunt through the middle section gives it the required characteristics for these sized plastics and the retrieval methods that come with them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen fishing these combos with the paddle tail plastics such as Slick Rigs, Zerek Flat Shads and Westin Shadteez, I use  20lb braid to give you that bit more sensitivity when it’s needed but also to help rip through weed when fishing weed lined points or edges. Not only is a sensitive tip necessary but a slow to medium action will help rip lures free from weed to make the most of each cast during bite times. A weeded cast is a wasted cast so any of the 1% things will, at the end of the day or session, help your bag.  A combo similar to this is ideal for working soft vibes for impoundment barramundi too, as no barra tray is complete without soft vibes.

Venom Spin 12-30lb (RLFVS9)

By far my most used and abused Venom rod comes from the spin side of things in the 12-30lb Venom spin. This rod has proven itself over a huge range of situations but really has come into its own in the heavy salt barramundi fishery and our local impoundment areas with the large paddle tail plastics being suited perfectly to it.

The well balanced one-piece has an ergonomic handle assembly with an extended rear section and double lock reel seat that’s built for tough fighting fish and that’s where it performs at its best. With the fast action through the top and middle thirds of the rod it gives the angler maximum feeling with the large paddle tails but has the purchase required when those XXL sized barramundi decide to liven things up with a bit of jumping ‘n’ shaking.

Matched with a 4000 sized reel and 30lb braid, this combo will be up to the task of any impoundment fish you’re likely to encounter. When fishing large paddle tailed plastics on points a long, accurate cast is needed and with the Fuji k-system guides and light weight construction, this rod ticks all the boxes needed when slow rolling or even burning the massive plastics.

Honorary Mention

A special mention should also go to the Wilson Magnum, 5-14lb Spin rod from Wilson Fishing (RMAG701SH) which has served as a backup. This rod ended up being used quite frequently during some pretty hectic sessions fishing the impoundments over the last 12 months. It serves as a light plastics and small surface lure rod and although massively out of its comfort zone on the larger, meter-plus barramundi it hasn’t missed a beat and boats some quality results.

img_5534The Choice is Yours

Keep in mind that any of these combos could be used to present practically any other lure in your trays when chasing barramundi.

When it comes down to making the most of each cast, matching the right lure to the correct rod is an absolute must. Impoundment barra can seem like an easy target to many people as they have thrown a few divers out and trolled around gaining success.

On the flip-side, when you have limited time and options during tournament hours, barra can be a lot more difficult and you need to make the most of every encounter. This is where a healthy quiver with plenty of options will come into its own to ensure that each and every cast of your desired bait is performing as required.

Venom RodBraid LengthPieceCode
Pe 3-5 Crankbait20-30lb6’2”1pceRLFVCR5
Baitcaster 8kg30lb7”1pceRLFVBC7/8
Spin 10-20lb20lb7”2pceRLFVS7
Spin 12-30lb30lb7”1pceRLFVS9
Spin 5-14lb (Magnum)10-20lb7”1pceRMAG701SH

Browse Wilson Fishing Venom rods

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