BARRA Trial a Success

You wouldn’t have heard much about it, because we kept it a little quiet, but in last November, around twenty anglers competed in the trial BARRA event. What is BARRA? Well, anyone who’s read about the bream and the BASS events will have a pretty reasonable guess. BARRA is ABTs new series launch for 2005 – a two-week tour encompassing five events on four impoundments.

It’ll also open to anyone who wants to join.
It was a diverse group of individuals – some experienced tournament anglers and a healthy contingent of MAFSA members. MAFSA is the vibrant stocking group that’s made Mackay’s impoundment fisheries what they are – currently a little low on water, but crammed full of barramundi and sooty grunter.

Of Mackay’s three gems, Teemburra dam was most suitable for the event, in which anglers used digital cameras to verify catches recorded on their data sheets. Teemburra isn’t noted for its monster barra, but it’s definitely a dam to catch numbers of fish. In the week leading up to the event, it wasn’t unusual to land between five and ten barra in a session.

Luckily, the diversity of competitors meant that Teemburra was tested with a vast array of techniques – most of which the local barra accepted. Anglers fished anywhere from the surface with near-foot-long stickbaits, fly and the classic barra jerkbaits through to deep presentations with slow-rolled swim baits and weighted soft plastics.

And not surprisingly, legendary BASS angler, John Schofield, topped the field, proving that his bass fishing knack isn’t lost on the species’ larger cousins.

John landed a majority of his fish on Tsunami swim baits – a bony-bream shaped soft plastic with an inbuilt weight and paddle tail that kicks and rolls enticingly just above the bottom on a slow retrieve.

“During the week we fished here, the swim baits were definitely the most consistent way to get the barra to bite,” John said, “but often it was harder to stay connected than to hook the fish.”

John was also surprised at how gently the barra would ‘nip’ at the soft plastic before finally deciding to engulf it.

“Sometimes the barra would bite at it four or five times in a retrieve – sometimes they’d eventually hook up and sometimes they wouldn’t. You could usually entice them back, though, if you knew that were in an area,” he continued.

John’s biggest fish of his week at Teemburra – a magnificent 104cm specimen – followed the script and gently nipped at the lure once before coming back to finish the job.

“You would have picked that bite from an undersized bream if you didn’t know better,” John explained, “so one thing I’ve learned is that you treat every bite as a potential metre-fish when you’re barra fishing.”

John’s catch was made up of 4/5 fish for the Saturday evening session, measuring 2.645m and then another 2/5 barra measuring 1.375m on the Sunday.

Favourable comments were received about the scoring system. Each angler photographed their barra on a measuring tape supplied and supplied their digital media memory cards to the weigh master with their catch sheets. Also, anglers liked fishing with team mates of their own selection.

Not many liked the morning start backing up from the late evening session and most voted for a longer afternoon/evening session each day.

Imaging a fishing tournament when you can sleep in each morning!

So, from here, it’s onwards and upwards for the BARRA circuit in 2005. Keep an eye out on this site for further details.


Last Name First Name s1 s2 total
Schofield John 4/5 for 2645 2/5 for 1375 4020
Morgan Steve 4/5 for 2632 1/5 for 657 3289
Morgan Peter 2/5 for 1297 1/5 for 705 2002
Prerost Gary 1/5 for 580 2/5 for 1240 1820
Goldsmith Simon 1/5 for 675 1/5 for 675 1350
Cunnington Neil 2/5 for 1310 0 1310
Bilney Russell 1/5 for 745 1/5 for 545 1290
Bruessow Damian 1/5 for 750 0 750
Gesch Brett 1/5 for 690 0 690
Eals Jeff 1/5 for 650 0 650
Trigg John 1/5 for 590 0 590
Bruessow Ray 0 1/5 for 580 580
Inskip Wade 1/5 for 570 0 570
Day Keith 1/5 for 520 0 520
Jennies Darren 0 0 0
McLaren Peter 0 0 0
Wix Bruce 0 0 0
Tracey Stephen 0 0 0
Cassady Trevor 0 0 0