With the longest tournament hours of any event, the Awoonga three by three, was going to be a true test of angler’s endurance. Jon Millard of Rapala/ ACM rods showed he had what it took to endure the long sessions and tough fishing, by grinding out his first victory of the 2011 Daiwa Barra tour.
Millard (5/9, 221cm) fished in the New Zealand gully area, targeting the weedy back bays with sunken timber. Millard’s winning tackle was an Extreme Jack ACM rod matched with a Shimano Calais DC reel spooled with 20 lb Suffix 832 and 40 lb Suffix fluorocarbon. The all-important lure of choice was the ever-popular Rapala X-Rap 10 in purple albino. Millard changed the standard trebles opting for the slightly heavier VMC 6X hooks in size 4, “this change would slow the rise of the X-Rap and keep it in the face of the fish for a longer” explained Millard.
With his lure tuned of optimum performance Millard would make long casts into the back of the bays working his lure back to the boat with an erratic twitching retrieve, mixing it up with random pauses. Millard explains, “In the first session we went looking for big fish. Having no success we changed tact and knew it would be a process of just grinding out a limit of small resident barra to take the win”.
In second place was fellow Rapala angler Craig Griffiths (4/9, 199cm). Griffiths targeted fish in the New Zealand gully area. All of his fish came from a wind swept back bays in the broken weed where the water was more discoloured. Griffiths tournament tackle was a G.Loomis Gl2 6′ 6″ baitcaster rod matched with a Shimano Calais reel, spooled with Suffix 832 in 20 lb and 30 lb Suffix soft fluorocarbon.
Griffiths threw the proverbial tackle box at the fish before settling on a Halco shallow scorpion in natural wonder colour. Not happy with its performance of the lure out of the box the clued in and meticulous angler opted to change the hooks to VMC 6X hooks, which got the lure to suspend rather than float.
Casting his lure up the channels in the broken weed Griffiths would employ a fast twitching retrieve with long pauses as it would come past points of the weed. “I would have loved to take out another win, but failing on that it’s a good feeling to have the Rapala team take the top three places,” said Griffiths as he remarked about another good performance by himself and the Rapala team.
The event big barra (66cm) was caught by team Hobie Fishing angler Kerrin Taylor. Taylor targeted fish near the mouth of New Zealand gully. Using his X-Rap 12 in purple albino, Taylor employed a twitch and pause retrieve to tempt the fish out of their dormant state. Kerrin used his Millerods high roller rod matched with a Shimano Chronarch reel spooled with 20 lb fins and 40 lb Black Magic leader to land his big barra.
With four of the five rounds of the 2011 Daiwa Barra tour now completed attention now turns to the final round at Monduran. With southern and overall angler of the year still in play the anglers have plenty to fish for. Will the Rapala boys continue their dazzling form or will the other competitors mow them down at the final hurdle? Only time will tell.