Hot days and stormy nights greeted 52 anglers competing in the first event of the 2005 Daiwa BARRA Tour at Lake Awoonga.
Plenty of metre plus barra made for an exciting competition between the 26 teams, with a total of 97 fishing weighed-in for the event.
In the end victory was claimed by Team Pflueger, comprised of Jason Wilhelm and Gareth Dunwoodie, who consistently caught fish over the two days to finish clearly on top in the teams category. Compiling a 1389cm total Pflueger easily outclassed the rest of the field, with the runners-up position claimed by the Unknotted Old Dogs team (595cm), featuring seasoned anglers Rod â€œHarroâ€ Harrison and Dale Sinclair.
Jason Wilhelm, a 31 year old Shift Manager finished with the only, 10/10 bag and a total length of 728cms. His partner Gareth Dunwoodie finished a close second with a 9/10 bag, 661cms. While the Go-So Big Barra title was hotly contested before being claimed by Gladstone local, Scott McAuley with his outstanding 116cm specimen captured on day one of the event. Falling to a 75mm Halco Scorpion in the bleeding mullet colour, the large fish was wrestled from of the many shallow bays scatter throughout the dam.
Fishing Awoonga at least 3 days a week, the well knowledged Wilhelm focused on getting his bag early, before chasing larger upgrade fish later in the night.
Wilhelmâ€™s gear of choice included an E Grell Woomera 5â€™8 baitcaster rod, matched to a Pflueger Supreme low profile baitcaster reel, spooled with 50 pound Shakespeare Cajun braid and finished off with 70 pound flurocarbon leader. While his lure selection was comprised of 10+ Barra Classic 120s, when targeting fish in the 10-12 foot depth range, and a Kingdom Mars lure when chasing fish under the cover of darkness.
The retrieve largely remained the same for the both lures, with the key being a violent, erratic presentation fuelled with heavy and repeated twitches to get the attention of the barra.
His partner Gareth Dunwoodie, a 25 year old Carpenter and regular fishing companion of Wilhelm, in contrast chose Extracta lures during the day, using the same violent twitch pattern to tempt his fish. His choice of tackle to compile his limit included a Shimano T-Curve rod and a Shimano Chronarch baitcaster reel. The boys mentioned that any colour worked, but what was more important was how the lure swam and its presence in the water.
â€œTwitching and working that lure in their face was the key to getting their attentionâ€, Dunwoodie explained. â€œIf you didnâ€™t do it, you didnâ€™t get the hitsâ€, he concluded.
They had their game plan worked out before the event, with several locations pinpointed and almost of assured of providing them with fish. Being their first tournament they both knew how important is was to get their five fish in the bag to relieve the pressure of tournament fishing.
â€œI spoke to a few ABT veterans leading up to the event, and they emphasised to me how important it was to get your limit first, then chase the big onesâ€, Wilhelm explained.
â€œSo thatâ€™s what we did. We got our five, then went looking for the big onesâ€, he concluded.
The perfectly executed plan then allowed both anglers to have some fun and just go fishing.
The second leg of the series sees the Tour hit the waters of Mackayâ€™s Teemburra Dam for the first of two Night Championships events, 16th November.
The Tour then makes itsâ€™ way north for two events as Peter Faust Dam, before coming to its conclusion on Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands.
If you would like to join in the fun for either the remainder of the 2005 Daiwa BARRA Tour or want to start planning for next year, check out all the info at www.australianbarra.com.au.