Carlton Mid Rocky Barra Bounty organisers are pleased to announce that this year’s tally far exceeded their most optimistic expectations. Knowing it’d be hard to match the astonishing 1210 barra tagged and released during the 2011 event, they were more than pleased with the final tally of 669 despite running the event a month earlier than ususal.
For the first time, the 2012 Rocky Barra Bounty was extended to two and a half days and feedback from competitors has been overwhelmingly in favour of keeping it that way.
Due to a fairly cold winter and the fresh that had come down only a few weeks before the comp, the usually productive city reach of the river at Rockhampton was very quiet for teams who tried it on day one. In fact the first 20km of river downstream from Rocky didn’t fire during this year’s event compared to the previous 12 Barra Bounties. Most of the fish caught during this year’s comp came from well downstream.
Low tide on day one was pretty early in the morning, but the phone at headquarters started ringing in captures not too long after the 6am start. A steady stream of reports continued through the morning and by smoko, the tally on the scoresheet had already topped 50 and organisers were feeling a bit more confident about the event’s fishing prospects.
When the tally was finally counted at the end of the first day, 164 barra had been tagged and released.
There were also a surprising number of other species on the board, including fingermark, king threadies and blue salmon. By the end of the comp, there had been 160 fish other than barra tagged as well by competitors. With the tides getting better as the comp went on, organisers were confident that it was going to be another bumper event.
Day two started off a little slower, but once the fog lifted and things warmed up a bit, so did the fishing. The phone rang consistently at headquarters with teams reporting in fish. So far, no one had caught one of the tagged Carlton Mid Richfish worth $5,000.
Things at the top of the leader board were pretty congested, with the lead changing almost by the hour. The biggest barra on the board was a healthy 850mm specimen caught by Mick Powell on the first day, but that was to change dramatically with a phone call mid afternoon from a very excited Steve Pil. He’d just nailed a monster 1250mm barra!
Steve went on to catch another two monsters that afternoon, 1210mm and 1100mm. Not to be outdone, his Area 51 team mate Craig Griffith also accounted for fish of 1013mm and 980mm. That catapulted Steve and Craig straight into first place at the end of day two taking into the account the extra bonus points awarded for large fish under competition rules. They had opened a margin of over 4,000 points over the next best team, the Boof Brothers; winners in 2009 and favourites to win. In third place a bit further back were last year’s winners, the Lethal Ninjas.
Day three dawned warm, with a slight northwesterly wafting down the river. Could anyone possibly catch team Area 51, Steve and Craig? Amazingly by mid morning, the Boof Brothers and Lethal Ninjas had overtaken Area 51 and it was pretty clear that it was going to go right down to the wire between these two star-studded teams. It really wasn’t decided until both teams rang in and logged off at midday what the final result would be.
The Boof Brothers clinched the coveted title with 60 barra for a total of 40,920 points, narrowly from the Lethal Ninjas with 54 fish for 38,724 points. What a battle royale! Only a couple of decent fish separating the two teams after two and half days on the water. Team Area 51 came in a very creditable third with 32 fish for 35,000 points, followed by team Master Baiters with 42 fish for 28,465 points.
No one topped Steve’s 1250mm horse and he also took out the new Gracemere Hotel prize for the competitor who caught the three biggest barra in total.
Overall, 53 of the 57 teams involved in this year’s event registered barra on the scoreboard – even better than in 2011. The final total for barra tagged and released during the event was another amazing 669! Nowhere near the unbelievable 1210 fish in 2011, but still more than triple the next best ever Rocky Barra Bounty total of 200 back in 2004.
The presentation dinner was buzzing with the energy from the excited competitors. For next year’s event details visit the website and Facebook. – Rocky Barra BountyReads: 1827