Kinchant Dam hosted the second event of the 2013 BARRA Tour, the Kinchant Night Championship. This was the first time Kinchant Dam had been used for an ABT BARRA event. Add to this that Kinchant Dam was recently used for series 10 of the Australian Fishing Championships (AFC) BARRA rounds and all anglers were excited about what lay in store.
The Night Championship format tests anglers’ skill and stamina in equal measure. Teams fish one session from 4pm through to 7am the next morning. This maximises the opportunity to catch barramundi during the prime twilight and early morning periods. Unfortunately, the weather decided to play its part during the tournament and teams had to battle the elements in addition to trying to catch the barramundi on offer.
Let’s take a look at the teams that reigned supreme.
Team BTD Lures/McArthur Custom Rods decided not to prefish for the event. Benn Durkin said they felt they had enough experience from social fishing on the dam.
“Also, we were concerned how the extra traffic would affect what is essentially a small dam,” he said.
“We had decided on our location prior to the event. It was a rock bar located at the entrance to a feeder creek. We sat in around 25 feet of water and cast up onto a weed flat around 10ft deep. Our location gave us access to both deep and shallow water without needing to move the boat.”
At the start of the tournament the team went straight to their chosen location. Using Humminbird Side Imaging the anglers noted that there was good fish traffic moving through the area and used Jackall Transams and 130mm Squidgy Slick Rigs in black/gold to entice any bites on offer.
Durkin dissects the location, “There was a V-shaped channel through the weed that was like a natural highway for the fish. Barramundi continuously moved through this channel.”
The team experienced an initial flurry of activity once they arrived, boating five fish in a hectic 45 minutes. This was followed by a quiet patch until 12pm when two fish were caught near the high tide window.
The weather throughout the session was challenging for all the anglers. Although the storm that hit during the briefing quickly dissipated, rainstorms and high wind continued throughout the night. Team BTD Lures/McArthur Custom Rods attempted to Spot-Lock with their electric motor, but in the end the conditions decreed that they required the anchor.
At 3am another storm hit, albeit for a short time. The team hadn’t had a bite since 12am but, as the sun slowly began to light the morning, another bite window opened. A change in lure colour (130mm Squidgy slick Rig in pilly colour) prompted bites and saw the team land a further two fish before finishing the session.
Durkin discusses the team’s key technique, “We made long casts then we let the lure sink to the bottom. Using vicious rips of the rod we lifted the lure off the bottom before letting it sink back with a few turns of the reel. This was repeated back to the boat. Most of the bites came as the lure was sitting on the bottom.”
The team made special mention of the fellow anglers competing at the event, “It was great to see so many young, keen anglers attend the BARRA Tour this year. These are anglers who quickly cotton on to what is happening and perform well across all the events. It pushes everyone to become better and has made the tour dynamic and competitive, whilst still retaining the great social element that is the BARRA Tour.”
Team Dobyns/Rapala Street Team (Karin De Ridder/Luke Katsaros) caught 5/5, 495cm to finish in second place. Their limit was anchored by the event Big Barra, a whopping 122cm fish.
“Leading up to the event and the day before we prefished the dam, we had one location in the deep with an adjacent weed edge,” Karim De Ridder said. “The barramundi were showing on the sidescan unit and we were confident of finding some fish.”
Team Dobyns/Rapala Street Team fished the back of a bay not far from where the winning team found their fish. The depth was around 14-15ft with an adjacent weed edge shallowing out into 2ft of water. A channel through the weed was a key transitional area for the barramundi in the location.
“We had some early nudges when we arrived at the location,” De Ridder said. “At round 4.45pm we had our first fish via a double hook-up, and the bites continued through to twilight.”
The team’s key lures were a 130mm Squidgy Slick Rig in black/gold colour, a Jackall Transam and a custom white 7” swimbait rigged on a 3/8oz TT’s jighead.
Bites continued to come through the session, and after a rain squall came through the team hooked a fish that was to be the event Big Barra.
“It was a good fish,” De Ridder said. “When we finally landed it we attempted to move it from the back of the boat to the front. In the process the spine of the fish hit Luke’s leg and after the fish was photographed and released we realised the spine had broken off in the contact and was embedded in his knee.”
A trip to Mackay hospital ensued with the anglers then returning to Kinchant Dam around 2pm. Fishing was slow until the daylight brought the fish on the bite. A further two fish were caught before the session ended a long night for the team.
The team used Dobyns/ACM rods paired with quality baitcaster and spin reels spooled with 10-20lb braid and 40-60lb Sunline FC 100 leader.
“The key for us was the location,” De Ridder explained. “The number and size of the fish demanded we stay in the area.
“Keeping the lure in the zone near the edge of the weed was also important. We changed our jighead weights (3/8oz-3/4oz) depending on the depth of the area we were fishing. The technique was to cast to the edge, hop the lure out of the weed and have it swimming into deeper water. This attracted both deeper barra and those willing to follow the lure out from the weed edge.”
While the wild and woolly weather made things uncomfortable for the anglers, the fishing fired with 70 fish being caught and released. A total of 19 teams boated fish during the tournament, with an average size of 89cm. If these figures are anything to go by, Kinchant Dam is set to go for BARRA 2014.
Rod: 7’ McArthur Custom rods (built on a G. Loomis 4 weight IMX 12-20lb blank)
Reel: 3000 Daiwa Branzino/3000 Daiwa Sol reels
Line: 20lb/30lb PE
“We had experience on the water and had confidence in the locations we were fishing. The bigger fish were coming from deeper water so we focused on those areas and found the fish we needed.”