Daiwa BARRA Tour 2006
  |  First Published: December 2006

Toughing it out at Teemburra

18 anglers set out at Teemburra Dam for the first of the 2006 Daiwa BARRA Tour’s Championship events.

The 9 teams all gathered together at the Pinnacle Hotel to have their boats checked before hitting the water at 4pm, and fishing through until 8am the next morning. All returned to a warm breakfast with tales of the one that got away.

The Champion Team category proved a hotly contested title, with eventual winner Team Ecogear, comprised of Gavin and Craig Dunne claiming the title with their combined limit length of 367cm.

The Champion Anger title belonged to last year’s AOY Champ Gavin Dunne, the Ecogear Tackle representative from Brisbane with a 4/5, 295cm limit, which included the event’s Go-So Adventure Wear Big Barra, an 81cm specimen. He scored the prized Millerod Camofish Barra rod and a $300 cheque.

Andy Thomsen secured 2nd place with a 2/5, 155cm. Dennis Roughan’s 2/5, 145cm came 3rd; Scott McAuley’s 2/5 141cm secured 4th, and 5th went to Jason Wilhelm’s 2/5 136cm. The place getters scored cash and prizes including G.Loomis and Angler Rods.

Dunne commented on dropping 10 fish before 8pm when they retired for a sleep. Up at 4am again, they knew they had the right technique, it was a matter of landing a fish.

Locating fish on the sounder in 15-20ft a slow lift hop of their Jackall Mask Vib 60s in pearl ayu and gold glitter tempted several barramundi.

“We were basically using bass techniques,” Dunne commented. “Working a continuous 16ft mark targeting leading edges and points, we cast ahead of the boat and work the lure back”.

Dunne’s gear included a Nories 6’10, 8-14lb bait caster rod matched to a Daiwa Alphas 103 reel. Choosing to spool this with 9kg Yamatoyo Saltwater PE braid and 20lb Yamatoyo Harris Fluorocarbon leader.

Dunne noted the key to the team’s success was using light drags and keeping the rods tips in the water whilst fighting to ensure the barra didn’t jump. Both brothers rarely get to fish together and enjoyed their time together on the water.

Perfect at Peter Faust

22 anglers gathered at Proserpine Bait and Tackle thinking of big things for the second event of the 2006 Daiwa BARRA Tour, the Squidgy Peter Faust two day morning event.

Windy conditions greeted anglers on both days, but it was the Taylor boys’ knowledge of the dam that won them the Championship Team Title for Millerods/Shimano. They outclassed the other teams with nine fish for a total length of 855cm.

In first place was Kerrin Taylor, with 5 fish for 514cm. Using a Millerod Camofish Barra High Roller rod matched to a new Shimano Calais Digital reel, spooled with 30lb Penn Power Pro braid and straight through 80lb Maxima monofilament leader.

Taking second place was Cy Taylor, with 4 fish for 341cm. Cy uses the exact same gear thanks to a recent sponsorship deal.

The boys have spent many weekends prefishing the dam, trying different hours of the day to fish to gain further experience. In the overcast conditions, they have found the barramundi at the back of the weed beds in shallow water. Targeting these with a Squidgy Slick Rig in the 110mm size, recently modified to include a stinger treble.

Kerrin explained the technique, “I first wind fast to keep it out of the weed, and then change to a steady slow retrieve”.

The change of wind direction on Day 2 did not change the boys’ plans to hit the same weed beds.

“We have been talking to Jason Wilhelm lots about barra habits and how to target them,” they said. “It has helped our fishing heaps!”

The Go-So Big Barra prize and Bonus Squidgy Prize however went to Michael Lumby from Team Codseeker Lures. Scoring an impressive 118cm specimen early on the first day from the weed on a Squidgy Slick Rig.

“I was keeping off the weed in about 15ft of water, and following the contour of the weed with the retrieve,” Lumby explained.

Timing it right at Tinaroo

28 anglers gathered at Tinaroo Holiday Park cursing the weather gods for the final event of the northern 2006 Daiwa BARRA Tour, the Shimano Lake Tinaroo two day evening event.

Coming off an impressive win at Peter Faust, there was a lot of talk about the Taylor brothers. They backed it up well, blitzing the Teams category for Millerods/Shimano with a total of 12 barramundi for 892cm – 611cm clear of the next team.

Kerrin Taylor secured 1st place and a cheque for $600, a Millerod Camofish Barra Hi-Roller rod and Shimano Cruxis 200 reel with 6/10, 448cm. Cy Taylor scored second place and $500, a Daiwa Team Advantage rod, Daiwa Millionaire SW203 reel and TD sensor braid with 6/10, 444cm. Ben Leighton came 3rd with 2/10, 215cm, Warren Adams’ 1/10, 116cm secured 4th and Neville Gannon’s 1/10, 116cm took out 5th. The place getters shared cash and prizes including G.Loomis, Angler and Ian Miller Raider Barra Mauler rods.

The Go-So Big Barra was a tie with Warren Adams and Neville Gannon both boating 116cm specimens. The Shimano Bonus prize including a Barra Mauler rod and Shimano Curado 200 DPV reel went to Adams who remembered to include the Shimano Calcutta reel he caught the barramundi on, in the photo.

Gannon explained he caught his fish in the second session using a Rapala X-Rap in silver colour, working it parallel to the weed beds, using a hard erratic jerking retrieve. Adams, a repeat Big Barra winner from last year, caught his barra in the first session in the same spot as last year, a clearing area out from the timber. Working on the presumption that the fish do laps around and must visit the area as they come out from the timber, he ripped his modified 8ft Killalure Barra Bait painted white to once again tempt that large fish.

“I had only painted the lure white that morning and it still smelt of paint, not that it mattered to the barra” he joked.

The overall accolades went to the Shimano/Millerods team, impressing many locals and anglers with their performance. Choosing to anchor and fish a bay in 1-3m of water with a horizontal laydown under the water. This spot appealed to them as the wind was blowing in to the back of the bay and the water temperature was slightly warmer.

Casting their modified 100mm Squidgy Slick Rigs with rear trebles far into the rear of the bay and slow rolling it parallel to the underwater timber, many of their hits came quickly as they wound in the slack line and began to work the lure.

Pulling the aggressive fish from the snags proved to be difficult, losing 3 fish on the first session and 5 in the second.

“We would always get a bit of leader back when we lost a fish, meaning at least our knots were holding” the boys explained.

Awoonga Night Championship

It was perfect conditions for a record breaking weekend at Lake Awoonga for the first event of the Daiwa BARRA Tour Southern Leg.

A record field of 72 anglers gathered for the Ecogear Night Championship Event and 15-year-old Jake Schwerin showed exactly how to do it. Blitzing the record Go-So Big Barra landing a 125cm brute and a new record 5 fish bag of 514cm.

The Toowoomba Grammar student has taken a week off to fish the Tour with his father in team FCM. Fishing Futter Creek, Schwerin landed 14 barra in the boat throughout the night. For his efforts, he takes home $1000, a Millerods Camofish Barra Boof Stik, Shimano Cruxis reel and various other prizes.

Followed in second place winning $500, a Daiwa Team Advantage rod, Daiwa Millionaire SW203 reel and TD sensor braid was Ben Platten with 5/5, 485cm. Nigel Webster (5/5, 459cm) came 3rd, Brad O’Sullivan (5/5, 455cm) came 4th and Matthew Mott (5/5, 423cm) came fifth. The top five shared cash and prizes including Angler DCX and Ian Miller Raider Barra Mauler rods.

With the previous ABT Big Barra record mark set at 118cm, Schwerin caught a 120cm and 125cm fish on slow rolled Squidgy Slick Rigs.

His father John, as proud as punch commented, “Getting those two big ones was unbelievable! The biggest I’ve seen! It blew me out of the boat! Magic!”

“I tried to follow the contour of the weed whilst slow rolling the lure,” Jake explained.

His rod was a G.Loomis GL3 matched to a Daiwa CVZ spooled with 50lb Whiplash braid and 80lb Penn 10X leader. Tying a double in the braid to a single length of leader attached to a 130mm Slick Rig with a Gamakatsu stinger hook.

Second placed and local Tackle World Gladstone worker Ben Platten used a hard body approach to score his five fish. Catching two fish early in the timber of the Ivoreagh arm on a Rapala Barra Magnum, he later changed to shallower suspending baits such as the Rapala X-Rap and Owner Rippin Minnow for fishing at night in the weed beds in the main basin.

Awoonga 2 Day

Lake Awoonga lived up to its reputation as one of Australia’s premier impoundment barramundi fisheries for the two days of the Halco Evening BARRA Event with further records broken.

Local veterinarian Scott McAuley with a new record 9/10, 856cm limit, claimed the Champion Angler Title. Second went to consistent performer Kerrin Taylor (8/10, 773cm) while Simon Barkhuizen (7/10, 706cm), Harry Watson (7/10, 643cm) and Kerry Symes (8/10, 641cm) completed the top five places.

The Champion Team Title went to the Barkhuizen brothers fishing for Team Charltons with 14/20 fish for 1238cm.

McAuley used a variety of products to land his fish. For flicking Squidgy soft plastics he used a G.Loomis 7ft GLX matched to a Daiwa HRF reel for long casting. For his timber work he used a G.Loomis 756 matched to a Daiwa Blue Backer reel with 50 pound Jigman braid. Finally for taming those large impoundment barra he uses a 50lb Live Fibre rod matched to a Daiwa Black Sheep reel and 30lb twisted leaders.

Fishing the timber in the Ivoreagh arm McAuley chose to throw RMG Scorpions with sticky lead attached between the trees where he would wind them down then stop and pause, twitching the lure occasionally.

After catching four fish there on the first day he returned on the second day to find that the water temperature had dropped and there were no active fish. Deciding to move he checked Bath Tub Bay but continued to Tree Bay with a few boats already working this area.

With the wind making conditions a little rougher McAuley moved once again to Riverstone Creek where he found bait jumping in the warmer water.

After having his favourite RMG Scorpion destroyed by a large fish, he swapped to a 14cm Rapala X-Rap on the heavy outfit.

“I basically poled the next seven fish in the boat over the hour, including the 108cm fish at 9.30pm,” he said. “I then decided to leave them biting to get back in time,” he said.

Kerrin Taylor the Northern Tour BARRA Angler of the Year once again proved the goods with a second place finish. Working the Ian Miller Camofish Barra rods and Shimano Digital Calais reels he choose to upgrade to 50lb Rapala Beast Master braid and 60lb coated wire for this event.

The Millerods/Shimano team scored their 10/10 fish on the first day by sounding a steep weed edge where they anchored and cast their famous modified Squidgy Slick Rigs to the weed face.

Returning to the same spot on the second day only returned one fish before they decided to move to the weed points of the main basin. Here the Taylors found roaming barra on the sounder in 4m of water.

“We would gets hits for 10 minutes then have a 20 minute period of nothing before the fish returned again,” Kerrin explained.

The Go-So Big Barra prize was awarded to Mike Connolly for a 119cm fish caught on a 100mm Squidgy Slick Rig in black/gold colour. Mike explained that he likes to use them straight out of the pack fishing weed flats in 4-6ft of water.

“I was ripping them through the weeds then letting them drop, where the barramundi would inhale them and result in good hook-ups,” he said.

Monduran Magic down deep

Lake Monduran, the vast body of water scattered with timber, just North of Bundaberg, was the final venue for the 2006 Daiwa BARRA Tour.

And it was the newly crowned ‘Barra Vampire’ John Schofield that took out the Champion Angler Title with 6/10, 548cm. His partner in crime ‘Lord’ Peter Morgan scored a couple of fish himself on Day 2. And the pair took out the Champion Team Title for Nitro Tournament Rods.

Schofield fished the creek, adjacent to the dam wall, opposite the concrete boat ramp, targeting areas tight on the bank with a lot of brush timber. His hotspot for the weekend was a shelf, off a point in 10-12ft of water that went for approximately 30-40 yards.

John fished with a Nitro Extreme Tournament Barra Rod matched to a Shimano Chronarch spooled with 50lb Scientific Angler ultra thin fly line backing and a length of twisted 80lb Black Magic leader. Schofield worked various Jonesy’s Lures in the Nifty and Rhino range and found that the Rhino’s accounted for more fish as they are a deeper diving lure. His colours of choice were brown and white and grey and white.

“I would give the lure 10 winds to get it down, then general twitches punctuated with pauses. Finding the fish would hit on the pause,” he explained.

Second place went to Les Reibelt with 6/10, 490cm, Steve Kanowski (5/10, 411cm) came 3rd, Matt Coleman (4/10, 295cm) was 4th and Stephen Cheng (3/10, 240cm) secured 5th.

Reibelt, a Process Operator from Beerwah has been fishing Monduran for three years. He used an E-grell B58 rod matched to a Daiwa CVZ 203 reel spooled with 60lb Fins braid and 150lb doubled Penn Power Pro braid as leader. Using the same Arafura barra lure for the whole weekend was the key to Reibelt’s success.

“It was more a confidence thing”, he explained. “At one stage, a barra snapped the 60lb braid and stole the lure. Then I found it rising to the surface. I replaced the back treble, put on two split rings, and continued to catch fish on it,” he said.

The Go-So Big Barra and Berkley Bonus went to John Schwerin with a 114cm horse caught on day 2 on a big B52 lure.

“It didn’t fight much. It went for a run then I got it next to the boat; the young fella was holding the net up in the air expecting the barra to jump in! We eventually netted it and it sorted the men out from the boys,” he joked.

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