FOR THE first time, the 2002 Rocky Barra Bounty tag and release event in the Fitzroy River reached its limit of 60 two-person teams.Organisers were thrilled at the response, and it appears certain that the Bounty is now one of nation’s premier wild barra fishing events.
Teams travelled from as far as Woolongong to participate, and a fishing journalist from Malaysia made the event international for the first time. The fishing was a little down on previous events, but that was to be expected due to the prolonged drought and poor recruitment of barra in recent years. Nevertheless, there were still over 100 barra tagged and released over the two days, as well as 85 fish of other species, including king threadfin, blue threadfin, barred javelin, gold-spot estuary cod, pikey bream, black-spot estuary cod and dusky flathead.
The event is fished in two categories – lure and bait. The two-time winners in these categories, Estuary Hoppers and Ipswich 1, were dethroned this year. Locals Mark Vignale and Mark Riordan (the Bodyshop Team) took out the lure section, while Mitch Lester from Rocky and Dave Fleming from Brisbane (the Terrible Twins) took out the bait section.
Mitch Lester also took out the Champion Individual trophy, with eight fish for a total length of 4.25m, with Mark Vignale returning an impressive 3.19m for second place from only four fish. Mark also won the Biggest Barra trophy with a nice specimen of 1.01m.
The Rocky Barra Bounty is as much about having a good time as it is about winning, and even those teams who failed to register a fish still enjoyed being part of the event. A good flood to replenish stocks is the only other thing missing, but that’s out of the organisers’ control.
Indications are that most teams will be back again next year, so the get your nomination in early or risk being on the waiting list! The 2003 Bounty will be held across 17-18 October. – Kim Martin.
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1) A barra being photographed before release.Reads: 649