This month, we’re going to wrap up the 2023 Humminbird Fitzroy River Barra Bash, held from October 5-8 and brought to you by the Frenchville Sports Club.
Being the primary local barramundi event, we all look forward to this competition each year.
I know, I know, I’m running very late with putting all the good information into an article, but better late than never.
We were fishing as team Humminbird Lucky Craft, which consisted of myself and good friend Luke Peisker.
We were hoping for some great weather for this comp, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
Though it would have taken some fairly horrible weather to top that of last year’s event.
We did a pre-fish on the same tides the month prior and, I hate to say it, but the barra fishing was easy.
The conditions were absolutely perfect for targeting barra and they responded accordingly.
Fast forward to slightly before the competition and Friday’s forecast looked to be the best day, with a 25-knot southeast change coming through for the Saturday and Sunday.
The registration time on the Thursday was changed to midday, which was a great idea.
We had time to catch up with a few friends, have a few beverages, listen to the rules and regulations, with plenty of time to go home and set up for two and a half days of full on fishing.
On Friday morning, we were on the water super early.
Our plan was to chase some bigger barra early with the better conditions.
We were about halfway down the river and heading to the mouth, when suddenly we ran into a wall of cold air.
We looked at each other and, before we knew it, it was raining.
It gave us bad memories from the previous year’s event.
That little weather event seemed to scatter the schools we wanted to fish.
We were flogged by wind and rain and still driving around at five minutes to kick off, looking for a reliable spot.
I reckon we would have burned through half a tank of petrol before the 5am start.
There was a small rule change too this year.
In the past, it was your biggest 10 barra each day.
If you caught more than 10, you started to upgrade.
This year, it was open slather for your biggest 30.
You could catch 30 on the first day if you wanted to and then upgrade.
With our bigger-fish spots not looking great, we started cycling through smaller-fish spots.
We got our first rat about 30 minutes after kick-off.
It’s always a good feeling to get the monkey off the back.
Our next spot set our day up – we pulled nine barra from it.
No big models though and all around 40-50cm in size, but they count just the same.
We moved on to our next spot and were rewarded with a mid-60cm model.
The fishing wasn’t easy by any means, but we persisted all day and were stoked to have landed 22 barra for the day.
At the end of day one, we were in top position, and about 2m clear of second place.
It wasn’t a comfortable lead because we had a lot of small barramundi in our bag.
Day two started out better than day one.
While the rain had vanished, the southeast change had arrived.
We pulled into a snag we’d found during the pre-fish and the barra were stacked up nicely.
We managed a high 60cm and mid-70cm barra from it before the fish shut down.
Once again, we kept persisting but could only manage smaller models for the rest of the day.
We had 10 that we were happy with and had two upgrades because we had our total of 30.
Though, Team Gone Nuts had a cracker day, rolling us out of first place and being 1m clear.
It definitely went down to the wire.
Our third day plan involved chasing 70cm plus barramundi.
We weren’t sure if the plan was going to pay off, however when Luke put a mid-70cm model on the deck about an hour after kick off, we both breathed a sigh of relief.
We added another mid-60cm and high 70cm to our tally and, just when we were on a roll, the wind changed direction and completely shut down our spot.
With the questions remaining, had we done enough and how many barra did Gone Nuts land?
The presentation was a gem. fitzroy
The Frenchville Sports Club always does a great job with this event and somehow it keeps getting better.
We’ve had Steve Lill as the MC since the competition started, and I’m yet to see an MC who can match him.
He’s a great person with an awesome sense of humour and is made for that position.
It was a nervous wait for the top 10 teams to be called out.
Eight out of the 10 had been named and only us and Gone Nuts were left.
Would you believe it, we came second by just 25cm.
We were proud of our efforts because it was our best finish, though it was still heartbreaking to get so close.
A big congratulations to Gone Nuts, which comprised of Mark Boss and Steve Nuttal.
We know these anglers well and they’re absolute champions.
They ended up with 1548cm and our team Humminbird Lucky Craft had 1523cm.
A big surprise for third place going to Samaki x Irukandji with 1404cm.
This was local guru Coby Pascoe’s team.
This was their first Barra Bash, and they absolutely killed it.
Coby and Jake will be the team to watch in future – mark my word.
The biggest barramundi went to Zac McClintock with a 114cm beast.
The biggest threadfin was caught by Mervyn Matton at 136cm.
Team threadfin was won by Little Gimp with 1336cm.
A few quick stats from the comp – there were six barra over the magic 1m mark this year, there were 452 barra caught (that’s 33,720cm) and 60 king threadfin (5245cm).
This year, the event sold out in only two weeks, so if you’re keen to give one of the best barra comps a run, make sure you jump onto the Facebook page to stay up to date – facebook.com/fitzroyriverbarrabash