FISHING With Alex Julius
If winning Barra Classics is something you get tired of, then Shane Compain must be exhausted.
Not only did the champion angler lead his Top End Tackle World team to a bludgeoning victory over the 56 other teams that competed in this year’s Classic, but it was also his team’s sixth victory in the seven years he has been competing.
Incredibly, the Tackle World team amassed 3975 points which was nearly double that of the second-placed Classic Legends team.
As has been happening since 1990, the Barra Classic was held on the Daly River.
Hosted by the Darwin Game Fishing Club, for more than 20 years the venue has been the delightful Banyan Farm Tourist Park operated by Wally and Kerri Draper.
Following the recent Barra Nationals, at least some competitors had more than an inkling of how the river would fish.
Both tournaments commenced on neap tides with good water clarity a long way downstream, and then progressively bigger tides dirtied the water but carried fish upstream.
According to Shane: “Every day was different; we didn’t catch fish at any one spot more than once.
“We started on the first day down at Alligator Head, catching a couple of barra, then did well at the Tackle Box, and worked up from there each day.
“I think that’s where a lot of people struggled – they didn’t change spots,” Shane explained.
“We used our normal tactics: finding fish on the Simrad first and then targeting them.
“It was a good comp because the fish moved almost on a daily basis; you could see them changing from timber piles to the middle of the river.
“But there are lots of anglers now who are awake up to spotting barra on their sounders first and then chucking lures at them.
“Six years ago, we could have five spots loaded with fish and keep going back to them and having them to ourselves.
“In this Classic, there were so many more anglers onto it with sounders that at times we knew we were fishing water that had already been fished hard,” Shane said.
It was for that reason that his team changed tactics early in the tournament.
“On the second and third days, we went looking for fishing spots that no one had fished; hard spots that hadn’t been hammered… we just kept moving really.
“We mainly used soft plastics – salty colour small Bazza Baits and five-inch Egret Wedgetails on the first couple of days.
“We also used vibes of course: mainly Samaki Vibelicious and Wilson Fish Traps,” Shane told me.
On the last day with the biggest tide, better-quality barra moved up the Daly and the Top End Tackle World team switched to big softies.
“No Fish rock-bar wasn’t fishing until last day,” Shane said.
“Each day I’d go and have a look at the hotspots because you can bang 1000 points in an hour.
“When we checked out No Fish on the last day, there were hardly any boats there.
“I saw lots of barra on the sounder and told dad (Steve Compain) to cast there.
“He hooked an 84 on his first cast and then we caught a bunch of 80s,” Shane reported.
At that point, fellow team member Terry Ryan was the leading angler in the Classic.
However, with just a minute and a half to go in the comp, Shane overtook him with a 69cm fish.
To his credit, on the fourth day, Terry caught the biggest barra of the tournament and one of only two meterys at 105cm.
“He had his leader in his rod tip when the barra hit the Strada lure; it just went Boom right at the boat,” Shane said.
“When we got it to the net, it went straight through it, hooked the net and then just hung there, but luckily I was able to reverse the net and get it in,” Shane explained with a chuckle.
By all accounts, it was another successful Barra Classic on the Daly River.
1st Place Team - Top End Tackle World - 3975 points
2nd Place Team - Classic Legends - 2035
3rd Place Team - Snoop N Round - 1920 points
Col Cordingley Champion Angler - Shane Compain
Runner-up Angler Local - Terry Ryan
Runner-Up Angler Visitor - Jamie Ware
Tony Hare Most Meritorious Capture - Terry Ryan
1. Shane Compain and his Top End Tackle World team pulled off an unprecedented sixth win in the NT Barra Classic in just seven years of competing.
2. Top End Tackle World team’s Terry Ryan caught the biggest barra at 105cm.
3. Bringing up the rear guard for the invincible Tackle World team was Steve Compain.