Alex's Column 04/05/2022

Last week’s NT Barra Classic certainly showed that the latest electronic fish-finding equipment – in the right hands – can be a real tournament winner.

Right from the start, this 40th anniversary Barra Classic was a two-horse race between Team Top End Tackle World and Team Humminbird Edge Rods.

The Tackle World team, led by Shane Compain, relied almost totally on the amazing Lowrance Active Live Target which basically shows you fish swimming around.

Then, if you’re good enough, you toss your lure at where you think the fish is and hopefully achieve the right depth for the fish to see it and bite it.

It’s not the simplest technology to use.

As Shane explained to me, it took him 12 months and lots of fishing to get the hang of it.

“There’s not only barra out there, but also big mullet, sharks and catfish,” Shane explained.

“Plus most of the barra you see don’t hit the lure.”

Shane has three Active Live Targets set up on his boat, and his experience with this equipment and his vast knowledge of the Daly River helped his team score over 4400 points.

Meanwhile the Humminbird Edge Rods team used sidescan and 360 degrees technology to amass nearly 4000 points.

This is a very impressive team too, and it wins many big barra comps in Queensland.

Both teams are fishing the Barra Nationals which kicks off today.

There are 66 teams and those who have been pre-fishing are all finding it tough going.

Mainly that’s because the tides have been big and have been churning up the river for a long way upstream.

However, the tides will be getting successively smaller as the comp progresses.

That means there’ll be much more clear water way downstream, and that will open up the river and spread the boats and fishing pressure.

There were no metre-plus barra caught in the Barra Classic, but I’m sure there will be in the Nationals, given the different tide scenarios.

Fast trolling down the middle of the river at proven locations should see a few big girls come to the net.

This has been an amazing technique which was pioneered by the late Col Cordingley, aka The Maestro.

We’re going back about 12 years now when Cords decided to put on a big mackerel lure.

It wouldn’t swim so he kept increasing the pace of the boat until he was happy with the lure’s swimming action.

Whilst doing this, he was crossing from one side of the river to the other, and suddenly a great big barra slammed the lure midstream.

Since then, so many big barra have been caught fast trolling, and certain lures have come to the fore using this technique.

One is the green Bomber 16A which is my personal favourite.

Reidy’s Big Ass B52, also in green, catches its fair share of metreys.

Both of these lures will get a solid workout over the five days of competition.

Hosted by the Palmerston Game Fishing Club at the Banyan Farm venue, last year, there were over 2000 barra caught in the Nationals.

It’s doubtful that number will be reached this year, but all those competing are guaranteed to have a fun time both on and off the water.


Victoria’s Dave Silva is a regular in the NT’s big barra tournaments, catching this one early this week fast trolling over a Daly River rock-bar.