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Alex's Column 10 May 2024

It’s been a very competitive period on the Top End fishing scene.

Last week there were four fishing competitions held.

The big one was Darwin Game Fishing Club’s 42nd annual XXXX Barra Classic which was held down the Daly River from its usual Banyan Farm venue.

This year’s Classic was a huge event with dazzling scores posted by several teams.

At the Calcutta auction just prior to the event, defending champions, Team Tackle World, went for an astonishing $5000.

I’m not sure who bought the team but it was a good investment as Tackle World’s Shane Compain, Steve Compain and Cameron Briscoe led from start to finish.

Just about every team was equipped with forward-facing sonar, and many knew how and where to use it.

Most of the action was down at Alligator Head on the incoming tide.

About a dozen boats fished close together at Alligator, with another few teams more spread out, including the Tackle World team.

On the first day, Team Tackle World caught 32 barra and Shane caught 18 of those.

It was actually a marvelous spectacle to see Shane tossing out lures to fish appearing on his big Active Target screen, and hooking them one after another right in the middle of the river.

It was a pattern that the Tackle World team kept producing for the five straight days of competition.

By competition end, they had tagged and released 119 barra and amassed 10,300 points for a crushing win over the rest of the field.

Shane personally scored 7020 points which basically meant he was having one hell of a fat time catching barra.

Although nearly 4000 points behind, the Humminbird/Edge Rods team of Craig Griffiths, Karim De Ridder and Jon Millard were an awesome second-placed team.

This Queensland-based team regularly do well in the big barramundi competitions in their home state.

They scored 6635 points and they did this without the aid of forward-facing sonar.

“We’ll just use sidescan and go snag-bashing like we always do,” Craig said to me before the Classic started.

That’s exactly what this precision team did and they were very good at it.

The third-placed team of Dilly Dally scored 5890 points and definitely showed their prowess with forward-facing sonar.

There were only two in the team: Jack Oswald and Ben Banks.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that they did so well as the pair have been slaying it in the Top End Barra Series.

Jack Oswald won Champion Angler Local while Karim De Ridder won Champion Angler Visitor.

The Most Meritorious winner was Jordan Smart for his 112cm whopper of a barra.

Held in conjunction with the Barra Classic for the first three days was the inaugural Barra Classic Masters tournament.

This was a great event which was well organised by the Darwin Game Fishing Club.

To be eligible, anglers needed to be 60 years old or more.

Rohan Short – aka Shorty – has been on the Top End competitive fishing scene for decades and it was great to see his Bad Karma team score an impressive victory.

Shorty fished with Brian Demarco and Peter Hopkins, catching 36 barra and scoring 1765 points over the three days.

Peter Hopkins was the Masters Champion Angler with 765 points.

Also held last week were the Big Horse Creek Barra Classic and the Darwin Flyrodders Freshwater Open.

I’ll have full coverage of those events next week.

Champion Angler Shane Compain’s 96cm barra was one of many great fish his Tackle World team caught in the XXXX NT Barramundi Classic for yet another resounding win.

Steve Compain with one of his winning Barra Classic barra caught on a Fuze Bazza Bait.

Cameron (Chicken) Briscoe – with his 77cm barra caught on a Fuze Seaducer Mullet – was the third member of the winning Tackle World team.


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