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Alex's Column 11 May 2023

On several counts, history was made last week when Shane Compain and his Tackle World team had yet another resounding victory in a Daly River barra tournament.

This time it was the famous NT Barra Classic and the winning score of 10,040 points practically defies comprehension.

Firstly, it was the first that more than 10,000 points were scored over the five days of competition.

Secondly, it about doubled the previous record score from the 2012 Barra Classic which the Tackle World team held anyway.

Thirdly, it more than doubled the second team’s score.

Shane attributed the team’s awesome win to targeting the correct schools of fish.

“We fished by ourselves for the first two days, so the fish were not spooked and were more aggressive,” Shane said.

“Being on schools of fish enabled us to have periods when we could catch one after another.

“In the Nats, you needed to target the five biggest fish, but in the Classic with its point-scoring system, there was no point chasing metreys when two 80s beat a metrey.

“What we discussed went to plan because we’ve got a lot better understanding through time on the water and being able to find and target that school of fish where the points are,” Shane explained.

“I’d say we used soft plastic and hard-body lures about 50/50.”

After winning the Barra Nationals, Shane and his team mates Terry Ryan and dad Steve Compain went into the Barra Classic with a fair bit of confidence.

“We just knew where we were at: understanding the fish, time on the water and having amazing technology as well.”

That technology which just about every team in the Classic had was Navico’s Active Live Target which is available for both Simrad and Lowrance fish finders.

While the Tackle World team was methodically smashing the barra and racking up a totally-invincible score, there was a battle royal taking place for the minor placings.

After four days with one to go, there were several teams bunched around the 2000 points mark.

Kord Lucas, Troy Dixon and David Green in Team Zerek came home the strongest, amassing 4415 points to claim second spot.

Brad Moody, Daniel Aldridge and Kyle Eldich in Team AT Addicts came third with 3510 points.

Shane Compain was a convincing Champion Angler with an astonishing 5925 points, and Terry Ryan’s 97cm barra was the biggest of the tournament.

Darwin Game Fishing Club was all over the tournament scene last week, hosting both the Barra Classic from Banyan Farm Tourist Park and then the Dundee Billfish Bash from Dundee Beach.

To complicate the competition scene further, the Billfish Bash was held last weekend in conjunction with the first round of the Penn Top End Billfish Series.

I fished with Billfish Bash tournament co-ordinator, Peter Dienhoff, and David Brooks.

Pete and I checked out the waters wide of Dundee on Friday with my great old mate, Tim Pel, who had never been billfishing before.

In the early morning, the sea was churning with white caps, but it was hardly noticeable in Pete’s magnificent 7.5m Nomad centre-cab: Hit N Run.

By afternoon, it had calmed down considerably.

We had a terrific day, raising five small marlin, hooking four of them and landing two.

It was a bucket-list achievement for Tim with his first ever billfish of any kind, and a great return to billfishing for yours truly with the last marlin of the day.

Come Saturday when Brooksy joined us, the sea was placid most of the day and got even calmer.

However, it developed into an angry sea on the second day of the Billfish Bash.

About nine boats competed but only three caught fish: a black marlin and a sailfish for Champion Team Kurri Tackle, a sailfish for second-placed team Evo 1 and a sailfish for third team Send It & Bend It.

Kurri Tackle’s Rodney Mychas was Champion Angler after tagging a magnificent estimated 75kg black marlin.

His daughter Tilly cleaned up the junior section with a sailfish.

Champion Female was Sarah Watkins, also with a sailfish.

Rodney Mychas ripped open his hand hanging onto the bill of his great black marlin which helped him win both the Dundee Billfish Bash and round one of the Penn Top End Billfish Series.

Tilly Mychas was Champion Junior with her tagged sailfish.

Steve Compain with one of his barra caught with the Barra Classic winning Tackle World team.


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