top of page

Alex's Column 22 March 2024

A few years ago at one of Darwin’s major fishing competitions – I can’t remember which one – someone in our group reckoned there should be a fishing competition for old buggers.

We all tossed the idea around and mulled over it.

We agreed it was a great concept which would eliminate all those young guns from such an event.

It could also facilitate less days and shorter fishing hours on the water.

The trouble was that no one would put up a hand to organise it; major fishing comps don’t just organise themselves.

The idea died back then but, lo and behold, totally out of the blue, last September I received an email invitation from Darwin Game Fishing Club to put together a team in the inaugural Barra Classic Masters.

This would be a three-day event held in conjunction with the XXXX NT Barra Classic; basically, on the first three days of the Classic.

The main eligibility criterion was quite straightforward: every team member had to be aged 60 years or older.

Two phone calls later and I’d put together a NAFA team for the first NT Barra Classic Masters.

According to Darwin Game President, Steve Roberts, the Masters came about from listening to people.

“The Barra Classic is 42 years old this year, and plenty of senior anglers with history in this great event were finding a five-day intense competition too much of an endurance test,” Steve said.

“The committee put one and two together and came up with a formula that might still allow people to participate.

“There’s such camaraderie in the Classic itself and so we didn’t want to lose all that older experience.

“We had to do a fair bit of thinking about it, and we’ll learn a lot this year,” Steve said.

“We tried to find something that sets it aside, you’ve got a world of knowledge and history from older members who no longer compete in the main Barra Classic.

“It’s also about encouraging that senior group to talk about the past and share their experience.

“I’m hoping competitors in the Masters get an opportunity to sit and talk,” Steve explained.

Teams competing in the Barra Classic who fit the age criterion can also compete in the Masters but, out of the nine teams entered, most are separate teams competing just in the three-day event.

The fishing times will be slightly different as Masters’ teams will finish each day an hour and a half earlier.

Plus there’ll be two scoresheets for anglers competing in both events, given the Masters will finish earlier each day.

“I also see a lot of merit in promoting the Masters to grey nomads who hopefully will see there’s value in coming up for the event and being able to fish either side as well,” Steve said.

What I thought was a great concept too was the prize being considered for Champion Team: half a dozen bottles of Penfolds Grange, arguably Australia’s most-celebrated wine, and with a thousand dollars price tag to boot.

The thinking behind this prize, should it eventuate, is simply: do the old farts need another icebox?

It works for me.


Graham Whyte finally cracked the metre mark with the capture of this 113cm ripper barra during his regular visit to the Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge.


bottom of page