It really was no surprise when Shane Compain, Terry Ryan and Bryce Neal – in the invincible Tackle World Revos – completely dominated a field of 65 teams to win last weeks’s Barra Nationals.
I asked team skipper, Shane Compain, who won Champion Angler, what his game plan was.
“Yes, the Daly was 7m at the start and we knew how hard it was going to be on the first day,” Shane told me.
“We were the first team in order to take off after the cannon start but, with all the faster boats, we were sure we would not be the first to find a creek, but luckily we did find a small one.
“I hate fishing creeks in a comp, but we stuck it out and caught five small barra so we had our five for the day.
“Then we headed down chasing bigger fish in open water, mainly fishing pressure points and sandbars.
“We caught barra in the 80s, then we targeted bigger barra in the middle and floated with them, catching fish up to 93cm.
“On day two, we saw that the river had dropped heaps, so we stayed upriver even though the rest of the field went down where fish were caught on the first day,” Shane told me.
“Basically, we had Mission Creek down to Charlies Creek to ourselves and we had an awesome day with Bryce landing a 116cm barra, me catching a 109cm, Terry catching a 99cm, plus two 79s to make up our five for the day.
“Days three, four and five were similar.
“We didn’t stay upstream on the third day because we knew most teams would be heading up; we just went fishing, avoiding the mad rush and just went down easily.
“The river looked sensational and there were lots of mullet.
“On the last three days, we fished in different parts of the river, changing with the tides and what the river showed each morning on the way down; the river dropped so fast and was full of bait and fish from top to bottom.
“Our average barra over the five days and 25 scoring fish was 87.5cm which I'm bloody pumped to have scored,” Shane said.
Shane has three Active Live Target units mounted on his boat: two at the front and one at the back.
“Some teams had four units,” he said.
I asked Shane if his team saw every fish on the Active Target that they caught.
“Pretty much, although we caught a few on blind casts; if we saw fish in an eddy as we floated past, we’d back up on the Minn Kota and cast blind knowing they were there.
“Whatever move we made, it was textbook – pretty happy with that,” the champion angler said.
“This was our 17th year, and it was just that team effort, throwing ideas at each other, lots of talking and explaining – dream work makes the fish work.
Shane explained that you learn how intelligent barra are from Active Target, especially on the Daly River.
“That’s another thing: Shady Camp is level one for catching fish with Active Target whereas the Daly is level 10; if you do one little thing wrong on the Daly, they’re gone.”
The NT Barra Classic starts next weekend and Shane believes it will fish really well.
“There are just so many fish in the system; the river is really healthy and I’m really looking forward to it.”
I asked Shane if he thinks his team will win the Classic too.
“Hopefully, I’ve got confidence and reckon we’ll win, but there are a lot of good teams in the Classic and it’s always different,” he said.
“What you’ve got to do is what you’ve got to do – we’ll stick to our game plan, targeting 70s and 80s because that’s where the points are in the Classic.”
Tackle World Revos were champion team for each of the first four days, and Shane’s teams have now won six Barra Nationals and five Barra Classics, which is practically incomprehensible.
Once again, the Barra Nationals was hosted by Palmerston Game Fishing Club at the Banyan Tree Tourist Park.
There were 1441 barra caught and released.
Runner-up Champion Team was Team Humminbird and third was Team Dubious Mullet.
Runner-up Champion Angler was Jeremy Johnson and third was Bryce Neal.
At 116cm, winning Team Tackle World Revo’s Bryce Neal caught the biggest barra in last week’s Barra Nationals.
Shane Compain was Barra Nationals Champion Angler and captained the winning Team Tackle World Revos for the sixth time.
Terry Ryan and Bryce Neal with the Tackle World team’s third double hook-up in last week’s Barra Nationals.