Cameron Briscoe was one excited angler when he received a call from his old mate Shane Compain just the night before orientation day for last week’s Barra Classic, asking if he could be a late fill-in in the Top End Tackle World team. “I had to get permission from my boss at work before I could commit, and then from my main boss, the Missus,” Cam told me. His excitement did not go unfounded as Top End Tackle World went on to register a resounding victory in the Darwin Game Fishing Club’s 36th Barra Classic, and Cam was awarded Champion Angler. Cam’s big day was the second-last when he landed two whopper barra: 109cm and 107cm. “I hooked the 109 at about 10am only four or five metres from the boat,” he said. “The barra were sitting deep and it must have come up from below and smashed it. “Shane just dropped his rod and ran to the back of the boat and grabbed the net as I pulled its head up, and in it went,” Cam explained. Shane and his team mates fish with serious brake pressure in the big barra tournaments and the fish didn’t know what hit it, coming to the net in eight seconds. Cam’s 107cm came in the afternoon of the same day, and it played up heaps more. “I hooked it on a long cast so it had plenty of time to jump away from the boat, once in front of us and once on the other side of the boat,” he said. Most of Team Top End Tackle World’s fish were caught casting big soft plastics: mainly Bazzas and Entice lures. They didn’t lose any fish in the timber with their “take-no-prisoners” technique, but some got away right at the boat. After the fourth of five days of competition, the team was nearly 2000 points ahead of second-placed Team Pilbarians. I asked Cam why they even bothered to fish on the last day. “That’s what I asked Shane,” he joked. The truth is that we wanted to break the all-time point-scoring record and there was rivalry in our team for individual results. Break the record they did, amassing 5945 points. And here’s a bit of history for you: it was exactly 30 years ago in 1987 that Cam’s father Bill Briscoe won his NT Barra Classic. Cam;s two metreys weren’t the only ones; Terry Ryan also caught a pair of metre barra. Looking at the scores, you’d have to ask how stiff the Pilabarians were after amassing a big score of 3745 points. Any other year, that would have been enough to secure an easy win. Third-placed team was Real Easy with 2565 points, and Shane Compain was Runner-up Champion Angler. All up, there were 899 barra caught, tagged and released, including eight over a metre, with the biggest measuring 116cm caught by Joshua Pucci of Team Pucci. I wasn’t there, but people I spoke to reckon it was a top event, with hosts Wally and Kerry Draper at the Daly River Banyan Farm did a top job as always. Congratulations to the Top End Tackle World team which has now won the Top End Grand Slam of barra tournaments in the one year. Although the team configuration varied from tournament to tournament, Captain Shane Compain was there at each of the Aurora Kakadu Klash, Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals and XXXX Gold Barra Classic, deploying his strategies and skill to win each of these three big events. It’s a great achievement and it is also the first time any one team or person has managed it. Well done Shane… no one will be surprised if you pull it off again. ALL PHOTOS BY LISA MCTIERNAN PHOTOGRAPHY PHONE: 0405 154 796
Terry Ryan (left), Cameron Briscoe and Shane Compain share a wonderful moment following Cam’s capture of this 107cm barra which helped Team Top End Tackle World secure a runaway win in the 36th Barra Classic.
From left to right, Rob Skwirowski, Justin Leech and Mark Cottrell in The Pilbarians team came second overall.
Reel Easy’s Eddie Carol, Neil Mellon and Skev Politis were well placed at third in the Barra Classic. Josh Pucci is all smiles after catching this ripper 116cm barra which was the biggest fish landed in the Classic.