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One Fishing Buddies' Personal Barramundi Challenge

It’s time for my 19th successive Birthday Barramundi Hunt. That is every year on my birthday, which falls on Halloween, I fish for a male Barra to take back to cook up for my friends. It was great hearing from so many of my old friends this Birthday, those phone calls and emails made for a fibulas day, even if the timing saw me fighting the wind while fighting a fish and almost crashing into mangroves whilst trying to talk to you (Ali), I suppose seeing that my Birthday is Halloween I must expect some thing strange to brighten my day and fortunately some of my better Fishing Buddies are quite strange, Ha ha. 

The “Caldwell Barra Bonanza”

While I was down in Cardwell I met up with some old friends from the Cairns Sport-fishing Club days, Keith and Marina, who are two of the nicest and most helpful people one could ever meet and over a beer they told me about the Cardwell Barra Bonanza and because I like to support any Fishing Club’s event when I can, I decided that this years’ Birthday Barra Hunt I would competed in this great Competition on the Friday 29th and Saturday30th with, as it turned out, some of the most congenial fisher-people you could ever want to meet and was lucky enough to win a “Fishing Tutorial Prize” from one of Townsville’s best Guides, Mr. Ryan Moody, for some mystery fish I caught or a door prize, I was having a very good time and missed the reason that I won altoether, if you know what I mean. As you may know I am always exited to learn about a new area and techniques so I’m really looking forward to meeting Ryan and learning a few secrets about the Cardwell end of the Hinchinbrook Channel, offcourse I will let you know how it turns out as soon as Ryan and I get together. My best fishing buddy, Ali, had to go to Thursday Island for his work so I was left without a “Fishing Buddy” but at the Competition Registration night on Thursday evening I was lucky enough to meet up with a “Top Reef Fisherman”, John, and teamed up with him for the Comp. John was good company and was great with a cast net and a skilled reef fisherman so it was a good time and he did manage to hook him up with a 65cm Barra for a short time, but unfortunately, with a bit of bad luck and rushed hands it was lost at the side of the boat. We really couldn’t take fishing for Barra too seriously in the competition because it wasn’t really the sort of fishing John was into, however because he was a such good bloke the comp was a bit of a giggle for us both. John won the best Grunter of the day for day two and as I said I got a lucky door type prize so maybe all you have to do is have fun in these competitions to be a real winner. YES I can see the irony of me being “Mr. Fishing Buddy” himself not having a skill compatible fishing buddy to fish with in the comp. When I think about it this is exactly the reason I created the Fishing Buddy Network so everyone can find his or her best fishing skill match and the more members we get, the better the Fishing Buddy Network will work. I met some fantastic fisher-people from all over the place and managed to spread the word about the Fishing Buddy Network. I think it was received very well and I hope we will be getting some new members from Cardwell and more from Townsville soon. I am considering sponsoring this event, in some way, next year, as I believe the “Cardwell Barra Bonanza” to be one of the Far North Queensland’s friendliest and best run fishing events and I can see that it will become “the” event to participate in for the Australian Fishing Calender. As soon as I receive the results for the Cardwell Barra Bonanza I will publish the in our FreakFly Forum for you all. 

My Birthday Barra Hunt 

My Birthday saw me out of bed early on the Monday morning so I could travel down from Caldwell, where I was staying Lucinda, for my actual Birthday Barra Hunt. It’s only 45 minutes or so and is a pleasant drive even if you are by yourself, over the range and through all the road works then down to farming plains of Halifax then to Lucinda and the boat ramp at Dungeness. 
The sky was a beautiful blue, the wind was a little brisk and the tide was low and running up, so I decided to troll the Lucinda Jetty at first, for big Barra, but after a couple of long trolls without seeing any signs of fish on the sounder I made the move across the rougher waters of the Hinchinbrook Chanel then up to my” TOP SECTRET” Barra spot which is a fair way up the Channel. On day one of the Comp John and I fished the same spot and I had seen big arches which I know to be Barra and some of the where very big. I started trolling as soon as I got there and was happy to see the same thing, big fish arches waiting to eat my lures. I trolled for a long time up and down, it took a lot of discipline to keep on trying the same spot but I knew that they would feed sooner or later. On the Friday of the comp we stopped trolling before they came on and I knew that was a mistake at the time, I believe, that’s why we didn’t get Barra for the comp and I used this to reinforce my determination.
Trolling for Barra is an art form and because the angler must control the lure as it digs into the bottom to prevent it from being snagged and then jig the lure erratically when the fish are in the same zone as the lure (no wobble no gobble) it can be quite demanding on older hands and arm muscles and I was really starting to feel it so I broke to trolling with drift casting using the electric motor through the small mangrove tree over the flats and I started to get some smaller Barras slamming the battle scared old “Gold Bomber” I was casting deep into the mangrove shore line. 
670cm Barra 31.10.11.JPG
A male of this size is just perfect for the table
670cm Barra 31.10.11.JPG (19.93 KiB) Viewed 14 times

They weren’t very big, but I was happy to released four Barra between 400cm to 600cm, getting them out of that watery jungle was a whole heap of fun. I love casting for any fish but Barra just have that special rush to them as you first see that burst of chrome erupt from the calm waters of the mangrove or even rocky shoreline.
90cm Lucnda Barra.JPG
Hard fighting aerial Barra are great
90cm Lucnda Barra.JPG (50.53 KiB) Viewed 14 times

When I had had enough of pulling the Fly’n’Fish through the trees I went back to the trolling and was rewarded with a 670cm Barra and as I was taking a happy snap I heard a big kill (chop) behind me so I quickly picked up my brand new 20lb thread line out-fit and shot the Bomber low and into the wind, it splashed down and was instantly engulfed by a 102cm Barra. 
102 cm Barra 31.10.11.JPG
A well aimed cast with a Gold Bomber WILL DO THE JOB
102 cm Barra 31.10.11.JPG (52.26 KiB) Viewed 14 times

What a great out-fit, my Shimano Jewel 6 to 10kg and 4000 SOL reel outfit just did the job and she came to the net like a big girl should and I got a quick photo with very shaky hands and she was then released healthy and happy to be away from me. I don’t like to kill the big Female Barra at any time of the year and especially at the start of the breading season so I will only take Barra between 650cm and 850cm as a personal Birthday Barra Hunt rule.
It went a bit quiet for a while but my blood was up so I kept trolling up and down, up and down, then the tide changed and all heaven broke loose. My next hook-up was on the 20lb Loomis overhead outfit and the battle was on, It was another big Barra but it wouldn’t stay in the water she crashed the shallow rocky shore and jumped all over the place. 
107cm Barra31.10.11 Lucinda.JPG
Heart stopping Barra Power
107cm Barra31.10.11 Lucinda.JPG (62.47 KiB) Viewed 14 times

I won so more photos this time she was close to my 850cm max size but she was 107cm so back she went too. The next fish saw me very tyred but still keen as mustard; I went up in line class to so I could get them in without stressing the Barra too much and that worked for the Barra but offcourse worked in reverse for me because my next Barra was 900cm and she was very cranky but all went to plan and I got my Photos and measurement and was happy to call it a day. What a great and totally successful Birthday Barra Hunt, now all I have to do is do it again next year for my 60thbirthday and I will have been successful in catching a Birthday Barra for 20 years straight, I cant wait because my son Matthew might fish it with me.

I finished my Birthday with 5 Barra between 400cm to 670cm, a 900cm, a102cm and a 107cm Barra, Yep I am happy with that fishing buddies. I have posted some photos in the Fishing Buddy Network "FreakFly Forum” for you to see so if you are not a member either JOIN or sign on as a "guest" to view them. I had some trouble activating the camera timer shot but it worked a bit. Looking forward to hearing from you all again soon. 

Best Regards
|Steve Hardy (FreakFly)
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:56 pm

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