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Fishers pay rumours no heed, catching big barra at Awoonga

Lake Awoonga Barra Tournament, run by Basstasstic Tournament Fishing. Dustin Sippel and Ben Durkin head out on Lake Awoonga to try their luck.
Lake Awoonga Barra Tournament, run by Basstasstic Tournament Fishing. Dustin Sippel and Ben Durkin head out on Lake Awoonga to try their luck. Mike Richards GLA180114FISH

TALK of little to no fish in Lake Awoonga didn't stop the Barra and Basstasstic Bush Bash Boynedale Camp Barra Tournament from going ahead as scheduled on the weekend.

And anglers were out to prove that the barra in the lake were available for the taking.

Where competitor numbers were scarce, the length of barra certainly made up for things over the weekend competition, which started at 6pm on Friday.

Basstasstic tournament chief executive officer Russell Nowlands said they had been running professional bass and barra tournaments in Queensland for 12 years.

The barra competitions were run at Lake Awoonga and Monduran Dam.

"Sadly everyone believes there's fish in Monduran and at the moment not believing there is fish in Lake Awoonga," he said.

"So we half toyed with the idea of passing, but we didn't."

The tournament went ahead as scheduled - with competitors determined to prove the gossip wrong.

About 25 competitors signed up, in comparison to 60-70 in previous tournaments. But it didn't worry Mr Nowlands.

"What we're after today is about catching barra," he said on Saturday.

The tournament organiser was keen to expand the competition and next year the Basstasstic group hopes to hold its event on the other side of the lake near the Lake Awoonga Caravan Park.

"It's a lot easier for anglers to get out there," Mr Nowlands said.

"So we'll see if that helps with a few of the issues of participants."

Lake Awoonga Caravan Park manager Mort Gott was also one with belief that the barra were alive and well in the lake.

He even caught himself one - just over a metre long - a few days earlier.

"I think they'll go pretty well. We even have a couple from the fishing competition staying here," he said, concerning the tournament on Saturday.

Competitor Ben Durkin has been barra fishing since the early 2000s.

The knowledgeable 35-year-old said there were three major things to know about barra fishing.

"One - learn how to read a sounder," he said.

"Two - If you think you're reeling too slow, slow down; and three - have fun - if you're not having fun there's no point."

TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Senior:

  • 1st - Dustin Sippel -  Four barra totalling 3040mm.
  • 2nd - Brendon Nell - Three barra totalling 2260mm.
  • 3rd - Ben Durkin - Two barra totalling 1420mm.

The winner won a Evakook prize, $200 cash and other prizes.

Dustin Sippel, 27-years-old at the Lake Awoonga Barra Tournament, run by Basstasstic Tournament Fishing.
Dustin Sippel, 27-years-old at the Lake Awoonga Barra Tournament, run by Basstasstic Tournament Fishing. Mike Richards GLA180114FISH

Competition winner happy to share his techniques

PATIENCE is a plus when it comes to barra fishing and clearly Dustin Sippel has mastered the technique.

The 27-year-old Bundaberg bricklayer has been keen on the sport for the past six years.

"I took the family fishing for barra and really got hooked once I got my first barra," he said.

And, at the Barra and Basstasstic Bush Bash Boynedale Camp Barra Tournament, he proved just how good he was.

Mr Sippel took out the overall winner's spot for the competition.

On Saturday, the angler was sitting in top spot for the overall Barra and Basstasstic Bush Bash Boynedale Camp Barra Tournament senior category win.

The young fisherman had caught three barra - 89cm, 68cm and 61cm.

But there was no chance of him revealing secrets to his prize catch location.

"We'll call it the horse paddock," he laughed.

When asked about his biggest catch to date, Mr Sippel gave a surprising answer.

"I got a one-metre-30-centimetre barra in Peter Faust Dam in Proserpine - that's my biggest barra ever," he said.

And his technique?

"Similar to what I'm doing now. Using a hard-bodied lure and just the twitches in the trees and letting them pause," he said.

Generally Mr Sippel fishes in Lake Monduran back home - about once a week or every second week.

In the future he is keen to take the sport to the next level.

"Maybe one day get on the Australian Fishing Championships.

"It's just something that would be really fun to do."

Ironically, while the Bundaberg angler enjoys his prize spoils from the weekend - there is no chance he will head home and celebrate with some smoked barra cuisine on the dining room table.

"I don't actually eat seafood," he said with a laugh.

Lake Awoonga Barra Tournament, run by Basstasstic Tournament Fishing.
Lake Awoonga Barra Tournament, run by Basstasstic Tournament Fishing. Mike Richards GLA180114FISH

Topics:  awoonga dam barramundi fishing gladstone region outdoors