Biggest barra may well be our catch of the year
Tinaroo is famous as a fishing mecca. Thousands of barramundi and mangrove jack are released every year to boost stock.
Floating nets and the dam wall prevent the barra from making their way to the sea, where they normally breed. But they seem to be frustrated by their prison-like lifestyle and have pumped themselves up to beyond world-record size.
Like the East German athletes of the ’70s, they continue to break records that no river system has a chance of competing with. Quite simply, Tinaroo is home to the world’s biggest barramundi.
Just ask Terry Vallance and Alf Hogan, two north Queensland fisheries experts. They were using a technique called electro-fishing in Lake Tinaroo some years ago when they shocked a fish that, in turn, stunned them into disbelief. The biggest barramundi the two had ever seen bobbed to the surface.
Vallance’s first reaction was: “How am I going to lift it into the boat?”
According to Alf, the fish weighed about 45kg and was 1.3m long.
Both men had seen a then world record barra, weighing 37.85kg, when it was taken in Tinaroo – and both have no doubt their fish was far bigger.
Then at 4pm on Wednesday, he was walking along the shore stopped and cast his line into the lake and then the barra hit his lure and for the next 10 minutes he fought “like the devil” to land the monster fish.
And not only could this be a world record catch for Mr Neilson but it is also the first time he has ever caught a barra at Lake Tinaroo in the five years that he has been fishing there.
“I knew it was a big fish the moment it hit,” Mr Neilson said.
“I could feel it was a big and powerful fish . . . I wish had had a pair of water skis because I reckon it could have towed me around the lake!
“Then it began jumping out of the water and I could see that it was a big barramundi and not wanting to risk it cutting the line with its sharp gill flaps, I released more line so that it could run and then tire itself out which it did.
“Then I was able to drag it ashore and laying there on the sand I could finally see how bloody big it was, and then the next thing I heard was a lot of clapping from the many people who were camping at the lake and who had come down to see all the commotion because I was going off with the excitement.”
Mr Neilson said he caught the fish on an old rod he calls “old faithful”. It’s nothing fancy but it is a rod I have for years and this catch proves it’s “not broken”.
“Yes, ‘old faithful’ did the job along with 80lb breaking strain line and a 60lb leader and an Abu Garcia reel was all the gear I used and catching it from the bank was also a buzz,” Mr Neilson said.
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