Cracking The Metre – John Boon – Feb 2015

By the time this fabulous publication hits the stands, barra season will be back in full swing and what better way to kick things off than with a barra article.

Leading up to the close of barra season the palms were starting to sweat at the thought of not being able to have one last cast at ol’ pink eyes before they were taken off the radar. I searched through the tide chart and to say they were awful would be putting it lightly. About the only place I could think of that would be holding some reasonable water clarity for such big tides would be up in the town reaches of the Fitzroy River. My old man, AKA Robin Boon, had only just moved to Yeppoon to take up retirement, so he was keen as mustard to hit the local waterways.

We launched Dad’s little 4m Seajay on the south side ramp at a sparrow’s fart and slowly made our way up to the town bridges through all of the moored boats. It’s very relaxing cutting your way through a mirrored river this early in the morning before the city has gotten out of bed. I really love fishing up at this location, because you only use about a cup full of petrol for the day and many trophy sized barramundi have been caught in this area.

While we were travelling a quick look over the side revealed less than ideal water clarity. To make matters worse the annual population explosion of jelly fish was in full effect. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never done really well when the creek is full of jellies.

We decided to do a bit of trolling on the bottom of the tide to see if we could locate any barra with the sounder. Trolling proved to be a waste of time as the jellies were fouling the lures, as expected. The decision was then made to hit all of the proven spots that had worked for us in the past.

The electric was set and it was now time to find us a salty. Things definitely weren’t going to plan. We moved from spot to spot and thrashed the water to foam with every offering we could think of for a big fat donut. Frustration was definitely starting to set in with the best part of the tide wasting away. Frustration is one of the worst feelings while out on the water as it stops you from thinking clearly and really clouds your judgment. A local guru not so long ago taught me that sometimes you just have to take a step back from what you are doing and have a look at the bigger picture. We get so fixated on sounders and other gear that we sometimes miss the important things that are going on around us. So I stopped, took a step back, closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

A big deep breath was very calming and upon looking around something very interesting was happening that caught my eye. Off in the distance was about half a dozen pelicans all hanging in the one area. Upon closer inspection those pelicans were working together herding up the bait fish that was holding in the area. The water was far too dirty to see the bait in the water from the surface, but those pelicans were sure having a good feed. We used this to our advantage and started working our lures around this area. Nothing was happening so we decided to try our luck from the other side. After only ten minutes of casting I felt a sudden thump at the end of the rod tip. I struck hard and the Toray Radius braid started peeling off my Stradic 5000. A feisty Fitzroy saltwater barra then launched clear of the water. No matter how many barra you seem to catch in your life it still gets the heart pumping and the hands shaking at the site of a chrome missile taking to the air. The fight was short but intense and after a few more jumps the barra was safely netted by the old man. A high five and a few quick photos and we got straight back into it.

The next cast made it back to the boat but the one after that only lasted one hop before it was nailed on the drop. I struck hard once again and yet another beautiful barramundi took to the air except this one was a tad larger than the last, with her flaring those gills and opening that massive bucket mouth. Dad had his back turned when she took to the air and all I managed to muffle out was, “It’s over 900″. He spun back around with the landing net ready. She went down deep for a couple of laps around the boat before it surfaced and jumped again. The old man yelled out, “It’s a metery!!!”

Well that just made the knees buckle even more as I was a metre barra virgin. On another powerful run I felt a twang come through the rod and it was obvious that a treble had let go. It was heart-in-mouth stuff leading her towards the net and looking at the lure it was holding by the last prong on one of the trebles. I just about jumped out of the boat when it hit the back of the net and let out one of the loudest yahoos of my fishing career. Had it finally happened? I asked myself. We had to work fast to get her back in the water. We put her on the brag mat and there it was, only a couple of millimetres over the metre mark, but I was finally there. I gave her a careful lift for Dad to grab a couple of quick snaps before I placed her over the side of the boat and swam her into the current. A quick nibble of the thumb was all I needed to release the big girl and watch her swim away.

I turned around to be greeted by dad with a hand shake and a can of XXXX Gold to celebrate a milestone. After all those years I had finally done it and, as silly as it sounds, I had to give credit to those pelicans, because without them an opportunity may have just swum by. Not only was I excited to catch my first metre barra in our local area but the fact that the old man was by my side is a memory that will last a lifetime.




Edge rods by Gary Loomis

On this particular trip I was lucky enough to borrow a couple of Edge rods which are the new breed of rods from respected rod maker Gary Loomis. Anyone who has used a G Loomis knows just how good they are so given the opportunity to try out a couple I jumped at the chance.

To start with I was very sceptical because they are a fairly expensive rod and trying to justify the cost between the rods I had been using and this one was going to be tough.

The first thing I noticed when I picked one up for the first time was the weight, or lack thereof. Even compared to other graphite rods the edge was by far the lightest rod I had ever encountered. I placed my stradic 5000 on the edge ISR 705-1 and it felt amazing.

They feature carbon fibre grips for increased sensitivity and also have a cross weave construction which ensures they never become slippery even when wet. The ISR 705-1 that I was using was fitted with a titanium SIC stripper and tip guides with the remaining guides being recoils.

The on water test was amazing to say the least. The fact that I caught two nice saltwater barra on it really put it to the test and to say it performed well wouldn’t be giving it the credit it deserves. The stand out for me was the crazy sensitivity of the rod. I knew exactly what was going on at the other end of the line. I knew the difference if I had snagged a small piece of weed, clunked a rock, banged some timber or even bumped a jelly fish everything was just so clear. Sometimes with other rods I have been using you might receive a bump and you’re never quite sure if it was a hit or not, with the edge it was a standout if a fish hit your lure. If you can borrow an Edge off a mate as I did I strongly recommend that you do because it is very hard to put into words just how good these rods are. They convinced me to save my hard earned and put an order in. Edge rods can be found at all good tackle stores or at