2014 BCF Barra Championship

A Gladstone fisherman has been crowned the 2014 BCF Barra Champ after winning the annual Barramundi fishing competition. Sun Valley angling aficionado, Scott McAuley, netted the title with his whopping 127cm catch.  This is the second time Scott has won the competition, which is now in its third year. The event has become a staple on the angling calendar, attracting contestants from across Australia. The inaugural Barra Champ in 2012, Scott spent a grueling three days fishing for his 127cm monster barramundi in the Calliope River. 


The avid angler has caught hundreds of huge barramundi in the past and holds a personal best of 134cm. Scott said the key to success was determination – and patience.

“I was really keen to reel in the winning catch and didn’t want to take any chances!” he said.

“I actually submitted three entries to increase my chances and ended up taking second place as well.

“I fished day and night until I landed my winning catch. There were at least another dozen guys out on the water with me, so my competitive side definitely kicked in.”

BCF Marketing Manager Ben McConnell said the tournament was going from strength-to-strength following its inception three years ago. “The competition has grown steadily in popularity since the inaugural Barra Championship in 2012 and now attracts fishing enthusiasts from across Australia,” he said.  It’s a game of skill, you’ve got to be strategic and have the right gear and fishing spots to be in the running.  “At this competitive level of fishing, lady luck on your side will only get you so far you need the best of the best tools and tackle if you want to hook the biggest barra.”  As the official 2014 BCF Barra Champ, Scott wins the ultimate prize of a BCF fishing pack valued at $1000, the Barra Champion Belt and 25% off all in-store purchases.


Fancy a crack at being next year’s Barra Champ? Scott McAuley was kind enough to answer a couple of questions put to him by Fish and Boat.

  1. What is your opinion on such variables as moon type, water temperature, wind direction and tidal changes? What would you consider to be the best combination of variables for a big barra session?
    The week leading up to the full moon is prime time for catching big barra at night in dams. Wind direction and therefore current flow are perhaps the most important factors in locating and catching big barra. A relatively constant wind blowing in one direction at around 15-20 knots is preferable. In saltwater, the final three hours of outgoing tide and first hour or two in incoming tide provide the best conditions for a big barra session.Contrary to popular belief, water temperature is not a crucial variable for successful barramundi fishing. Higher water temperature is usually an indicator that the current has been flowing to that area, so if you understand where the current is flowing, then you know where the barra are sitting. Barramundi prefer warmer water temperatures and are generally more vigorous and easier to catch in these conditions, but there must be a moving current to bring them in.


  2. Do you modify your lures for big barra (i.e. stinger rigs, boiling plastics, upgrading hooks etc)?  If so, what’s your favourite modification?
    I prefer to use soft plastic lures that don’t require much modification, but I sometimes insert glass rattles inside the plastic and dip the bodies in a bright chartreuse colour. The primary reason for modifying lures is to make them swim at a slower pace, and ultimately increase the chances of attracting barra to your lure. With this in mind, some anglers boil their lures to soften the plastic, while others cut the tail wrists to remove excess thickness. Running a treble underneath the lure and connecting it to the shaft of the hook will also improve your chances of hooking, holding and landing extra large fish. I always upgrade hooks and split rings on hard bodied lures.

  3. Do you believe big lures catch big fish or is there a time to downsize.  If so, why?
    For those looking to consistently catch sizable fish, big lures are definitely best. However, lure size is dependent on the type of bait in that location. Small lures should be used in areas where there is plenty of small bait fish, particularly when the dam is freshly flooded, as barramundi become fixated on feeding on the newly spawned bait fish. Equally, it would be wise to downsize in saltwater when jelly prawns are dominating the food supply. My first choice would be a big lure and, if unsuccessful, continue downsizing until I get the fish I’m after.

  4. You mention night is your favourite time.  What do you do to make the fish aware of your lures at night?  Do you rely on action/vibration or do you use lumo lures? What’s your favourite lure colour and why?
    When attracting big barra at night, I use a spinnerbait attachment for soft plastics that produces a regular vibration, rather than lumo lures. A constant retrieve is more effective in this instance, as barra are more likely to track down a regular noise rather than an intermittent sound. At night this same retrieval method should be applied when using hard bodied lures, rather than a ‘twitch and stop’ movement. In my experience, white lures attract more bites at night, as they tend to stand out more than coloured lures.
  5. What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when targeting barra over a metre?

The biggest misconception when targeting barra over a meter is that bank-side snags are the best places to catch huge barramundi. In reality, those who cast at
snags will mostly catch small barra – albeit plenty of them – but they are unlikely to make that monster catch. If you want to hook the biggest barra, look for eddies and areas of current where there is an abundance of bait.


Scott’s Top 5 Tips

1.Trust your sounder

Never underestimate the advantage of a quality sounder with side scan to pin point where the barra are sitting. Drive until you see fish and don’t chase until you do.

2. Be quiet
            Big fish will spook easily. Consider investing in an electric trolling motor so you can increase your ability to sneak up on unsuspecting fish.

3. Dont target the structure
            Big barra tend to sit in eddies and areas of current where there is plenty of bait.

4. Bide your time
The best time to target big barra is late at night when everyone has gone home and the water is still.

5. Lure them in
Land the lure in the right spot. Throw in a couple of twitches and retrieve using a slow rolling technique along the bottom.