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Home » Tournaments-and-Events » 2016 Zerek BARRA Tour


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2016 saw the joining of Zerek Lures with the ABT BARRA tour in a pairing that proved beneficial to both parties.

From the ABT's side of things the Tour saw the highest number of new or Rookie Teams enter and the highest overall participation rate for a few years. From Zerek's side of things, we got to expose the elite and keen anglers to the barra lures within the range.

Wilson Fishing had three teams competing in the tournament with Team Wilson, Team Zerek and Team Venom all taking part.

Team Wilson had Jono Clark and Talin Payne, Team Zerek had Matt and Nick Wells and Team Venom had Peter Price and head office's Troy Dixon.

We've taken the time to talk to Troy about the tournament. The highs and the lows, what he learnt and how that will influence the direction of impoundment barra tackle moving forward.

For ease of understanding we'll have Wilson Fishing designated as WF and Troy will be designated as TD.

WF: Troy, what was the one highlight from the Tour that will stick with you forever?

TD:

The one thing that really sticks in my mind was seeing barra stacked up on the sounder in deep water and catching five fish in 20 minutes on the Zerek Fish Trap 110 in Fat Betty (FAB) colour. There is just something about Fat Betty that simply appeals to barra.

It was so hectic that Pricey was telling me to get my bloody lure back in the water and get another one on!

WF: What was the hardest and most difficult part of the Tour?

TD:

The hardest part of the Tour was fishing at Kinchant Dam in the first round. We'd had a good prefish and formed a solid game plan but the night of the tournament was a fizzer.

The barra were coming through on the sounder in waves but we just couldn't find the key to getting them to bite. That night we got one bite (Pricey got it) and landed one fish. You don't really know what frustration is until you've seen hundreds of fish over the night session mark up on your sounder and you simply can't get a bite.

WF: We introduced a lot of anglers to a number of our products on tour, which product in particular do you think was most widely accepted by the anglers?

TD:

Without doubt the Zerek Flat Shad in 7" and 9" was the most widely accepted introduction. We were sitting at camp in between sessions showing people how to rig them up and how to fish them. It was a really good way to get the word out. But the best part was having these same people come back after the next session and tell us all about the fish they had caught on the lures. Having one team land 5 fish for over 5m in a session on the Zerek Flat Shad was a fantastic feeling.

I think a lot of anglers discovered just how good the Flat Shad was and they have cemented a place in many anglers' tackle boxes when they're chasing impoundment barra.

WF: Was there one thing that stood out that needing improving?

TD:

The one thing I would like to see improved is the start of the Tour. These events are great but it simply does not have the comradery that the Faust rounds have. It'd be great if everyone could stay together at the first two events and have all the social interaction with the other competitors.

Camp Kanga offered so much opportunity to learn and share information that the first two rounds didn't because everyone simply went their own way at the end of the comps.

Not sure how they can fix that, but it'd be worth looking into.

WF: Do you see some new direction or development happening to meet anglers' needs?

TD:

The one thing common with just about every soft plastic swimbait was the jighead hooks being tested to breaking point.

Modern barra fishers push everything to the limit and the tackle they are using places extraordinary pressure on the jigheads. There is a real opportunity to upgrade this area to match the tackle being used to fish it.

WF: It was a very long tour with plenty of time to talk to the anglers. What are the anglers most looking for in their tackle, be that rods, reels, lures or terminals?

TD:

There was not just one thing. They're all looking for the next best thing without really being 100% sure of what that is. Simple things like stronger and sharper terminals, rods and reels that can cast an extra 10m, clips that allow lure changes without risking opening up (it was here the Mustad Fastach Clip gained a lot of praise), lures that swim with more action or less action or a different action - the list is endless.

Basically the search was on for that extra 1% that makes all the difference in the heat of tournament battle. The development will be never ending and the anglers will always be dreaming up better ways to do it.

WF: The Zerek BARRA Tour was a good launch pad for the Venom Swim Bait rod. What were the thoughts of the anglers on this rod?

TD:

The Venom Swim Bait rod was widely recognised as a rod capable of casting and fishing the bigger baits people are now using to get the really big bites.

Most of the anglers were amazed at the power in such a light rod that was 2-pieces. It's a real brute of a stick that allows you to manhandle fish to the boat quickly. It also allows you to dictate to the fish in amongst the snags and sticks.

One memory that is clear to me was Pricey tying on a 12" long plastic swimbait and literally punching it out there with ease. That plastic, fully rigged, would have to be around 4oz (110g) and that's well in the rod's casting range.

I used this rod all tour and would safely say this rod is a rod that needs to be in your stable.

WF: What were your two most successful lures throughout the Tour?

TD:

That's easy - the 110mm Zerek Fish Trap in colour FAB and the white (colour 20) 7" Zerek Flat Shad rigged on a jighead.

These two lures caught all of my fish. I did hook one barra on a Slick Rig but lost it out wide and went straight back to my confidence bait.

This doesn't mean these are the only lures you should have, but after the Tour I have ultimate confidence in these lures and will happily use them whenever I am targeting barra in any environment.

WF: Did you need to modify these lures in any way to gain extra strikes and hook ups?

TD:

The Fish Trap had the trebles upsized by one size, but I still used the Mustad 4x Saltism trebles as they are a sensational hook pattern.

The 7" Flat Shad had the weedless worm hook removed and a custom made Hutchies jighead placed in it with a size 1 Mustad Saltism stinger attached. In 7 foot of water and under we used a 1/2oz jighead. When the water was deeper than that we used 3/4oz jighead.

I didn't need to boil the plastic, trim the tail or make oversized tail discs on the Flat Shad so it was relatively minor changes just to give me a little more confidence.

WF: What would you do differently next year?

TD:

I think the main thing I would do at next year's event would be to have a more open mind. Be prepared to say "This aint working!" and try something different a little more quickly. The sessions are long but it's amazing how quickly time evaporates when you're struggling for fish.

Make positive moves and keep reassessing until you find a solid pattern to refine.

WF: Do you have any final words of advice for someone contemplating doing this event?

TD:

For someone who is starting to fish for impoundment barra, the ABT Zerek BARRA Tour is the place to learn from the best in the business. All the competitors are approachable and giving with information and are happy to help out new competitors.

Simply put there are few places where you can find that much knowledge in such a condensed area. The ABT Zerek BARRA Tour is a very good way to fast track your impoundment barra fishing.

WF: Thanks for your time Troy.

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