Gold Coast angler Dean Silvester with his prize winning barra.
Gold Coast angler Dean Silvester with his prize winning barra.

GRAND CATCH: Angler's big barra payday at Lake Awoonga

TIMING is everything in the world of fishing, and for Gold Coast angler Dean Silvester, 284 days scored him $1000 dollars.

That's how long it had been between his friend hooking a barramundi at Lake Awoonga, and his trip to Gladstone to fish one of his favourite spots.

His mate Ben had been on a Justin Nye Fly & Sports fishing charter when they were catching fish to tag for the annual Boyne Tannum HookUp competition.

Nine months later, Dean pulled up one of the barra he had caught, only this time it had a bright pink tag attached.

"The worst thing is I actually caught one of them with a pink tag last year," he said.

Specially tagged fish caught during the HookUp are worth $5000, and $1000 outside of the competition, but that only became apparent to Dean after he had released the first fish.

This time around a message to a friend asking who tags fish in the lake saved him a grand.

Dean is a regular at fishing competitions around the world, and said the prize money will most likely go towards travel.

Gladstone Area Water Board Hatchery and Fishery manager, Thomas Hayes, said the prize winning barra had grown from 73cm to 81cm in the time between catches.

He's part of the team involved in tagging fish for the HookUp, three each year for the past three years, and was pleased to see one of them caught. No one has claimed the $5000 prize, but two have been caught outside of the competition.

With seven prize winning fish still up for grabs, there are plenty of reasons to get out on to the lake.