Manic Monday - Impoundment Barra on the Scott Sector

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to chat to Chris Adams about his latest success with the new Scott Sector 8'4" 10-weight. I'm not sure we should release the recordings of our phone calls, so he was kind enough to eloquently put his thoughts into words below.

Sacrificing the time to target impoundment Barramundi in central Queensland is not a mission that’s undertaken without a stack of planning, it starts weeks out with gear selection and weather observation. The style of fishing can have massive rewards, but often has a far outweighed risk to reward ratio, that is heavily weighted towards the risk side of things.

Recently, myself and Alex Roy went on a mission of many firsts. This trip would potentially score Alex his first Barramundi on fly and for me it’s first time to Lake Callide. Having targeted impoundment Barra on fly since the early 2000’s, I was excited to be wielding the new Scott Sector 8’4” 10-weight as the specs look mint for this type of fishing and Barramundi would potentially to be the first species put on this rod for me.

The situation we found ourselves in was typical of December in Central Queensland, 42-degree days with nowhere to hide from the heat, day or night. In previous years it was expected that the heat would hit you hard causing fatigue and dehydration. This year turned out differently. I was wearing the Simms Bugstopper Hoody all day with just a cap, face mask and sunglasses, and I didn’t need sunscreen or a ton of water as I would have during past all day Barra sessions. The Simms hoody made casting all day with big flies super comfortable, the shirt wicked moisture, was super light and made dealing with the sun much cooler than expected.

The heat made the wind get up well past the predicted speed in the afternoon which made for some incredibly tough conditions. The places we knew fish would feed as the light faded were copping the full brunt of the wind, but if we wanted the prize, we had to endure the conditions. For the first two nights of our trip, we used 2 anchors to try and keep the boat in place so we could pepper wind-blown points and bays instead of using the electric motor. The boat bouncing up and down, waves coming over the bow, the bilge working for a living all made it hard to concentrate on the job.

To be in with a shot, we needed to put our flies into the zone, from at least 80’- 90’ out, not that big a cast on good days, but with adverse conditions, fading light and a 25knt wind behind you, all I can say is thank god for the sheer grunt the 8’4” 10-weight Sector has. I chose this rod knowing that conditions like this would be on the cards, not only for this Barra trip, but for stack of other similar situations such as Tuna or Murray cod fishing. It made sense to me that the shorter rod length would really tighten up my loops in tough conditions. My train of thought led me to theorising that the reduced rod length will decrease the height of my casting arc against my straight-line path which it did perfectly. This sort of control definitely allowed me to generate nice chisel loops that cut into the wind on either my back or forward cast, but for this trip, I mainly needed tight loops for my back cast. Opening my loops up on the forward cast allowed the wind to assist me in delivering the fly to feeding fish. With the Sector being such a fast action rod with outstanding recovery, I was able to reduce the slack line created as the wind did its best to blow my fly line back at me when I started my forward cast. I find that although it’s easy to deliver a wind assisted cast in most circumstances, the addition of aggressive tapers and big flies can allow the wind to naturally reduce the rods ability to load by blowing the fly line back at you which in turn can create slack. Having such a weapon to generate blitzing line speeds and tight loops is awesome and is a great way to overcome a normally frustrating situation.

We endured Lake Callide all night on the second day, we saw a stack of fish moving on the sounder but not staying still long enough for us to target them easily so we made the decision to drive to nearby lake Awoonga leaving Lake Callide with a few missed opportunities, deflated, but with a stack of knowledge gained. Packing up and heading to Awoonga turned out to be a good call, a familiar dam for me, having fished it for most of my impoundment Barra experience over the years. Through careful consideration of recent weather patterns, and a strong desire to get the hell out of the wind, I sussed out a spot that found us in 5kt or less winds under a cloudless full moon and a stack of Barra on the sounder. The situation did have its challenges, as this was deep water Barra, which meant fast sinking lines and a pre-planned drift. Only having 6 hours left on our trip and only a few hours to fish, the move to leave fish to find fish was a gamble that paid off. We did manage to eventually search out and find ourselves at a productive part of the lake on a great bite time which resulted in me christening the 10-weight Sector with a very fit 90cm model. For Alex, he scored first ever Barra on fly that came in at a ripping 89cm.

For me that feeling of complete control over a fish that is known for it’s gear destroying power was awesome! The quality of the Sector rod was immediately felt as soon as things got real. Although we found these fish in 20’ of water, there was still a lot of underwater timber that we could see on the sounder, and after all those hours of casting, I was super stoked to quickly not have to worry if the rod could handle the iconic Barramundi and I definitely was not feeling fatigued from casting when it counted.

My prediction is that the 8’ 4” Sector in any weight they come in will be that sang bashing, stump puller or the rod you want to punch out long casts with big taper fly lines and big flies effortlessly. I can tell you this, if you think that 8” of less rod affects your casting, you're right. It affects your ability to deal with big flies in the wind, it affects your line speed by generating tighter loops and its affects the time it takes to knock over large fish around the boat. Overall it was a great trip made even better with comfortable clothing, a cannon of a rod and great company.

I ran a little heavy with the main line I used which was a bulky taper Intermediate tip floating line, I ran a little heavy due to the conditions, the rod handled it extremely well. For the fast sink, again, this was an aggressive taper full sink line, the only option for those Barra down deep. Most casting was done in the dark and the rod was extremely smooth punching out that 90 odd feet with one or two false casts easily and effortlessly in all directions.