WHAT A CATCH: Israel Vogiatzis promises the only thing photoshopped in this pic is the background to keep his
WHAT A CATCH: Israel Vogiatzis promises the only thing photoshopped in this pic is the background to keep his "secret spot" just that. His catch, a barramundi that cracked the 1m mark, was his biggest he's caught in Queensland. Have you caught a big one recently? Email photos and the details of your catch to news@dailymercury.com.au

Beast of a barra takes Mackay fisherman for a swim

A KEEN Mackay fisherman has written a tale about how he landed his "biggest barramundi yet" -- not before blanking out the background of the photo to keep his lucky spot a secret.

Israel Vogiatzis, who runs a treelopping business and mobile cafe, decided Wednesday's rain wouldn't stop him from barra hunting. Here's his story.


I picked up my young bloke from school at 2.30 with the fishing gear already in the car. We headed down to old faithful spot x.

The tides were right but the rain was coming down. As we pulled up I asked the young bloke if we should go for a flick or give it a miss because of the rain.

He said "we should give it a go dad the rain will just keep us cool, plus I reckon it's a good day to catch a barra".

We took our cast net, hand line, bottle of water, baitcaster combo and some big plastics. After a few throws of the net we had a few rather small livies which we put on the hook 3 or 4 at a time.

Dimitri kept getting bites but they just wouldn't swallow the hook. They simply picked off the small livies one at a time.

As the tide slowed and turned we decided to change tactics. I started flicking a large paddle tail Berkley power bait and slow rolling it back in. Dimitri looked on in anticipation of the imminent strike. Two solid hits later and my first plastic was gone.

A quick trim up of the leader and a new Berkley powerbait on and we were in business again. A long cast along the now submerged rock bar, a couple of quick twitches and a pause and all hell broke loose.

The plastic was hammered and after a quick set of the hook the fun and games began. A blistering first run saw most of the line disappear off my Daiwa Barra coastal reel.

Thumbing the spool as hard as I dared only slowed the beast for a moment. Her second run was more impressive than her first as she leapt into the air in a bid for freedom.

As she got dangerously close to the rock bar I tried to lead her away but to no avail. I felt the leader drag across the rocks then all fight ceased... had I lost her? I was unsure.

I tried to wind but snag like tension on the line would not give me a single turn of the handle. I waded out to the rock bar deeper than I wanted to, edging my way along it on my tippy toes.

One ill placed step later and I slipped off the rock bar into deep water with the current washing me up the creek.

As if sensing my mistake the drag started peeling off my reel which was in my right hand out of the water high above my head as rescue side stroked against the current and the might of the beast I managed to regain my foothold on the rock bar. My boy yelled out from the bank "Are you OK dad?" to which I replied "I'm fine stay away from the water!"

I don't know what played more of a part of getting back onto the rock bar, the adrenaline pumping through my veins or my surf lifesaving training from many years ago when I was a much younger man.

Without time to dwell on the thought I scampered along the rock bar in chest deep water across the narrow channel and back onto the safety of the sandbar. One final run and a couple more spectacular leaps and then the beast was subdued.

I'm not sure who was more excited, me or my boy. My PB saltwater Queensland Barra... just shy of 101cm.

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