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JC's Barra business

by Mercury Marine 31 May 2018 14:59 UTC
JC's Guided Sportfishing © Mercury Marine

With the Barra season in full swing, John Campbell is flat out – showing 'southerners' some of the best sports fishing along the north Queensland coast.

"Most of my clients come here from south-east Queensland and New South Wales, some from overseas, looking for something special and we can offer them meter-plus saltwater Barras, which we have in large numbers," John said.

John's thriving business - JC's Guided Sportfishing - is based in the magnificent Burdekin District, an hour south of Townsville, where the Burdekin River hits the ocean.

"It's pretty much catch and release, although we do keep the odd fish to eat," he said. "I show guests the various fishing methods which work up here and tell them a bit about the area. Some people come for the day, while others stay at the lodge and get right into it."

Born and raised in the north, John went to college in the U.S., chasing his dream of becoming a professional golfer.

"When I realised I was never going to be as good as I wanted to be I came back here to do something I absolutely love.

"When I was in the States, I always had a fishing rod with me. Even on the golf course I used to throw a line into the lakes after we'd finished playing," he laughed.

While John has a choice of three boats to use depending on conditions and need, he takes the majority of his guests out in a 5.2 meter 'barra boat' he had custom built by O'Brien Boats in Townsville.

"The boat is rated for 115hp engine, but I decided to use a 75hp Mercury SeaPro and it's turned out to be ideal," he said.

"It has a great power-to-weight ratio and it's as torquey as anything, right the way through the power range.

"There are bars we have to cross in some of the creeks and rivers – not huge ones – but it's great to be able to give the engine a little squirt when you need it and get instant response.

"And it doesn't seem to notice if there are two people in the boat or four, the power's always there."

As a businessman, John's also delighted with the SeaPro's fuel efficiency.

"I thought I'd use 30-35 litres a day, but it's never been that high. If I have a massive day of fishing with the boat full of people I use less than 30. An average day is less than 20," he said.

"The fuel economy is amazing, it's far exceeded what I was expecting."

John has paired the 75hp SeaPro with a 17" four-blade Mercury Ventura prop and while he might tweak the prop in the future, to see if there's an even better combination, he'll be sticking with Mercury.

"I'm a Mercury guy," he said. "I have three boats and three Mercury engines."

"The dealer up here in the Burdekin is Peto Marine, who do a great job. They convinced me to swap to Mercury years ago when I got a 40hp Mercury outboard. I was over the moon with it and since then I haven't changed my opinion. I'm still going to Peto and they're still selling me Mercurys.

"Touch wood, in the six years I've had this business and I've been running Mercury I have never missed a day's fishing because an engine let me down. Not a day."

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