The six and final round for this year’s Top End Barra Series took place as it has become custom, at the mouth of the Adelaide River. It is usually a round full of promises and big expectation, a round with the very real possibility of catching a metery. Unfortunately, the round this year was like many of the other rounds this year only breaking anglers’ spirits and delivering frustration. Out of the several dozens of anglers, only eleven  managed to record a scoring fish. This dismal result is down on last year’s 31 successful anglers and 43 competitors registering fish in 2017.




So how did round six play out? With an early turn of the tide on Saturday morning, many had decided to launch very early, or even on Friday evening, to fish the morning bite time. For some an early launch on Friday was more for a pre-round raft up. The ones who went for the pre-round shenanigan got what they wanted, and most of those more focused on catching fish left perhaps feeling a bit cheated. As it was only the start of the neap cycle, the water hadn’t settled and it was very dirty and this almost certainly effected capture rates.


Even when spotted thanks to the modern technology of sounders, inactive fish refused to take any offerings. For example, Evan Dixon reported sitting on fish for six hours, dropping soft plastics and vibes on them for one single hit. Which thankfully for him, produced a 67 cm barra. Incredibly this school size fish put Evan in fourth position for the round. Yes, you read that right, a single 67 fish was enough to place you in 4th for this round. To put this into perspective, in the chrome freak show that was round 1, Wade Johnstone came fourth with two fish over a metre and two 89cm kickers. This is a testament to the struggle imposed on all the competitors in this year’s finale.


Some anglers tried all of the Wilshires, some tried Chad’s, Leaders and Salt Water Arm but the dismal narrative was fairly consistent. Among all the hardship, a TEBS competitor did find the time to practice some goodwill. Crossing the Narrows at about 7:30 pm on Saturday, Tim Bolch noticed a boat waving a light to attract his attention. After going to investigate the matter, it turned out the boat had lost its propeller due to an unfortunate collision with an unidentified object travelling at 50 kilometre an hour. Tim towed the boat from the Narrows to the boat ramp in Salt Water Arm. In the wind and current of the tide, the tow apparently took  two and a half hours. Once again a TEBSie has stepped up to help others in need. It was nice to also hear that the distressed boaties rewarded Tim’s efforts with a nice drop of rum. Also, although Tim didn’t come first for the round, he registered the most fish… so perhaps karma was on his side?


The ‘Mystery Species’ for this round was the humble and often disliked catfish. This was going to be controversial and not many people claimed to have caught ‘The Fish of Shame’. The winner of this mini comp inside of the round, apparently won with not a full blown Catfish, but rather what can be nicknamed a ‘kittenfish’. Who was it? Well let’s keep a bit of suspense until the end of tournament presentation…


This round’s score board was dismal, so we will keep it to the top 3.  In the third position for the round came Anthony Dent with a 72 cm fish. The second spot was won by Tim Bolch with the fullest bag of 50, 52, 54 and 55cm. The round winner is a usual figure on the Top End Barra Series podium, Kai Argent. Incredibly, Kai made it look easy and everyone else look like amateurs. He posted an impressive bag of 52, 64 and 92cm. He also said that he and his deckie had several missed opportunities with bigger fish. This was certainly not a common thread…

Even if the round was not going to decide who was first, it did decide who and in what order competitors would place in the rest of the top ten for the series. Some hopefuls lost a few spots in the deal… Take Jason Gerdes for example, without a fish to register for the round, he was bumped from third to fifth for the year. Although he might find this result disappointing, Jason can hold his head up high for achieving such a fine results in his TEBS debut. Here are some of the 2019 Annual Results… In fifth: Jason Gerdes with 721 pts, in fourth: Dwight Shepherd with 768 pts, in third: Clayton Archbold with 780 pts and second place was hung onto by Evan Dixon with 806 pts. The 2019 Grand Champion, as in a repeat of 2018 is no one other than the skilled Peter Cooper. He won with with an impressive  990 points and a 184pt margin. Congratulation Peter you have not only won the competition but supremely dominated it.


If you ignore the incredible results in round one, this year’s series was definitively a very hard year of fishing. This year, there were almost certainly the lowest number of fish ever landed in the history of our competition. This was a series that showed us who in less than favourable conditions was able to persist and find those piscatorial unicorns.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I do know someone who is already waiting in anticipation for TEBS 2020. Next year, will mark the ten years anniversary of this very friendly competition! My time has flown, while we have been fishing. Also, a big thanks must be made to the TEBS Volunteer Committee, who have worked behind the scenes to ensure the longevity of this competition. A special thanks as always to Ross Abraham, who works tirelessly behind the scenes to organise and coordinate this fantastic social competition.


Here is a link to the annual & round scores (click the tabs):