10 years! Yes the Top End Barra Series is entering its ten years anniversary… Where did the ten years disappear? That we cannot answer but we do have a bag load of good laughs and great memories. This bag continued to be filled over the weekend but the bags of fish were amiss.

In a change from tradition, this year the first round was not at Shady Camp, but on the Daly River. The river proved once more that her nickname ‘The Mighty Daly’ was well earned. This year 81 points scoring fish were caught with only 5 competitors recording a full bag of five fish. In 2019, 71 point scoring fish were recorded with 4 anglers recording a full bag of five fish. So the results only differed by a small margin and wishful thinking was somewhat short lived…

So how does it all play out? On Saturday morning, after a long awaited rain had finally fallen on our beautiful Territory, the river was high. The spirits and hopes of many even higher. Many things seemed to have clicked perfectly place. The water was steadily dropping and people smiled in anticipation. Some spots had dark streams flowing into the milky coffee river, producing great colours contrasts. Sporadic Boofing could be heard here and there as fish grazed on rainbow fish within the reeds… Before 9:00am, I witnessed another angler boat two barramundi after I’d only just caught my first… Oh what an amazing weekend it was going to be… or so I thought.

From there we started to catch up with more and more competitors who were lamenting the lack of catch. The boat I was in didn’t put another scale on the deck… This was a common theme for many.

Yes the round was not full of fish for everybody but it was full of “adventure” for many. Here are some tales:

  • One competitor hit a wave that dislodged the bin from the back of his boat. After a frantic attempt to save the said bin, he could only look at it sinking to its watery grave. This however provided invaluable practice to improve his netting technique as the angler scooped empties from the surface.
  • Another angler lost a fish in the high 90s, which pulled the jig head boat side, after being fought in from a nearly emptied spool.
  • The smallest boat on the river hit two very big logs which floated dangerously beneath the surface. Fortunately no damage was recorded to the boat or prop.
  • Another unfortunate angler broke his fishing rod by 8:00am on Saturday morning.
  • Similarly another angler in the excitement of the moment, hooked his own rod and cast it into the drink. Sadly this combo went for a swim and didn’t return.
  • There was ridiculously the guy whose clutch died before even reaching their destination. Thankfully his decky hitchhike a ride to mobile phone reception, to call for a rescue. (Thanks Daniel Hanna for the ride and his mate for helping with the phone call).
  • A better story still, was one of a well know TEBS personality, who spent a few hours near Alligator Head waving to his friends as they passed him on his sandy throne. Some might say, ‘Side by Side’ he was covered in mud. An Iron Jack Legend nomination for this round was receive by Mark Grosser, who came to rescue finally relieving this angler from a delicate and embarrassing situation. Mark you are a legend.

Here is a more bizzare tale from the weekend:

After lifting a surprisingly heavy net into the boat, an angler managed to net a double header. Much to the crews surprise a small bull shark had decided to hitch a ride on the tail of a barely legal barramundi. As this was the only legal fish the anglers had captured it was about to be dispatched and sent to the ice box. While being hung from the side of the boat, with knife at the ready, the fish flip-flopped freeing itself in a frantic fairy-tale finish.

Now, back to our fish… The mystery fish for the round was the great sport fish eloquently titled Catfish. This respectable win was pencilled in for Jeff Dawson with his impressive 71cm aquatic feline. The biggest barramundi for the round was caught by Kevin Bochow and was a very respectable 96cm specimen. The three first spots on the ladder were won by people who were able to fit five fish into their respective bags. In third arrived Jason Gerdes with a bag of 63, 64, 67 75 and 78. The second spot went to Peter Cooper with a 59, 62, 63, 79 and 86cm fish. First place on the podium, was Nicholas Hall with a solid bag made of a 56, 65, 70, 79, and 83cm fish.

 

An interesting fact, is that like in many round, one crew managed to find the Barra Honey Hole. Nick and Jason reeled in over thirty barramundi for the weekend and were the rare few smiling upon returning to the boat ramp. This crew also got a bit more than they bargained for when a four meters reptile snatched their lure practical at the rod tip. Image that for a fright…  As they say, if there is bait, there is barra, and if there is barra, there are crocs…

Next round is coming soon, and it will be at Shady Camp… How many meteries will be caught, is anyone’s guess. I don’t know about you, but I’m already sharpening my hooks…

Here are the provisional round results: http://tebs.fish/current-results/