Over the weekend from 21st to 22nd of August the third round of the 2021 Top End Barra Series took place in Bynoe Harbour. The Bynoe Harbour round is often eagerly awaited by the TEBS competitors, as it is a chance to get a large Barramundi in a vast and well preserved harbour, not far from our Territory capital city; Darwin.

As competitors were eagerly practising their knots and preparing their boats in preparation for the round, we were once again impacted by the dreaded Virus as the Top End was thrown into a snap lockdown. With the uncertainty around the lockdown and the lifting of restrictions nobody was sure that the round would be able to take place. Thankfully, the universe aligned beautifully and with minimal Covid restrictions the event was able to go ahead.

Weather was rather good, with a slight winds in the morning tending to a stiff onshore Seabreeze in the afternoon which lead into a fresh night with a very bright moon. This should have been the perfect tides to fish the mud flats and mangrove edges. Alas the water clarity was not the same everywhere. Some found the clean water and success, others had to blindly cast in muddy water, with a much lower success rate.

The sheer size of Bynoe Harbour meant that competitors had a lot of room to move around and try to find the golden patch. To give you an idea, during the length of the weekend, the boat I was on, came across only four other boats from the TEBS. As such it was difficult to gather information on how anyone was doing… or to hear any good or bad stories about the round.

One of the notable mentions for the weekend was when Tim Bolch hooked a very sizeable Barra which proceeded to make short work of a brand new rod as it broke on the strike! To add insult to injury, on the following jump, the big girl pulled the rear treble straight out of the lure. We all feel for you Tim!

 

Another funny remark was from the 2020 Junior Angler of the year; Tore Rudduck, who after fishing all weekend with his father said: “ I beat Dad again. He only got doughnuts.” It’s great to see the next generation of fisho’s on the water and doing well.

For the round there were only 42 Barramundi over 50cm recorded this year. In comparison 2020 saw 74 fish recorded. By no means does this reflect the health of the system, many anglers reported large schools of fish holding in the system but not being able to entice a bite. Anglers also reported good by catch numbers of Blue & Threadfin Salmon, Grunter, Goldies, Jacks, Trevally & Queenies.

Now for the numbers; Five anglers managed a full bag of five scoring fish. Yet nobody managed to get a fish above 80cm, which was surprising for Bynoe Harbour. The biggest Barramundi of the round was only 77 cm which succumb to an offering from Tim Bolch. This fish was just a pup in comparison to the one broke his rod, well done on landing this one Tim! Marg Grosser managed the next biggest, at 76cm it was close but no cigar, one cm is sometimes all it takes to win.

 

Cameron Kahl had a good round with a bag of five at 57, 65, 68, 69 and 71 cm to take out third position for the round. Second on the podium is John Keirs with five fish again going 55, 65, 65 70 and 74cm. Nice effort, well done. And finally for the round champion we have Dwight Shepherd, with a bag of 56, 62, 72, 73 and 75cm. Congratulations Dwight!

Dwight said that he fished in the vicinity of Turnbull Bay, focusing on feeder creeks and mangrove edges on the dropping tide. Sight casting small soft plastics to Barra on the flats. Once the tides had dropped, he said that the sounder came in handy to find the schools of fish, but that they were not always hungry mentioning he spent several hours targeting one school of fish to extract just one Barra out of it. Persistence persistence… Now I know what I will do next time that I go to Bynoe.

Next round is on the Adelaide estuary, in early October, this should leave plenty of time to sharpen some hooks and come up with some mavericks fishing plans for all the TEBSies . See you all in October!