TEBS Darwin Harbour Round 5

The weekend of 10-11 September saw Darwin Harbour in a big full moon, the beginning of the Build-Up and Round 5 for TEBS 2022. With tides building and the waters warming it was expected to be a good weekend for fishing. Reports from earlier in the week suggested this would also be the case. Most anglers instead found the conditions pretty tough.

There were several reports of rats being caught in good numbers. Just not many reaching the minimum 50 cm scorer size. Tim Bolch and Craig Latimore fished together to boat a whopping 46 barra for the weekend. Of these only 2 were scorers, with Lats bagging a 65 and 53. Poor old Bolchy could only manage a bag of fish in the 47-49 cm range and no scorers for the weekend.  3” Z-mann pearl paddle tails doing most of the damage on the flats. A similar tale was reported by several anglers including Chris Rutishauser with good numbers of rats on the Stick with Eyes lure but no scorers and a donut for the weekend.

Peter Cooper who always comes home with a win or thereabouts in the harbour said he found the fishing tough for good sized fish. Mind you this still didn’t stop him getting a respectful bag and coming in at equal second place with a 68, 64, 60, 59 and a 52 for 395 points. Cuddles said the fishing wasn’t hard for numbers but not the best for size, with a lot of rats landed. Fish were caught moving between West Arm and East Arm, following the tide through different locations, with all his fish coming on 5” plastics casting.

Also in equal second on 395 points was Wade Johnstone with a nice 82, at biggest fish for the round, and a 68 and 57. Wade fished solo on the Western side of the harbour in some of his favourite creeks. He found quite a few good sized barra on the run out that were very skittish and refused to eat his usually reliable Zerek flat shad and Zman diesel minnows. The rats were once again willing to play but it took a bit of colour to come into the water before he could finally get the better fish to hit and land a scorer. As the tide dropped out, the drains were loaded with rats. On Saturday night he found a creek out of the sea breeze to camp up for the night, only to find he had forgotten the Thermocells. I too know the misery of this as I did the same. That’s where our stories parted. For me, somehow the rum also missed the boat, so it was simply a matter of suffer it out and all I could find was a couple of rats. Wade instead alleviated the discomfort by hooking a big fish on his Squirrel lure, that he called for a queenie, only to be pleasantly surprised to see it was an 82 barra when it came to the net.

In First Place, and winner of the 2022 Harbour round, with a clear gap on 680 points was Jack Oswald with a great bag of 74, 71, 70, 70 and 67. Far from finding it tough, Jack said he had a belter of a weekend landing over 30 fish. He found most of his fish on one particular flat where he was casting to the submerged snake drains. He said he also found some good barra hanging around the Sandgroves moorings with good sized goldies mixed in as well. This is the second round Jack has taken out in 2022 and is now in a very strong position for overall Champion Angler. Maybe we are seeing a change of the Cooper Dynasty?

Bigger fish hard to catch, seemed to be the story of the round. Saturday night was the peak of the full moon and it may be this was one reason. We can only speculate. That said, the harbour is loaded with a cohort of less than 1 year old fish. It’s looking good for fishing in the harbour going ahead. The stats were at least a 100 or more under 50 cm, 28 fish between 50-59. 14 fish between 60-69, 7 fish between 70-79 and 1 solo fish above 80.

As is usual in TEBS the side stories are often more interesting than the fishing. Regis Martin (commonly known as the-bloke-who-doesn’t-even-own-a-boat-but-gets-top-10-every-year) wasn’t even really fishing this round but went for a quick flick land based at East Point, where he summarily landed a scorer. Lucky for the rest of us Regi then went home as he had a headache, and was satisfied he didn’t get a donut.

It was also reported that the famous ‘Trawl-of-Shame’ commenced very early on Saturday morning with Peter Bottrell having a bigger shocker than usual. First a tyre blow out on the way to the ramp, then dropping a cylinder on his boat motor as he got to West Arm. The boat now in limp mode, turned around for the slow trip back to the ramp. Fortunately for Pete limp mode is perfect trolling speed. Hopefully the damage isn’t too bad.

The Water Police were also out in force on the weekend. There were 66 boat inspections and 13 infringement notices issued in the harbour. It was good to hear that none of these were issued to any TEBS competitors.

It was also great to see the camaraderie in TEBS, particularly where newer competitors are concerned. Jeff Watson, who is also our sponsor through Bendigo Bank, let us know that a couple of Tebsies helped him out at the ramp and he was also able to catch up with a few people for a chat on the water. He said it was a great weekend. This comp has never been just about the fishing, with a big part being this social aspect.

Interest now turns to the final round and the freshwater. With temps continuing to rise and the round a few days before the next full moon, all chances it will be a good one.




2022 TEBS, Round 1

Round 1 of the Top End Barra Series was held on the Mighty Daly River.

With the scare of a cyclone and the possibility of a rising waters on the Daly River, the fish gods must have been looking down on the competitors as the round at the Daly went as planned.

Lots of anglers made the journey down Friday and by 6am Saturday morning the small public boat ramp carpark was filled with empty trailers and high hopes.

The river itself had dropped significantly but was still an easy river to navigate with caution, many snags and logs are marked by buoys and even with the larger tides Browns creek was accessible throughout the tide.

The anticipation of great fishing on this Iconic River didn’t disappoint after what you would say has been average rainfall so far.

Over the course of the weekend fish were caught from Bamboo creek all the way down to the mouth of the river on a wide variety of lures from soft plastics in 3, 4 and 7 inch to soft tail vibes and hard bodies.

Fish were mainly caught flicking, with a few fish falling for a trolled hard body as the tide came in.

Last year saw only 42 fish registered with 1 angler scoring a bag of 5; however, this year was a different story with over 150+ fish registered by over 40 anglers and 18 of those anglers getting their bag of 5. A first for quite a while on the Daly saw 2 metery’s caught 118cm and 106cm however even after such great fish they only positioned 3rd and 5th place respectively to give you an idea of how good the fishing was.

The river is currently alive with juvenile Barramundi with reports of 20+ fish caught by many anglers on each day of the competition on every snag, back Eddie and junction indicates a very healthy system now.

As with most rounds there are always mischief’s or mishaps and this round was no different, reports from anglers forgetting their vital equipment such as sounders to 1 angler about to launch at 5:30am on the Saturday only to find that his main battery had been cooked Todd Arthur said “After an 800km round trip, with the new battery in tow we finally got on the water at 11:30am and made our way up stream to fish the run-out tide with hopes of a couple of easy scorers. After a few catfish and sharks which we caught using vibes I felt a “donk donk” and then an epic run and jump show, I was only using my light gear 10-20lb rod/4000 size reel and 45lb Reidy’s Schneider leader, with a shark hot on the tail of my fish, it wasn’t until we netted the fish that we realised the shark had bitten part of the tail off”.  Todd was able to release the fish and got a bag of 5 fish 106,66,69,64 and 54 great effort Todd

So, who were our winners this round? Coming in third place was Kirk Bartholdt-Green who scored an impressive 118cm fish and an 84cm Kirk was fishing in vicinity of the first few run-off creeks down from Browns Creek, using a 3” and 7” soft plastic. Kirk wrote “Was my first trip down to the Daly in 4 years with only the 1 fish on Saturday we headed back to the same area I caught my first fish I tied on a 7” plastic to match the hatch and started snag bashing.  15mins later I found myself connected to the biggest barramundi I had ever seen come out of the water.  A 10 min battle running around the boat in between the electric motor saw this amazing fish in my net and it wasn’t until we had it in the boat that we realised the size of it.  It was successfully released to fight another day”.  No doubt a trip Kirk won’t forget for a long time to come.

in second place was our very own Vice President Morris Pizzutto with a healthy bag of 94,93,80,75 and 60, Moz was fishing with Evan at the mouth of the Daly in a tidal creek avoiding the crowds and trying to get their lures past thread fin salmon that were in plague proportions

and in first place for the first round goes to the ever-consistent Evan Dixon with a great bag of 69,70,94,93,94 Evan said on the incoming tide 90cm+ Barra were heard boofing everywhere and his go to lure was the Live Target Mullet 5.5 inch matching the hatch to secure the win a great effort Evan.



Round 2 – Shady Camp

Last weekend was the second round of the Top End Barra Series for the season 2022. All the action took place in the vast expanse of fishing expectations that Shady Camp & Coastal Creeks can offer. The area for fishing was from the famous Shady Camp’s barrage, too Marsh creek on the Western boundary and Wildman River to the East.

Coming into the weekend the rumour was that the Threadies were so thick, that it would be hard to pass through them to find the Barra… Well, they must have known we were comin’, as it was in fact much easier to find a nice fat Barra than a Salmon of any kind. And when I say a nice fat Barramundi, this is because indeed, most of the Barra caught were in extremely good health, very healthy and fat as happy piglets.

The wet season was just a bit better than average in the coastal regions, yet it seems to have been a rather good for the Barra, food wise. The Wildman River, which in the previous year’s has proven to be the place to be if you wanted to catch a few big fish, was this year a bit on the nose, with reportedly dirty water and few fish on the chew in the river. It looks like more reasonable fish were caught in Tommy Cut in this very round where the water was rather clean.

Weather wise it was from hot, too really hot, nearly build up weather, minus the humidity. Wind wasn’t as bad as it had been said it would be, and that was a welcome relief. Still a bit of breeze would have been refreshing… Ah, the never happy fisho!

Many different types of lures were used during this round. And once again trolling was mostly done with hard bodies lures, while most of the casting were with soft plastics tied on. This seems to become the norm for many anglers now. 42 competitors from the TEBS have entered one or more scoring fish on the board, 20 of those with a full bag of 5 fish and a grand total of 150 Barramundi registered for the round. Making for a very nice scoring board. This is despite many anglers saying that they could see big schools of Barramundi on their sounders, but were unable to get them to open their locked jaws.

Windows of opportunities, were small and one had to be Johnny on the spot to take full advantage of them. Interestingly some had trouble finding a single fish, while others managed to put between 40 to 50 fish onboard. The biggest fish of the round went to Jack Oswald at a very respectable size of 103cm. Now that is one fish I would have loved to get on my line.

A big part of the TEBS, to try to be a friendly competition where competitor try to help and teach others trick on how to catch more fish. And in this round saw several acts of goodwill and knowledge transfer to help fellow fishers out. One of the act of good heart was done by Dwight Shepherd who brought a couple of litres of steering fluid to a pro Jewie boat that had broken down at the mouth of Sampan. A shout out from Robert Parslow to Tristan Christie who shared some hot Goss on the location and technique that helped fill Rob’s bag. Another crew quite simply forgot to bring drinking water with them. They had all sort of beverages but forgot the water. Lucky for them Mitch and Wade were able to share a 10 litre water esky.

Another notable event was a poor fisho whose three treble lure hooked on a very large Hydrophis Elegans, also known as the Elegant Sea Snake. It is worth remembering that this is a highly venomous snake with a potentially fatal bite, who need to be treated with a healthy dose of respect and precaution when encountered.

Now who did well over the weekend? Well in third position we have Craig Latimore with a bag of 66, 69, 76, 80 and 88 cm. Not a bad catch. The second place was taken by Tristan Christie with a nice catch of 64, 70, 75, 76 and 93cm. Tristan got his 93 cm on the troll, but all of his other fish on a Reidy’s Fish Snakz Vibes all in the same little creek mouth. Saying that each hot bit would see at least 15 fish in the boat! On the highest step of the podium we found Jack Oswald for his first top spot, with a great bag full with 77, 80, 95, 99 and 103cm! Everyone would have to agree that this is a pretty impressive result, congratulations to Jack on not only your first position, But also the biggest Barra of the round! Well done on all levels. There is a bit of time to get ready for the next round, in July on Bynoe Harbour. Great for practice and pre-fish.


Round 3 – Bynoe Harbour




Round 4 – Adelaide River Estuary


Round 6

2022 Series