The Top End Barra Series enters its eleventh yea, the “Gap Year”, with many changes in stock along with some good old continuation of traditions… because we can’t fight the charm of tradition…

The biggest change has seen our rock, our ship in the night, Rossco steeping back after so many years of practically single handedly managing the series. Rossco has well earned his reprieve from TEBS, we all wish him well as he enjoys his fishing without having to think and cater for 100+ other fishos. A new Committee has been formed to take the torch and carry it into the future. Rossco is not totally gone and forgotten, Rossco has been made a life member of the TEBS Association, a title that is his alone to hold for many years to come.

We kick off this year’s Top End Barra Series in the shadow of a Virus riddled 2020, TEBS has finally seen the back end of 2020 and opened up what can only be hoped will be a cracker 2021 season with a the latest round being held across Shady Camp & Costal Creeks.

This rounds nuanced scenario is a bit peculiar, it holds the hopes and dreams of 2020 series recognition for several anglers and yet the strenuous task of paving out the 2021 season for all anglers. Given the world events of late, the competitors have taken it all in their stride and had a cracking weekend.

Due to the Covid-19 panic that engulfed the World in 2020 the second round (Shady Camp) was postponed as the bewildering social distancing rules stipulated anglers from different households could not share the confines of the same boat. Fortunately we were unable to reschedule the round in 2020 and Mother Nature delivered the rains everyone has been yearning for…. the decision was easily made to schedule a 6th/1st round for Shady Camp.

So how was the fishing?
Well, not as good as some might have expected it to be, but still… there were three meterys caught over the weekend, and one competitor managed a bag of four fish in the 90 bracket.

Competitors were spread from Marsh Creek to the Wildman, a very vast area, in the pursuit of one single goal: Catching 5 of the biggest slabs of piscatorial chrome possible. In doing so, as often is the case, some little mishaps, or call them adventures, happened. On the bush line the rumours were that one competitor who borrowed a prop from another Tebsie, forgot the said prop, on a table, where he was supposed to pick it up… It won’t be very useful sitting on a table will it? But they had a good laugh about it, and that is the way of happy people.

Another fisho arrived on the water only to realise that his sounder was cooked and didn’t work at all anymore. So he had to do it old school just navigating and fishing from experience and managed to get on the board! There were also noises about someone’s boat having a little touch-up with a reef, or somebody else losing two very big fish with one easily over the meter mark, due to snapped braid… Showing that when fishing for Barra, you should not use rusty hooks or old weathered braid.

It seems that being ‘Johnny On The Spot’ was the key to doing well this round, as the bite windows were often short. Most of the action was found away from the crowds, with several big fish accounted for at the Wildman. We have it on good authority most were caught on Reidy’s Lures, both hard bodies and vibes enticing several big fish.

At the time of writing, the results are not official and could be subject to changes.
But, this year at Shady Camp the TEBS crew managed to catch a total of 75 Barramundi. Five competitors filled their bag with five barramundi.
Three anglers managed to crack the Metery…

So who did well, first let’s talk about the meteries:
At 100cm on the dot we have Michael Loughman.
At 109cm we have James Ballantyne, and I saw this capture. It was a fat fish if ever there was one!
And the biggest Barramundi of the round goes to Kevin Bochow, Congratulations for your 114cm fish, what a cracker.

But who stands at the top of the ladder, smiling on the round 1 podium?
In third place comes James Park, with a nice bag of 67, 71, 75, 80 and 95cm barramundi. That is a great effort and a full bag. In second we have another full bag holder with Phil Newton who bagged a 76, 76, 79, 84 and 92cm. Well worthy of a second place. Finally, in the first spot comes Tim Bolch with a 90, 90, 91 and 93cm. Now talk about consistency there, not a fish under 90cm. It was Tim first win in the TEBS since joining the comp in 2018. Well done Tim, perseverance pays, and it paid well this time. Tim said that he caught all his fish with his favourite Reidy’s Big Ass 200, as it perfectly matched the bait at the mouth of Wildman. Perhaps this is the barra god’s way of rewarding Tim for all the work he is doing for TEBS behind the scenes…

As for the 2020 series results it’s proven harder than finding the source of the Virus to compile the scores in time for the editor’s deadlines. We will have the drag the suspense of 2020 series out for a little longer. It is a tight race to the finish line, so care must be taken to conclude the 2020 series. A later announcement will come once all scores have been verified by our Measurement Panel.


Round two will see TEBS competitors converge on the Daly in May… safe to say most are already keen and hopeful the river will fire this year. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic year for our relaxed ‘Gap Year’.