Last weekend was the fifth round of the 2021 Top End Barra Series.

The round took place on the billabongs, which included Corrobboree, Hardies, Mary River Bridge Lagoon, & Shady Fresh. Competitors were thrown a curve ball last week with the announcement of the Corrobboree Boat Ramp closure to allow the much needed repairs to be undertaken.

Luckily the cutting between Rock Hole and the main billabong was accessible, albeit very shallow & narrow, which allowed Corroboree to still be the billabong of choice for many. Even with the extended drive to launch at Rock Hole, Corrobboree is a picture perfect location, which is worth the trip just for the scenery, with fishing as a bonus.

So, how was the weather on the bongs at this time of the year? Well it was more than nice and warm, it was scorching hot! That is to be expected in the Build Up, and so is a good Storm. All who stayed on the water overnight on Saturday had the pleasure to witness a light show nearly as good as the fireworks on Territory Day! The unfortunate thing about magnificent lightning displays in the Build Up is that the rain is often just as intense. The Storm the rolled through was no exception with many anglers enduring the wild storm and wishing they had a houseboat for the weekend.

This year, the fishing hours of the competition had been slightly changed as a test. With the best fishing often being at night on the billabongs, the fishing hours were extended to commence on the Friday at 6:00pm through to Sunday 6:00pm. This allowed two full nights of fishing, which seems to have been liked by most of the competitors on the round. The TEBS Committee will now discuss at its next meeting if this will become the norm for the billabong round.

This year also saw for the first time a BBQ boat being used for the TEBS competitors to drop in for a sausage and a bit of a chin wag, and more importantly to keep the good camaraderie of this friendly competition going on. The BBQ boat was a success too.

Among the good stories of the weekend, was Mark Grosser, casting a lure deep in the lilies, and hooking on a strange kind of snag… Mark, managed to get his lure back, but it was tangled in a long piece of fishing line. Pulling the line by hand, hoping to find a lure at the end of it, Mark couldn’t believe his eyes, when a full combo, rod and reel came to the water surface!

Now, back to our most precious consideration: how was the fishing?

Well, it was pretty tough, the ones who got fish really had to work hard for it. Or in my case, just be plain lucky. To give you an idea, 15 anglers registered 30 fish this year, versus 21 anglers registering 52 fish last year.

Last year, 5 anglers managed to get a full bag of 5 Barramundi, this year, only one angler scored 5 fish. Last year, three Barra over the meter were caught, this year the biggest fish went 85cm. This year, a large part of the fish were caught at night, trolling large hard body lures, like the Reidy’s Big B52.

So who did well in this round?

The biggest fish was caught on the troll at night by Regis Martin  and it went 85cm. This was the second time Regis has landed the biggest fish of a TEBS round, however the first was way back in the Inaugural Top End Barra Series in 2010/2011.

In third place for the round, we have Jeff Dawson with a catch of 53, 54, 70 and 74 cm. Well done Jeff a nice and consistent bag.

In the second step of the ladder we found James Park, who is doing very well this year and on this round bagged a 64, 67 and 76cm Barramundi.

And the round Winner is the only person to have bagged five fish in the round, Ben Judd with a bag made of 58, 60, 62, 73 and 75cm fish! This is a great effort and shows what persistence can achieve, congratulations Ben!

Yes, it was a hard round enduring the Sun, Heat & Rain, but many laughs and good memories were had. And now we are waiting with anticipation for the last round of the season, on our very own Darwin Harbour, to see who will reign Supreme in the Top End Barra Series Gap Year!