Round Report. Darwin Harbour 19-20 August 2023.

The weekend of the 19 & 20th of August saw the fourth round of TEBS 2023 held in Darwin Harbour, on the doorstep of the city. Right on queue the South Easterlies rolled in to make for a blustery weekend, with winds pushing 20 knots at times. TEBS is the Test cricket of the fishing calendar with rounds held in all locations and in all conditions. The best fishermen seem to regularly find a way to catch the barra and this round was no exception. Special mention needs to go to the round organisers for being able to pick the weather every round so far this year..

In third place was Gavin Hoult on 315 points with a bag of 52, 60, 61, 58 and 57. This is his first year in TEBS and his first top 3 placing. Well done. Gavin fished regulation harbour style looking for the trinity of current, colour changes and bait to find fish in a variety of locations where these conditions met up. He had a purple patch late on Saturday afternoon to get his better fish off a rock bar. The conditions meant that his normal spots were blown out, so it was a matter of searching between Middle Arm and Pioneer Creek areas.

In one and two were the familiar names of Jack Oswald and Peter Cuddles Cooper. Cuddles fished his normal locations between West Arm and East Arm. He was finding a lot of fish with over 30 caught for the weekend but the issue was finding fish of size. Most fish were caught in West Arm on the outgoing tide where he was sight casting to bigger fish moving out of the creeks on the tide. Once again it was a matter of finding spots out of the wind. He said the live scope didn’t get much of a run and reverted to sight fishing most of the weekend. Pete finished in second place on 360 points and a bag of 58, 61, 57, 60, 61.

Jack Oswald, fishing along with Ben Banks had another cracker weekend, finishing in first place on 450 points. His fish went 63, 62, 69, 63 and 57. Jack was forced out of his favourite locations by the wind and had to go find the fish. Working mostly through East Arm he found good sized fish schooled up on the ‘traditional’ side scan. Jack has mastered the live scope technology, but he said it played little part in this weekends fishing. Whether it be live scope or side scan he is on another level using the technology to its best capability. The lads also tried night fishing and caught some smaller fish on walk the dog style lures but the fishing was more productive during the day tides.

All top 3 anglers caught a swag of between 20 and 30 fish with most being below scoring size of 50 cm. This was a consistent story amongst anglers.

Last year in the 2022 harbour round, 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. We were hoping the smaller fish would come through as a bigger size class this year. This year the stats are surprisingly similar with at least 100 fish under 50cm, 54 fish 50-59, 18 fish 60-69 and 3 fish 70-79. It begs the obvious question. Why don’t we see many fish into the 60s in the harbour? Simple fishing pressure or are they moving out?

Biggest fish went to James Park at 77cm. Parksy is a previous winner of TEBS and has a knack for finding the better fish.

There were also some great stories as usual from the round. One that caught our eye was Wendy Higgs and her sons putting in a big effort. Fishing all day Saturday, then back on the water Saturday night to fish the 2am low, followed by a couple hours sleep to do it again on Sunday. It paid with a few nice fish including an impressive 43cm flathead. I’m tired just writing about it!

For those that follow long time Tebsie Peter Bottrell, I’m happy to report that only the self-deploy Minn Kota died this weekend. Last year his main motor died. Departure from the fishing scene and trawl of shame commenced at 2:45 pm sharp on Saturday just as the bait and fish started rolling in on the tide and he was able to free himself from the mud flat. Pete can regale you all with the details at the next catch up. Great to see you back on the water Pete, and a reminder that this comp is about the fun times. ?

This year’s overall positions is shaping up as tight at the top. The top 5 are closely placed and they all did well again this round. It is great for the comp. Round 5 is the at the Mouth of the Adelaide River in a month’s time. It should be a cracker.