Round 5 Report

Round 5 saw the 2015 Top End Barra Series embark on the billabongs of the Mary River System on the weekend of October 10 and 11, which saw most fishing on the picturesque location of the Corroboree Billabong – Rockhole system with a handful of crews fishing Shady Camp Fresh, Hardies Billabong and one at the Mary River Bridge Lagoon. It is no secret that fishing on the billabongs has been tough over the past five years, but I believe the results of 2015 to be an improvement on when we last fished there in 2012 and 2013 which is great to see.

David Freak

A top end billabong is a postcard location with freshwater Lillie lined waterways, big crocodiles, pigs, buffaloes, birds and most importantly it is home to two of the Top End’s Iconic Sportfish, the Barramundi and the under rated lesser know little brother, the Saratoga. The Top End Barra Series is all about the barramundi, but when you come to a location like this, the Saratoga cannot be ignored, hence why we have prizes for the top 4 Saratoga catches as well. For most the billabongs can be a very difficult place to read, with no tidal influence, no major rockbars or snags, no big holes, no big eddies and for some it can be quite a daunting task to identify when and where the fish will turn on. The lillies are a great place to fish, and also anywhere which resembles a rock bar, bend or difference in bottom ground.


Over the weekend fish were caught in a variety of methods, throwing rubbers and frogs into the lillies, trolling little and large lures, throwing big rubbers, throwing vibes, trolling the edges, trolling the middle, but if there was one factor that stood out in the results, was that the people who fished hard into the night were the ones that were rewarded. Looking through the scoring photos it was quite obvious to see that there were a good amount of the larger fish caught during the night.

Another great point that has come out of the results of this round is that the Mary River Billabongs is a great place to go and catch not just a barra, but a great sized barra. No, there were not a lot of fish caught, but that is the reality with three poor wet seasons. In round 5 there were 38 fish caught which is better than the amount of fish we caught earlier in the year at the big iconic rivers of the Daly and Adelaide Rivers. Probably the most surprising statistical data from the weekend was the size of the fish that were caught. There were five fish caught in the 80cm range which in my view is a pretty impressive statistic in a billabong. There were also 7 in the 70cm range, 11 in the 60cm range and 15 in the 50cm range.  The biggest fish of the round went to Peter Cooper at 87cm who caught it late on Saturday night, and around an hour and half before this he had also caught an 80cm fish to top off a great Saturday night. The other 80cm plus fish were caught by Robert Veal at 84cm, Andrew Veal 83cm and Cale Foster – Blyth at 80cm.

Peter Cooper

In the end Peter Cooper won the round convincingly with an 87cm, 80cm, 70cm and a 55cm to total 650 points. Peter said he ‘dropped a couple of 70’s as well and landed a couple of non scorers.’  He went on to say that it ‘Fished better at night for a period trolling up the middle near the S bend in the main pool. We got 3 fish in a 20 minute mayhem period. Had short windows during the day that fish turned on in very specific locations. Over all a few good size fish in billabong but not the numbers of juvenile fish that have been in there in the past in between the bigger fish. An odd year but not a bad location to have a chance at a better fish at the moment if u are willing to put a few hours in. very hard during the middle of the day’

Greg Shields Selfie

Coming in second was Greg Shields with a 66cm, 69cm, 70cm and a 73cm to total 520 points. Greg said that it was a ‘tough weekend, managed to get a few off one of the rock bars slow retrieving large soft plastics, lost a whole heap more than landed’ And rounding out the top 3 was Robert Veal with a 76cm, 84cm and a 58cm.

It was also the first round since round 1 that we have had a Junior angler catch a barramundi in Oliver Dinwoodie. Oliver caught a 61cm barramundi which he dragged out of the lillies where he had been casting weedless rubbers into. Oliver had a an extremely memorable weekend as he also managed to land the biggest Saratoga of the weekend of 60cm as well, not bad for an 8 year old.

One last thing I need to make mention of is from the weekend is that Chris Rutishauser, AKA the human banana has caught fish. I told a bit of a story on Tales of the Tinny after last round how ‘Ruti’ is the human banana as he catches no fish and anyone who fishes with him catches no fish. Well I need to take that back as ‘Ruti’ proved us all wrong on the weekend and he caught a 72cm barramundi, and his brother who he was fishing with who is not a TEBS competitor picked up a 74cm, so well done Ruti.


As we move into the final round of the 2015 Top End Barra Series there has been some changes up the top of the leader board. The final round will take place at the Mouth of the Adelaide River on November 7 and 8 and Greg Shields in now in the lead although it is very, very close. With Regis Martin coming in second. The top ten is as follows; Greg Shields 684 points, Regis Martin 678 points, Kai Argent 671 points, Kyle Chin 669 points, Alex Felsch 666 points, Shane Moon 623 points, Morris Pizzutto 595 points, Peter Cooper 570 points, Brett Warren 498 points, Robert Veal 457 points. The last round is going to be very exciting as it is anyone’s at the moment remembering that at the end of the series competitors top 5 rounds count towards the scoring, and if competitors are lucky enough to score in every round their worst round will be dropped for scoring purposes.