The final round of the Top End Barra Series was run over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October. The competition was located in Darwin Harbour. There was a lot of anticipation amongst competitors that not only the timing was spot on, but the event also coincided with the opening weekend of the Million Dollar Fish Promotion. Unfortunately, there were no red tagged barra landed. There was a brief bit of excitement when a tagged barra was captured but on closer inspection is was a yellow one.

A number of people had been fishing the harbour in the lead up to the weekend to try to locate the best fishing locations. There had been good reports of fish being spotted throughout the harbour so these areas were obviously targeted on the weekend.

With the low tides in the middle of the day it was hoped that either side of the low would produce the best fishing. This seemed to be the case on the Saturday but things unfortunately went quieter on Sunday. Saturday was hot and the harbour was general flat as a tack with little wind to upset conditions. In fact, it was so hot that there were canopies up everywhere and some boats were seen sporting portable fans to cool down.

There was a lot of concentration on the flats with people casting the shallows and gutters. This returned good fishing for some. There were a lot of people fishing in the creeks close to the city as well as in the various arms of the harbour. The arms produced mixed results but some anglers found patches of fingermark that were jumping all over vibes bounced along the bottom in Middle Arm. The harbour seems full of fingermark again so that is promising for the future. Other catches included queenfish, threadfin and the good old flathead. Unfortunately, this was all some people caught, but at least they had a chance at some mystery fish prizes at the end of the comp.

James Park found a boat in trouble on Saturday and he and his mate gave up their fishing time to tow them back to Dinah Beach. One of the people in the troubled boat had rung a mate on the way to the ramp and when they arrived he presented James with a box of cool drinks for his troubles. It’s great to see people helping each other out and to see recipients appreciating it.

The barramundi captures over the weekend were down on numbers from the previous year. There seems to be no rhyme or reason why these fish switch off like they have been in recent times. This was evident on Sunday more than Saturday. There was very little in the way of baitfish in some spots and in others the available bait was hard to match with a small enough lure. Whether the barra had been gorging themselves on the balls of tiny bait we saw was hard to know as the boofing was nearly a non-event in some spots.

Still a few people managed to get their 5 fish over 50cm required to get into the winning circle. The top seven finishers all had 4 or 5 fish to their credit. A good effort given the challenging fishing on the weekend.

The overall winner of the Round was Peter Cooper. Peter managed 4 fish in the 60cm bracket and one 73cm fish. He wins a Nautilus Aviation Helifish Trip for his efforts. Wade Jones came in second with a tally of 4 fish including the biggest of the weekend of 75cm. Close on his heels in third spot was Andrew Pollard with his catch including a couple of 70’s.

64 fish over 50cm were recorded for the weekend in the harbour. In 2015 there were 101 barra recorded and in 2014 there were 81. It is interesting to note that the general size of what we have recorded  over the past few years has not changed with good fish stocks in the 60 to 70 cm bracket.

The water was a reasonable temperature at the weekend but was probably getting a little hot through the low tide. Perhaps the random storms played a part in the fish being inactive.

The Top End Barra Series has now wound up for 2016 with only the End of Year Presentation to finish it off this coming Saturday.

Results – The link below will give you the point scores for Round 6.