Many of you will know TEBS competitor Regis Martin. He is also known as the Rambling Expat.

Here is what he had to say about Round 1.


Hi there,

I know, I have been a bit absent for a while…

Sorry about that, I will now try to get back on the saddle, get ready for the ride.

Not so long ago, was the first round of the 2016 Top End Barra Series, or 2016 TEBS as some call it.

What is the story?

  • The first round was at Shady Camp.
  • Brett predicted that we might get just one fish each.
  • It was really hot weather.
  • The fishing wasn’t so hot.
  • We ran into some kind of navigational trouble.

Yes, I am finally Back!

As I said, the first round for 2016 was, as it is traditionally done, at Shady Camp.

 We had arrived early and found ourselves in the usual line of boats waiting to launch:

Launch ramp at Shady Camp.

It is said that the government will build a new more practicable boat ramp. But until then that is the way it is.

As we waited to launch, I saw a guy fishing land based, who got three Barramundi in three casts. This I told myself, is a very good sign, we are going to scoop the fish! Well sometime in fishing, like in life, things are not what it seems. The fishing was going to be more difficult than this.

 Brett did tell me a few times that I should go and flick a lure next to this guy who was doing so well. Stupidly, I thought that if he was getting such results from the bank, we were going to make a killing from the boat…

I should have done what Brett was saying.

 First we went to one’s of Brett’s spot, and as we arrived he said: there is often some big mama Barra just right there on this corner.

 And just as he had said, the sounder showed us a very big and fat Barramundi just where Brett had predicted that we might see some. Things were starting to look real good.

 But not only we didn’t tempt this big fish with our lures, but the sounder died nearly then and there…

 And it was just early morning of the first of two days for the round.

Not getting any luck at the first stop, we decided to move on to the next one.The water was dark and the weather uncertain.

We found a few comrades fishing the mouth of the little creek when we arrived, and they didn’t had much success either.

Glenn and son fishing at the creek mouth.

Being on a smaller boat, we went straight up the creek, where the other boats couldn’t go.

 Alas, the fish weren’t there either.

So we decided to go down the main river, troll the centre, and stop to flick lures at spots that would look fishy. While waiting for the tide to change.

Soon, we found a boat that looked like they were in trouble, the outboard cover was off, and the two lads were sitting with crossed arms… Never a good sign on a fishing boat.

After a short chit chat and a look at their outboard, Brett said that the best would be to tow them back to the ramp. And towing we did.

We must have been the smallest boat on the river that day, and as such we towed them at a rather slow pace.

Towing the broken down boat.

The guys in the towed boat started to troll lures at the back, and quickly one of them was on!

They signalled to us and we stopped so they could catch the little Barramundi that had taken the lure.

They got a fish while being towed.

As we restarted towing them, the slow speed, gave us ample time to admire the landscape and wildlife:

Salt water crocodile on the bank.

Salt water crocodiles or Crocodiles porosus as it is formally known, is represented in big number at Shady Camp. It has even be said that this is the place in the world with the biggest concentration of them per square meter. I do not know if this is true, but it is certain, that we see a lot of them, and big ones every times that we fish over there.

All together, it took us about two hours flat to get the broken down boat to the ramp.

The tide being by then pretty low, we fished the barrage for a while, without any luck at all.

So from there we moved to another barrage:


One of many barrage at Shady Camp.


Two guys who were fishing from the shore, got a nice fish just as we arrived. Tarpon were everywhere, surly this was going to be our lucky spot. It was not to be, we didn’t get anything from there. 

 Moving along to a better spot was decided, but …  Something was to happen…  As we moved up a little creek, the boat hit a submerged rock, and the outboard did too.  Prop and shaft were bent, that was bad.

 With the outboard in this condition, Brett wisely decided that it would be safer to move back to the ramp, and see if we could catch a fish there. 

And it worked, for Brett, he got his first Barramundi of the weekend there, and it was a point scorer! Maybe chance was finally going to smile at us?

Well, never ask for too much, or you might face deception.  Not only we didn’t got any more fish there, except a few undersized ones for Brett, but I got nearly sun stroke.

When we finally put the boat back on the trailer, and started to drive back toward the motel, I started to feel like if I was going to pass out in the car. Too much sun, not enough drinking.  Luckily, the air con in the car was working well and I stayed awake.

Once at the motel, a nice cold shower, a soft drink at the bar, and a big steak, with pepper sauce and French fries, and I felt like brand new!

Still once in bed, I had no problem to fell asleep in about two point five seconds, and snore until the next morning.

At day break we were on the water edge again, but had decided to launch on the fresh water side of the barrage, as it would be safer with the state of the outboard.

At first we went to the barrage and jumped out of the boat to try to get a fish from there.


Brett fishing Shady Camp Barrage in the morning.

Lady luck must have still been in bed at that time, as we didn’t get a single fish from there. Brett said that he knew of another small barrage were we might find some fish, if water was flowing over it.

As we arrived to the said little barrage, water was flowing above it, and we started to get optimist. But as we were about to land, I spotted a big water buffalo on the edge of it, not very far from us. When I pointed to it, Brett, safely moved back the boat and said that we would go and try to fish from the other side.

Arriving on the other side, I saw a rather large crocodile, sliding in the water as he saw us. Brett said that it was ok and that we should fish from there and might be able to catch a fish or two. I couldn’t help asking myself if fishing from a barrage that has a water buffalo on one side, and a crocodile on the other one was the best plan in the world?

Yet I jumped out of the boat and by the time I walked to where we would be fishing from, Brett already had a small Barramundi at the end of his line. It was too small to be a point scorer, but at this point, this was all the encouragement we needed, and we started to get excited.

Brett missed a better fish just at our fish, and as my lure arrived in the same spot, the fish took it in earnest. I was on, finally! It was a very short fight, with a fish that was just a small point scorer. But that was it, I was not on a donut anymore. So we tried for a bit more on the same spot, but with no more luck.

Near the little barrage, in the fresh side.

Not long after, we decided to call it a day, and to go back home. It was just 8:30am but the fishing had been very hard, and the broken outboard, was weighting on our minds. So off we went back toward the ramp, and home.

Both at the ramp and on the road, we saw a lot of boats going back, the fishing had been hard for most.

Boats on the road back towards Darwin.

Yes, it had been a hard weekend, with not many fish. Brett’s prediction that we might get just one point scorer each was right.

The outboard problems were a real concern, and the heat had been harsh. Yet, we did have some good laugh, and some time out-there.

Thank you Brett for inviting me on your boat, I still had a good time, and hope that we don’t run into so many trouble next time.

But hey, it could be worse.

Have a good day,