The fourth round of the Top End Barra Series took place last weekend, in the Adelaide River Estuary. This place always offers the possibility of hooking on a big fish. So was the fishing good this year? Oh yes it was, for some…

The boundaries for this round were from Jack Creek to the western tip of the Glyde Point. The upstream boundary was Castle Creek. Such a large expanse of water offered the many anglers the possibility to either join one of the famous TEBS raft ups, or fishing in one of the many the discrete creeks away from prying eyes. The barramundi were not fussy this round, hard bodies, soft plastics or vibes, they all worked to great effect. Most were able to use their favourite technique, with fish succumbing to trolling, casting drains and even vibing snags and deeper holes. Yep the fishing was good!

This round however wasn’t without incident with a couple of rods broken on account of fish and overzealous techniques more likely. There were electrical issues that saw a boat stranded up a creek for several hours… with two sparkies onboard, before finding a solution to get them home. The most notable incident seems to be a crew who on Sunday were a long… long way up a Wilshire creek and encountered a problem with the outboard’s fuel pump. On the return journey to Salt Water Arm boat ramp, one of them had to sit at the back of the boat, and every thirty seconds manually pump fuel to keep the outboard going. Word is he has now a hand that looks more like The Hulk.

Back to the fishing, Nick Hall was a not so lucky angler who hooked an enormous fish tipped to be well over the meter mark in a small creek less than a meter deep. The big girl came very close to the boat but he could not turn her head and in the end it was lost to a pulled hook. Needless to say Nick was a shattered man. Both anglers in the boat could not believe that such a big fish had been in such a small creek.

What are the stats you say…. A lot of fish were submitted, 77 of them. However, many anglers reported catching a lot more than their 5 fish bag limit. Compared to the 41 from last year, this is a very nice increase and tends to prove that the fishing is getting better this year. The fish were in great condition, which is a good indicator of a very healthy system.

This round last year had only three anglers who got a full bag of five fish, this year 11 anglers delivered a full bag! What a difference a year makes. With such stiff competition at the top only a solid bag of fish saw you in the placings. In third place we have James Park with five Barramundi going 63, 64, 66, 70 and 77cm. Nice effort James! James caught most of is fish with Reidy’s B52’s, 3 hook Bombers or soft vibes. In the second position, we have Dwight Shepherd a regular in the top 3, with five fish of 67, 68, 70, 73 and 74 cm. Well done Dwight. Dwight picked up his fish either with 3 hook green Bombers, or with the 4 inch Z-Man soft plastics. Proof that mixed technic can be rewarding. And now on the highest step of the podium comes Kel Payne. Kel delivered a great bag of  five fish with one breaking the magic metre mark. Kel was said to have landed a 105cm fish on a FOW (Fishing and Outdoor World)  “counter special” vibe. Now that’s a nice fish to land solo on a $4 vibe! Kel filled the rest of his bag with a 63, 68, 74, & a 78. Congratulation on such a great win, and more than any thing else, his first meterie. Amazing effort and well deserved first place.

We have a very short turnaround before the next round which is at Corroboree at the end of the month. Last year three barramundi over a meter were caught in the Corroboree round, and many big fish lost. What this year will bring is anyone’s guess, but I sure know a few people who are already etching plans to catch the big swampy mamas…