TEBS Darwin Harbour Round 5

The weekend of 10-11 September saw Darwin Harbour in a big full moon, the beginning of the Build-Up and Round 5 for TEBS 2022. With tides building and the waters warming it was expected to be a good weekend for fishing. Reports from earlier in the week suggested this would also be the case. Most anglers instead found the conditions pretty tough.

There were several reports of rats being caught in good numbers. Just not many reaching the minimum 50 cm scorer size. Tim Bolch and Craig Latimore fished together to boat a whopping 46 barra for the weekend. Of these only 2 were scorers, with Lats bagging a 65 and 53. Poor old Bolchy could only manage a bag of fish in the 47-49 cm range and no scorers for the weekend.  3” Z-mann pearl paddle tails doing most of the damage on the flats. A similar tale was reported by several anglers including Chris Rutishauser with good numbers of rats on the Stick with Eyes lure but no scorers and a donut for the weekend.

Peter Cooper who always comes home with a win or thereabouts in the harbour said he found the fishing tough for good sized fish. Mind you this still didn’t stop him getting a respectful bag and coming in at equal second place with a 68, 64, 60, 59 and a 52 for 395 points. Cuddles said the fishing wasn’t hard for numbers but not the best for size, with a lot of rats landed. Fish were caught moving between West Arm and East Arm, following the tide through different locations, with all his fish coming on 5” plastics casting.

Also in equal second on 395 points was Wade Johnstone with a nice 82, at biggest fish for the round, and a 68 and 57. Wade fished solo on the Western side of the harbour in some of his favourite creeks. He found quite a few good sized barra on the run out that were very skittish and refused to eat his usually reliable Zerek flat shad and Zman diesel minnows. The rats were once again willing to play but it took a bit of colour to come into the water before he could finally get the better fish to hit and land a scorer. As the tide dropped out, the drains were loaded with rats. On Saturday night he found a creek out of the sea breeze to camp up for the night, only to find he had forgotten the Thermocells. I too know the misery of this as I did the same. That’s where our stories parted. For me, somehow the rum also missed the boat, so it was simply a matter of suffer it out and all I could find was a couple of rats. Wade instead alleviated the discomfort by hooking a big fish on his Squirrel lure, that he called for a queenie, only to be pleasantly surprised to see it was an 82 barra when it came to the net.

In First Place, and winner of the 2022 Harbour round, with a clear gap on 680 points was Jack Oswald with a great bag of 74, 71, 70, 70 and 67. Far from finding it tough, Jack said he had a belter of a weekend landing over 30 fish. He found most of his fish on one particular flat where he was casting to the submerged snake drains. He said he also found some good barra hanging around the Sandgroves moorings with good sized goldies mixed in as well. This is the second round Jack has taken out in 2022 and is now in a very strong position for overall Champion Angler. Maybe we are seeing a change of the Cooper Dynasty?

Bigger fish hard to catch, seemed to be the story of the round. Saturday night was the peak of the full moon and it may be this was one reason. We can only speculate. That said, the harbour is loaded with a cohort of less than 1 year old fish. It’s looking good for fishing in the harbour going ahead. 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.

As is usual in TEBS the side stories are often more interesting than the fishing. Regis Martin (commonly known as the-bloke-who-doesn’t-even-own-a-boat-but-gets-top-10-every-year) wasn’t even really fishing this round but went for a quick flick land based at East Point, where he summarily landed a scorer. Lucky for the rest of us Regi then went home as he had a headache, and was satisfied he didn’t get a donut.

It was also reported that the famous ‘Trawl-of-Shame’ commenced very early on Saturday morning with Peter Bottrell having a bigger shocker than usual. First a tyre blow out on the way to the ramp, then dropping a cylinder on his boat motor as he got to West Arm. The boat now in limp mode, turned around for the slow trip back to the ramp. Fortunately for Pete limp mode is perfect trolling speed. Hopefully the damage isn’t too bad.

The Water Police were also out in force on the weekend. There were 66 boat inspections and 13 infringement notices issued in the harbour. It was good to hear that none of these were issued to any TEBS competitors.

It was also great to see the camaraderie in TEBS, particularly where newer competitors are concerned. Jeff Watson, who is also our sponsor through Bendigo Bank, let us know that a couple of Tebsies helped him out at the ramp and he was also able to catch up with a few people for a chat on the water. He said it was a great weekend. This comp has never been just about the fishing, with a big part being this social aspect.

Interest now turns to the final round and the freshwater. With temps continuing to rise and the round a few days before the next full moon, all chances it will be a good one.