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ROUND 1 Results

Shady just keeps producing and a big day out for James Ballantyne.

Round 1 of the Top End Barra Series kicked off on the weekend of March 6 and 7 out in the Mary River System with around 130 competitors taking part and what ended up being a surprisingly good fishing story for the Territory. With a very poor wet season, the first round at Shady was not expected to yield fantastic results and all competitors were geared up for a challenging weekend, but I am really pleased to announce a good news story. Shady just keeps on producing, and the results this year were a massive improvement on 2015 which is great and exciting news.

Personally I was at Sampan on Saturday and by early afternoon I had only seen one barra get caught and I was thinking that the results were going to be poor as expected. What I wasn’t aware of was the amount of quality fish that were being landed just up the coast at Tommy Cut. So basically if you were looking at these results for some information on where to go on the next set of neaps, Tommy Cut is the answer. In saying this though, Tommy Cut was the stand out system over the weekend on round 1, but we all know how quickly things can change. Tommy Cut certainly produced the majority of the fish over the weekend, but to put into perspective Shane Moon told me that he and Damien Lucas stayed in Tommy Cut for three days, did 400km and picked up four fish, so this equates to 1 fish every 100km.

Over the weekend competitors scattered themselves all over the system from the Wildman to Tommy Cut and inside the Shady system. The few that travelled to the Wildman came back disappointed with the exception of James Mitchell who picked up fish from 59cm to 90cm, and the Jones’s did well fishing the Mary River Bridge Lagoon with Steve picking up three fish in the 60’s and his son Alan a 71cm which is great news for anyone looking for a lazy weekend fishing trip. There were also quite a few threadfin Salmon around although they were all roughly being measured around the 60 to 80cm range to the fork, although Matt Johnstone managed a nice thread at 100cm to fork to be the largest registered over the weekend.

A few special mentions from the weekend that don’t show up on the scoreboard. Peter Blundell managed a 118cm Jewfish trolling out the mouth of Sampan Creek on a home made lure which was timber and looked to be of around the 25cm range, so congratulations to Peter. Also a big mention to the dedication of Stephen Pennington. Stephen travelled around from Darwin Harbour solo on the weekend picked up a 104cm which he had to obviously net by himself and then head back around to Darwin Harbour at the end of the round. Apparently his 4wd was out of action, so he drove the boat around the coast. Legend. Now this final one is something that I don’t think you will see or here of anywhere else. Saturday afternoon as the fishing got quiet a few of the boats started to get creative and get a spread of lines out. So six boats rafted up and started trolling and what do you know, Steve Muntz yells out ‘I’m on’. After some mad chaos of jumping from boat to boat, and all lines removed from the water safely in the net was a 93cm, I bet you Steve won’t forget that fish in a hurry. And finally probably the smallest boat in TEBS is Brett Warren’s Black Arrow. Well Brett had to tow a broken down boat, the broken down boat through a lure out and started trolling and ‘yep’ they hooked up. Incredible really.

Now for the statistical information, as stated after another poor wet season, we weren’t expecting a great weekend in regards to scoring, but in the end the results show that it was a great weekend and a big improvement on last year. To see the big picture I will just go back though the last few years statistics. In 2013 there were only 59 fish caught with a massive 8 meteries, in 2014 276 fish were caught with only 2 meteries and in 2015 there were 158 fish caught, although only 11 above 80cm.

In 2016 there were 142 fish caught, which is down by 16 on the previous year although in 2016 the big impressive statistic is in the amount of fish caught that were over 90cm. In 2015 we caught 3 fish over 90cm, in 2016 we caught 29 fish over 90cm with 4 of them being over the magical metre mark. There was also 12 fish in the 80cm range, 14 in the 70cm range, 34 in the 60cm range and 53 in the 50cm range.

At the end of round 1 James Ballantyne broke through for his first ever round win with a 100cm, 90cm, 86cm and a 72cm totaling 1130 points and he will be the lucky winner of our first Helifish Trip. Coming in second with 1065 points with a 96cm, 91cm, 85cm, 62cm and a 54cm is last year’s round 6 winner in Sean Anderson. And rounding out the top 3 with 1060 points is a new competitor for 2016 in Stewart Odgers. Stewart caught the Bigfish Biggest Barra for round 1 with a 108cm which he caught on the cast along with a 97cm, 59cm and a 54cm. The Champion Junior for the round was Ziggy Lynch with 260 points, who was closely followed by Charli Syme with 255 points.

The next round will be held down at the Daly River on May 7th and 8th.

Presentation 2pm this Saturday at the Ski Club.

Results are Provisional, they will become final on Friday at 12pm.

1st Place: James Ballantyne 1130 points: Helifishing Trip and Trophy (to be taken with Round 2 winner)

2nd Place: Sean Anderson 1065 points: Wilson Venom Rod and Reel

3rd Place: Stewart Odgers 1060 points: Wilson Venom Rod and 1 night’s accommodation at Daly River Barra Resort

4th Place: James Mitchell 945 points: Plano Tackle box and 20 mixed Killalure and Classic lures (JM Gillies)

5th Place: Ben Mclean 935 points: Go Pro courtesy of Smiley’s Rural Building

6th Place: Bryn Montgomery 745 points: $250 Retail Reidy’s Pack and Bigfish Pack

7th Place: Kyle Chin 695 points: 55 Litre Waeco Esky

8th Place: Daniel Hayes 660 points: 2 days Camper Trailer Hire with Outback & Beyond Camper Trailer Hire

9th Place: Dave Freak 650 points: $250 Go Hire Voucher

10th Place: Simon Bochow 625 points: Leatherman Courtesy of True North Surveying and NAFA voucher

Stewart Odgers: 108cm: Biggest Barra: Bigfish Pack and Trophy

Biggest Threadfin Salmon: Matt Johnstone 100cm to the fork: Craig’s Fishing Warehouse Shirt

Junior Champion Angler: Ziggi Lynch 260 points: Trophy, Buff and Lure pack

MYSTERY SIZES: Eligible to competitors outside the Top Ten, and goes to the highest placed competitor with that size fish.

56cm Mystery Fish 1: Darren Eilerson: NAFA Voucher plus Plano Tray

67cm Mystery Fish 2: Mick Upton: Roma Bar Voucher plus Plano Tray

82cm Mystery Fish 3: Cale Foster- Blyth: Shenannigans Voucher plus Plano Tray[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Round 2″ tab_id=”1457339846335-c88a326d-9bd1″][vc_column_text]

Round 2 Results

Alex is the King of the Daly

Round 2 of the Top End Barra Series was held last weekend Saturday May 7th and Sunday May 8th on the iconic Daly River. The Daly River was once a go to river to score yourself a barramundi during the dry season period, although over the past few years it has been a big challenge. In a weekend in May you would expect nice cool mornings and lovely dry season days out on the water, but nothing could be further from the truth. The weather on the weekend was indicative of the Top End’s wet season, not the Territory’s dry season with Tropical Storms rolling over the Daly River both Saturday and Sunday afternoon’s and into the night with big cracks of thunder echoing along the river, flashes of lightening and even a visible rise in the water down at the crossing on Sunday afternoon. Certainly not what you would expect on the Daly during the dry season.

The good thing to report is the big tides pushed up the water and negotiating Browns was fine over the weekend, and beside the odd dented prop, everyone appeared to have a safe weekend down on the river to my knowledge. But I must say that can’t be said for Craig Grose who broke and axle on his trailer on the way down on Friday along Dorat Road. Craig had plenty of help from TEBSies on the way down and Paul of Swagman Tours from Merimbula who stopped and lent a hand with all of his on board tools. Luckily Craig was able to get back on the road after a trip back into Darwin for a new axle and made it down the Daly Friday night. I am sure you have heard of Guns n Roses lead singer Axle Rose, well I think Craig Grose shall now be know as Axle Grose around the circle of TEBS.

So now to the fishing. There is no secret that the Daly has been tough since 2012 through all the capture rates of the Barra Nationals, Barra Classic and Top End Barra Series, although there is always one common statistic that keeps popping up and bringing hordes of both local and interstate anglers back to the Daly year after year, and that is that metre barra are regularly caught in these competitions year after year. It does not matter how tough the fishing is, when you have a lure in the water on the Daly, you know you have a genuine chance of hooking onto a big barra, and that is what barra fishing is all about. You see it all over the media and social media, everyone talks about that one photo of a big metre plus barra, no one talks about how many people headed home with the dreaded doughnut next to their name. Thankfully after another tough year on the Daly there was not just one, but two metre barra caught in 2016. Clinton Housley with a 104cm who picked up the Bigfish Gear Biggest Barra, and Ben Mclean with a 100cm on the dot whilst fishing with his 2 year old son Luka, What a great father son moment that would have been.

I will let the following statistics tell the story, we have improved on last year with a similar amount of anglers, but it really shows how tough it has been over the past 4 years. Every year we have been to the Daly, we have managed to get at least one metery and this is why we keep returning year after year, although numbers in general have been our lowest each year. Interestingly over the past three years we have had very few 80 and 90cm fish. This year was no different with not one single fish in this bracket caught, and we had the same result last year with only one fish over a metre, and none in the 80’s and 90s.

2016 26 anglers scored a total of 45 fish (Big Tides)

2015 18 anglers scored a total of 36 fish (Big Tides)

2014 28 anglers picked up 51 fish (Neaps)

2013 17 anglers picked up a total of 27 fish (Neaps)

Alex Felsch came back from 70th in round one to smash the Daly and took out the win with 540 points racking up a 74cm, 68cm, 65cm, 53cm and a 68cm to total 540 points and will be off Helifishing with round 1 winner James Ballantyne.

How did Alex do what most found difficult? In one word, I would say persistence. Alex usually fishes with his misses, although she was away so he fished solo this round. I spoke to him on Sunday at the ramp where he was pretty happy how his night went and said he as off to the crossing to try and get one more. I asked Alex tonight ( Monday) how he did it, and this was his response.

‘After a slow start and watching the ‘sliver bullet’ pin a metery at the rockbar hopes lifted. With no fish on my boat i decided to head towards alligator head, on the way i was caught out by a hidden snag which did some real damage to my prop/gearbox, i drifted to the bank and started the repair work, the daly river bank is not the best place for gearbox repairs!! Up and running again i set off for some fishing. At the bottom of the tide i was fishing the sharp bend at alligator in the snags, 2 fish on the vibes had me feeling a bit better. Then headed for the main rockbar to spend the night.

Just after dark anchored up on the rockbar 4 fish fell for the fizzers with one scorer.

I needed a sleep so i hit the deck until 3am wen i woke to the sound of boofing barra i was up dragging 180mm bazza baits over the rocks with some success! The first fish was in the 80s but my SOLO luck was on again, with the fish on the brag mat and me reaching for the board with score card the barra flicked itself and my brag mat off the casting deck!!!!!!! NO SCORE for that one…. I got one more good fish then had a troll on the in morning as the tide rolled in. At this time my gearbox trouble was back so i headed fir the ramp and was out by 9.30am Sunday. With plenty of time i went for a flick off the crossing and got one scoring fish with a vibe.’ Thanks Alex

Clinton Housley had a memorable weekend by not only catching the biggest barramundi of the weekend at 104cm, but also coming in second with 480 points. Coming in third with 420 points with a 100cm was Ben Mclean, fourth with 415 points was Bryn Montgomery with a full bag of five fish and rounding out the top 5 was last year’s Daly winner Peter Cooper with 385 points.

Leading the series now with 350 points is Ben Mclean, in 2nd is Bryn Montgomery with 341 points, 3rd is Kyle Chin with 328 points, 4th is Shane Moon with 277 points and rounding out the top 5 is James Park with 266 points.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Round 3″ tab_id=”1476697334370-586c2788-9ef1″][vc_column_text]RESULTS ARE PROVISIONAL AND WILL BECOME FINAL ON FRIDAY

Kai and Kyle love the Harbours

The Last time a Top End Barra Series round was held in a Harbour was in round 4 last year where Kai Argent and Kyle Chin fished together and came first and second. Well round 3 of the Top End Barra Series was held in Bynoe Harbour for the first time in the dry season over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of June, and guess what, they were able to replicate this result with Kai once again taking out the number 1 spot and Kyle coming in runners up. This is a pretty amazing effort, these two are certainly switched on in the Harbours and they will unquestionably be the ones to look out for in the final round in Darwin Harbour this year.


As we planned for this event back in July 2015 we were thinking that competitors may have been faced with cooler water temperatures and gusty conditions, although nothing could have been further from the truth. The weekend was hot and sweaty, with glassy conditions where anglers could comfortably sight fish on the flats for a large part of the day with water temperatures exceeding the 30 degree mark on the flats.


The Harbours are certainly an all year option with our results in the harbours in the build and now the dry season over the last few years being quite comparable. In 2014 we fished Bynoe in October where we caught 91 fish, and in 2015 we fished Darwin Harbour in the build up where 101 fish were registered, and now we have tested out the harbours in the dry season where we had a total of 82 fish registered. So in summing up, there are very similar amounts of fish being caught whether it is the dry or prime time build up.

In round 3 there were 82 fish caught, with 2 over 70cm and 21 in the 60cm range between 43 anglers. As is the case with the Harbours there were plenty of fish caught under 50cm along with all the other usual suspects such as Mangrove Jacks, Queenfish, blue salmon and threadfin salmon. Most notably there were some good sized threadfin salmon in the harbor with 4 caught that were over 60cm to the fork by Ben Mclean, Oliver Dinwoodie, James Mitchell and Steve Muntz with Steve Muntz getting the biggest at 67cm to the fork.

As mentioned earlier Kai Argent, last year’s series winner had another stellar performance filling his bag of five fish with a 78cm, 60cm, 60cm, 52cm and a 65cm totaling 470 points and claiming himself another round win. Kai will be off Helifishing with Helifish with the round 4 winner as part of his prize. Kai also received the Bigfish Gear Biggest Barra with a 78cm. Kai told me ‘we did a run out there two weeks ago with decent results and found a few spots to target and just stuck it out in those areas on the weekend. My 78 was on the same lure as all my others mate just a little green soft plastic. no need to change if its catching fish’.

Coming in second was Kai’s fishing partner in Kyle Chin who also filled his bag of five fish with a 75cm, 58cm, 56cm, 64cm and a 59cm totaling 450 points. Alex Felsch is also another angler who is on a role, and one to watch over the second half of the series. Alex finished 70th in round 1 and then bounced back to win round 2, and then he has continued to impress with third in this round. Alex finished with a full bag of 5 fish; 60cm, 59cm, 60cm, 61cm and a 53cm totaling 340 points. Rounding out the top 5 was Peter Cooper in fourth with 260 points and Andrew Dutton in fifth with 245 points.

At the halfway mark Kyle Chin leads the series with 518 points, followed by Ben Mclean with 457 points, third sits Shane Moon with 417 points, and fourth is Alex Felsch with 381 points and rounding out the top 5 with 357 points is Damien Lucas.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Round 4″ tab_id=”1476697687298-1d488b94-a01e”][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Round 5″ tab_id=”1476697771651-84636a00-7636″][vc_column_text]Results – Round 5 Top End Barra Series 2016 – Adelaide River Estuary

Round 5 of the Top End Barra Series was held over the weekend of 10th & 11th September. For the 1st time since kicking off TEBS the Adelaide River Estuary Round was not staged as the final round for 2016. The honour for Round 6 goes to Darwin Harbour.

The tides over the weekend were considered near perfect for fishing the competition. Clear water in the estuary arms and creeks generally mean good fishing. The weather over the two days was spot on and apart from the afternoon sea breeze on Saturday and the stronger wind on Sunday afternoon it was great travelling for everyone searching out fish. Camping in the boat over the weekend was really pleasant. No rain, a slightly cool breeze and no midgies if you kept near the mouth of a creek.

Anglers were scattered throughout the Adelaide system. Leaders Creek, Saltwater Arm and the three Wiltshire’s were popular. No wind in the mornings made it easy to get in close to the rocks to throw lures about. We trolled the Narrows on the top of the tide with 15+ lures on Saturday after seeing a number of good fish on the sounder in the deep bombies. It is always a bit of pot luck fishing deeper lures and as it turned out it was monster jewies that we had seen. Monstered is the word. With three lost lures and fish we moved on.

Most people reported slow fishing despite marathon efforts and the lower number of scorecard returns is a good indicator. There would not have been too many lures untouched in the tackle box in an effort to trigger a bite. Vibe lures were again popular as were the hard body style.

There were only 37 barramundi over 50cm recorded over the weekend and a lot of smaller non scoring barra were reported.

The best barra went to Kyle Chin at 110cm. A really nice chrome fish. There were three fish in the 90’s recorded with Stewart Odgers 98cm fish the best. The other two fish caught by Kel Shipp and Jason Reynhout went 92cm a piece.

As far as the stats go there were 21 barra in 50cm range, 9 in the 60’s, 2 in the 70’s, one in the 80’s, 3 in the 90’s and one over the magic metre mark.

We always have a few mystery fish in each round and this time there were goldies, mangrove jacks, blue salmon, jewfish and the odd croaker to pick from.

There were a few breakdowns on the weekend but there were plenty of people prepared to forgo the fishing to help a mate out. A big shout needs to go to Steve and Chris for towing Dean and his son back to Saltwater Arm from Wiltshire 2 late Saturday afternoon. We expected that they would be in for a long run but as we shadowed them down the creek Steve got both boats up on the plane and they were away. Not a bad feat at all. Thanks to all the others that helped as well.

The Adelaide comp is also becoming popular as a ‘dress up’ round. This year was no exception and there were some great costumes on display.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Round 6″ tab_id=”1476697795477-32e0dcd2-2659″][vc_column_text]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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”2016 Series” tab_id=”1476697832491-9800cc13-00b9″][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]