Alex's Fishing Report 25 August 2016
One thing that the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) does whenever one of its six annual rounds is held on a Top End waterway is provide up-to-date information on the quality of fishing at the chosen location.
TEBS round four was no different and has provided a great insight into the quality of barra fishing at the iconic Corroboree Lagoon.
The round was held on all Mary River billabongs – ie Corroboree, Hardies, Shady freshwater and Mary River Bridge Lagoon – but the vast majority of competitors fished Corroboree.
Only 30 anglers caught barra at all (meaning 98 missed out altogether), and only three caught their maximum quota of five scoring barra.
Most likely this was a good example of the old fishing adage that 5% of anglers catch 95% of the fish.
But at least it showed there were some nice barra to be caught over the weekend.
According to TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham: “There were 53 barra over 50cm recorded over the weekend, with 25 of those in the 60cm range, four in the 70s, nine in the 80s and two in the 90cm range.”
That’s actually a nice spread of year-class sizes, with a surprising abundance of barra in the 78-85cm range.
They’re great fish for Corroboree, the sort of which would put a smile on any competitor’s face.
But it was also interesting that there were two barra in the 90s caught: Kelly Shipp’s biggest barra of the round at 92cm, and Ryan Vidler’s 91cm barra.
I’m not sure what tactics Peter Cooper employed but he was definitely onto something, catching three barra in the 80s (81cm, 82cm and 85cm) as well as a 74cm fish and a 60cm fish.
That gave him a convincing win in round four with 885 points.
Second was Kai Argent with 710 points thanks to five barra measuring 65-80cm.
Third place was Andrew Pollard who only registered four barra out of the five allowed; but they were good ones, including two ripper barra that measured 82cm and 84cm.
He tallied 670 points.
Fourth with five barra and 390 points was ever-consistent Shane Moon, and fifth was Kyle Chin with 335 points.
“Fishing was fairly tough over the weekend and the wind did not help through the day,” Ross explained.
“However, despite successive poor wet seasons, it appears the Mary system has a lot of fish scattered throughout its inland waterways.
“When, where and what triggers billabong fish to feed is a bit of a mystery to most, so persistence is the key.
“It was fairly clear that early morning and late afternoon were the times for the bulk of action, possibly because of the moon, and also the tide changes downstream at Shady.
“During the weekend, fish were caught on a variety of lures but the weedless soft plastic variety was popular,” Ross said.
“It was noticeable that the shad-style lure was being used with success in the lilies, as were the perennial rubber frogs.
“My deckie Regis used both styles with success and his persistence paid off for him.
“I also saw a number of people using vibes trying to coax fish out of their slumber.
“That night, there was an armada of boats trolling for the bigger fish and, by the tired faces on Sunday, it was clear that a lot of people had put in some hard yards… some with great success and others not so lucky.
“The water in Rockhole, where a few of us fished on both days, was quite clear and we found it difficult not to spook the barra in the shallower areas.
“In the lily pads, we had a lot of good sized fish follow our lures right to the boat before pulling out and going deep again – frustrating but fairly exciting all the same.
“On Saturday night, the fizzers were out but it seemed the tarpon wanted to join the party, as did a few stalking crocs,” Ross said.
“As usual, the social atmosphere of TEBS was in good order with numerous raft-ups during the quiet periods.
“This was particularly the case when the wind picked up on and off over the weekend.
“It was also good to see competitors helping each other out when things like engine trouble came their way.
“The other nice thing of note is the growing number of people taking their youngsters out during the comp and introducing them to raft-ups, hard-core fishing and other great things during competition. “For some dads, however, the kids showed them a thing or two.
“As an organiser of the comp, I am really pleased to see the junior involvement growing each year,” Ross said.
With two TEBS rounds remaining, it’s fairly close on the leader board: Kyle Chin leads with 688 points, followed by Shane Moon on 592 points, Ben McLean on 567 points, Peter Cooper on 545 points and Alex Felsch on 535 points.
At 92cm Kelly Shipp’s 92cm barra was the biggest of round four of the Top End Barra Series.
Thanks partly to this 82cm barra, Kyle Chin maintains his lead overall after round four of the Top End Barra Series.
Kai Argent’s 80cm barra helped him to second place in TEBS round four.