Alex's Fishing Report 13 October 2016
The Top End Barra Series (TEBS) is over for another year following the final sixth round held recently in Darwin Harbour.
Given the Million Dollar Fish season two campaign had started, and Darwin Harbour yielded six of 10 recaptured red-tagged barra last season, you can imagine the anticipation amongst competitors.
Apparently the excitement reached a bit of a climax when one angler boated a tagged barra… unfortunately, it was a yellow NT Fisheries tag.
According to TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham, it was damn hot and the harbour was generally flat as a tack with little wind to upset conditions.
“It was so hot on the Saturday that there were canopies up everywhere and some boats were seen sporting portable fans to cool down,” Ross said.
Understandably, most competitors worked the flats and gutters, and a surprising bycatch was the number of golden snapper.
“The harbour seems full of goldies again so that is promising for the future,” Ross said.
“Other catches included queenfish, threadfin and the good old flathead but, unfortunately, this was all some people caught,” Ross reported.
One of the great things about the Top End Barra Series is the camaraderie; if you break down in a TEBS round, there’s a queue of fellow competitors ready to give you a hand.
That gesture was extended to some non-competitors in round six when James Park found a boat in trouble and he and his mate gave up their fishing time to tow the boat back to Dinah Beach.
Ross explained: “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.
“Sadly, the barramundi captures over the weekend were down on numbers from the previous year,” Ross said.
“There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why these fish switch off like they have been doing in recent times.
“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 five fish over 50cm required to get into the winning circle.
“The top seven finishers all had four or five fish to their credit, a good effort given the challenging fishing on the weekend.
“The overall winner of the round was Peter Cooper who caught four fish in the 60cm bracket and one 73cm fish,” Ross said.
Wade Jones came in second with four barra up to 75cm and Andrew Pollard was third.
A total of 64 barra over 50cm were recorded for the weekend, compared to 101 in 2015 and 81 in 2014.
Peter Cooper’s win in the final TEBS round enabled him hit the lead and claim champion honours in the 2016 Top End Barra Series with an impressive total of 925 points.
Although the talented angler did not catch a fish in round one, he finished in the top five in every other round.
Kyle Chin was a close second with 888 points, helped somewhat by his capture of the biggest barra of the 2016 series, a beautiful fish that measured 110cm.
Last year’s TEBS champion, Kai Argent, came third, followed by Kelly Shipp and the always-there-somewhere Shane Moon.
Shane has won the series twice previously and has finished in the top five in all six years of the competition.
Congratulations to the winners, the organisers and the competitors in the Top End Barra Series.
I reckon it’s a great competition which is held in the true spirit of Top End fishing, and is both socially and economically important in our close-knit community.
If you’re looking for a $Million barra this weekend, then Darwin Harbour should be on your radar as the tides are perfect for both flats and gutter fishing.
The 1.5 metre low tide at 11.42am on Saturday is a pearler, and I’d suggest you launch by 7.30am and head for your favourite arm to fish the falling tide.
The 7.0 metre incoming tide is substantial but not huge, and you should get a good window of potentially hungry, feeding barra starting around 1.00pm.
Sunday’s tide at 12.20pm is a fair bit lower at 0.9 metres, so you’ll still need to be on the water around 8.00am.
The 7.5 metre high tide will roar in so make sure you are hitting those snake drains and gutters before they fill and both the bait and the barra disappear into the mangroves.
Expect to be home to have a beer and light up the barbie well before dark.
Wade Jones nets a tagged barra in the final round of the Top End Barra Series; sadly, it was yellow and not red.
Jason Haack’s barra came from Darwin Harbour in the final round of the Top End Barra Series.
Regis Martin with one of a bunch of harbour golden snapper caught fishing for barra in the TEBS final round.
Seasoned tourist fishing visitor, Alex Awramenko, caught himself a beauty on a recent visit to the Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge.