FISHING With Alex Julius
Last week’s Aurora Kakadu Klash on the mighty South Alligator River was once again a resounding success.
More so, it was so very different from any previous Klash I can remember.
After a big wet season, and a river still riding its banks way upstream, it was no surprise that practically all the teams fished downriver all the way to the mouth.
Brook Creek received most of the angling attention, which was not surprising given how many times it has been won there.
Some teams worked the mouth of Brook Creek on the turn of the high tide but most fished way up the creek, casting to junctions and trolling down the middle.
Day one was a beauty for our NAFA team of Warren de With, Bryan Spick and myself.
We started with a 91cm barra caught at a small creek downriver, then upgraded with the capture of a 102cm barra inside the mouth of Brook.
The big fish hit Warren’s 17A Bomber, and proceeded to bury itself in a bunch of mangroves.
Unbelievably, after at least 10 minutes of perseverance, Warren was able to coax his prize catch into the open where it was quickly netted.
It was the only metery caught on the first day, so we led the field of 43 going into the day two.
However, only four points behind with a 99cm barra was Team Nitro (Bruno Portaro, John Clements and Chris Farrugia).
Little did we or any other team realise that Team Nitro had discovered a pot of barra gold upriver from the boat ramp.
Nourlangie Creek – the biggest tributary flowing into the South Alligator River – had drawn the attention of a motherlode of big barra.
These fish were hanging around the bank opposite the mouth of Nourlangie, no doubt feeding on small fish, including baby barra, coming out of the mouth.
The Nitro lads had cottoned onto this before anyone else and reaped the rewards.
On day two they shot to the lead with the capture of a 108cm barra.
Also going well was the Arnhem Land Coastal Camp team of Dwayne Wauchope, David Abela and Dan Kirkup.
They followed up a 96cm barra on day one with another 96cm ripper of a fish the second day.
This put them into second place ahead of our NAFA team which managed a creditable 89cm barra on day two.
After the third and final day, those positions remained unchanged.
However, Team Nitro didn’t have it to itself on the last day; a whole bunch of boats zeroed in on the Nourlangie troll run and some wonderful fish were caught.
One great aspect to the Aurora Kakadu Klash is the venue itself: everybody stays in air-conditioned resort-style accommodation, with terrific restaurant meals each night.
Plus fueling up is a cinch at the bowsers.
The Arnhem Land Coastal Camp team actually caught a 120cm barra the day before the Klash started.
Not surprisingly, heaps of boats went back to the South and fished opposite Nourlangie Creek mouth the day after the competition.
Apparently, heaps of stonker barra were caught, including several over a metre and dozens in the 90s.
First 10 Placings:
1st Team Nitro: 296 points
2nd Arnhem Land Coastal Camp: 282 points
3rd Team NAFA: 266 points
4th Slaying Big Girls: 257 points
5th One More Cast: 249 points
6th Team Reidys: 243 points
7th Size Matters: 242 points
8th No Wobble No Gobble: 240 points
9th Cunning Stunts: 233 points
10th Send It: 227 points
Day 1 Warren de With 102cm
Day 2 Bruno Portaro 108cm
Day 3 Shane Compain 106cm
1. Bruno Portaro has fished many Aurora Kakadu Klashes, and his Team Nitro was a deserving winner, thanks in part to Bruno’s 108cm barra which was the biggest of the tournament.
2. Warren de With put Team NAFA in front on the first day with this silver 102cm barra.
3. Michael Dickinson – pictured here with a high 90s Aurora Kakadu Klash fish – is rarely far off the money in the big barra tournaments.
4. AJ’s solid 89cm barra kept Team NAFA well in contention going into the last day.