FISHING With Alex Julius
The 23rd annual Club Marine Barra Nationals gets under way today on the iconic Daly River.
Hosted by the Palmerston Game Fishing Club, the venue once again will be the spacious Banyan Farm Tourist Park with hosts Wally and Kerri Draper.
Predicting how the tournament will go each year is never easy.
The vagaries of the wet season – a ripper this year – late rains, water clarity, tides selected, flowing creeks, abundance of baitfish, and the size and presence of barra all combine to ensure each year is different from any other.
Lots of anglers will have tested the Daly in recent days, hopefully finding a hotspot or two to fish during the Nationals.
Exactly how the river will fish will be revealed after the first full day of competition.
There’s just something about the competitive spirit of anglers, and the sheer weight of boat numbers, that takes the guesswork out of what’s on offer each year on the Daly.
Given that this year there are 70 teams competing, there won’t be too many secrets at the end of the first day of competition.
My understanding is that the runoff is over on the Daly; Elizabeth Creek, No Fish Creek and Clear Creek still have a bit of colour, but there’s not much else in the way of colour changes.
Water clarity should be good for the first couple of days coming off the neaps, but the tides will build quickly after that.
It’s not a bad scenario, and one that has been used in previous Barra Nationals: time the event so that increasing tides move more water up the river and hopefully more and bigger fish.
When it works, the last couple of days can see a Daly River fired up with big fish.
Let’s hope that happens this year.
A great change this year is the use of the Track My Fish app to record and send catches each day.
Another change is the ability to hang a treble off the tow point of a lure… barbless, of course.
One thing for sure is that a whole lot of people are going to have a whole lot of fun.
Each year the Palmerston club puts on a great show in the evenings, and the organisation is always amazing.
I reckon it’s terrific that our boat ramps are steadily being upgraded with CCTV cameras to help stop car vandalism.
The latest project – once again part of the Territory Government’s $50 million investment in recreational fishing infrastructure – has been the installation of CCTV at East Arm boat ramp.
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said recreational fishing is worth millions of dollars to the Territory economy and supports jobs across the NT.
“A 2010 government survey valued the industry at $80 million a year,” Mr Vowles said. “It is an important part of our Territory lifestyle and a big drawcard for visitors too.
“Investing in recreational fishing will improve fishing opportunities and support the jobs associated with the industry.
“After consultation with the fishing community through RFAC (Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee), last year we installed CCTV at Dinah Beach boat ramp.
“Fishos said East Arm was another trouble hotspot for damage to and theft from vehicles, so this was the next location to receive CCTV.”
“The cameras were installed by local company Security & Technology Services (NT) at a cost of $166,814.30.
“Knowing there are five cameras installed in the car park will give fishos peace of mind, making a great day out on the water even better,” Mr Vowles said.
Other projects completed in the $50 million investment in recreational fishing infrastructure include the $2.3 million Shady Camp boat ramp, toilets at Dinah Beach boat ramp, sealing Middle Arm boat ramp car park and upgrading a section of Corroboree Billabong access road.
1. Billy Exton’s first-ever barra measured 104cm and was caught on the Daly with Mousies Barra and Bluewater.
2. Daniel Hubert’s 102cm barra came from the recent Top End Barra Series round on the Daly River.
3. Always amongst the fish scales, Regis Martin bagged this one in the TEBS event.