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FISHING With Alex Julius

Competitors in the fourth round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) were in luck last weekend thanks to light winds and terrific weather.
According to TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham, the good weather allowed people to travel right through the expansive Bynoe Harbour where the round was held.
“Competitors focused mainly around the lower sides of the tide, as this is the best time to target the barra on the flats and gutters,” Rossco said.
“The lack of wind meant that water clarity in most places was perfect; too perfect in some instances as the barra were quite flighty.
“The light winds were also a bonus for those of us using fly gear.
“Fishing can be frustrating at times, particularly when you see a fish follow your lure toward the boat and then inexplicably turn at the last second and scoot off back into a shady spot along the bank. “There were reports of barra schooling like mullet and I was sent some sounder screen shots confirming a similar story.
“Unfortunately, seeing is not catching and it gets a bit frustrating trying to determine what lure might change the barras’ mood; when a bite was activated, it was often soft and many fish were lost on the first jump,” Rossco explained.
Competitor Dwight Shepherd said: “We were lucky enough to see and hook many fish over 75cm for the round; however, we landed only a few of the fish hooked.
“If we were to utilise the billfish method of reporting the day’s fishing, it would be 23 (raised/seen)/15 (hooked)/3 (landed).
“One fish that swam at the boat was well over the metre and had no intention of eating the lure dragged past her nose.
“We had another 80cm-plus model free jump out of the water at eye level, and only missing the motor on the way back in by a few centimetres,” Dwight said.
It seems Craig Latimore and Jack Feeney made the most of Jack’s aptly named ‘barra tower’ on the flats.
Rossco explained: “Looking more at home being utilised for renovations, Jack’s ladder on the cast deck proved a more than useful fishing tool in spotting cruising barra.
“Lats eventually nailed some cracker fish that pinned him first place for the round.
“Jack also placed well but obviously didn’t get much of a look in from the tower,” Rossco said.
Craig Latimore reckoned he had the the best weekend smashing some chromed barra.
“The barra tower is awesome… thank goodness Jack was watching the side scan and saw a great school of barra,” Craig said.
There were two species nominated for bycatch prizes during the Bynoe round: mangrove jack and blue salmon.
However, competitors also engaged some nice queenfish, trevally species and a variety of different cod species.
“A lot of these species came about on the push up to the high tide when the water was a deep blue/green and well into the mangroves,” Rossco reported.
“Trolling and casting into the mangroves where baitfish were hiding was the focus.
“The nature of TEBS is about challenging anglers to fish in new areas or places they rarely visit.
“The traditional raft-ups throughout the weekend provided time to share secrets and ideas, and to learn from each other,” Rossco explained
This year there were less barra caught in Bynoe compared to previous years: 78 over 50cm in total.
Most fish were in the 60-90cm range which is a great result given the tough fishing experienced by many.
Craig Latimore was a convincing winner, followed by Alex Felsch and Kel Shipp.
Apparently Kel travelled over 200km during the weekend.
The top junior was Charli Syme, followed closely by Tom Grose.
The next TEBS round will be in Darwin Harbour over the last weekend of September.
“At this stage of the competition, the top five competitors are looking pretty unstoppable, and the competition is set for a thrilling finish,” Rossco told me.

craig laitmores barra
1.    Craig Latimore and the Reidy’s B52 were a deadly combination in the fourth round of the Top End Barra Series; Craig was a convincing winner, thanks in part to this ripper 90cm barra.

anthony dent barra
2.    Anthony Dent’s 76cm barra was well above the average for Bynoe Harbour in the TEBS competition.

matt guinane
3.    Matt Guinane with a typical Bynoe barra – barely legal but a point-scorer just the same.

tim bolch
4.    Tim Bolch with one of the better fish from the TEBS Bynoe round.

tom grose
5.    Junior angler, Tom Grose, with his silver barra caught off the flats.

james ballantynes mangrove jack
6.    James Ballantyne’s mangrove jack was a welcome Bynoe bycatch.