FISHING With Alex Julius
The Top End Barra Series (TEBS) is nearing its end for the year following the penultimate round held on Darwin Harbour late last month.
According to TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham, the harbour round is usually a challenging event to organise.
“Co-ordinating the better tides with an appropriate weekend in the latter part of the year does not work for some competitors and this year was no different as the weekend event clashed with the NRL and AFL grand finals,” Rossco explained.
“This may have meant that competitor numbers were down over the two days as only 20 anglers registered one or more fish.
“The other factor that cannot be planned for is the wind – the few days preceding the round saw the wind slowly increasing, and some popular harbour areas became virtually impossible to fish as a result.
“Wind, chop and dirty water are not conducive to fishing the flats and gutters; however, those who fish the harbour on a regular basis know where to seek out calmer conditions.
“I saw photos that clearly indicated wet travel for the few who ventured up Middle Arm and had made their way back in the late afternoon,” Rossco said.
Regis Martin fished with Mark Grosser over the weekend and had mixed success.
“Our first call was Reichardt Creek, which we had to ourselves.
“Although there was little evidence of feeding fish, I managed to catch a tagged barra.
“Unfortunately, the tag was not a Million Dollar Fish tag but an AFANT tag, and we found out the fish was tagged in the same creek two years before and had grown 19cm in length,” Regis reported.
The general consensus was that the windy conditions resulted in 50 per cent less numbers of barra recorded over 50cm compared to each of the previous 3 years.
However, some beaut barra were captured, including a double hook-up of a 77cm and an 84cm barra by Clayton Archbold and his fishing mate.
Clayton also reported quite a few fish in the 50-55cm range as well, but let them go because he didn’t realise that TEBS scoring length starts at 50cm, as long as fish are released.
Rossco said: “The bigger tidal movements combined with the wind saw a few boats get stuck on the flats across the low tides.
“Sometimes people get so focused casting that they forget to keep an eye on the dropping tide; even using electric motors, you can struggle in windy conditions.
“Lures of choice were soft plastics and vibes worked slowly in the gutters and flats, while the smaller shallow-running hard bodies also worked well,” Rossco said.
“Peter Cooper caught the biggest barra at 85cm, closely followed by Clayton Archbold’s 84cm fish,” Rossco reported.
The TEBS round 5 winner was Sonia Barnes, followed by Peter Cooper and Simon Bochow.
TEBS round 6 is on 20-21 October on the lower Adelaide River and surrounding estuary systems.
It’s a shame that it clashes with the Corroboree Park Challenge, but at least the fishing areas are different.
The third annual Gone Fishing Day will be held Australia-wide this Sunday.
Over 5 million Aussies go fishing, and the national industry employs 90,000 people and generates $10 billion each year.
Per capita, the Northern Territory is a huge contributor to these figures, and each year AFANT co-ordinates the NT’s own Gone Fishing Day as part of the national event.
This Sunday, 100 kids have already signed up to have a fish in the Darwin Waterfront lagoon between 9.00am and 12 noon.
AFANT executive officer, David Ciaravolo, said: “AFANT is thrilled the NT Government and Darwin Waterfront are supporting our Gone Fishing Day celebrations.
“Gone Fishing Day is the national day to celebrate all the health, lifestyle and economic benefits of recreational fishing.
“If you’re not joining us at the Waterfront, we hope you’re out wetting a line somewhere in the Top End.
“Everyone can join in the celebrations and competitions by posting to social media using the #ilovefishingNT and #gonefishingday hashtags,” David explained.
AFANT is one of three organisations to receive funding to hold community fishing events through the Territory Government’s new Recreational Fishing Grants Scheme; the others are Darwin Game Fishing Club for its Junior Fun Day and Clinic and the Palmerston Game Fishing Club for its Junior Angler Clinic and Buddy Boats Day.
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said: “The Recreational Fishing Grants Scheme is promoting the sector through a range of initiatives such as these community events held by Territory fishing organisations.
“Eligible organisations can apply for small grants up to $15,000, or large grants up to $100,000,” Mr Vowles said.
Why aren’t there any Million Dollar Fish tagged barra being caught?
Actually, three have been caught but they were all captured before Season Four began: one at Corroboree Billabong in August; one in Hardies Lagoon; and one in the Daly River early in September.
Two tagged barra from Season Three were also caught: one in Buffalo Creek and the other in the Katherine River.
The message is to keep trying because there are several million dollars of silver, scaly fish swimming around popular fishing spots.
1. At 84cm, this was a great Darwin Harbour barra to catch by Clayton Archbold in round 3 of the Top End Barra Series.
2. Mark Grosser’s TEBS Darwin Harbour barra was typical of those encountered.
3. Regis Martin caught an AFANT tagged barra in the TEBS competition.