The recent full moon certainly didn’t dampen the quality of fishing in the sixth
and final round of the 2023 Top End Barra Series (TEBS).
This final round is always held over two nights and days on the billabongs along
the Mary River system: Bridge Lagoon, Hardies Lagoon, Corroboree Billabong
and Shady Fresh.
According to Morris Pizzutto from TEBS, fishing was pretty much restricted to
the nights or very early or late in the day because fishing the days this time of
year requires a higher level of insanity than even this group can muster.
“The nights on the billabongs were very pleasant with even the mosquitoes
“The fight for series winner came down to a two-horse race between Jack
Oswald and Peter “Cuddles” Cooper.
“For only the second time this series, neither Peter nor Jack stood atop the
“Cuddles had us going for a second there, claiming a bag of meteries but, in
hindsight, this was clearly just his dreams at play,” Morris joked.
“But, if someone was to do something as crazy as this, it would probably be
“When he did come clean on his score, he still managed a very respectable bag
for 985 points which ‘only’ earned a fourth place.
“The top 3 anglers for the round all scored over 1000 points. Exceptional
results for the billabongs.
“In this final round, first place went to Jason Gerdes who has fished TEBS for
several years without ever winning,” Morris explained.
Jason said: “It all came together for once.
“I was fishing with Kai Robb who knows Corroboree well,” Jason said.
He reckoned Kai’s knowledge helped put him onto fish.
“On Friday night, we stayed in Corroboree and found some fish near the top
cutting once the boat traffic had quietened down,” he explained.
“On Saturday afternoon, we had a look in the Rock Hole and found big barra on
the Live Scope that at first wouldn’t eat.
“Luckily, they came on during the night and I was able to bag my better fish.
“It was a matter of casting mostly 9 inch Irukandji Sicario or Tiger Lily 16A
Bombers for the hits,” he said.
Jason ended up with a 90, 87, 86, 79 and 79cm barra for a great billabong bag
on 1205 points.
As is typical with live sonar fishing, just because you see them doesn’t mean
they are going to bite.
Jason said: “We had chances for only about 20 minutes every few hours and
we were regularly watching big fish following all the way to the boat, right
behind the lures but refusing to hit them.”
In third place was Ben Vidgen with a bag of 88, 83, 79, 78 and 76cm for 1040
Morris said: “Ben fished Mary Bridge Lagoon with Matthew Bolitho who also
“The bigger fish came on the Friday night and followed up with less action on
the Saturday night, even though they probably saw more fish on the live sonar
on Saturday night.”
Ever-consistent Jack Oswald placed second, confirming him as the overall 2023
Jack fished Corroboree with Ben Banks, and also reported finicky fish which
would only bite in short windows.
“Usually tarpon would appear, followed soon after by barra,” Jack explained.
“I did a pre-fish earlier in the week and the fish were on big time.
“In fact, I was trying to not put the hook in fish before the comp and was trying
to rip the lure out of their way but I kept hooking up.”
Jack finished with a bag of 87, 84, 81, 79 and 75cm.
Second behind Jack in the 1023 placings was Peter Cooper, with Dwight
Shepherd coming in third.
Jason Gerdes finally won a round of the Top End Barra Series with a
great catch at Corroboree Billabong.
Jack Oswald came second in the sixth and final round, which assured him
of an overall win for the 2023 series.