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Alex's Column 15/04/2022

If there’s one thing for certain it’s that the annual Great Northern Brewing Co Girls Gone Fishin’ competition held last week shows that the mighty Daly River is back fishing well again.

Held over three days from the delightful Banyan Farm Tourist Park venue, this was the first women’s barra fishing tournament for 2022.

It surprised the hell out of me to learn that 174 female anglers in 51 teams caught, measured and released a staggering 812 barra.

According to GGF tournament organiser, Sammie Wigg, this 7th event is the largest women’s barra comp in Australia.

“Day 1 saw over 270 fish landed, mostly fish between 40cm and 60cm,” Sammie said.

“This was particularly true of the champion team, Size Matters, which caught 52 fish on the first day, the biggest going 71cm.”

Right from the start of the tournament, quality barra were getting caught, with four fish in the 90s registered on the first day.

“Day 2 got off to a good start, with some more great fish in the 90s being caught,” Sammie explained.

“As the day wore on and the tide started pushing back up the river, the fishing turned on and Ashlea Beckett of team Reel Good Vibes landed a beautiful 100cm barra.

“Not even an hour later, her teammate, Loren Yallop, landed a 109cm horse. “With 10 minutes until lines in, Natalie Harrison of Team Nekit landed a 115cm fish which was the biggest overall barra of the comp,” Sammie said.

There were 311 fish landed on the second day, with another 231 barra landed on the final day of competition, including two more metre-plus fish:

team Full Tilt’s Shania Davidson’s 101cm fish and team Reel Good Vibes’ Kalee Dodd’s 106cm barra.

Girls Gone Fishin’ allows male skippers but encourages female-only teams.

“A huge congratulations to our Champion team, Size Matters – Emily Melville, Kirstie Fairchild and Melita McKinnon – who took out the top gong for the second year running,” Sammie said.

“Team Captain Emily Melville also took out Champion Angler.

“Special mention must made of our runner-up team, Reel Good Vibes – Ashlea Beckett, Loren Yallop and Kalee Dodd – as all three of them caught metreys, and they did this whilst skippering their own boat on one of the Territory’s most challenging rivers,” Sammie explained.

Champion team member, Melita McKinnon, told me that 137 of Size Matter’s fish were caught casting at creek mouths.

“Our biggest fish caught casting was Kirstie’s 75cm barra, and our biggest barra – the only one caught trolling – was Emily’s 82cm fish,” Melita explained.

“We were on the water by 4.30am each morning, ready to leave the boat ramp at 6.00am.

“Day 3 saw some heavy fog on the river which added 15 minutes to our trip downriver,” Melita said.

Sammie said: “This year’s GGF tournament was the most successful to date, not only in terms of the number and size of fish caught, but it had the most incredible vibe for the whole 3 days and 4 nights.

“Everyone was there for the right reasons, and were so incredibly supportive of each other when fish were caught and also when things didn’t go to plan. “The friendships and memories that come out of an event like Girls Gone Fishin’ will last a lifetime,” Sammie said.

Natalie Harrison with her monster 115cm barra which was the biggest fish of the Great Northern Brewing Co Girls Gone Fishin’ tournament.

Melita McKinnon, Emily Melville and Kirstie Fairchild in team Size Matters won the Girls Gone Fishin’ comp for the second year running.

Loren Yallop’s terrific 109cm barra was caught on the second day of competition.

Kaylee Dodd joined the Daly River metre club with this thick 106cm barra.


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