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Alex's Column 16/03/2023

By all accounts, round one of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) was off to a flying start.

Originally scheduled for the Daly, a rising river, potential road closures and safety concerns

prompted the TEBS committee to move the round to Shady Camp.

According to TEBS representative, Peter Curry, weather forecasts for Shady Camp were also

not particularly favourable, which saw a good number of anglers stay at home, or only fish

one day.

“The rain pounded down on Friday night and Saturday morning saw scattered showers,”

Peter said.

“Water was over the road on the Arnhem Highway in several places and the dirt road

section into Shady Camp was slow going, muddy, and with plenty of potholes.

“The persistent rain kept the rain jackets on all of Saturday, but fortunately most showers

were light and not long lasting.

“Early morning low tides usually bring a conga line of boats out the front of Sampan Creek;

however, with the strong westerly winds and swell, trolling out the front proved very

difficult, so most of the fishing was within Sampan Creek,” Peter explained.

“Bite windows were short with the bigger tides, with large back eddies forming on the

outgoing tide holding barra, and those who saw the development were rewarded with some

solid fish,” Peter reported.

Given the weather, it was a tough weekend at Shady, yet 34 anglers entered scoring fish,

including 10 with a full bag of five fish.

Last year’s overall TEBS winner, Jack Oswald, fished with Ben Banks and carried his form into

the new season, catching some splendid barra and scoring more than 2000 points which is a

new TEBS record for a single round.

In the process, on what was literally his very last cast on Sunday afternoon, he caught a

whopping 114cm barra which was the biggest for the round.

Peter said: “Tristan Christie and Amelia Byers had a great weekend at Tommycut, boating

over 30 fish between them.

“Dwight Shepherd also had a good weekend with a full bag of fish, including his new PB

110cm barra.

“Lachlan Markey also put in a solid weekend, achieving his full bag late on Sunday

afternoon, while Tim Bolch and Craig Latimore braved the conditions and ventured to the

Wildman for the weekend.

“The pair also encountered a crocodile which was a little too friendly, but returned with lots

of scoring fish for the weekend.

“Camping conditions were probably best described as miserable for anyone not set up

properly, with high winds and heavy rain making finding the right location to camp quite

tricky,” Peter explained.

“Anchor management also proved tricky, plus floating logs bumping into boat hulls during

the night probably kept a few on high alert.

“TEBS competitors’ spirit of decency, good will and fair play was common in many of the

weekend’s experiences; we all need to be mindful that this is a family-friendly competition

and promote those values whenever possible,” Peter said.

The next round is back at Shady Camp this weekend.

With barra like this 114cm fish, Jack Oswald was a convincing winner in round one of

the Top End Barra Series at Shady Camp.

Dwight Shepherd achieved a PB with this 110cm barra he caught in the TEBS


Tristan Christie’s 95cm was just one of many high-scoring barra caught in the TEBS

competition at Shady Camp.


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