By all accounts, the first round of the 2022 Top End Barra Series (TEBS) was a great success.
I understand the decision was taken to change the venue from Shady Camp to the Daly River, and it paid off.
TEBS co-ordinator, Tim Bolch, reckoned the fish gods must have been looking down on the competitors.
“With the scare of a cyclone and the possibility of rising waters on the Daly River, everything still went to plan,” Tim said.
“Many anglers made the journey down on Friday and by 6am Saturday morning the small public boat ramp carpark was filled with empty trailers and high hopes.
“The river itself had dropped significantly but was still an easy river to navigate with caution.
“Over the weekend, fish were caught from Bamboo Creek all the way down to the mouth of the river, and all types of lures worked.
“Fish were mainly caught flicking, with a few fish falling to trolled hard-body lures as the tide came in,” Tim said.
This may well have been the best Daly River TEBS round in its more than 10-year history.
Only 42 barra were registered last year, and only one angler scored the maximum bag of five fish.
This year there were more than 150 barra registered by the 40-plus anglers, and 18 of those anglers bagged out with five fish.
The good reports don’t stop with just the fish numbers; there were also two metre-plus barra caught: Kirk Bartholdt-Green landed a magnificent 118cm barra and Todd Arthur caught a ripper 106cm fish.
Kirk was fishing feeder creeks and snags down from Browns Creek, and used 3” and 7” soft plastics.
“This was my first trip down to the Daly in four years,” he said.
“We only caught one fish on Saturday so we went snag bashing on Sunday.
“I tied on a 7” plastic to match the hatch and 15 minutes later I found myself connected to the biggest barramundi I had ever seen come out of the water.
“A 10-minute battle running around the boat saw this amazing fish in my net and it wasn’t until we had it in the boat that we realised the size of it.
“It was successfully released to fight another day,” Kirk said.
Todd Arthur’s 106cm barra came after an 800km round trip back to Darwin to get a new battery.
“We finally got on the water at 11:30am and made our way upstream to fish the run-out tide with the hope of a couple of easy scorers,” Todd explained.
“After a few catfish and sharks, I felt a ‘donk donk’ which turned into an epic run-and-jump show.
“I was only using my light gear – 10-20lb rod, 4000 size reel and 45lb Schneider leader – and there was a shark hot on the tail of my fish.
“It wasn’t until we netted it that we realised the shark had bitten most of the tail off,” Todd said.
Evan Dixon was top scorer in this first TEBS round of the year.
His was a great bag of barra measuring 69, 70, 94, 93 and 94cm.
Vice President Morris Pizzutto fished with Evan Dixon and came second with a healthy bag of 94, 93, 80, 75 and 60cm barra.
Kirk Bartholdt-Green came third thanks to his 118cm fish and another that measured 84cm.
Kirk Bartholdt-Green with his 118cm Daly monster from round one of the Top End Barra Series.
TEBS round one winner, Evan Dixon, with a 94cm barra, one of three that size that he caught.
Todd Arthur with the 106cm barra that sadly had its tail bitten off during the fight.