Alex's Column 1st September 2021

The third round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) escaped the clutches of the recent three-day Darwin lockdown by less than two days.

This round was held at Bynoe Harbour, always a popular venue for competitors, but it was touch and go.

According to TEBS co-ordinator, Regis Martin: “We were once again impacted by the dreaded virus as the Top End was thrown into a snap lockdown.

“With the uncertainty around the lockdown and the lifting of restrictions, nobody was sure that the round would be able to take place.

“Thankfully, the stars aligned beautifully and, with minimal Covid restrictions, the event was able to go ahead,” Regis said.

“The tides for the competition should have been the perfect to fish the mud flats and mangrove edges.

“Alas, the water clarity was not the same everywhere; some found the clean water and success, while others had to blindly cast into muddy water, with a much lower success rate.

“One of the notable mentions for the weekend was when Tim Bolch hooked a sizeable barra which proceeded to make short work of a brand new rod as it broke on the strike; to add insult to injury, on the following jump, the big girl pulled the rear treble straight out of the lure,” Regis said.

Only 42 barramundi over the competition minimum size of 50cm were recorded this year; last year there were 72 barra.

“Many anglers reported large schools of fish holding in the system but were not able to entice a bite,” Regis reported.

“There were good numbers of other species caught: blue and threadfin salmon, grunter, goldies, jacks, trevally and queenies,” Regis said.

Even though the catch rate was low, five anglers still managed a full bag of five scoring fish, with the biggest a 77cm fish caught by Tim Bolch.

The winner of this round was Dwight Shepherd with five barra measuring 56, 62, 72, 73 and 75cm.

John Keirs was second with 55, 65, 65 70 and 74cm barra.

Cameron Kahl was third with barra measuring 57, 65, 68, 69 and 71cm.

Dwight said he fished in Turnbull Bay, focusing on feeder creeks and mangrove edges on the dropping tide, while also sight casting small soft plastics to barra on the flats.

The next TEBS round will be held on the Adelaide estuary in early October.

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In case you missed it, registrations are now open for season seven of Million Dollar Fish which will run from 1 October to 31 March next year.

I understand the MDF tagging team are out on the water frantically tagging barra at many locations.

The pool of prize money is underwritten by SportsBet, with eight $1 million fish swimming around Top End waterways, including the recently-released season seven Million Dollar Fish.

SportsBet External Affairs Manager Brad Fanning said: “Registering for Million Dollar Fish is quick, easy and free – aside from having the chance to become a millionaire, you’ll also go into the draw to win great prizes each month as part of the Lucky Prize Pool.”

Once again, there will also be 100 red-tagged barra up for grabs; each worth $10,000.

To register for free or find out more, head to www.milliondollarfish.com.au.


James and Molly Park with one of their barra from round three of the Top End Barra Series.

Regis Martin and his TEBS barra caught just after the recent lockdown.


Clayton Archbold got among the action in the Bynoe Harbour TEBS round.