By all accounts, the recent Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Tournament was a great success in terms of fish numbers but perhaps not up to its usual standard in terms of quality fish.
Held on the delightful Corroboree Billabong, and hosted by the Darwin Flyrodders Club, once again competitors enjoyed the friendly hospitality of Corroboree Park Tavern and staff.
Freshwater Fly Fishing Tournament founder, Roger Sinclair, competed over the weekend.
He told me: “30 anglers in 15 teams of 2 anglers sought the coveted Champion Team ‘Saratoga on a Stick’ trophy over one and a half days fly fishing on the May Day weekend.
“Leading up to the competition, the whole billabong was alive with tarpon and it was difficult to get a lure or fly in the water for very long without one of these silver bullets jumping on.
“So it proved in the competition where tarpon dominated the scores with a total of 1039 recorded,” Roger said.
“Small saratoga were plentiful with a few large models about; the biggest was a nice 66cm fish landed by John Murden.
“A total of 386 saratoga were caught and released during the tournament. “Barra were scarce, no doubt following on from another poor wet season with only 8 landed,” Roger reported.
Peter Cooke scored 3918 points to win Champion Angler.
He was closely followed by teammate Richard Carter on 3710 points.
Shane McCarthy was not far behind on 3562 points for third place.
Not surprisingly, Peter and Richard in Team Draggin’ Flies won the Toga on a Stick.
Shane and his partner Robin Gless in Team Two Casts came second.
Justin Dwyer and Roger Sinclair in the aptly-named Master and Apprentice team sneaked in for third place.
Michelle Slow was awarded the most meritorious prize for her first-ever barra on fly: a credible 54cm fish.
Roger recorded the largest barra with a well-conditioned 65cm model.
“The Darwin Flyrodders committee did a great job organising the competition, ensuring it was a smoothly-run operation from start to finish,” Roger said.
Darwin Flyrodders meet on the last Wednesday each month at the Palmerston Game Fishing Club premises and can be contacted via their website www.darwinflyrodders.org.au or on Facebook.
The tides are crawling towards their neap phase this weekend which augurs well for some offshore bluewater fishing.
If the winds are up, and Spanish mackerel is on your mind, you might find comfort in the lee shore of Lee Point.
Some truly-huge macs have been caught off Lee Point over the years.
Consider a sparrows start on either Saturday or Sunday, and fish for macs up to and through the mid-morning high tide.
You can troll for them with big lures like the Bluewater Sauri which macs just love, or you can burley and float ganged pilchards out the back of your boat.
And don’t be surprised if a school of longtail tuna bobs up.
Peter Cooke with one of several Saratoga that helped him win Champion Angler in the Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Tournament.
Tracy Byron with one of the few barramundi caught in the recent Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Tournament.