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ALex's Column 20/10/2022

Last weekend’s sixth and final round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) further validated the presence of quality barra in Corroboree Billabong.

It really is surprising that, for most of the dry season, it seemed the big lagoon was not holding barra of any quality.

However, as shown by the SWB Barra Challenge, the Corroboree Park Challenge and now the TEBS billabong round, there are some lovely barra to be caught at Corroboree.

In this final event, competitors were able to fish Corroboree, Rockhole, Hardies Lagoon, Mary River Bridge Lagoon and Shady Fresh, all of which form part of the Mary River system.

The competition ran from 6pm Friday until 6pm Sunday.

According to TEBS co-cordinator, Tim Bolch, the extra night compared to the other rounds is now a fixture of the billabongs round.

“Another thing that seems to have become a fixture of this round is the Saturday night storm,” Tim said.

“One angler who needed a bit of help was Stuart Rokahr who was yet to catch a single barra for the weekend and started to be a tad desperate.

“To add salt to the injury, he was witnessing Greg Shields land fish after fish just in front of him.

“In the end, Greg lent him one of his magic lures, and with it Stuart landed a beautiful 75cm barra.

“Another interesting story was from Nicholas Hall who at the boat ramp was approached by two tourists who had just had a sleepless night waiting for someone with a brag mat.

“Yes, they had caught one of those prized red tagged barra but needed to measure it before calling the regulators.

“Sadly, it turned out that the 70cm barra was from season 7,” Tim said.

It‘s interesting that there were more fish caught measuring 70-80cm than fish in the 50-60cm range.

All up there were 89 point-scoring barra caught, and more than half were 70cm or more, including three great fish in the 90s.

Old diehard barra angler, Greg Shields, came third in the billabong round with a great bag of 74, 74, 81, 83 and 85cm fish.

Greg had engine trouble and used his electric outboard the whole weekend; but still managed to catch some terrific Corroboree barra casting in daylight hours.

Ever-consistent Todd Arthur fished Shady Fresh and came second with a bag of fish measuring 78, 79, 80, 80 and 88cm.

He fished night and day, alternating between casting soft plastics and trolling small, hard-body lures.

Once again leaving his mark on TEBS 2022 was Jack Oswald who won the round with a bag of barramundi measuring 79, 79, 83, 86 and 94cm.

“Jack found a part of the billabong that was holding a good number of fish, and the old adage ‘never leave fish to find fish’ paid off for him,” Tim explained.

“Jack’s win helped him claim Champion Angler for the 2022 series with 914 points, which is amazing given it was his first year competing in the Top End Barra Series.

“In second place was the very consistent Simon Bochow who scored 828 points.

“In third place was TEBS Treasurer and barra whisperer Dwight Shepherd with 823 points,” Tim said.

This was the 12th year of the series and it just keeps going from strength to strength.

Congratulations to the organisers and all those faithful competitors who have helped make TEBS the success it is.


Jack Oswald’s 94cm barra helped him win both the final billabong round in the 2022 Top End Barra Series and the overall Champion Angler trophy as well.


Greg Shields overcame engine failure to catch some great barra in the Rockhole.


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