Alex's Column 25/3/21

The Top End Barra Series (TEBS) has entered its eleventh year, and I understand there are many changes in store, along with continuation of important traditions.

According to TEBS co-ordinator, Regis Martin, the biggest change has been the stepping back by long-time TEBS stalwart, Ross Abraham (Rossco).

“For so many years Rossco has practically single-handedly managed the series, and he has been made a life member of the TEBS Association,” Regis said.

“A new Committee has been formed to carry the torch into the future. “We kicked off this year’s TEBS in the shadow of a virus-riddled 2020, with the first round being held last weekend at Shady Camp and Chambers Bay coastal creeks, including Wildman River,” Regis explained.

I understand that, due to the 2020 Shady Camp round being postponed because of social-distancing rules, last weekend’s event was also the final round for 2020, which means a result was obtained for the tumultuous 2020 year. “The fishing was not as good as some might have expected, but still there were three meterys caught over the weekend, and one competitor managed a bag of four fish in the 90s,” Regis said.

“Competitors were spread from Marsh Creek to the Wildman, a vast area, in the pursuit of one single goal: catching five of the biggest slabs of piscatorial chrome possible.

“As often is the case, some adventures unfolded: one competitor went all the way to Shady after forgetting to pick up a loaned propeller from another competitor; another fisho arrived on the water only to realise that his sounder was cooked but still managed to get on the board; someone gave a reef a bit of a touch-up with his boat; and one poor soul lost two very big fish due to snapped braid. “Most of the action was found away from the crowds, with several big fish accounted for at the Wildman; and we have it on good authority that most were caught on Reidy’s hard-bodies and vibes.” Regis said the results are not official yet and could be subject to changes, but 75 barramundi were caught, with five competitors filling their bag of five barra. The three metreys were: Michael Loughman’s 100cm fish, James Ballantyne’s 109cm barra and Kevin Bochow’s 114cm cracker. James Park, with barra measuring 67, 71, 75, 80 and 95cm, came third on the weekend. Phil Newton came second with fish measuring 76, 76, 79, 84 and 92cm.

The round winner was Tim Bolch with 90, 90, 91 and 93cm barra.

Tim said he caught all his fish with his favourite Reidy’s Big Ass 200, as it perfectly matched the bait at the mouth of Wildman River.

As far as results for the 2020 series are concerned, Regis explained that it is proving harder than finding the source of the virus to compile the scores in time for this week’s column, so we will bring these to you later.

The next TEBS round will be at the Daly River on 15-16 May.

Kevin Bochow competed with his son Simon in round one of the Top End Barra Series at Shady Camp and banged the biggest barra at 114cm.


James Ballantyne’s 109cm TEBS barra took a Reidy’s Big B52.