Perhaps the most-surprising thing about last weekend’s Darwin Harbour round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) was that no one caught a red-tagged barra.
We know they’re in those sweeping harbour arms, but a lot of boats and a lot of anglers failed to catch one.
According to one of the TEBS co-ordinators, Regis Martin, it was stinking hot most of the weekend. “The harbour being a rather large expanse of water with copious mangrove habitats saw competitors fairly distant from one another during this round,” Regis said.
“For most, fish were either non-existent or as rare as hen’s teeth.
“There were also the all-too-familiar tales of dropsies, for those who managed to find fish but couldn’t stay connected.
“Many fishing styles and lures were used by competitors throughout the tropical roasting they endured.
“Lures ranged from local and exotic hard-bodies to all kinds of soft and wiggly plastics.
“It is interesting to note that all the fish in the bags of the first three place-getters all fell victim to soft plastics,” Regis reported.
“One angler who snared a decent fish on a hard body lure, however, was James Mitchell
“James had sounded up a nice school of barramundi, and decided to troll a Reidy’s Junior B52 in the Kryptonite colour to target these desired fish.
“The hit was brutal and without mercy, and resulted in an 8kg fish, but alas it wasn’t a barra; it was a nice fat trevally, measuring 70cm to the fork.
“To add injury to the wound, James broke his trusted G-Loomis GLX while netting the beast solo. “Another great catch on a hard-body lure was a thumper of a golden snapper caught by Mark Grosser.
“Like most years, the harbour once again provided lots of different species to keep anglers entertained.
“In third place in this TEBS round was Craig Latimore who bagged four barramundi: 62, 63, 67 and 69cm.
“Craig also caught a couple of blue bones and a coral trout.
“Craig fished in Middle Arm and once again employed a ladder platform to provide a visual height advantage.
“Simon Bochow successfully filled his bag of five fish – 56, 60, 63, 72 and 80cm – to claim second place in the round.
“Simon caught all his fish on soft plastics with many of them captured land-based near the wharf… his 80cm silver barra was the biggest fish captured for the round,” Regis told me.
“The ever-consistent Peter Cooper had another full bag of 65, 65, 66, 70 and 70cm fish, and he too hooked all his barra on soft plastics, mostly in West Arm.
“It was interesting that the three place holders caught their fish in three very different Darwin Harbour locations,” Regis observed.
There is only one round left in this 10th anniversary of the Top End Barra Series: Shady Camp.
It will be interesting to see how competitors go at this late stage of the year.
If you’re thinking about a shot at some Kakadu barra, make sure you allow for some night fishing.
I was out at Yellow Water and Home Billabong late last week and, although we had some fun on small barra and saratoga, Colin Burdon from Reidy’s Lures told me his group did very well at night.
That’s not really a surprise, as Yellow Water Lagoon in particular always fishes well at night at this time of year.
It’s only a small Kakadu barra, but it brought joy to Kerrie-Lee Cameon and Roxy Woolley.