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Alex's Column 7 June 2024

There’s no doubt that those anglers who have a good handle on using forward-facing-sonar are catching more bigger barra than ever before.

That was certainly the case during the third round of the Top End Barra Series which was held at Bynoe Harbour.

The tidal range was more than 6m overnight and that apparently created lots of opportunities.

One angler who regularly appears around the top of the TEBS leader board during competition rounds is Peter “Cuddles” Cooper.

Cuddles reckoned: “The fickle waters of Bynoe Harbour were good from the first spot to the last spot on the Sunday afternoon”.

“The tech advances of Active Imaging have opened a lot of places where I always suspected better size fish to be.

“Now every cast goes in front of them.

“Going on the theory that big barra will always have big barra traits gave me clues as to where to locate them,” Peter said.

This third TEBS round saw an extension of the boundaries to include more regions for competitors to explore.

As always, prevailing winds governed where anglers could fish; the beauty of Bynoe Harbour is that there are many places with a lee shore.

According to TEBS co-ordinator, Tim Bolch, water temperatures were average for this time of the year which made chasing barra that little bit more challenging.

“A few anglers took advantage of the big night-time lows and were rewarded for their efforts,” Tim reported.

“There were 67 barramundi caught for the round with Cuddles catching the biggest at 88cm.

“This year, only three competitors reached the bag limit of five fish and, as with previous years, sizes were mainly on par with what appears to be a nursery playground for the barramundi.

“Craig ‘Lats’ Latimore explained how every drain and flat held barra in significant numbers, and fishing solo on Sunday he found bulk barra with perfect ladder-sight-casting conditions enabling him to average around 30 fish per day and get his bag of five fish, all in the high 50s,” Tim said.

“It appears there were plenty of ‘handbags’ around Turnbull Bay and many anglers reported very friendly interaction with the locals who were keen to take advantage of a hooked barra for a quick feed.

“Good anglers are those who react to the conditions and it appears that a change of tactics was employed by Cuddles Cooper.

“Fishing open water ledges and pressure points was key this weekend to finding good-size barra, including his 88cm,” Tim explained.

Luke Conlan caught an impressive 85cm barra in the TEBS Bynoe round.

“Fishing was hard and even more so when my deckie was asleep when I hooked the 85cm fish,” Luke said.

“I had to yell at him to get up and net the big girl.”

Luke used soft plastics in shallow waters adjacent to snake drains.


First place went to Peter Cooper with barra measuring 75, 79, 82, 85 and 88cm.

Second place went to Luke Conlan with barra measuring 56, 71 and 85cm.

Third place went to John Keirs Junior with barra measuring 53, 57, 58, 60 and 76cm.

Darwin Harbour is the venue for TEBS round four in a couple of months.


Luke Conlan’s 85cm barra helped him win second place in the Top End Barra Series Bynoe Harbour round.

Clayton Archibold is rarely away from fish in TEBS competitions.

Sandie Dean got stuck into the mangrove jack in Bynoe Harbour.

Peter “Cuddles” Cooper fished solo to win the TEBS round, catching some beaut barra like this 88cm fish.


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