Alex's Column October 7th 2021

It was all happening last weekend: the NT Billfish Classic was held, the Top End Barra Series round four took place, the Top End Billfish Series round six took place as well, and the first SportsBet tagged barra in Million Dollar Fish Series 7 was recaptured.


I’ll be writing about the billfish comps next week as the results are hush hush until the presentation this weekend.

However, I can tell you there won’t be any surprises.

The Adelaide River estuary was the venue for the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) round four last weekend.

In the context of the weekend competition, the boundaries were from Jack Creek below Cape Hotham, to the western tip of Glyde Point, and then upstream on the Adelaide River to Castle Creek.

According to TEBS co-ordinator, Regis Martin, such a large expanse of water offered anglers the opportunity to join one of the famous TEBS raft-ups, or to fish in one of the many discrete creeks away from prying eyes.

“The barramundi were not fussy this round – hard bodies, soft plastics and vibes all worked to great effect,” Regis said.

“Most anglers were able to use their favourite technique, with fish succumbing to trolling, casting drains and vibing.

“A total of 77 barra were recorded, but many anglers reported catching a lot more than their five fish bag limit.

“Compared to the 41 from last year, this is a very nice increase and tends to prove that the fishing is getting better this year; plus the fish were in great condition, which is a good indicator of a very healthy system,” Regis explained.

“James Park came third in this TEBS round; he caught five barramundi measuring 63, 64, 66, 70 and 77cm, and used Reidy’s B52s, 15A Bombers and vibes.

“Dwight Shepherd came second with five fish measuring 67, 68, 70, 73 and 74cm; he used green Bombers and 4 inch Z-Man soft plastics.

“The winner was Kel Payne who fished solo and whose great bag of five fish included a terrific 105cm barra which was caught on a Fishing and Outdoor World counter-special small vibe,” Regis reported.

It was also Kel’s first metre-plus barra.

TEBS round five will be at Corroboree at the end of the month.

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My column last week was all about Million Dollar Fish Season 7 which kicked off last Friday.

I wrote: “If you want to have a shot tomorrow or over the weekend, I suggest you join the line-up at the old Daly River Crossing; you mightn’t catch one but you might see one get caught because more have come from the crossing than anywhere else.”

I was on the money there because at 11.00pm last Sunday night Reece Prior cast from the Daly River crossing and hooked a SportsBet tagged barra worth $10,000.

Reece was fishing with his mate – and fishing coach – Zenon Theodorou.

It was the only fish the pair caught that night, so how amazing is it that it was sporting a red tag?

SportsBet External Affairs Manager Brad Fanning said he was keen to see someonesnag the MillionDollar Fish.

“There are still 99 $10,000 fish swimming aroundout there, plus eight chancesto land the Million DollarFish,” he said.

“Across the course of the competition, we have now released a Million Dollar Fish in each of the five fishing regions: Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, Arnhem Land and Tiwi Islands.

“This is the greatestfishing comp in Australia, if not the world, and we’re hopingsomeone will reel in the big one during Season 7.”


Kel Payne’s 105cm Adelaide River barra ensured he was a comfortable winner of Top End Barra Series round four.