The Daly River has certainly had its share of boat traffic this year.
First there was the Girls Gone Fishing competition, then the NT Barra Classic, then the NT Barra Nationals and last weekend round two of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS).
I was most interested to hear how the TEBS anglers went, given the other competitions had finally produced some barra, although most were juveniles.
According to Regis Martin, one of the TEBS co-ordinators, it was pretty damn cold during the night and the early morning.
That alone would have slowed the fish down, but I suspect there may have also been tidal issues as the round was held just after some big spring tides and before the next neaps, thus water clarity would have been down.
“The competitors were eager to get on the water and try their luck and skills in what was to become a weekend of difficult fishing,” Regis said.
“I do not know if it was due to a cold snap in the weather, or a month of intense fishing due to three big comps taking place just before the Top End Barra Series descended on the river, but the bigger barra were shy.
“The small fish on the other hand were fat and keen to eat whatever swam past their noses.
“They may have a mice plague down south, but we had a rats plague on the Daly,” Regis joked.
“At one stage, Craig Grose invited my skipper, Mark Grosser, and I to join him flicking lures at the mouth of No Fish Creek, where we experienced double and even triple hook-ups. “Alas, the biggest one was just under 51cm.
“This bodes well for next year, as all the fish will be bigger.”
Regis explained: “To give you an idea of how the fishing was, last year in the Daly round, competitors recorded 81 eligible barramundi; this year, at time of writing, only 42 fish have been recorded.
“Last year, six anglers had a full bag of five point-scoring fish; this year only one competitor managed to get a full bag.
“Come Saturday evening, the river started to fill with the smells of on-board chefs practising their culinary mastery.
“With odours of sizzling sausages and even roast pork filling the air, and the laughter becoming louder and louder at the raft-up in front of No Fish Creek, it certainly had the feel of a very social competition,” Regis said.
Evan Dixon had both bad luck and good luck: he lost a barra in the 90s due to a repairing broken hand, but four casts later he hooked and landed an 88cm fish which finished up being the biggest of the round.
Dwight Shepherd was the winner of this round with the only bag of five fish – measuring 54, 65, 66, 68 and 83cm.
Michael Henderson was second with four fish – measuring 55, 62, 72 and 72 cm.
Cameron Kahl was third with three barra at 65, 72 and 72 cm.
The next TEBS round will be in August at Bynoe Harbour.
James Park with a scorer in the Daly comp.
Michael Henderson with one of his three point-scoring barra.
Evan Dixon’s 88cm barra was the biggest fish in round 2 of the Top End Barra Series.