Plenty of diehard anglers hit the rivers over the Australia Day long weekend, but it seems most struggled to find fishable water, let along barra in it.
The exception was Jason Rogers, his wife Melita McKinnon and her son Josh McKenzie. They had planned to head out Kakadu way but heard there was no water out there.
That was certainly verified by the 4 people in the boat which got stuck on the falling tide up the top of the South Alligator River.
They spent all day and all night on the mud, mostly high and dry, before finally getting to the ramp at 5.30 the following morning.
On the other hand, Jason and his crew went down to the Daly River and fished Bamboo Creek land-based on the Saturday.
Apart from a couple of locals who came and left early, they had the iconic spot to themselves.
The river had risen to a perfect height for Bamboo, about one metre – and the barra were boofing.
“They were boofing and boofing, sometimes right at the end of the rod,” Jason told me. “I threw everything at them and nothing worked: soft plastics, little hard bodies and vibes.
“We caught a few rats on softies but I tried the B52; the medium one because I only had the two hooker.
“That did the job,” Jason said.
If you check out Jason’s video on his Jason Nat Rogers Facebook page, you’ll see how Jason was just slow rolling the Reidy’s B52.
He would just flick it out along the edge of the grassy bank and draw it along with his rod tip. “They were boofing on the edges, so that’s where I fished.
“Really, they were boofing everywhere: they were boofing on the snag piles; they were boofing on the other side of the river; they were boofing up the creek; they were boofing everywhere; it was really exciting.
“We had to crawl down the bank on our hands and knees, that’s how slippery it was,” Jason said.
“I suppose we caught 20 to 30 barra, but they were all rats until the big one came along. “I walked down a bit from the creek and cast back to it, bringing the lure down along the edge when it got smashed.
“The big fish surged out into the river with its back out of the water.
“It was an awesome sight, and it got out and danced across the surface once.
“I could see it was only just hooked on the side, so when it came in I just grabbed it by the lip and pulled it up,” Jason explained.
Jason took a measurement with a length of leader, and later he verified that it went 114cm… a beautiful barra in anyone’s language.
The next biggest barra caught on the day went 85cm.
The following Monday, the trio went back to Bamboo for another shot, but the Daly had risen another metre at the crossing.
“I took big stuff down but they weren’t biting.
“A couple of blokes were already there, and one had a 115cm barra on the bank. “It had been caught on live bait in the gills and it was bleeding everywhere.
“He wanted to let it go but the fish was gone,” Jason said.
“It was different to the Saturday: instead of boofing, they were jumping out the water hitting the bait… but they wouldn’t take lures.
“They were eating bony bream, and there were a few mullet there too,” Jason told me.
The neap tides starting this weekend might offer some opportunities at the Wiltshire creeks just inside the Adelaide River mouth.
There’s been some colour coming out of a few creeks there.
On the weather front, we certainly need much more rain, but the prediction is still that we’ll get an average or better wet season.
If that’s the case, then there’s whole lot more rain to come… fingers crossed.
It’s an early-season metrey for Jason Rogers with this terrific 114cm barra caught at the mouth of Bamboo Creek on a Reidy’s B52.
Josh McKenzie’s 85cm barra was his best in a great session land-based on the Daly River.
Melita McKinnon also got into the act, catching quality barra.