There’ve been some nice big barra caught around the traps of late. The biggest was a strapping, beautifully-conditioned 120cm fish which gave its captor, talented Darwin angler Stewie Martin, a hell of a tussle. “I was with my mates Rolf Hallenstein and Darren Warway, trolling a Classic 160 3+ inside a small creek near the mouth of the South Alligator on the first of the incoming.” Stewie told me. “There was bait everywhere, mainly popeye mullet coming in with the tide. “The water was very murky but there were fish marking on the sounder, and we heard a few ‘boofs’ which really had us focused. “About the third troll into the tide, I had a solid hit and I knew straight away it was a big barra. “The boys wound in quickly but the immediate concern was a barnacle-encrusted snag behind the boat near the fish. “I had to lock both thumbs on the spool to keep the fish away from the snag and then it did one of those big, head-shaking, half-out-of-the-water jumps,” Stewie said. “The fight was real heart-in-mouth stuff, but we managed to get the boat to the other side of the creek, away from the snag, and I fought it to the boat. “It actually went under the boat so I thrust the rod into the water almost to the reel, and then it jumped on the other side of the boat. “This was right in front of the boys and they were absolutely losing it – I mean, it had a head on it like a 20L bucket. “Luckily the braid didn’t touch the bottom of the boat or the outboard leg. “It didn’t last long after that; just a few turns near the boat before we could get the Boga Grip on its bottom jaw. “It was high fives all round then, but we did the right thing and kept the fish’s head in the water until the brag mat was laid out, the pliers were ready to get the hooks out and the camera was also ready to go. “With a big fish like that, it was important to give it a good rest in the water before measuring and taking photos,” Stewie said. “When everything was ready, we all got down and cradled it into the boat and onto the brag mat. “It was really heavy and they would have heard the whooping back at the Aurora pub I reckon. “I caught a 127cm barra at Tommycut a few years ago and this fish had to be just as heavy,” Stewie told me. Stewie said he had to swim the fish with the boat to get it really going. “I was a bit worried because earlier we’d seen a decent-sized croc and there was a lot of noise during the fight, but it must have moved up the creek with the tide. It was great to see the big girl swim away beautifully,” Stewie explained. Congratulations to Stewie on a great fish capture, and also for the way he managed the release. Dee Cox also caught a metrey down the South Alligator late last week. Dee was visiting from Townsville and fished with Jeremy Baxter, Brent Matthews and Karl Hell. Over two days, they caught nine barra and the lads were doing better than Dee. “I was the only female aboard and I wanted to hold my own,” Dee told me. “We were trolling on the second day down at the mouth and that’s when my big one jumped on. “Its big head and shoulders came out of the water and my knees were shaking because I’d never caught a metrey before. “The pressure was on for skipper Jeremy to net it and he did a great job,” Dee said. The big barra measured 101cm and was released quickly to swim away strongly. “The boys were all jealous,” Dee said. “I was jumping around and hugging everyone but Jez had never caught a metrey and all he did was curl his lips,” Dee joked. Congratulations Dee on a great milestone. …………………………………………….. The tides are great this weekend for Bynoe Harbour and, according to Fishing and Outdoor World’s Ron Voukolos, barra have been on the chew in Bynoe. “One of our customers has been catching barra up to 90cm on the flats in Bynoe,” Ron said. “The Finniss River mouth has also been fishing well for both barra and salmon, and there’ve been some 90s caught in King Creek. “On the bluewater, the Vernons went ballistic on the neaps for mackerel, and there’ve been stacks of jewfish around. “They went off at Cape Hotham,” Ron told me. PHOTOS: Stewie Martin’s thick-set 120cm South Alligator barra nailed his Classic 160 lure trolled through schools of popeye mullet against the incoming tide.
Dee Cox’s 101cm barra also came from the lower South Alligator River – a great fish which is her first metrey.
Steve Shervill’s 106cm barra came from a remote western Arnhem Land creek.