With 309 barramundi, 415 saratoga, 115 catfish and a staggering 1041 tarpon caught by 18 teams of two in last weekend’s Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open, there must have been a lot of long, bent rods over the two days. Hosted by Darwin Flyrodders from the usual Corroboree Park Tavern venue, and held on Corroboree Billabong, this was one of the most-successful events in the 26 year history of the Freshwater Fly Fishing Open. According to President, Matt Hayne, everyone caught tarpon and saratoga. “The Champion Team of Tony O’Malley and Jenny Hill in Team Flygellation fished mainly in the stretch from the boat ramp to past the first cutting,” Matt told me. “They were confident every cast would produce a fish and they jumped the field on the first day. “It was interesting how the fish behaved. “We found a good bank in the main channel with heaps of ’toga, but the wind made it very difficult to cast flies. “The wind would send ripples through the lilies, flipping insects into the water, and the ‘togas would pounce on them. “We caught half a dozen there, but the wind finally beat us,” Matt told me. Apparently, in places the barra were hard up against the bank and, when a boat went past putting waves through the small patches of lilies, they would start “boofing” as they ate the rainbow fish that were pushed out from under. “We had some interstaters in the field who had a ball catching fish on fly. “The biggest barra was caught by a young fella, Drew Blair, and the good thing is that it was his very first barra on fly. “Corroboree Park Tavern put on a great feed for the presentation, and we gave away over $18,000 in prizes so everyone walked away with something,” Matt said. Multiple-fly-comp winner, Roger Sinclair, took out the Champion Angler trophy. He told me his team concentrated on the Rock Hole the first morning for a poor return so they moved to Black Fella Island which was not as wind affected. “We came across tarpon rolling on the surface everywhere, so we attacked them for some quick points,” Roger said. “I tried casting to the banks in the same area and straight away we were catching small ‘togas. “I’ve never seen so many tiny saratoga, so they must have bred up after the big wet season. “The fact there were far less lilies than in recent years made the fish more accessible,” Roger told me. “We spent the rest of the day around Black Fella Island. “On the start of the second day, we were sitting in seventh position and we decided to target barra after several teams reported catching plenty of juvenile ones. “We went down to Catfish Island and found barra along the weedbeds,” Roger said. “At one point, it was a fish a cast and we managed 35 little barra by 9 o’clock when the wind got up and they shut down. “Our next decision was easy and we went looking for tarpon,” Roger explained. Tarpon are worth half the points of barra and saratoga, but no team had a chance of winning if it ignored them. Roger and his Master & Apprentice team mate, Justin Dwyer, mixed tarpon with saratoga, and came third overall. Team Territory Towel-Ups (Glenn Hubble and Quinton Pope) were runner-up champion team, and Quinton was runner-up champion angler. PHOTOS: Roger Sinclair with one of many saratoga that helped him win Champion Angler in the Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open.
Tony O’Malley and Jenny Hill won Champion Team in the fly fishing competition.
Justin Dwyer’s fly-caught saratoga was a good point-scorer.
Drew Blair, pictured with Matt Hayne, not only caught the biggest barra at 52cm but it was also his first ever barra on fly.
The diminutive but aggressive spangled perch appears to be a new addition to Corroboree Billabong following the big wet season.