The only real expectation for this year’s Aurora Kakadu Klash was that the fishing would be tough. After all, we’ve just had one of the lousiest wet seasons on record, and reports from the iconic South Alligator River were all negative, including that there was bugger-all runoff happening. My information gleaned before this great Territory tournament got under way was that fishing downriver at competition-winning spots like Brooke Creek, The Rookery and Six Pack would be a complete waste of time. Furthermore, upstream was dangerously shallow in parts and the barra were scarce in any event. To my and many people’s surprise, only half of that was true: downriver was largely a waste of time, but upriver wasn’t dangerously shallow and the barra were both chewing better than anyone could have anticipated… and there were some beauties amongst them. My Team NAFA, with fellow members Warren De With and Bryan Spick, caught plenty of fish and found a point-scoring barra on each day of the Klash, which you have to do to have any chance of winning. We were doing it tough on the last day, with nothing above 54cm caught and only two hours to go to competition end. At that point, we were trolling 16A Bombers down the guts at speed with the current. As we neared two boats rafted up and all aboard having a wow of a time, a loud hailer roared across the water with friendly banter. It seemed everyone on board was wearing “ONABENDA” black singlets and at one point the loud hailer took a good six seconds to call out the letters “A J”. I was filming for the Channel Nine News coverage of the Klash, and also taking photos as part of my on-the-water media obligations. “Sorry chaps, but I’ve got to film these blokes,” I said to Warren and Bryan as I began to slow the boat and turn towards them. It was exactly at that point, when we were not 10 metres from the rafted boats, that one of those magical moments in fishing happened: “I’m on!” Bryan yelled as he jumped to his feet hanging onto a bumping, bent rod. I looked round just as a beautiful silver barra about 90cm erupted from the river. What also erupted were the six blokes on the two tied-up boats. It was like Christmas for them: the load hailer could be heard at both ends of the South Alligator and they roared with delight at such an unlikely spectacle unfolding in front of them. While this cacophony was taking place, I somehow managed to rip my lure in and swing the boat around into the current and position it so Bryan had an easy fight at the side of the boat. Warren made no mistake with the net and swung aboard the barra which measured 87cm, a number which was just a nudge more than the decibel rating from the lads next door. It was good to see Trevor Robb skipper the winning team of Craig’s Fishing Warehouse. Trevor fished with his son Kai and Kale Quinlan; their three barra over three days measured 90cm, 86cm and 83cm for a substantial tally of 259 points. Perhaps long overdue, Trevor can now claim to have won the NT Barra Grandslam which comprises our three big barra tournaments: the Aurora Kakadu Klash, the Iron Jack Barra Classic and the Club Marine Barra Nationals. Steve Compain’s Old School Tackle World – which included Paul Williams and Nathan Corpus – came a close second on 253 points. Third team was Sumpunt on 240 points, followed by Metery Mafia and Team Fusion, both on 238 points. The biggest barra went 102cm and was caught by Ken Brown. Jenny Davis wasn’t far behind with her own 101cm barra. I believe this year’s Aurora Kakadu Klash was one of the best ever. Not only did all the teams see each other on the water because they were all mostly upriver, and not only was the fishing pretty good considering, but also the event itself ran like clockwork. There were no disputes after the comp, the meals were good to great and the organisation – including on the presentation night – could not be faulted. Aurora Kakadu Resort General Manager, Peter McKelvie, appeared to be on top of everything and everyone I spoke to afterwards commended him. If you’d like to see the Nine News Darwin coverage, check out the NAFA Facebook page. ………………………………………………………………………………… The recent Top End Barra Series round two, held on the Daly River, was about as tough as it gets. According to the TEBS report from Regis Martin: “TEBS is a bit like the days in our lives; the rounds follow each other but don’t all look alike. “The first round of 2019 was a chrome overload; the second one was more on the chrome stress side of things. “By Sunday morning, many had decided to call it quits and the car park was steadily emptying. “Over the weekend, only 71 barramundi reached point-scoring length and this round will be remembered as one of the more challenging,” Regis commented. Clayton Archbold and Peter Cooper were tied winners of this TEBS round, and third place went to Kevin Bochow.
Metrey Mafia’s Grant Edwards, Kenny Howell and Jez Johnson with an 87cm barra caught in the Aurora Kakadu Klash.
Team NAFA’s Warren De With, Bryan Spick and Alex Julius with a Bomber-caught 87cm barra from the Klash.
Connolly McCue of Team ONABENDA with a beaut 83cm barra.