I can’t tell you how the Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals is going because I’m down on the Daly River myself, hopefully catching fish.
However, even though the fishing has been tough down the Daly in terms of barra numbers, it hasn’t stopped some absolute stonkers from being caught.
The biggest so far is a great, big, fat 127cm barra which was caught straight after the Barra Classic.
Following an invitation from Paul Johnson, an old family friend, Townsville’s Kyle deVeth came up for a chance to catch his first NT barra.
The pair booked in with Carl Skyring of Darwin Barra and Crab, but nearly cancelled following reports of abnormally hard fishing on the Daly.
“Our first two days were hard going, especially with all the boats on the river for the Barra Classic,” Paul told me.
“On the third day when the river was quieter, we caught three small fish, and we were happy, given how murky the river was on big tides.
“The next morning, the tidal bore came through and Kyle hooked up the big one,” Paul explained.
“We were trolling when I hooked up,” Kyle told me.
“It came straight out with a big head shake, and Carl yelled out that it was a horse. “It jumped a couple of times and I had to run around the boat with Carl following me with the net.
“The fight didn’t last that long because Carl got it in the net as it swam past the boat. “We all went crazy when it came aboard, especially Carl who was even more excited than we were, probably because he was the guide,” Kyle said. At 190cm, Kyle is a big boy, but he struggled to pick it up. The big fish was released fairly quickly and bolted away.
I can’t remember a barra bigger than that caught down the Daly River.
Judging by its massive girth and the size of its head, it would have to have weighed 30kg or more.
For the record, it was caught on a Reidy’s Big Ass B52.
It seems the fishing has been tough at Corroboree Billabong too.
Last week’s Territory Freshwater Fishing Open was notable for the lack of barra caught. According to regular competitor, Roger Sinclair, there were only seven or eight barra caught between 28 teams over a day and a half.
“I never even saw one,” Roger said.
“There were a few saratoga caught, but tarpon provided the most action by far.”
In the fly comp, points are scored according to length in centimetres, and barra and saratoga are worth double points; so a 50cm barra is worth 100 points.
Roger said the lilies were growing right out into lagoon in places, so getting a fly to saratoga was hard.
The Champion Team was Draggin’ Flies (Peter Cooke and Richard Carter) and Quentin Pope was Champion Angler.
Prior to the Barra Nationals, I did an easy day trip to the South Alligator with Alan Musley and his two boys, Darren and Luke.
They’d won a Bridge Toyota lucky door prize which was a day fishing trip with yours truly. I know what you’re thinking: what was second prize – two days fishing with AJ?
All jokes aside, the big Kakadu river fished exceptionally well.
Quality barra were hard to come by, but where the water was the clearest – at the very top and up Nourlangie Creek – there were lots of smaller barra to keep us busy.
We managed about 30 for the day.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the South Alligator is still fishing okay.
Kyle deVeth and Paul Johnson with Kyle’s giant 127cm Daly River barra caught on a Reidy’s Big Ass B52 fishing with Carl Skyring of Darwin Barra and Crabs.
Alan Musley’s South Alligator barra was one of a 30-barra session.
Darren Musley’s South Alligator barra came on a Zerek Flatshad.
Luke Musley is well known as the King of the Rats.