Last weekend, was the fifth round of 2019 Top End Barra Series. It was held in a place that many Darwinians call “Our other harbour”, this meaning Bynoe Harbour. Bynoe Harbour is known for being very big, with many islands offering protection when the wind blows… Well windy it was, and the little islands didn’t offered as much protection as many had hoped for. The wind blew above 15knts on both days. While forecasts modelled the wind would be better on Sunday, sadly this was not the case.
In a places where fishing for barramundi on the flats can be absolutely excellent, as if on cue, the wind would start at the prime time each day to squander opportunities. For many of the TEBS competitors, the solution was to try and hide in small creeks and find the limited fish in clearer, more protected waters. The windows of opportunity over the weekend were incredibly short and being in the right place at the right time was key. Turns of the tide, once again seemed to be the ticket. These events pushed clarity into the gutters and provided enough flow to fire the fish up. Fishing wasn’t easy, and once again, talent, perseverance, knowledge and sometimes pure luck made all the difference.
Along with the windy conditions, big fires roared through the region. Many competitors cut their weekend short to get out of a potential fire hazard or to go and take care of their properties. Many competitors were incredibly escorted by the firemen along Barramundi Drive, with visibility cut to a couple of metres. Not exactly what you dream of when returning from a long fishing trip…
A recent survey from the NT Fisheries Department, have shown that there is an alarming small number of juvenile Barramundi in the Daly River this year. This is in stark contrast to the last two rounds of the Top End Barra Series, where competitors have found cricket scores of them in both harbours. Hopefully the promising numbers of juvenile fish in saltwater habitats will aid the low numbers in other fisheries.
Many competitors reported that most of their fish in Bynoe were caught casting soft plastic.
Some competitors provide these offerings weedless while others didn’t. I personally caught all of my fish on soft plastics too, except for my only scorer. This fish responded to a hard bodied lure which had been neglected in my bag for several years, in the wrapping nonetheless. This was a good time to try it, and it did bring home the satisfaction of avoiding the dreaded donut. One competitor used an effective, handmade, timber lure that also accounted for several fish. The craftsman of ‘The Stick with Eyes’ also fishes our competition and responds to the name of Moz. His lure has more of a reputation than he does.
Species caught during the round were again varied with many competitors capturing ‘the mystery fish’ for the round being queenfish and golden snapper. Other species landed over the weekend included mangrove jack, assorted trevally, rock cod, star gazer and even flathead.
Along with struggling against wind and fire many anglers reported broken fishing rods, electric motors and tackle boxes which decided to part with them, disappearing to the depths. One clever competitor managed to repair their electric prop pin by modifying a hook shank to replace the missing part. A heart-warming feel good story on the other hand was the rescue of an osprey found in the water by James Mitchell and Dean Blackman. This bird was found swimming for it’s life making strange splashes that reminded the two anglers of a drunken penguin. When the anglers lowered the net the bird straight away climbed on. This animal was covered in mud and the anglers beleive that it might have been stuck in the mud before managing to float with the rising tide. It could have quickly become a croc biscuit if they hadn’t spotted it. On the deck of the boat, it walked gingerly towards the anchor well and took a moment to get itself together and dry before finally flying away to a nearby mangrove tree.
Another amusing story is the 85 cm barramundi caught by Peter (Cuddles) Cooper. Peter was fishing in very shallow and dirty water, hoping to get a fish in the 60 cm to upgrade his bag, when his lure came to an abrupt stop. It was like Pete had been snagged on a rock, before being dragged away at great speed, leaving a bow wave and dirt trail in its wake. Pete’s first thought was that he had hooked a small crocodile that he’d seen in the vicinity earlier. It was only after a few minutes into the fight that he was pleased to see a big yellow tail breaking the surface. Once the fish was netted, he realised that it had been hooked just on the side of the head which is why it might have been fighting in a very odd manner.
Peter is once again at the top of the leader board and he is now unstoppable. He might as well head off on vacation in Round 6 and sip pena coladas on the beach giving the rest of us a chance. Well done Pete…. You are a barra fishing weapon and this year’s victory was the most convincing yet.
Top 5 places for round 5 are as follows:
1st: Peter Cooper
2nd: Kai Argent
3rd: Dwight Shepherd
4th: Clayton Archbold
5th: Nicholas Hall
For the full round results head to :http://www.tebs.fish/current-results/
The annual results are being calculated and will be released shortly. It is looking like there is going to be a tussle in round 6 to see who will be crowned as Pete’s bridesmaids…