In the Top End Barra Series, it’ a bit like the days in life, 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. Very low level of water on the mighty Daly River, made her a bit of a vixen to fish. The recent rains made the river incredibly dirty, which limited trolling and the drains were competitive, over fished pieces of real estate. Although many found it hard, some stood up to the test and came back with well-deserved glory. As after all, to win without challenge, doesn’t warrant much praise.
Saturday was hot and slow for most. With boats passing each other and lamenting on the lack of fish. Or even worse, that they could see on the sounder as many as 30 big fish on a short troll run, but that pass after pass, none of them wanted to take a lure. By the end of the day, the murmurs on the river was that only a handful of fish had been boated, and a few of the TEBS participants, decided that a raft up was the only sane thing to do at this point in time.
During the night, boofing all around the boat woke many up .On three separate occasion, my skipper and I got up and flicked lures for long stretches of time sadly without any success. Fish were all around and feeding aggressively, but staying way clear of our lures. The mozzies on the other hand, found us without a problem, and were even more ferocious than the barramundi. Oh what a night!
By Sunday morning, many had decided to call it quits and the car park was steadily emptying. A few stayed on and had revenge. Over the weekend, only 71 barramundi reached point scoring length and this round will be remembered as one of the more challenging.
Usually fisherfolk who venture to the Daly, do so with the expectation of finding one or more, large silver Barra mamas… Well the biggest one of the round was an 86 cm specimen hooked by Darren Heaven. A beautiful fish, yet still so far from the magic meter mark. In relative terms, it was more valuable than a Shady meterie, given the overall appalling stats. But what was a much more common size to land was the dreaded 49cm fish. To the extent that a few boats joked between themselves about the 49s Club, and how many 49s each had amassed for their Facebook albums. As a comparison, the first round of the 2019 TEBS at Shady Camp had someone with a bag of five fish at 46th place on the scoreboard. In the second round, only the top four competitors got a full bag…
It seemed that small soft plastic lures where the go to catch fish this year. Was it due to the poor wet season and the small size of the bait in the river? Some have commented that most of the fish they caught were very lean and looked rather hungry. Talking techniques, Clayton Archbold and Sonia Barnes impressed the competition, using their Garmin 8410 SSV Panoptics Telescope (supplied by Frenchy’s Marine). The pair used the s
ounder, to find active fish in the upper reaches of the Daly, place vibes in the strike zone for however long it took to entice a bite. Incredible…
In the third place came Kevin Bochow, with a bag of 54, 55, 60, 72 and 74cm. He caught all his fish on the ever reliable Reidy’s vibe. In tied first place, we had Clayton Archbold whose fish were 55, 61, 66, 74 and 79. Also in first place, we find the ever consistent Peter Cooper, last year Grand Champion, who looks like he will not give back his crown without a fight. Peter’s bag got filled with barramundi at 63, 65, 68, 68 and 72. Peter caught all his fish on rubber during the daytime. He fished the lower part of the Daly and only found a small bite window at high tide each day. Congratulations…
Well done to everybody who caught a fish and those that persisted and refused to give up. If the fishing gods were not on your side on the weekend, remember, rounds follow each other but don’t all look the same.