Last weekend, the first round of the 2018 Top End Barra Series (TEBS) took place at Shady Camp. Shady Camp resonates for many Top End fishos as the place to go if you want to be in the chance to land the barra of a life time and this was certainly on the mind of many of the TEBS competitors. But this year proved to be hard fishing for many, and only one barramundi reaching the magical Metre mark was caught. Dwight Sheppard did very well with his 100cm fish being right on the mark. The weather was hot, and the water in Love Creek for example was at 33.9 degrees. Is this perhaps what made it hard for many to find the illusive barramundi? Who knows? But it is a fact that for some it was a difficult weekend.

In the ‘needs to be mentioned category’ was a gigantic blue salmon of 78.5cm, caught by Mitchell Rider which was built like an absolute tank. This beast had the jaws of a bulldog. I was lucky enough to witness the capture and release of this impressive capture, and I can assure you that it pulled like a road train on nitro. Two other worthy catches were a couple of massive Queensland Groper (by both Evan Dixon and Morris Pizzutto) with one of them measured at 1.15 Meter. There is some contention about whose was bigger 😉 One can only wonder if such big fish are on the return since the professional fish netting moved on or perhaps this is for some other reason unbeknown. Another out of the ordinary captures was a small croc, which snatched a lure. It is not known if the surprised angler ever got her lure back… Also heroic was James Mitchell, who was fishing the Wildman, and on return helped a fellow Tebsie out by towing them halfway back to the ramp. Apparently he reached speeds close to 40km/h.

Here are a few statistics for the angling nerds amongst us. Of all the barramundi reported during the round there were approximately 90 in the 50s, 30 in the 60s, 30 in the 70s, 20 in the 80s, a dozen in the 90s, and the two big girls over the metre mark. Some nice Threadies were caught too, and I heard of a few big cat fish, but it is usually rather hard to see photographs of the latter… Still the system seems to be in good health, with some impressive catches over the weekend.

Some fish were caught on hard body lures, others on soft plastic, everything from old Nilsie Invicibles to the recently released Reidy’s C-Kar Vibe. On the troll or casting. James Park shared an interesting technique for the tech savvy, marking fish on the sounder, and dropping soft vibes straight over them.  We can’t really determine a real pattern. Many of the happier anglers were the ones who did the miles. These fishos head straight from the Shady Camp barrage, to places like the Dead Forest and upper reaches of the Wildman. Taking out the top three was in third place: James Mitchell, in second came Peter Cooper, and the title of round winner went to Shane Moon, a talented angler who has already claimed the title of Top End Barra Series Champion a number of times. To win this round Shane caught a huge bag of fish made up of a 77cm, 82cm, 91cm, 93 and a 96cm Barramundi. Some familiar faces are in the top twenty and plans are being hatched for round two when we again convene on the mighty Daly River.