Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top End Barra Series Round 5: The Grand Finale.

Hi there,

Yes this was going to be the last round of the 2011 inaugural Top End Barra Series, the Grand Finale. This round was going to crown the champion.

For my skipper Arrabmundi, and I, it started with an early drive on Saturday morning, full of hope and expectation.
We had seen all the post on the FFF forum, from the previous weeks, about our destination.
And even if none of us had fished the Adelaide River Mouth before, we had all the marks that Cuddelscooper a respected member of this forum had given us, and they were going to be good. 
Nearly all our fishes came from his marks.

But once on the dirt road on our way to the boat ramp, at around 5:00am, the storm begin in earnest, and the rain was going to change a lot of things. 
Not just for us, but for all the competitors in the Round 5 of the Top End Barra Series.
During the peak of the storm, we could not see much further than the bonnet of the car, and we were not sitting in the back of a stretched limo.
But by the time we arrived at Salt Water Arms boat ramp, the storm had mostly passed and was just a drizzle of fine rain on the way out.
At the ramp we saw Dingo, Muntzy, Tissy and a few other, all eager to get on the water and start to search for the big mama Barra.

As soon as we were on the river we looked at the stormy cloud above us, and then, just hoped for the best...

The faraway rainbow was a good sign.

We went through the Narrows, flicking here and there, then direction Wilshire #2, but when we arrived there, and were not too sure of where we were at, we asked to another boat who told us we were in number 3...
So back toward number 2 and there we trolled a bit, flicked a bit and started to search for the elusive Barra.
And we did not find any...
Our answer to that was that this was the rain's fault, it had muddied the water and shut down the fishes.

So we then went to number one for about the same result, but had the opportunity to see 2Rods and one of his sons, fishing at the time, for about the same result as us: Zip, Niet, Nada, Nothing... 
Except a little rat that Arrabmundi caught, and put back in the water for it to grow a lot more.

So we moved toward the narrow again, and started to cast our lure in some small creeks, and along the mangroves.

Mangrove's roots

It is funny how the roots of the mangroves always remind me of the architecture of Gothic cathedrals. Dr. Richard Willan once told me this and since, I am always reminded of Notre Dame in Paris when I see the mangroves.

Any way, as we were there trying, we started to see one boof on our left, so we casted to it.
For nothing...
Then a boof on our right, so we casted toward where it happened.
For nothing...
And this is about then that Moz and Sheeby arrived and we started to have a little chat with them, when a splash in the water on the side of their boat made us all look in the same direction.
Sheeby started to cast a few times to it.
For nothing...
And then stopped. 
So I started to cast a big B52's from Reidy's, a few time roughly where the splash had been.
And then I saw a big swirl in the water not far behind my lure, which I quickly told to Arrabmundi, who replied: "well cast in the same spot again then".
This I did, for nothing on the first cast.
For nothing on the second cast.
For nothing for a few more cast.
And I was starting to think that I was wasting some precious fishing time there when something fast and silvery slashed the water at great speed, and reminded me of a mack strike.
Immediate tension in the line, a jump and yes it is a Barra!
And it definitively looks like it is a legal one...
First he start to run along the mangrove on my right, but quickly turn and go for some snag formed by a fallen tree on my left like if he didn't mind the drag of my small reel.
Two thumb on the spool and a sharp jerk of the rod to try to turn it, and success!
It start to swim around the boat and is now between Moz's boat and Arrabmundi boat, where I am standing full of excitement.
Arrabmundi get the net and start to say that this is a good fish at least in the 70s and maybe in the 80s.
He came once for the net, saw my face and didn't like it, so swam away with a renewed vigour that surprised me.
Arrabmundi says: just swim him in the net straight and that will be good.
Yes well let me tell you that this fish didn't seems to think that this was such a good thing to do and fought against it, but was finally driven into the mesh of the net. 
Ho, to say that I was pleased would be more that a slight understatement...
I was really happy: this was my first fish of the day, first of this round, and most of all, first with the new rod that I had won in the previous round!
And it went 81cm, which in my books is nice for a first fish with a new rod.

First fish with my new rod G.Loomis.

But I think that just then I overheard some comments between Moz, Sheeby and Arrabmundi going a bit like that: He can get his own boat now! Yes he is banned from mine! and so on... I just pretended that I didn't heard anything... I was just too happy to care...

And yes this was on one of the mark that Cuddelscooper gave us.

Then we moved to another of the mark that he gave us, and he said that on this new one it was possible to hook on some very big Barramundi and sometime some large Jewfish.
So I changed my rod, and took one with a reel which is supposed to have a much bigger drag pressure than my little Curado...
I put a Classic Barra 20+ lure, put the drag to the max and we started a first nice slow troll in a straight line.
Then a boat came and throw the anchor overboard, just a few meters in front of us and we had to change course to avoid running in their side. I was just thinking that this type of behaviour was pretty close to be rude as we passed next to them, when my rode pulled hard in my hand and the line flew out of the reel. I could not understand what was happening, this reel was supposed to have a stronger drag, yet the line was just peeling out of it like if it has no drag at all. And the rod was like bouncing in my hands.
But all this did not last very long, a few seconds at the most... and the leader broke at the knot...
I retrieve a floppy floating line still trying to comprehend what had just happened, and Arrabmundi says that it must have been a big jewfish to hit in a so brutal and fast manner. 
I started to be a bit disappointed, as I am yet to get a jewfish on lure, let alone on Barra gears.
So I put another lure on the line and we start a new troll.
As it seems to be my lucky 15 minutes, I got a snag in 20+ feet of water...
As we drive the boat back over the snag I managed to get the lure back and while I am looking at it raising from the depth Arrabmundi and some people in a boat nearby all goes Ho or Ha or Look! and By the time I turn around to look at what is happening, it is all finish.
But Arrabmundi tells me that a very big Barra well over the meter mark just jumped out of the water, nearly all of it's body in the air, with just a small part of the tail in the water. And it shacked it's head and a golden lure flew out of it.
I quickly scan the water surface and easily spot the floating lure. 
We drove to it and I pick it up, sure enough, it is the one that I lost about ten minutes before in nearly the same spot.
It was not a jewfish it was a big momma barra. There is no doubt that this was the biggest one that I ever hooked, and I lost it all by my fault...

First I put too much drag pressure on it, and I did a knot that was not up to the task...
Well, I better have to find either a book or a web site to learn how to tie proper knots...

Now, it is important to always try to find the positive of things in life, and the positive of this story is that I got my lure back...
And I think that this was about all the action that we saw for the day.
Back at the ramp Arrabmundi jumped out of the boat and said to me: just go in the middle of the river and idle over there till I come back with the trailer.
I am not sure if any one can imagine how stressed I suddenly become. I had never been in a boat by myself, and was very afraid that something bad would happen.
To give you an idea he even had to remind me how to operate the boat to move around while he would be back.
And as the local newspaper would have said: Alone in a boat above a crocodile infested river...

I was not too proud by then...
But no, in the end every thing went well.

We made our way back to Darwin and decided to do it all again the following day.

Sunday, I woke up early and saw on my phone that Sheeby had put a video of day one on FB, so I went to have a look at it, and then wasted way to much time on there and made one of the worst sin that a deckie can make I was late for the meeting with Arrabmundi...
Sorry about that...

Any way off we went again, and this time no storm in view so hope of a much better day was filling our heart.
We decided to try more or less to do the same as the previous day, and the water seemed a bit cleared by then.
And the fellow anglers that we started to see on the rivers were telling us that such and such had got a 85 or a 92, or a 78 and we started to want some of it for us.

As we were trolling along a bank that had been indicated to Arrabmundi by a mate of his, I got snagged and he stopped the boat to see if I could free my lure from distance just by giving it a bit of slack. This did not work, but as I was looking in the direction of my timber stuck lure I heard Fish! And Arrabmundi was on!
The tip of his rod was pointing in a totally different direction than the butt of it.
So we made the quick and evident decision do forget about my lure for the immediate and to focus on getting his fish.
Which fought well and hard and in a place full of snag as we could be reminded by my still, branches poking lure.
But Arrabmundi did well and landed a beautiful 82cm Barra!

Arrabmundi 82cm Barramundi.

Now talk about these insensitive skippers with no regards for the self-esteem of young willing and learning deckies...
He trashed me by getting a bigger fish than what I got on the day before.
I am sure that this was his subtle way of reminding me who was the vessel's boss...

Arrabmundi lure had all the hooks bent after such a nice fish in snag country, so he changed them all with some better and stronger ones.
And as this was a good fish, we decided to do a few more troll on the same stretch of water. This is when Arrabmundi got his lure snagged and lost it.
A lure with a full set of brand new hooks...

Nonetheless we continued to troll the same spot, as we could see some fish on the sounder. This is when we both got snagged at the same time!
He got his lure back while mine was still stuck at the bottom of the creek.
Once we came closer to it, we realised that I was not stuck on a branch or a rock, no, my lure was all tangled in the line of the lure that he had lost a few minutes before.
So we delicately got my lure, then grabbed the line with his lure on and finally got his lure back!
How good is that, hard to beat no?

After that we moved to the other side of the river where we saw Dingo and Muntzy and they had just caught a fish.

Dingo and Muntzy happy as.

They seemed happy and were eating some wasabi peas.
They invited us to join in the troll saying that they already had a few fish on this one.
So we obliged and started to troll.
Then this pain in the neck of a horse fly came and stung me on the heel.
So I was trying to shoo her away when my lure seemed to get snagged again...
Yes that looked like another of these 15 minutes of luck moments...
But hey! I was not snag, other was my line would not be moving away from the river bank, and this feisty little Barra would not be jumping at the end of it!
Quick my boy stand up and show him what your made of...
A few jumps and splashes and runs latter this fish was boat side, but once again, it didn't like the look of me.
What is wrong with these fish?
And started for another run, just after a jump so close to the boat that it could have fallen in it.
But in the end it went for a straight line direct to the net and in the boat was lifted.
It measured 79cm.

79 cm of fresh Barramundi.

This one was caught on a lure called The Judge, from Reidy's, and this was going to be my last Barramundi for the round five.

Not long after Arrabmundi got a 55cm which in the condition of fishing for this particular weekend was a point scorer. 
And we were hoping would be the closest one to the mystery size, but that was not.

Then I got a small blue salmon, that Arrabmundi kept for the esky.

Last fish of the weekend.

And then we trolled some more in the same spot where I lost Big Momma on the previous day.
But to no avail. 

Then we went to another mark where there was some rock oysters, and started to cast toward it as it was too shallow to troll over it.
There a quick thing had a go at Arrabmundi lure and we identified it for a small to medium Barracuda.
Then it followed my lure just right to the boat but didn't took it, and went for the one from Arrabmundi and caught it and jumped with it out of the water.
It was definitively a Barracuda. But it got away and we didn't saw it after that.

Not long after we decided to call it a day and to cruise back to the ramp and home.

This was a very interesting round which panned out in a different manner than expected, but with some nice fish nonetheless. And more importantly showed us the potential of this place that both of us had never fished before.

Overall the comp was a great thing through the full event of the five rounds, and I personally really enjoyed it.
I have to say thank you to not only Dingo and Bandit for having the idea of it and organising it. But also to all the people who took me in their boats during this year of the comp, I have meet some great people, thanks.
And I have seen some great places and fished for Barra 5 times more this year! 
Thanks guys!

Now how did I scored in this round? 
Well I finished in fourth, which on the overall scoreboard, put me in third!
Yes not first, but third is still much better than what I expected a bit over ten month ago, when the competition started.
And at least I am on the podium for the final results, and this should make the man who was my first ever fishing sponsor, (Ofmer lures) happy.
And to be honest with you, I have to confess that yes, I am a bit sad that this friendly fishing competition has come to an end. Now I just have to hope that it will be on again next year. Till then I will miss the friendly rivalry that existed at each round.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just a short video.

Hi there,

Just a short video of yours The Rambling Expat, caught in Angling Action at the round 5 of the Top End Barra Series, last weekend at the mouth of the Adelaide River.

Just click on it and enjoy.

The video was made by Sheeby, a very good angler in his own right, thanks Sheeby.
And yes, I am the one with the yellow hat and the green shirt.
This was on Arrabmundi's boat, he his the one netting my fish, an 81 cm Barramundi.

A full post about the weekend fishing will come up soon, so stay tuned.

And yes the excitement might makes me look a bit dumb at time...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

3 Rapala from America.

Hi there,

Ok, these three Rapala were not made in America, but they were sent to me by a very good friend who lives in America.
Thank you Luc N.

They are the cutest little lure that I have ever seen so far.
Each lures is 3cm (1.1811024 inch) and weight 2gr. (0.070547924 ounce).
Look at them in the hand of a very petite lady:

Not a big lure.

And the finish on each of them is just fantastic:

Look at the finish.

So I assume that by now you want to see the three of them?
Well, here they are, but still in the boxes, as this is where they are going to stay, on my desk at work. Yes I did get one out of the box very quickly just for the photos, but now it is back in it.

The happy trio.

Here we have from left to right: The Bleeding Copper Flash, the Bleeding Chart.Shad and the Bleeding Olive Flash. All in the F-3 size.

Just one more photo to help you to really understand the size of them.

With the AU$2 coin.

The coin is the Australian $2 coin, a very small coin, for the people who know it. This might help you to get an idea of scale.

They will stay in the collection, so yes, these three little lure may never go swimming.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Did you fish over the weekend?

Hi there,

So did you went fishing over the past weekend?
Personally my fishing was pretty short lived, in big parts due to bad tides timing, and for not wearing my rock hopper boots when I should have worn them...

I started to walk along one of my favourite rock ledge wearing my plastic clog, while the proper footwear for this kind of place were in the backpack that was just on my back...
Silly no?
I was just thinking that I would put them on, once at the end of the ledge.

So I slipped on some wet rock and loose my right shoe and trying not to fall I put my naked foot forward... That is just where was waiting for the tip of my toes, a rock full of sharp oysters...
A burning sensation was immediately felt, and blood stained the rock around my foot.
And that was it, most of my weekend plans had to be reworked.

cut and bruised toes.

I think that I will now remember to wear them at all time on the rocks.
After all that is what I bought them for.

So limping, painful toes and no fish for the week.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Friday, October 7, 2011

A new Australian fishing blog.

Hi there,

Today I want to introduce you to a new Australian fishing blog.
Yes I know, there is a lot of them, but this one, at the time of writing, is brand new and has only two post.

So How did I found it?
Very simple, it has on his second post a link to this very blog, The Rambling Expat, and another link to the very good blog made by Hiro (a passionate land based fisherman) called Barramundi Lures Secret Fishing Darwin.

So what is the name and address of this new blog?
It is called Fishing Adventures Downunder.

As previously said, it had at the date of 7 October 2011 only two post, but still they were entertaining to read, so I do hope that we will be able to read more on it very soon.

Yes I know, not only this is a post without any images, and on top of that, it has links to two other fishing blogs... Like if I needed to redirect you, my readers, towards some other places on the Wild Wide Web...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My precious prizes.

Hi there,

Yes I have received the prizes for my win the the fourth round of the Top End Barra Series.
And let me tell you that this is some really cool prizes...

The best of them is the fishing rod: a G.Loomis GL2 CR665.

Yes, that's the one.

A fishing rod to which I would only give a quick and furtive glance once in a while at the tackle shop. Too expensive for my fishing budget, it was till last week just a dream.
And then all it took to have one was just an enormous amount of luck, and one of them become mine.
It is ultra light in the hand, yet cast like a breeze, and seem to be able to show some guts if a fish was to be caught. I can't wait for my first catch on this rod.
For the reel, I have mounted my old and trusty Curado 201E7 on it.

In situe.

This is a very nice combo, light and beautiful. 
One of my favourite things about this rod, is that it comes accompanied by a very large understatement. Like most items of high quality, there is no bling attached to it. Just a very simple, short and efficient rod, made of the best materials possible. This fishing rod could be described as being chic, rather than trendy.
The lure on this images is a Reidy's B52.
This rod was the prize for winning the round.

The second prize was for having caught the biggest Barramundi of the round, and it is a Plano 1374 Guide Series tackle box.
An absolutely massive tackle box, which I think I may use mostly as a storage box for my lures at home. 
First because I don't really see myself going fishing on the pushbike with such a large tackle box. Then, because it would be a bit awkward when I am lucky to be invited on a boat, to arrive and occupy half of the boat room with my gears. And finally for the very simple raison, that I need a one and all storage place for my lures at home, instead of having them all over the place...
Have a look at it:

My biggest tackle box so far.

So yes, it would be faire to say that when I look at my prizes, I am a happy chap.
Even if it is true that now I am very afraid of breaking my new rod...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,