It was 9:00am when I boarded the car of Arrabmundi, and we took off in direction of the Adelaide River. The plan for the day was to go and fish upstream of Goat Island, trolling deep divers over the rock bars.
The previous week a thread by Kai on the FFF forum, made Arrabmundi think that this could be a good thing to do. We were full of hope, and were not going to be disappointed.
We arrived at the boat ramp to be greeted by an almost empty car park, every body must have been at Shady Camp.
The boat was quickly launched and we started to flick at divers little creeks on our way to Goat Island, where we had planned to stop for lunch. Something I was looking forward to, has I had read and heard a lot about it but was yet to visit.
We did saw a few nice colours change but very little amount of bait in the water.
In one of these short stop, casting a B52's I got the first fish of the day. A very young and rather small Barramundi:
Autoportrait with a Barramundi.
This fish was only definitively undersize to be legal, so in the water it went back.
A fish this early is good augur I thought, but that was it for the morning...
We didn't raise another scale even at some spot that had been so productive a few weeks ago.
Had we made the right choice to come fishing this area at this time of the year?
The longest thing that my lure snagged this morning, was an eel...
And it had wrapped itself around my line, the slimy thing...
It provided for some interesting times...
We passed a crocodile nest, sitting on the river bank, with the tracks of Moma Croc sliding towards the water just in front of it.
The place could have been fishy, but we didn't stay there for very long.
The Crocodile nest.
With Moma's tracks.
Coming from Europe, as a kid this is the kind of things, I would have never imagined being able to see. We are very lucky in Darwin to be able to see such things not far from our homes. I do hope that my child will still be able to see them as a grown up.
Not long after Arrabmundi spotted a lure stuck in a snag, just out of the water.
It was a The Judge by Reidy's, he din't want it and gave it to me.
I was very happy, as it is one of my favourite +10 lure.
Well we hadn't had lunch yet, and I was still full of optimism and confident in the ability of my skipper to find some fish.
And talking about lunch, it was about time to go and get a little something to chew.
Kai had passed us on the river a bit before, and we had told him that we were coming and what we wanted to eat.
But as we arrived on the Island, he was still filling in the fridges that had been depleted the preceding night by some footy guys.
So we decided to go and have a look just upstream, at the places that we were going to fish in the afternoon while the burgers were being cooked.
That was just a very quick reconnaissance, and back we were, for a chitchat with Kai, and to eat the famous burger's from Goat Island.
I have to say that this must have been the first time since I fish this part of the world, that I was able to sit at a table, in a fresh place, to eat a homemade burger, that tasted like a burger, while drinking a soft drink directly out of the fridge, and this is the kind of luxury I could quickly become accustomed to.
After that I felt refreshed and ready to engage with some mighty Barramundi.
And they were ready for us...
But before it all started in earnest we saw Moz, who was fishing solo on his boat.
Had a little chat with him and he had I think a 66cm Barra in the esky, but was finding the going a bit slow.
At this point he was going a bit further upstream, while we were going back downstream.
We swapped information and parted route.
It started with Arrabmundi getting a 54cm (21.259843 inch) Barramundi...
1cm (0.39370079 inch) too short to be of legal size!
Arrabmundi first fish of the day.
We are not criminals, so this one was put back in the drink, to grow a bit more till our next encounter.
We had quite a few hits on a very short troll, with Arrabmundi getting the bigest ones. Some of them nearly ripping the fishing rod out of his hands.
But we couldn't stay connected to anything...
Then I got a good hit, followed immediately by another one, then the rod started to take a serious bent...
Arrabmundi who had seen all this happening said: your on!
Almost dejected my response was: No, I just got two good hits in rapid succession, and now I am snagged on the bottom...
So he put the boat in neutral so we could drift back over the snag and he started to get his own lure back. All the while I was just merely getting my line back on the reel thinking how unfair it was that I missed these two hit just to get my lure stuck at the bottom of the river.
Then the snag emerged of the river full of life, trashing around and shaking it's head with my lure in it's mouth: Barramundi!
That how your pulse rate triple in less than a second and you start to think that you have just done everything needed to loose this fish, so there is no way you are going to boat it.
I tried as much as I could to stay cool, like if I knew all along, but the laughs of my skipper left me in no doubt that I had been an absolute goose.
Still he did manoeuvre the boat to the centre of the river to give me a chance at it.
Every time that this fish jumped I could see my small lure a Poltergeist by Halco RMG in the Oz Frog colour, deep in his open mouth.
In the end the "snag" was netted, after a few runs and a few jumps. It was in fact the only Barramundi of the day, that would produce a few jumps, all the other that were to come, fought mostly deep down in the water column.
This was to be a 73cm (28.740157 inch) Barramundi and was going to be my best of the day.
My first legal of the day.
Lure deep inside the Barramundi mouth.
I was so happy to have this fish, which I should have lost many times over.
I now had caught a feed of fresh fish.
Not long after, I got another fish on the same lure, but it was too small and was released to grow bigger.
And then I had another very big hit again on the same lure.
This time there was no pretending, I knew from the start that I was on, and that bit was a good fish.
It was peeling line, going from one side to the other. Not giving me much time to think of a plan, he was in charge.
Once again the boat was placed in the middle of the river, and from there the fight had a chance to turn in my favour, as by doing this we had been able to get this fish away from the snags.
But even once I started to see some of my leader near the boat, it went again for a deep dive straight down. It took a lot of persuasion to get it back boat side, the leader came back in sight, this was starting to be tense and sweet, when the line went slack, and my lure floated back to the surface all alone... With one hook bent...
Ho, how I could have then cursed the people who build fishing lures with hooks that bent...
The positive in this was that it had been a very exciting struggle, and that this kind of outcome quickly puts you back in check and reminds you who can be the other player.
Yet... I would have loved to get this fish, that I didn't even got to see...
And then it was Arrabmundi hour of glory, with a brilliant trifecta, with a 74, 76 and 79cm (29.133858, 29.92126 and 31.102362 inch) Barramundi.
Here they are in order of arrivals:
74 cm of silver Barramundi.
76 cm of Lates calcarifer.
And 79cm of joy.
In between Arrabmundi very nice session we saw Moz again, coming down our way.
He hadn't found any fish upstream, so Arrabmundi invited him to troll along the same run than us as it seemed to be productive.
He did hook on a beautiful fish, but this one was not to be caught and buried Moz in the snags.
Has for Arrabmundi 79 cm Barramundi, it was released, with the hope that we could one day catch it again...
But not long after being released, this very fish was attacked by a shark and lost it's tail in the encounter.
Moz was then able to net it.
Here is an image of it:
Moz and the tailless Barramundi.
I did catch another keeper, a fish of 70cm (27.559055 inch) on the dot.
I kept it for my mother in law, as I am among the few blessed men to have a very good mother in law.
This fish should keep me in the good books for a little longer.
Last fish of the day.
This was the last fish coming aboard for the day.
A day that will stay a great day of fishing in my memories.
We did loose a few good fish, but got some nice ones too. It easily made up for the ones that got away.
Thanks again Arrabmundi for the invitation.
Yes loosing a good fish because of a weak hook was frustrating...
But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,