Last weekend was the first round of the 2012 Top End Barra Series, and it was taking place on the great Daly River.
As for last year, each round will last for two days, a full weekend.
But I was not able to fish the complete weekend, as my little one got real sick and had to be taken to the hospital in the week prior to the event. So I wanted to spend the Saturday with her, to make sure that all was well.
Satisfied with her condition, I fished on the Sunday, and this is how it went...
It was no gentlemen hour start, my pick up time was 3:45 am, not an hour to leave your beloved alone in a warm and comfy bed...
But someone had to go fishing, and the hope and anticipation were high when Arrabmundi arrived with the car and boat in tow, and we were quickly on our way.
I have been fishing on the Daly River only 3 or 4 times before, and this is a place that I really like.
It is a large and strong river, full of fishes and other animals.
Where the fishing during the run off can be magical.
We arrived with the rising sun, to find a river totally flooded, with water at a height that I was yet to see on the banks of this famous river. Never I had seen so many water on the Woolianna boat ramp.
Water nearly to the top of the ramp.
And the river is known to flood a lot more, it is even a rather dry year for it so far...
So we decided to zoom on the water, destination the fishing ground.
The Daly River.
We caught up with some of the competitors, some of them had spent the night in their boat, in the hope to catch more fish... It didn't work for some, and they looked tired and ready to call it a day. But the rumor on the water was that a crew had a great session and got forty fish from one single spot during the night.
We didn't know what to believe, the ones that told us that the water was too cold and that no fish were to be caught, or the ones that bragged numerous and large fishes...
Some of the fishermen that we talked to, had a very tired face, and looked like they had been partying all night on the river...
So we started to look for our own honey spot, and found a nice little drain, with a bit of a colour change in the water coming out from it.
Arrabmundi said that any drain could be worth a few investigative casts, and we started to cast in this very small channel.
It was still morning, and between the early rise and the drive to the river, I have to confess that I was half asleep, half daydreaming and casting the best I could in there...
When just a few metres from the boat my line suddenly tensed for a fraction of a second and a nice Barramundi Jumped clear of the water, without any lure in its mouth, and disappeared in the cafe latte coloured water...
This happened so fast and without warning that it really gave me a jolt, and I was suddenly well awake, on full alert. Arrabmundi got a good laugh, and me too, in retrospect.
In the very same spot, we nearly got our revenge, when just a few cast latter, it is Arrabmundi who scared a fish by dropping a lure on its back, and this fish too leaped out of the water.
But this was to be our most exciting action for the morning, which was going to be nice and warm...
The heat was starting to making itself felt, when a welcome small shower of rain came to refresh us.
After what we had our lunch and started again to look for some elusive fishes...
We went as far as the river side of Palmerston Island, it was a beautiful place, but none of us had been that far on the river before, and we decided to make our way back up. Towards some fishing ground that we would recognise.
We zigzagged up the river, going from one side to the other, each time that we spotted a little creek to explore.
It was all very nice, but the fishes didn't really want to play...
Arrabmundi finally got a 62 cm Barramundi in the boat, we had avoided the big fat doughnut!
We hoped that with the turn of the tide, maybe they would be back on the chew.
In the mouth of a little creek, my lure got snagged to a line under water, we pulled it and a brand new soft plastic from a very famous brand was still attached to it.
Now, I do not know if you are like me, but to me, often a found lure is a lucky lure...
So I put it on one of my rods, and every time that I was to use a soft plastic, I would use it.
We finally arrived to the place where we saw Bandit, Lincoln and Rossco in the morning, by now they were gone. So we decided to try this spot.
As in the morning When we saw them they were all fishing with soft plastic I decided that this would be the go in this location.
Another boat was there and they said that they didn't got anything and left...
Not long after they left, I finally got connected to my first Barramundi of the day!
Not a huge one, but it was giving a fair fight for its size. Staying down and not jumping, he came to the surface, head first, just to have a look at us, must have found us pretty ugly and dived straight back down.
But this fish was very close to the boat and I started to feel the excitement of victory running through me...
Do not count your chicken before they are hatched they said...
They were right!
This fish which by all mean wasn't a monster fish, quite simply bent the hook of this lure that I had found...
This was not a lucky lure after all, as the fish just swam away before being netted...
And to think that this was a lure designed for Barramundi fishing...
Dejected, I put an old faithful Reidy's rubber on, a 5 inch in the Green Tigger colour, and it worked!
I finally landed my first fish of the day, it must have been around 3:30pm, and we had been fishing since around 7:00 am...
On the board!
It wasn't a big fish, but it put me on the board and we now had a fish each to our name.
The spirits went back right up!
It was a 56cm (22.047244 inch) Barramundi, and he had in him the fight of a much bigger fish.
The proof of it, is what it did to my brand new lure:
Where is the plastic?
Yes it totally destroyed the lure.
But still, I let him go, as at 56 cm, he was still a young fella, in need to see the world.
Then I put my last one of these on my line and started again.
And in no times, I got snagged...
I could feel that it must have been snagged on a submerged branch, and not on a rock or big log.
I tried every tricks that I know, and finally got the lure free.
Happy to feel my swimming again, I gave it a good jerk to try to get it away of the snag as quick as I could...
And at the end of the jerking motion, something happened. Something pulled ferociously on my line.
And a nice Barramundi jumped out of the water, with my lure deep in its mouth.
It must have been attracted by the commotion in the snag, or been sitting just under it, and when I gave a quick jerk to the free lure, it must ave pounced on it thinking that it was a bait fish trying to flee.
This one was a better fish, not enormous yet, but able to take some line with not too much problems, he quickly came to the rear of the boat to launch itself in the current, to turn it to its advantage.
Half laughing half panicking I asked Arrabmundi to get the net ready, which he promptly did...
As the fish came back toward the boat it was quickly netted and a few yahoo escaped from our enthusiasm! Only once the net and fish were on the deck, did we realise that a lure that was lying around in the boat had the hook stuck in the outside of the net's mesh and had taken a dip and was now sitting back in the boat. It was rather lucky that we didn't loose this lure.
But this fish, how big was it?
Big like that!
My best fish of the day.
At 72 cm (28.346457 inch) this was to be my best Barramundi for the day.
But one again my lure was destroyed in the fight.
This fish I kept for the esky.
I had to put a smaller one, in another colour, and it resulted only in some missed hits and a 47cm (18.503937 inch) Barra. Still it was fun to get all these hits.
I did get a fish that could have been a point scorer, but just at the edge of the boat, it jumped sent the lure flying on the right, while he went on the left.
Then it nearly ended well has he landed on the boat gunwale but it went horribly wrong and he bounced back in the water...
Lucky bugger of a fish!
Arrabmundi got another Barramundi, on a soft plastic from KO Tackle.
Last Barramundi of the day.
At 54 cm (21.259843 inch) it was a point scorer in this comp., so it was measured, photographed and set free.
This fish was caught on a soft plastic made by KO Tackle, a new Australian brand of fishing tackle.
I had never seen their product, but now after seeing them in action, I want to get a few of their lure to try them.
We stayed there a little more, but soon it was time to go back home, as we still had a long road ahead of us.
So we opened a packed of crisps, two drinks and started our way back up river in direction of the boat ramp.
In the evening light with the rain approaching, the river now empty from most of the people who had cruised it earlier was a fantastic sight.
On the Daly River.
This is a great place, and I do hope that it will not suffer from over development in the future.
This is the kind of place that makes you feel alive and makes you want to come back, again and again.
Then as we were at the boat ramp, I was left in charge of holding the boat while Arrabmundi was going to get the car. Just before living me there he said: "And don't get eaten by a croc!"
Just what I needed... I took in my hand the rope at the front of the boat, and walked back as high as I could on the hill, as fare as I could of the water. There was no slack in this rope, believe me.
And then he came back, reversed the trailer and just waded in the water to attach the boat...
And then it was the road again back to Darwin...
On the road again.
Most of the trip back home was spent trying to revive the adrenaline rush that we had when the fishes bit the lure...
To me this was another great day fishing on a very beautiful river.
Thanks Arrabmundi for taking me aboard your boat, once again.
Now, how did I score in this first round of the Top End Barra Series?
Well I ended up 16 on the overall scoreboard.
This is far from the first ones, but considering that we fished only on one day of the two days round, I and still happy with that.
Even if I still don't have a Metery with my name on it...
But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,