Tuesday, April 3, 2012

2012 Top End Barra Series Round 2.

Hi there,

Last weekend was the second round of the 2012 Top End Barra Series, and the location was Shady Camp.
Everybody in the comp had some big expectations, as the area is known for it's very large Barramundi.
And yes I did get a Shady metery, but I will tell you  more about it in due course...

Once again for this event I teamed up with Arrabmundi, that was as usual a productive association and full of good laughs. We decided to leave Darwin on Friday night, as to be on the water very early on Saturday, to make the most of the two days of fishing allowed for the competition. Arrabmundi had arranged for us to be in an accommodation literally 300 meters from the boat ramp.
Which was great because the area is renowned for the huge amount of mosquitos and other bugs that make camping a proverbial pain.
To give you an idea, in the evening once we were in the safety of our accommodation the sound of the bugs bumping on the windows to try to get in and feast on our blood, sounded like if it was raining outside...

Any way, we were on the ramp, ready to launch at around 5:45 am on Saturday, and started to navigate the river with the help of a big spotter light, in which we could see the gleaming eyes of the river's resident crocodiles.

We arrived to our first fishing destination just before day break, the water temperature was around 32 C (89.6 Fahrenheit). This was the mouth of Sampan Creek and already a few boats were trolling the waters. So we started too.
And very quickly Arrabmundi was on:

Hooked at daybreak.

We got excited, but it was just a Caty, not a huge but still a nice Catfish:

First fish of the day.

A bit disappointed we started trolling again, trying to see the positive in it, and it was that the lure worked...
Not long after I was on, and yes it was on a Barramundi, the first one of the weekend:

First Barramundi of the weekend.

At 73 cm (28.740157 inches) it was in my books, not a bad fish to start the weekend with.
In fact it was going to be one of my five top fishes for the round 2. This fish I kept for our dinner in the evening.

I was happy to get the monkey off my back, now it was Arrabmundi turn to get on the board, and he did it in no time:

Arrabmundi first Barramundi of round 2.

This was a better fish than mine, it measured 81cm (31.889764 inches).
It was a nice and healthy fish, we let it go back in the water.

Most boats around us were getting some fishes, but despite having some very good hits on our lines, we could not boat another fish for the morning...

So at around 12:00 pm, we went just inside the mouth of Sampan Creek and had a little chat with Dingo and Muntzy, they were having lunch. 
We left them and started trolling just there and then, when I got a good whack on the line and was on again.
But I lost the fish not very far from the boat. The boat behind us was on too and netted their fish, so we decided to give the area a little work out and started trolling it in earnest.
This was a very wise move and we both got our five fish required to get a good score in the comp in the first afternoon. These weren't big fish, but still it was good, and step by step we started to upgrade our bags of fish.
The fishing was hot and we got our first double hook up of the weekend:

Double hook up result.

This was the first time that I was on a boat and that we had a Barramundi double hook.
And not long after that we got a Barra that I don't know how, but it  had managed to get hooked on both our lures:

Whose fish is that?

Even Dingo and Muntzy started to get on the fish.
We had been fishing the place for a few hours, getting fishes in the 70's cm when a boat came out of nowhere, cruised through and got a nice fish in the 90's on their first troll...
Just after that another boat arrived did their first troll and got a metery, the type of fish that we were all after. The prised Barramundi of one meter or more...
We did try a bit more but could not get such nice fish.
So Arrabmundi said to put some very shallow lures and that we would troll just on the edge of the mangrove to see if any fish were hiding in there.
This resulted in our second double hook up of the weekend.
And my fish had been caught on one of the Gone Fishin' lure:

Fish on the Gone Fishn' lure.

Not long after that we decided to call it a day, and to go back to the ramp and to the accommodation before night time.
And guess what we had for dinner in the evening? 

Smoked Barramundi.

I had taken with us my small smoker, so we could have some fresh, smoked Barramundi for dinner. We had also taken some pasta with us, just in case we didn't catch any fish...
But to me, this was much better than pasta!

After that we went to bed early as we had planed to get up very early for the second day of fishing. We wanted to be on the water one hour earlier than the previous day, and this is what we did.
When we arrived at the ramp on Sunday morning not a single other boat was in the line, so we launched in a record time.
The brief for the day was to start like on the day before by trolling the mouth of Sampan, and then to head for the inside of the Creek.
So we started trolling, and I was wondering if the fishes could  see my lure in the dark...
I was suddenly sure that they could, because my rod started pulling in my hands and line was peeling off my reel.
Yes we thought, the Barra are on!
Well, after a bit of a fight I got a small catfish near the boat, as a repetition of the Saturday, we were starting the day with a Caty...
The positive in that?
I then knew that the fish would be able to see my lure...
And I did hook a Barramundi not long after that.
And then another one :

Morning Barramundi.

At 78cm (30.708661 inches), this was going to be my second best Barramundi of the weekend.

Arrabmundi was now due for a fish, and he did deliver, we had just started to troll, my lure was not yet being pulled by the boat that he was already on to a fish that on the first jump seemed to be a nice one:

Best Barramundi of the weekend.

This Barramundi was 83cm (32.677165 inches), and was going to be the best fish to come aboard our boat for the weekend.
When it was close to the boat I started to get ready and to lower the net in the water, when the Barra jumped clear of the water and fell back with a big thump straight on my hand.
In retrospect, I was very lucky that none of the three trebles on the lure got stuck in my hand, as this could have been pretty nasty.

I followed with a massive catfish, which bent the hooks of my lure.
Then a smaller but still pleasant 74cm Barramundi. (29.133858 inches).

Salt water Barramundi.

The surprising thing with this Barra, was that he destroyed a split ring on my lure, and pulled it away.
This being a good lure, I took the split ring and the hook from another lure and putted them on it...
Not long after while we were trolling I said: I am snagged! Because my lure had totally stopped in its track, and the line was not peeling from the reel. It was more like a big dead weight at the end of my line...
Then, Bang! Bang! Two big sharp and very close to each other jerk on the line, and it went limp. The braid had be broken before I could even realise that I had in fact hooked a very big fish. Still I have no clues of what it was, but it certainly was my biggest fish of the weekend.

Not long after that we went back in the inside of the Creek to see if we could repeat the session that we had on the prior day.
And what a session we got!
It started slow but study, to become fast and furious.
At one stage I even managed to hook a fish at the start of the short troll, get it to the boat, unhook it while the boat was still on the troll and throw the lure back in the water, to catch another Barramundi before the end of the troll run.
This was my best Barramundi fishing session ever. 
We managed to boat over twenty Barramundi in the course of the weekend. 
I then picked up a 71cm Barramundi. (27.952756 inches).

Happy fisherman.

And then I got a massive hit, aggressive and violent, which took me by surprise, as it made some very fast runs and fought like no Barra had this weekend.
I started to get all nervous thinking that this was it, I had a big Shady Camp's lady on the line. I kept saying: This one has some weight to it!
And when finally netted, in was a 69cm Barramundi... (27.165354 inches).
This one fought well above its weight and really tricked me into thinking that it was a huge one...

We were starting to say that we would have to go soon, that we still had a long road to get home, when I finally got my best fish of the weekend:

My best fish of the weekend.

At 83cm (32.677165 inches) this fish made me really happy.
And of course, after that we had to do a few more trolling runs.

What was the lure that caught me all these fish inside the creek mouth?
It was a Classic F18 in the Elton on Chrome colour.
I had never really fished with these lures, but Rossco had told me that this was one of his favourite lure, so I wanted to try one...
I liked it, thanks Rossco!
Outside of the Sampan Creek mouth, the only lures that worked for us were the Big B52's and the Big Arse B52's from Reidy's.

So my five best fish for the weekend were: 71- 73 - 74 - 78 - 83.
How did I ended up with these?
I came in fifth place, which was a very good surprise for me, as I was just hopping to be in the top 20.
And on the overall score board, I am now in 7th position, with four more rounds to go.

I want to thanks once again, Arrabmundi for taking me aboard his boat and allowing me to fish in some fantastic places. And to Dingo, Bandit and Rossco for organising such a friendly and social fishing competition.

Ho, and what about my Metery?
I did get a Shady Metery, but it was a Caty...
So no Barramundi over the magic meter mark for me yet.

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


Fish Whisperer said...

Well done my friend. What a great session. Have you tried the Fluorocarbon leader yet? You might also think about a small box of terminal tackle, hooks, split rings, swivels and snaps.
The cyclone missed us thankfully. Thanks for asking.
Tight Lines

Rambling Expat said...

Hi Fish Whisperer,

Thanks and yes it was a great session, one that will stay in my memory.

I had a look at the Fluorocarbon leader at the shop, and when I saw the price of it, I decided to finish the spool of 300M leader that I have first, that should leave me enough time to save money for it...
For the hooks I had changed nearly all my hooks from X3 to X6 before this trip, as we were going in a place known to be brutal on your tackle.
And it was brutal...
For the swivels and snaps, I do use some, but I am not sure yet of which ones I prefer...
If you have any advices about it, you are more than welcome to share your knowledge about it.

And last, I am glad that the cyclone missed you.

Have a good day,