Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012 Top End Barra Series Round 5.

Hi there,

Last weekend was the 5th round of the 2012 Top End Barra Series, and it was taking place on the Drawin Harbour.
Being able to fish on the harbour of the very city where ones lives, is nearly a luxury in today's world, and trust me it was much appreciated by most of the participant.
My usual skipper was interstate for work, so I gladly accepted the offer from Dean's to be his deckie for the round.
We started reasonably early at around 6:30 am on the Saturday morning, and were greeted by a glorious sunrise as we arrived at the boat ramp.

Dinah Beach boat ramp in the sunrise. 

We went to one of the harbour arm in some spot where Dean had caught some good fish on some previous set of tides.
And he did get a little Barramundi, not big enough to be a point scorer, but big enough to get us excited, thinking that we were at the right spot...

Dean's first Barra of the weekend.

Well this little fish was the first one and the only one for a little while...
Enough in fact for us to wonder what was going on.
As we were changing from one spot to another one, either trolling or flicking our lures at any snags or rocks that we could see, I got what seemed to be a hit.
Something had grabbed my lure, and was flapping in the water behind the lure. Yet whatever it was, it was not giving me a fight similar to anything that I had seen in the past.
I called it for a small fish tangled in some seaweed.
But not it was a different kind of surprise:

Mud crab on the lure.

This Mud Crab was a female, and was full of eggs, so it was released as quick as possible.
Basically as soon as I could get my lure out of its claw.
In all my time of fishing this is only the second time that I have a crab catching one of my lures while it is moving. Both time it was during a round of the Top End Barra Series.

So we moved a bit further and trolled a favourite spot of Dean, in a little harbour creek.
Dean got a good whack on the line, but it didn't connect.
Then it all happened, he got the strike and stayed connected.
The Barramundi jumped at least four times, high and clear of the water. This was a good fish with a gusty temper. Jumping and making runs all over the place, constantly changing the direction of his attempted escape. In the end it was close to the boat, but still had it in him, not to surrender.
Each time that I was thinking that he was ripe for the net, he would dive and make another run for it.
But the run were shorter and shorter, and finally in the net it was.
Scream and shout of joyce must have ben heard from one end of the creek to the other.
We had a fish in the boat that was a point scorer:

Dean's biggest fish of the weekend.

At 71 cm (27.952756 inch), this was a good and healthy harbour fish. In the Esky it went.
Dean described this fish as fighting and jumping like a Doberman on acid, and that was a fitting description of the fight that he gave.
The monkey was off Dean's back, now we just needed to get me a fish... This was going to prove itself more difficult than planed. 
First Dean was going to catch a nice little Flathead:

Darwin Harbour Flatie.

This one was not big enough to won a prize, but it was a nice fish nonetheless. It was put back in the water, to grow a bit mpore till the next time.

By now the afternoon was starting to make itself known, and after talking to Mozz and Liam, we decided to scout towards Muntzy to catch up for a little chat.

Zooming on the ocean.

Mozz and Liam through the waves.

We did meet up with Muntzy, and not long after Chris arrived from the opposite side, followed by Sheeby and Cuddlescooper on another side.
We ended up five boats who rafted together, for a little chitchat and some refreshment.
Well it started this way anyway.
And it was in the end four boat who stayed tied to each other till the following morning, drinking, singing and cooking. While the fifth one took the fishing competition more seriously, and went in the pursuit of better fish. 
For the four vessels that stayed together, I was on one of these. But I think that what happens on the raft-up of the Top End Barra Series, should stay on the raft-up. A bit like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas... So I will apply some kind of media black out, and not show on this family orientated blog, any of the picture that I made during that night...
Being a non drinker myself, I was one of the first to wake up, and as so far I only had for my name a big fat donut, I started to flick a lure around in the hop to catch a fish while every body else was still sleeping.
It didn't work, but I did caught a strange little worm on a popper:

Worm on the hook.

At one stage, there was literally hundreds of them swimming around the boat.
I didn't taste it to see if it was tasting like fish or not, I just dropped it back in the water.

Then every body woke up, some had a light breakfast, some other didn't felt like it.
Then, simply because boys will be boys, one of the lad started to run some donut on the river with is boat:


Dean and I went to explore some new spot in the hope of doing better than on the previous day.
And there, on my first cast of the day, using a Terrif DC-9 Bullet by DUO Lures, the same lure that got me a crab the day before, I finally got my first fish in the boat!

No, it was not a Barramundi, it was just a baby Rock Cod, but that was enough to make me happy:

My baby Rock Cod.

I then told myself that this was a good sign, surely it was going to be a day filled with numerous catch!
Well it didn't exactly panned out like that. It was a great day on the water, but not filled by numerous captures.
We went to another creek for not much apart a dropped Barramundi for me, and a few little Trevally for Dean. Then moved to another one, where we saw Billster, and started to troll the same troll line than him. 
On the bank of this creek we saw a Jabiru and I wanted a quick photo of it as we were going to pass next to him. I put my rod in the rod holder, and walked at the front of the boat to take a quick pic:

The juvenile Jabiru.

I had not yet made the photo that I wanted, but glanced in the direction of my rod: The rod was totally bent in the rod holder! But not bouncing up and done like when a fish is starting a fight and gives some serious head shake. No, it was just bent and the line was peeling from the reel.
I told Dean that I must have got snag on something, to which he replied that no he thought that I had a fish on.
So I grabbed the rod, and give it a jerk, thinking that I was going to prove my point...
The line started to fly of the reel twice as fast and still no head shake or splash like a Barramundi would do. So I called it for the mother of all Catfish. Dean said that no, he believed that this might be a Barra.
The fish didn't came to the surface, and was very heavy, every time that he was close to the boat, he didn't came up and jump, but just dived a bit more, and took some more line again.
At one stage I started to panic and said that I was going to be spooled! Dean in a very calm way, looked at my reel and said: "No don't stress about that, you still have plenty of line on your reel, at least 10 meters" and burst out laughing. Typical of the kind of thing that I needed to keep my cool! 
It was time for some serious rod work and under the good advices of Dean I got it back to the boat. Where for the first time it came close to the surface for a very short time and Dean said: It is a Barramundi, did you see it, it is a Barra! We got even more excited, and I started to think that I had just hooked the biggest Barramundi ever. Or at least my personal best. This fish was delivering me the best battle that I had ever encounter. Just as it was under the boat, one of the hook popped and the rod had a little jump in my hand when it happened. Even Dean saw it and said that I must have popped a hook.
Just another way to stress you even more when you are fighting what you are now sure is your biggest barra ever.
Dean got the net ready and on the first scoop got the fish in it.
It was suddenly very hard not to shout very loudly how happy I was.
This had been the best fighter I had ever had on the line while chasing Barramundi, even if it wasn't my personal best.

My super rocket fish.

Yet at 76 cm (29.92126 inch) it was my best Darwin Harbour Barramundi. I was not going to have a zero fish round in the harbour and I was full of joy.
Also, I was going to get some good fish for my little one, and this made me happy too.
So head first it was pushed in the esky.
Billster came by and joked that they had been trolling this stretch all morning for not a single fish and that on our first troll in there we had a decent fish: totally unfair from his point of view.
I nearly apologised, but was too happy for it, that wouldn't have ringed true.

We did get a few very nice hit in the same creek, one of them bending the hook of my lure, straight on the hit, without even the hint of a brawl. I just didn't got the time to do anything... This made me think that maybe, just maybe, I should ease my drag a little bit...

Then Dean got a nice little Queenfish:

Queenfish in the sky.

It was released, and we could see Muntzy who had joined us in this creek, getting some nice fish.
Dean then got a rat of a Barra, it was definitively too small to give him any point. But we had fun making a photo like if it was a very big fish:

The giant little fish.

Mutzy just to show us how to do it, got another fish:

Muntzy with a point scorer.

Fishing solo, he was doing a great job at steering his boat, reeling in and netting his fish all by himself.

But it was the end of the day, it was time to call it a day and to go back to port.
The wind had picked up a bit but it was still a nice trip on the harbour:

Homeward bound.

This had been a great weekend, with a lot of laugh, and some good fishing too. 
After all getting fish like that just next to a capital city is still a really cool feeling.
Thank you Dean for taking me onboard of your boat.

Then at the prize presentation, I didn't get any prize for my fishing, but I got a lucky door prize!
And when I say lucky, it was more than lucky.
Dean had got some really cool prizes in the previous round and had made a donation toward a prize for the round five. Sheeby won the door prize, but because he had won the second place in the round five, and had already received a very nice reel, he said to redraw the door prize so someone else get a chance at it. And that was me!

Here is what I got for my door prize:

KO Lures.

A voucher to be spent in the KO Lures shop in Darwin. 
For those of you that don't know KO Lures, this is a new brand of fishing tackle accessories, by a Darwin company. I have not yet fished with any of their lures, but they do look good and very robust, so I can't wait to try them.
Thank Top End Barra Series, Dean, Sheeby and KO Lures.
The two little soft plastics at the bottom were a present as a bonus from the boss of KO Lures, very kind of him, I will swim them as soon as I can!

How and what was my score in this round?
Well I arrived in seventh position for the round, and this placed me in number four on the overall scoreboard. 
One point higher that at the last round.
This is great, but I will not be able to climb higher on the ladder, as the three first ones, have way too much advance for me to catch up with them in the next and final round. Even if I was to win the next round (which I don't believe I can), I would just stay in the fourth position. 
And realistically, there is a lot more chance of me loosing a few point in he next round, which will take place in a billabong where I have fished only twice in the past.

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

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