Not long ago was the 2012 Top End Barra Series round 6, the grand finale, the round where the champions would rise.
The round was taking place on Corroborre Billabong, a very beautiful place.
Sunrise and flying geese on the billabong.
For this bout I was not to fish with Arrabmundi, my usual skipper, as he was in the process of moving interstate, and was a few thousands kilometres away when the event took place.
Instead I was fishing with Moz, with whom I had already fished on the Adelaide River earlier in the year.
Full of anticipation.
As we launched in the cold early morning of the first day of competition, we were full of hope and anticipation.
Corroboree Billabong is truly a beautiful place, and having fished there only twice in the past, I couldn't get enough of the stunning sunrise.
Sunrise at Corroboree Billabong.
Being originally a big city boy, this is the kind of show that make me appreciate the move to the slower paced life style that I now live.
We quickly motored to a spot called The Rock Hole, where we started to troll some small lures.
And it didn't take too long for Moz to catch a nice Barramundi.
Moz and a nice Billabong Barramundi.
He was on the board, and a first fish in the boat is alway a relief, we were in for some good action.
Or so we thought...
Because the rest of the weekend was going to be spent catching the wrong fishes, and missing the right ones...
I did miss a few Saratoga not very far from there, I just couldn't stay connected to them.
Yet it was still going to be a great warm weekend on the water.
When I say warm, I could say hot, or even stinking hot.
The first day saw a temperature of 37 degrees celsius and the second day of 39 ( 98.6 and 102.2 fahrenheit ).
Not much breeze, and not that much shade, made it for what we would call a warm weekend on the water.
Even the crocodile were getting a bit cranky with the heat.
As we were doing a slow troll along a bank of water lilies, a big one surfaced just at the green edge of the aquatic vegetation and aimed straight for our boat. We didn't ask for anything, we just increased the speed of the outboard and moved along, out of there.
We did went fishing in a little canal, where we saw two young guys coming and fishing just next to us.
They explained that they were new to the territory, and that this was only their second time fishing here.
Seeing us stoping there they thought that it must be a good stop and had decided to stop too...
You guessed it, beginers luck was on their side, as the guy who was the closer to us was explaing all of this to us suddenly hooked on what seemed to be a nice fish.
It was a nice fight in the narrow canal, and the fish was finally netted, with the young angler shooting: "It is a metery it is a metery!"
To wich Moz replied: No, it is 87cm long. (34.251969 inches).
So the lucky guy went and got his tape.
The fish was 87cm long on the dot!
Now if this is not a good guess estimate, I don't know what is...
We left not long after thinking that we should have got this fish, but hey, this is fishing.
And the joy on this guy's face was still a great thing to see, this was his biggest Barramundi to date.
Water lilies near the little canal.
Then we saw what was like the start of a bush fire, just along the bank of the waterway. We wondered what could have started a fire in this isolated and dry place, and continued our troll. On turning back wa saw that the fire was now full on and that two chopper had started to try extinguished it.
This was the first time that I saw some helicopters water bomb a fire, and what a show it was. I nearly emptied my camera's battery taking pictures of it.
Big smoke on the river.
Filling up the water bucket.
Water bombing the fire.
In the heat of the day, this was a very impressive display.
But off course, this was not very good fore the fishing, so we moved a few kilometres away, to try our luck a bit more.
And Moz got a catfish...
First catfish of the weekend.
By then it was starting to be the end of the day, so we decided that our best luck would be to cast some weedless soft plastic in the lilies.
There instead of the targeted Saratoga we started to land a plague of little fresh water Tarpon.
Tarpon on the frog.
Another little Tarpon.
We couldn't get a Saratoga, Yet a bot that must have been about 200 meters from us was catching them with no problems...
The boat that was catching them.
Yes this boat was catching them and not us...
So when they left, in our grand wisdom, we decided to go just where they were, and to catch some ourselves...
Well, we went there, and didn't caught any... We got a few nice hits, but nothing stayed hooked.
So being human, we did what most humans would do: we decided to have dinner.
Moz stormed a great curry, spicy and all.
Yes this was a delicious and well earned meal after a long day under the sun.
We were starting to relax in the relative dark freshness of the evening when we heard a sound that makes anyone standing on the water edge, or in a boat think quick about his or her next move.
Our hair raised and our senses started to work in overdrive.
It was the sound of a big salt water crocodile snapping his jaws in a clear warning that it wanted us out of its territory.
We didn't argue about who was going to put his hands in the water to wash the dishes, we just pulled up the anchor and moved a few kilometres away from that nice little spot.
We found a nice spot not very far from a house boat, and decided to set up camp just there.
In the morning we woke up to a fantastic scenery.
First light of the day on the billabong.
The light was just beautiful, and with the day rising we could start to see the mist on the water around the houseboats.
Morning mist and houseboat on Corroboree Billabong.
Not long after this photo was taken, and not very far from it, I started to cast a plastic frog in the lilies, hopping to snare a nice Saratoga... I did get plety of hits, but lost all the fish. All on surface action, one of the most exciting form of fishing.
Then Moonman arrive in his boat, and told me that this is because I have the wrong lure...
He told me that his lure is better and do a cast to show me. And on his first cast, he got hit, hook up and landed a Saratoga...
This was not my day.
He then gave me a lure similar to the one he had just used in front of us.
I tied it up on my line... And didn't got a single hit on this very rod for the rest of the day...
No, not my day, not my weekend.
Later on, one of the competitor in the Top End Barra Series got the propeller of his electric motor chomped up by a big crocodile.
So yes we knew that the crocodiles were starting to become a bit aggro at this time of the year.
We then went back to the little canal from the previous day, and there we caught up with Peter and his deckie fishing the canal land based.
The deckie and Peter, fishing from the land.
Peter knowing that I love advertising lures, had one for my small collection that he gave me.
The Bacardi Rums lure.
The gift from Peter was a lure with the logo of Bacardi Rums, one that I didn't have yet.
This is a very welcome addition to my little accumulation of advertising fishing lures.
We then moved around trying to find the fish, but couldn't get a thing to stay connected.
Then, I got a hit, and the hookup seemed to be strong.
Reeling the fish, I was just hopping that the fit would be of legal size.
Then it came to the boat, and I realised that its size didn't really matter, it was of the wrong specie. It was a catfish.
My last fish of the weekend.
This was going to be my last fish for the weekend.
It was starting to be late and we decided to get back to the ramp and then home.
The dirt road, on the way back to civilisation.
When we dropped the boat back at Moz's place, he gave me a big Jack Fruit that grew on a tree on his property. At least, I would still have something to feed my family once back home.
That was the first time in over two year, that I went fishing a full weekend for Barramundi, and didn't landed a single one of them.
Every rounds of the 2012 Top End Barra Series, I had climbed a bit more on the overall score board.
This time I was to go down.
I started the finale round in the fourth position, and finished it in six.
I was slightly disappointed but was still in the top ten, which was my aim at the beginning of the year. And I still had a great time on the water, with many good laugh, and in a fantastic place. Thank you Moz for having me on your boat for this round.
Now, I can't wait for the 2013 Top End Barra Series to start.
It will be even more difficult to finish in the top ten next year, as the number of participant in the competition will be higher than this year. This is a great testament to the success of the Top End Barra Series and how much people enjoy fishing it. So I am not really sure that I would be able to do as good next year...
But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,
P.S: And don't forget the fishing lure giveaway...