Yes last weekend was the third round of the 2012 Top End Barra Series.
And ho boy, was I sick... I woke up at around 1:00am on the Saturday feeling pretty bad, but did not want to let my mates down.
Arrabmundi had said that he was going to pick me up at 3:00am and take me aboard his boat for the Saturday. Then has he could not fish on the Sunday, I was to fish the second day from Nomad boat, a vessel on which I had never set foot yet.
I could not at the last minute, let down two skipper in one go.
So at 3:00 am I was saying hi to Arrabmundi and we left in direction of the Daly River.
As we arrived there and launched the boat at around 6:30am, the mist was so dense that it was at time impossible to see the other side of the river.
So we decided to proceed with caution. To go slow, and as we had to do so, we took the opportunity to trow two lures at the back, just in case...
Arrabmundi steering through the mist.
Then a boat past us, not at great speed, but definitively faster than what we were doing.
We though that these guys knew what they were doing and decided to follow them...
They suddenly slowed right down and took a sharp turn to the left: they had been heading straight for a cliff. We decided that the Daly River is definitively not the place for a swim, and slowed down too...
Following a boat in the mist.
As the sun rose, the mist left place to a nice blue sky and we started to see some of our fellow competitors and mates going down the river.
We went strait to Harry's rock bar were we started to troll, and on what must have been the first or second troll, Arrabmundi was on a good fish!
And the good fish swam away before being brought to the boat...
The positive in it was that we knew then that there were some fish to be caught in this river, and we had now an idea of the lure to use.
Yeah right... How wrong could we be...
We didn't got any thing more there, so we moved a bit further down.
As we started another trolling run I decided to use my Classic F18 in the Elton on Chrome that had been so successful at Shady Camp and put it on the line. I had changed all the split rings and hooks in prevision of the 3rd round, and was ready for the hit.
The hit came and I landed what was going to be my only point scoring fish of the weekend:
First Barramundi of the weekend.
This was the first Barramundi that we boated on the weekend, at 81cm (31.889764 inches), by 9:45am we started to be optimist again...
In fact this fish hit the lure so hard, that he partly destroyed my lure, and I can't use it anymore. I liked this lure, and might keep it just as a souvenir.
And from there, things started to go slower and slower...
I started to feel the effect of the flu that had me up way to early, and the fishing started to look more like boating on a beautiful river, than a fish catching expedition.
At one point, we even saw a crocodile that didn't acts very shy and for a short time swam toward the boat. We didn't stay in that spot for too long.
Daly River salt water crocodile.
Swimming towards us.
Arrabmundi had to return to Darwin early , so we started to slowly make our way back up river, and fishing a bit here and there.
Then Arrabmundi was on again and fought the fish to the boat. It wasn't a huge fish, but it might be a point scorer. Just as the fish was about two rods length of the boat, a big shark came from nowhere and tried to snatch it from the line. Quick thinking, my skipper raised his line as high and fast as he could and "jumped" the fish in the boat.
We put this little Barramundi on the brag mat: 49.5cm (19.488189 Inches), 0.5 cm short of a point scorer! Not fair... So in the drink it was put back.
Then we trolled a bit more and Arrabmundi got snagged on the bottom of the river.
As we drifted back in direction of the snag, I was retrieving my lure, when I got a hit and was on. To a fish that must have been approximately 22cm (8.6614173 Inches) on a 12cm (4.7244094 inches) lure...
Talk about a greedy little fish.
Still I was very happy with it, as it was on a lure that my little five year old had re-painted for me, and it was nice to see that she did a good job, that her custom colours worked.
Then it was time to wrap up the day one and we left.
Arrabmundi dropped me at the Banyan Farm, where I was to set my camp for the night and meet up with some of the other fishing the round three.
As it was around 3:00pm, I put up my tent, had a shower, a little to eat, and a little nap. Not a nana nap, a power nap...
Well when I woke up, as some of the guys were arriving under the mangoes trees, I felt more like I needed to sleep five more days to get better than anything else, but got up to have a chat and learn how every body went on the first day.
I learnt that Colleen had got a 103cm (40.551181 Inches) and Damien had got two 102cm (40.15748 Inches) Barramundis... Some people had obviously done much better than I: congratulation to them! Especially to Colleen for it was her first Barramundi over the magic meter mark. And Damien for being the first one in the Top End Barra Series to boat two meteries on the same day, during a round of this friendly competition.
In the evening, I tried to stay up as late as I could, but must have been the most boring of them all, as between the flue and asthma, I had real trouble to breath, which severly limited my conversation. So after a while, I just went back to sleep.
After a night where the sleep was of very moderate effect, it was time to get back into fishing and try to update the score with some more fish...
This was my first time fishing with Nomad, and his navigator, Charlie the dog.
Charlie the navigator.
Charlie did well, and we did not end up on any big log, sand or rock bar.
But he did not put us on many fish.
Or should I say more honestly: we did not make the most of the opportunities he drove us to. As both Nomad and myself, got some very good strikes, with the fish sometimes stripping a bit of line from our reels, and fighting for a few second. But we lost them all.
We spent the day trolling and doing a bit of casting for a big fat donut.
Zero, nada, null, no fish in the bag.
This was still a pleasant day, were we had the time to discuss world affairs, and how to rebuilt a better world.
And the river was, as usual very beautiful.
Thanks again to Arrabmundi and Nomad for having me on board their respective boats for this rounds, that was really appreciated.
Afternoon on the Daly River.
With the action being on the slow side of things, we decided to call it a day, and to head back to Darwin.
On the way back, my eyes were burning, and the following morning I woke up with a full blown conjunctivitis.
Yet, this is still a weekend that I am happy not to have missed, even if I would have loved to catch more fish, and to finally catch myself a metery.
But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,
P.S: Ho, and how did I fare in the competition after all that?
Well I ended up in the sixteen position for the round three, and that leaves me still in seventh place on the overall scoreboard.
As I often say: it could be worse.