Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 Top End Barra Series Round 2.

Hi there,

How was the round two of the 2013 Top End Barra Series?
Well, it was a lot of fun, but not a lot of fish...
It took place early April at the Finniss River, in the Northern Territory of Australia.
And in the week before the event, the Northern Territory Government made an announcement that shocked a lot of anglers in the Territory.
Basically, they said that because they had not been able to get to an accord with the Traditional Owners of the land adjacent to the river, and of the river, most of the river would from now on be off access to non Traditional Owners people.
In practical, it still leave 13km (8.0778255 Miles) from the mouth of the river and up to fish for everybody.
This is a controversial situation, and it is not for me to judge it, I lack way too much information to make a fair and just call about it.
Lets just hope that it will soon be resolved for the best of everyones involved.

So back to our fishing, once again, I teamed up with Nomad, and on Saturday morning we left Darwin, full of anticipation. Wondering how we would do in this round, as none of us had fished this particular stretch of water before.

When we arrived at Dundee Beach for the launch, early as, it was already chaos, with way too many boat in front of us, waiting to be launched. It basically took us nearly two hours to get launched and zooming along the beach toward our fishing destination.

As we arrived, we noticed some boat trolling the channel at the entrance of the river, and some other flicking lures to the mud flat.
We opted for the second and made our way to the mud flat, not knowing exactly where to start.
On finding a little drain with a bit of water trickling to the sea, we decided to cast our lures in the spot.
It didn't take long and Nomad was on a fish...
But it wasn't a Barramundi, and it was not hook properly. It was a Pufferfish, an animal considered to be the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world. So even if it is considered in some part of the world as a delicacy, this one was promptly returned to the water.

Nomad's Pufferfish.

 It was still early in the  two days round, and we laughed about it, and were still thinking that we would catch a few Barramundi...
But not catching fish on the mud flat we decided to go for a little troll at the mouth of the river, and we didn't do much better. So we went up the river, still in the limits of the newly announced restriction, and saw a nice little feeder creek, with a beautiful eddy and some great colour change.
The place was full of branch and stick, it screamed Barramundi at us. Another boat from the competition was there, and they hadn't done very good, so we stayed next to then for a chat, all the while flicking our lures to the snags.
This is when Billster came and slipped between the two boat for a chat and like us he started to flick his lure to the river bank. And he definitively came with the goods! I first saw the head of the fish came to the surface and grab his lure not long after it had touched the water. My first thought was that such a large fish in the sticks was going to be a very hard battle.
But the big mama Barra went straight for the middle of the river, and showed us her shoulder, she was easily over a meter long. That was a great fish.
But just as I had got my camera ready to record the catch of such a fish, it came back up, put her head out of the water, shook violently her mouth and the lure flew away from her.
It would be fair to say that there and then, even the anglers who didn't had this fish on the line felt disappointed and sorry for Billster.
But as they say, it is called fishing, not catching...

With no more bites coming from there, we drifted a bit down the river, and found another nice eddy, and started to work it with our lure. Nomad made a cast just next to an half submerged mangrove tree, and as soon as his soft plastic hit the river bed, the line went tense. It was a good hit, and the line ran in the water and we called it for a Barramundi. But a Barramundi it was not, it was a rather beautiful Catfish. Which looked more like a koi than a traditional Northern Territory Catfish.

Nomad and his "Koi Catfish".

This was a very beautiful fish, but not what we were after. So we decided to move back to the mouth of the river for a bit of trolling.
Once there, we caught up with the Duff guys:

Duff on a boat!

We rafted up with them for a little while and had a friendly chat. It is good to see that even it the third year of this competition, it is still a very cordial one, where people are more out there to have fun than to be number one.
The light was nice and we went trolling some more...
Keep on trucking as they said...

Afternoon light.

In such a beautiful place, I was bound to get a fish.
And I did!
But it was of the wrong specie, and on the rather small end of the scale...

My only fish of the weekend.

This was a little Catfish, and more importantly it was going to be my one and only fish of the weekend.

The sunset came, and was grandiose.

Grand Sunset on the mouth of the Finniss River.

This is about when the raft up became serious, with some people even trying to get the raft up on the plan... They failed, so I guess that this would be considered as unfinished business and will be attempted again. Who knows?

With the evening we saw our first crocodiles of the weekend.
Or to be more precise, we saw the reflection of their eyes in our head lamps.
We planed to wait for the change of tide in the middle of the night to catch some fish. But it seems that Morpheus had other plan for us, and we fall asleep in no time after dinner. Anchored at the river mouth.
As usual, I woke up early, and started to cast a popper in the dark, one of my favourite form of fishing.

Popping in the morning.

As the day raised, we started to get in line with the other boats and trolled the river mouth.
Nomad got a good hit, and was on, I saw the fish jump and said that it was a Barramundi and a good one. Nomad hadn't seen it jump and wasn't too sure about my call, saying that it might not be a Barramundi.
But it jumped again and this time he saw it but called for a 60, maybe 70 cm. I said it was bigger.
It came to the boat still pretty green, and it took a few try to get it in the net. And I was starting to think that if I was going to miss it with the net one more time, I might be the one ending in the water...
But in the net it went, and on the brag mat. Where it showed that it was 84 cm (33.070866 Inches).
That was a good fish.

Nomad and his Barramundi.

This was a great moment for Nomad, as it was his first Barramundi for the year. And it lifted our spirit, making us think that we were back on the roll...
Well, after that, Nomad caught a very small catfish that was fool hooked, and that was it...
No more fish for the full weekend.

This had been a very hard weekend on the fishing level, but had been great on a social level.
Plenty of laugh, a new place discovered, and an envy to get back in it.

But now where does a doughnut leaves me in the overall score board?
Well, out of the 80 competitors, only 30 registered some fish, this is how though it was.
So With a big zero on the overall score board I am now in position number 37...
It is about time, that I start to perform a bit better...

Obviously, this is not my best year on records...

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

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