Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Top End Barra Series Round 3.

Hi there,

Recently the third round of the 2014 Top End Barra Series was on.
It was taking place on the mighty Daly River, and what a round it was!

Brett, had invited me on his boat for this round, and picked me up, early on Saturday morning.
The Daly River is reputed for its numerous big Barramundi, and our hope were high.
Well don't hold your breath, you will not see any big fish in this post.
Yet, we still had a really good time, catching up with many good mates, and plenty of good laugh!

We launched at day break after dropping some gear at The Banyan Farm, and quickly caught up  on the water with other participants from the competition.

Catching up on the Daly.

In fact they were rather happy to see us, as they had never fished the Daly before, and needed someone to guide them through the divers rock bars and other obstacle hidden in the flowing waters.
Brett knows the river like the back of his hand, and zoomed us all to a place to troll:

Morning troll.

Meeting no success there, we went to another spot to try casting lures at a creek mouth: nothing there either.
We had a small raft-up with two other boats for a little while, swapping fishing stories and other tales.
After all the social aspect is one of the more important thing that makes the Top End Barra Series what it is. A very friendly competition.

We spent the rest of the day searching for elusive fishes, that we could not find.
But we did see a lot of crocodiles:

Salt Water crocodile on the mud bank.

From there we decided that it was time to get back to the Banyan Farm, for a shower and a meal.
And a great meal it was: all you can eat roasted lamb! It is with a full tummy that I went to bed, to find a much needed sleep. 

The morning chill had a savage bit to it. It was a long time since I had been so cold while going fishing.

Sunrise at the Banyan Farm.

On the water, it was beautiful, and as cold as on land:

Early morning on the river.

In such conditions, we had no other alternative than to cover up:

Brett's piloting.

Your's truly.

No, we were not gangsters on our way to a high sea robbery, just peaceful fishermen on our way to catch some elusive Barramundi.
It was in fact so cold, that I even had to wear a pair of sock!

Socks in the Crocs.

Not very elegant, but oh so comfortable. In fact so comfortable, that it is only when we went back to the boat ramp in the evening that I remembered to take them off… I will put that on the fishing focus …

But let's stop talking fashion and let's get back to the important stuff: fishing for Baramundi.
Well we did find a school of Barra deep down the river's guts:

Barramundi on the sounder.

Seeing them we decided to tie the boat to a snag and cast to them, as we could not entice them to take a lure on the troll.
We casted so many different lures to them, for no success that it started to be slightly frustrating.
Then Brett put a small soft plastic, in the reddish colour, and he was on!
That was a beautiful Barramundi, easy in the high 80 cm and he fought strongly. Brett got it to the boat, I had the net ready, and… The hook bent…
Not a thing that you would wish to anyone during a fishing competition, specially when it is your skipper, and that it is the first good fish hooked in the weekend.
I felt bad, but there was nothing I could have done, this Barra was just to strong for the hook of the small soft plastic lure.
So I put on my line a big soft plastic, with a big hook…
And a very good fish took it. It peeled the line from my reel, like if it didn't had any drag. In fact the drag was practically locked to the maximum, as we were fishing in very snaggy country, and the goal if we hooked would have been to get the fish in the boat, before it took us to the snags.
But after two very powerful, but short runs, it spat the lure, and I never saw this fish.
Which in fishermen language, just makes it even bigger, trust me.

And finally I hooked a small Barramundi on a 5 inch Reiddy's rubber:

My best Barramundi of the weekend.

It was definitively too small to be a point scorer, it was in fact so small that it would have been illegal to keep it. So in the drink it went back. Yet, as you can see on the image, it had really tried to scoff the lure. little fish are still good to catch, when they are the first of the weekend.

we did try some more, but no more fish we caught…

So we went back to camp, to rest for a few minutes, before going to the camping's restaurant for a Chicken schnitzel. That was the biggest Schnitzel that I had ever seen! I did finish my plate, but felt like I would not need any more food for a week. Basically, it was enormous and delicious.
I liked the Banyan Farm for the camp ground, now I like it even more for the food.

But during the evening meal, we learnt about a man who had been taken from his boat by a crocodile, while fishing another river from the Northern Territory.
It did put a bit of a chill in all of us.
Every body went to sleep.

The following morning we decided not to fish and to make our way back to Darwin.
We took the touristic road, if I may say, so Brett could show me a haunted bridge, and the Daly River crossing. Two place that I had heard a lot about in the fishing circle, but never seen yet.
It was great to see them.

From the Daly River crossing.

It was nice to finally see these places in real, and not in a fishing magazine.

I did lost a few lures to snags during this round. But was lucky enough to have Rosco giving me a still in the box Classic Four X for my little collection of fishing lures. And Brett gave me a DUO Realis Pencil 110, a lure that I wanted to try since a long time. I will use it in the upcoming rounds of the Top End Barra Series, and hopefully get a few point with it.
Here are the two lure, thank you Rosco and Brett:

Two good Barramundi lures.

And as I don't have any good fish pictures in this post, here comes a little film done with the video function on my point and shot still camera. Definitively not a Kubrick movie, but it shows a bit how beautiful is the Daly River:

Thank you again Brett, that was a great weekend, even if we didn't catch many fish, we had some good laugh.

Yes, this was my first donut of the year, and maybe not the last one too.

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

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