Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Top End Barra Series Round 2.

Hi there,

No long ago took place the round two of the 2015 Top End Barra Series.
And what an adventure it was!
  • It was on the Adelaide River.
  • I was supposed to fish with Nomad.
  • I ended up fishing with someone else due to electric problems.
  • It was very hard fishing for nearly every one in the competition.
It had been planned that I would fish this round on Nomad's boat.
So Nomad picked me up nice and early, to get to the Adelaide River.
On the way to the river, we stopped to buy some petrol in the boat. And a little incident, nothing dramatic, happened. I didn't really stressed about it, it was early and we were going fishing, that was the important thing.
The Adelaide is known as a fickle river when it comes to Barramundi fishing, and we had a plan.
The plan was simple: Use the information that Jason Arrabmundi had given me last year.
This was the best intelligence I could get on this river, and we were confident that it would help us, to catch a few fish.
Well the best of plans, don't always come to fruition... 
That I know, now.

Welcome to the Adelaide River.

As we arrived at the ramp, a few boats were there, and we chatted with some friends. Every one was full of anticipation, and on the happy side of things.
Then it was our turn to launch, and Nomad launched the boat, and stayed in the boat, while I went to park the car and trailer. As I came back I started to get a sense that the day might unfold in a slightly different way than what we had planned.
Nomad and his boat were drifting in the current, like if the outboard was not working.
And not working it was.
The battery was flat. It is with the help of the electric motor, and it's small battery that Nomad was able to come in the vicinity of the boat ramp.
Not far from the ramp is a local business who own a very large and safe pontoon, but they refused Nomad who's boat was in distress the use of it. So between their pontoon and the boat ramp, on a very muddy bank Nomad throw me a rope, which I tied to a tree.
Now Nomad just had to jump on the mud, and go and pick up a spare battery in the car.
This sounded very simple, until he jumped out of the boat.
The mud was really deep and to his waist, Nomad sinked in.
Now, The place is well known, for its very large number of big crocodiles. Honestly I can't say that I forgot about them for a second when I saw Nomad, stuck in the mud on the water edge.
I screamed at him to try to slide or crawl on it. Which he was already trying to do anyway. But it took him a very long time to be close enough to be able to grab my hand and pull himself out of this dangerous situation.
But once out of the mud, we thought that it would be all good from there...
All good it was not, yet...

Nomad got a spare battery from the car, and a boat with a friendly crew took us both to Nomad's boat. Then towed us a few hundred metres up the river. At a spot where we could safely tie the boat in the shade of a few tree, and Nomad started to swap the batteries. While I started to clean the boat from all the mud covering most of the boat by then.
Once the new battery in place, Nomad turned the key and... Tic tic tic ... But no outboard roaring.
The spare battery was flat too. There are days like that, where it is better not to ask why.
This looked more and more like one of these days...
Totally demoralised Nomad cracked open a beer, and I started to flick a lure thinking that this was all the fishing that I would have for the weekend.
Moz and Ruti came passing by and asked if we had any trouble...
We did tell them what was our problem. By then we though that it might be an electric problem, and didn't want to play to much with it on the water.
So we asked them if they could tow us back to the ramp so we could simply go home.
But Dean passed by at the same time and offered me to fish with him for the day, as he was solo in his boat.
After checking with Nomad if it was Ok, I eagerly said yes. I might still get a fish!
But first we towed Nomad back to the ramp, and helped him to get the boat back on the trailer.
And soon, I was zooming up the river on Dean's boat:

Zooming up the Adelaide River.

Dean's big smile, and the wind of a moving boat quickly brought back my spirits.

Dean in the "Bat's Boat".

We went past Goat's Island, and I recognised a spot that we had successfully fished with Arrabmundi in the past. When I told that to Dean we decided to try to troll the place. 
First troll and we saw on the sounder a big school of Barramundi. At least thirty fish, in the 70cm range, size wise. They were an active school of fish, distributed over most of the water column, nearly from the bottom to the surface of the river.
We waited for the hits on our lures, but nothing came.
We turned back and tried to find the school again: they had totally disappeared. It was now impossible to find them. 
We looked closer to the bank, in the middle of the river, on the other side of the river. To no avail, they had disappeared just like that.
We speculated on the fact that maybe a shark or a crocodile might have been chasing them. But we couldn't be sure of anything, apart from the fact that we could not find them no more.
So we went a bit further up the river. And casted soft plastic to some snags. We got some small hits, but nothing massive, and more importantly, nothing stayed connected.
Dean got a 10 cm Barra to the boat, but that was about it.

It was well past mid day and we decided to go back to Goat Island, for a burger.
On the way back, we decided to have a bit of a troll, just where we had seen the fish before.
And yes, I got a small hit, wasn't too sure if I was on or not. And was starting to think that I might have hooked a small catfish. But it came to the surface and started to jump: it was a small Barramundi. We called it for a 45cm one. And I was really hoping that it would be at least 50cm, so I would be on the board.
It wasn't a big fish and we quickly got it to the boat, and were able to me sure it:

My Little Barramundi.

It was 51cm! (20.07874 inch) Too small to keep, but big enough to put me on the board, and to avoid the dreaded donut. Quickly photographed and released, this little fish brought our spirits right up there. There was fish in the water.
We trolled a few time the same spot for no success, so went for a burger at Kai on Goat Island.
There we found a few of the Top End Barra Series lads, all lamenting about the hard fishing and saying how good the burgers felt on a day like this. 
So we eat some burgers.
After a bit of a rest in the shade, and a chit chat with everybody we decided to go back and try our luck once more.
But we didn't go very far, in fact we stopped not long after in a shady spot where Moz and Ruti had stopped too. And we had a bit of a chat with them, taking it easy.
The river really looked good, but the fish simply were not in the mood to feed.

The Adelaide River.

We then decided to try a bit more, but not too hard, and to finally head home.
Dean had definitively saved the day for me, thank you Dean for inviting me on your boat.

Nomad's boat problems were simply that the battery were flat. He had since got the thing checked and new battery have fixed the issue. So it wasn't a major electrical problem, thanks for that.

The Adelaide River can be a very difficult river to fish. Yet I have had some really good day on it, and I know people like Arrabmundi who have caught some really good fish in it. And more than once, so the fish are definitively there. 
Just not easy to get.

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