Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 Top End Barra Series Round 3

Hi there,

Some time ago was the third round of the 2015 Top End Barra Series.
And it was great fun.
  • For this round we fished the Daly River.
  • We got all our fish on soft plastic lures.
  • We did much better than last year in the same round.
This year the third round of the Series was taking place on the mighty Daly River.
With the memory of the big fat donut that we had scored last year in the Daly round, Brett and I teamed up again, with the hope of doing better this year.
And better we did.

We left Darwin on the Friday afternoon, so we could have a little pre-fish on Friday evening, and start early on the Saturday morning, once the friendly competition was started.
As soon as we got on the water, we were reminded that in now ways, this is a river in which you go for a swim. The number of crocodile in there is just incredible.

A fresh water crocodile in the Daly River.

A Jabiru and a salt water crocodile at the Daly River.

The fresh water crocodile also known as Crocodylus johnsoni or Crocodylus johnstoni and the salt water crocodile or Crocodylus porosus, are two very different species, found in the Daly River. The salt water specie being the most dangerous one.
Yet, this should not makes us forget how beautiful this big river is:

Bank of the Daly River.

I don't fish this river very often, maybe once or twice a year if I am lucky. But I really like going fishing there, and there is always the possibility of catching a big Barramundi in the Daly.
But in the cold morning, the first thing that I caught, was not a big Barramundi.
It wasn't even a fish!
I got my line tangled in the propeller of the electric motor...

First catch of the trip for me.

What a shame job that was...
But hey, it could be worse...
And in fact, not very long after that casting a soft plastic lure against the bank, I finally got my first Barra for the round:

First Barramundi of the round three.

At 52cm, this was going be my smallest fish of the weekend. Yet it was enough to get me on the board, and I was very happy with that. Not knowing yet that this was going to be my only fish for the first day.
Just a bit further from where I had caught this fish, we saw another salt water crocodile on the bank:

Salt water crocodile on the river bank.

This one was on a very step bank, and is a good reminder, that in some place, it is better not to get out of the boat for a walk on the bank.

With the action on the fishing front being a bit slow, we caught up with some other participants in this very social competition, and had a midday raft up:

Rafting up on the Daly River.

Raft up are an integral element of the Top End Barra Series, and is part of what keeps it such a friendly and social event. It is a time to share fishing tales, and other banter, with various people, most of them addicted to fishing.

We did try to get a fish after that, but it was hard fishing.
Brett did get his first fish for the round too, on a vibe:

Brett's first Barramundi of the weekend.

Now we both had a fish under our respective names, and no donut on the boat, we could start to relax.
This was near a pile of big snags, where a few grey nomads were fishing with cherabin (Large fresh water prawns) and pulling some good fish from the said snags. This looked like a good spot, but too many people were already on it, we decided to keep it in mind for the next day.

Moving a bit upstream, we did find a spot full of small Barramundi. Brett actually managed to get maybe twenty of them, all from the same snag. But alas, they were all very small juvenile fish. Yet they were great fun and we enjoyed the action, after a day of rather quiet fishing. We even saw a big Mangrove Jack coming after the little Barramundi. 

Brett catching one of the many little Barramundi.

This was fun but with the evening light descending upon us we decided to head to camp. Have a shower, and a great roast for dinner, served at the Banyan Farm.

On the Sunday morning, we decided to try our luck a bit closer than where we had been down on the river the previous day. And that was going to be a good move. We went back to the big pile of snags where Brett had got his fish on the Saturday. This time no one was there yet, we had the place for ourselves. 

Among the snags, just behind an half submerged tree trunk, was a nice little colour change in the water. This is where I wanted to flick my lure:

Snag and colour change.

Just in the shade, the colour of the water was changing, due to the little creek entering the big river.
This spot looked really attractive to me, but also like a fishing lure grave yard.
So I decided to use a weedless plastic lure, that look a bit like a cherabin, to try to emulate the success the grey nomads were having the day before. 
I also decided to use my Ugly Stick fishing rod, instead to my more fragile St-Croix. The reason being that I was thinking that if I was to get lucky enough to hook a fish in there, I wanted to be able to high stick the rod, to try to get it out of the treacherous snags as quick as possible. Before it get the time to rub my line on all the underwater branches and cut it. It was going to affect my casting distance, but in this case, I didn't need to flick my lure very far.
The combination of the heavy rod and a weedless cherabin lookalike lure proven successful as I quickly got a hit. Sadly it didn't connect properly and the fish was lost in less than two second.
Yet, it proved to me, that this was the right gears in the right spot, so I persevered.

It finally happened, and the hit came fast and brutal.
I shouted that I was on and raised my fishing rod as high as I could, reeling in at the same time.
Still, there was this half submerged tree trunk between us on the boat, and the fish in the water.
Brett, quickly put the front of the boat on the first branch of the trunk, grabbed his net, and extended the handle to the maximum. It just reached behind the last branch in the water. The Barramundi was trying to dive under the branch, but putting my finger on the spool, and raising my fishing rod over my head, all the while screaming that "He's going to get break my line!!!"
But we managed to slide this fish in the net, and Brett brought it to the boat.

Barramundi plugged from the snags.

At 69cm it was going to be my best Barramundi for the weekend.
And seeing where it came from, made me very happy.

Seeing the result, Brett quickly put a similar lure at the end of his line, albeit in a different colour, and  started to cast in the same spot.
And the same thing happened.
First a hit that didn't deliver.
Then a solid hook up and a fish in the boat!

Brett's second point scorer Barramundi of the weekend.

It looked that we had found the right spot.
Sadly, no more fish were to be had from this very snag.
But all was not lost, as we both got fish about one hundred meters from there.

As we were moving just a little bit downstream, Brett started to use a vibe lure again, but it got snagged at the bottom and he lost the lure.
After putting another vibe on, he continued to cast toward the same snag, being persuaded that a fish might be in it...
And he did snag something, but it wasn't a fish.
It was the lure that he had just lost, and he got it back!

Brett and his vibe that caught the lost vibe.

About one hundred meters from where we had caught some fish, there was a smaller snag where we saw a fly fisherman caught a Barramundi earlier in the day.
We started to cast to it, and Brett soon came up with the good, his third fish for the third round:

Brett's third Barramundi for the round.

As we were still casting vibe lures to this small snag, I thought that I should try to do a few cast toward the middle of the river, just in case a big mama Barramundi was cruising past with the tide.
And on the second or third cast my line came tense, and started to peel from my reel.
Yes it had worked, I had found a passing fish.
It was not the big mama that I had hoped for, yet it was still a decent fish that made me very happy:

My last Barramundi of the weekend.

This one came in at 63cm, enough to get me a good score in this round.

But it was already early afternoon, and we decided to have a quick look at the spot where we had fun with all the babies Barra on the previous day. 
With the difference in tide, the action was not has ferocious as it had been, but it was still great fun, and we still had hop that a big Barra was among them.
In fact a very nice one came and swam behind Brett's lure, but didn't take it.

So we decided to go back, clean the camp and go home.

The Banyan Farm boat ramp.

For this round, we stayed in a cabin at the Banyan Farm, where we also had our dinner.
This is a great place to stay, and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. The staff there is very friendly and welcoming, the food is great and at a reasonable price, the cabins and the camping grounds are very pleasant. They even have a swimming pool now, so after a long day fishing it is a really good place to unwind.
Thank you Brett for inviting me on your boat.

I alway love fishing on the Daly river, even if it is not alway an easy place to fish.
And now I might have to wait for another year, before I am back there.

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

No comments: