NO MORE EXCUSES NEEDED
Readers may recall last week I listed all my excuses why we had not caught a barra in two trips and that I was organising a last hoorah, now that Jungle Jim Nilsson had done a 1700km round trip to get his dinghy. So now we had a chance at trolling in some shallow water river locations, at the back end of neap tides, mid week and with two other friends Brian and Tess joining us.
We did the usual routine of collecting firewood on the back of the truck on the way in, I set up my swag in a mossie dome on the truck, while the others had small tents for the two nights on the river. Brian was keen to make the trip nice for Tess, who was very ‘croc shy’, so I organised a big air mattress for them that was six inches thick when inflated, but by dawn they were touching the ground. Brian was most appreciative of my efforts! Jungle was anxious to blood his car topper tinny, complete with a new remote powered ezyboat loader, that I must say was an absolute treat, especially with the muddy banks. We also now both carry small power packs which can run the sounder, LED nights and even a WAECO overnight. One day Brian radioed us on the VHF handheld to say a guy had walked 1.5km to our camp looking for a vehicle to jump start his flat battery. I asked Brian if he had a wife and kid back at his camp, because we were directly opposite them and when he confirmed this, we motored to the bank and used the power pack to jump start their car in a matter of seconds.
Anyway, I digress from the main topic, fishing. After navigating the river on the first day to locate mudbanks and rock bars, some of which needed our paddle to get us moving again, we started to get amongst some small barra up to 50cm on lures. Tess could not be coaxed into the boat at this stage, especially as the hot spot had seven salt water crocs on either side of the bank. The next morning I headed to a rock bar to throw poppers for a half hour or so and was wrapped to land a 58cm barra, especially after casting it innumerable times on the last trip, for no return. Tess was then coerced to come along for an afternoon troll and there is nothing more exciting than watching someone catching their first barramundi, which she did, then repeated and even repeated again. We landed seven in that session and Tess was to repeat the same dose the following morning, with Jim and Brian on board, to land the only three barra. The location has now been aptly named Tess’s spot. Later on day two I was especially stoked to land a solid 88cm barra on the tried and tested ‘Gold Bomber’ lure, in just over a metre of water ( pictured, as always, with my special barra fishing cotton pants ). To top it all off, I managed two more barra on poppers, trolling behind the boat late in the arvo and another on the popper off the rock bar the following morning. In total, we landed twenty barra, although many were released as undersize, with four on poppers, twelve on gold bombers and four on green bottom spearhead lures. Late one night we started counting up all the wildlife we had spotted-jabiru, sea eagles, bulls, dingo, barra, catfish, egret, crocs-managed to get to twenty species before the rum started to kick in!