It’s all about the tides.
That was the lesson from the Club Marine Barra Nationals 2014 on the Daly River.
During the pre-fish and the first two days of the event when the tides were at their biggest, the metre-plus barra were hunting mullet and those trolling the middle of the river were catching them.
Kane Dysart, who landed a stunning 118cm fish during the Nationals, said he caught three metre-long barra during the event’s pre-fish. Champion fisho Shane Compain had predicted that the Nationals would be won in the first two days, and he was right.
As the tides diminished to neaps later in the event, the barra caught were smaller and the bite was primarily in the morning. It will be interesting to see if organisers run the event on bigger tides in future.
The upcoming Barra Classic on the Daly will be held on building tides, so the big fish will likely show towards the end of the event.
Those fishing outside the Barra Nationals official hours found smaller barra were ravenous at night, an indication yet again that having many boats on the water during the day does put the fish down to some extent.
The question is, does the big tide rule extended to all big NT rivers? Some Top End rivers are quite different in habitat from the Daly.
The comp showed that there’s a good stock of fish in the Daly River this year, albeit not as many fish as the big flood years experienced in the Top End recently.
Fishos remember those years fondly, but they are not the norm. When the wet season rain starts in late November and doesn’t stop until April, the river barramundi fishing goes ballistic, often lasting all year, but more often than not the rainfall is not quite so co-operative and the fishing quality is average.
Average in the NT of course generally means very good fishing, and there’s always the bluewater fishing to fall back on – barra tend to distract from the NT’s excellent coastal sportfishing opportunities.
Barra Nationals 2014 results can be seen on this thread on the FFF fishing forums.