The Northern Territory news Thu 10 Apr 2014
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News Corp Australia
30 LIFESTYLE THURSDAY APRIL 10 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V2 Thriller in Klash as barra hit trolls THERE were really only two spots to be in last weeks Aurora Kakadu Klash: Nourlangie Creek or Brook Creek. Its interesting that the two are about 80km apart Nourlangie is about 10km above the bridge on the South Alligator River and Brook is right at the mouth of the mighty South, a good 70km below the bridge. It meant that the majority of competitors had to decide on which one they would fish for the day. Mind you, a few teams in the faster boats worked both spots, but it was still a lot of running around, and especially dangerous at low tide when literally dozens of shallow and exposed mud bars came into play. The Aurora Kakadu Klash is strictly a catch-and-release tournament with barbless hooks mandatory. Competitors can enter their best team fish each day, measured and photographed before being released. Its a simple formula: the team with the highest total of its three measured fish over three days wins. If you miss out on a fish for any of the three days, your chances of winning are zilch. That was especially so with this tournament because there were seven metreys caught and at least another couple of dozen lost. I spent the last two days on the river during the Klash: the first hitching a ride on one of the marshalls boats. This gave me the opportunity to see where all the boats were from the top to the bottom of the river. Already two metreys had been caught the day before, both in Brook Creek. Shane Compains Top End Tackle World caught a 104cm barra and Richard Dickinsons Go Easy team had nailed a 102cm fish. That second day was really the decider for this years Klash. Apparently, Brook Creek went off in the afternoon as the tide fell and the mullet came down. Stories were rife of metreplus barra that escaped by bulldozing into the mangroves in the narrow upstream section of the creek. However, one angler, Shane Compain, did a bit of his own bulldozing and smacked a magnificent 110cm barra late in the day. There seems to be no boundaries to the talent of this young angler on barra water; his team just keeps leading the field in so many major tournaments he fishes in. Mind you, while Brook Creek was going off on the second day, five million mullet moving into and out of Nourlangie Creek certainly turned on quite a bite there too. I believe three metreys were landed there and reports of great sessions on small fish were common. Come the third and last day, Top End Tackle World had a good lead and really needed to catch just a reasonable fish to win. While still covering the Klash for various media, I went fishing that day; joined by old mates Col Cordingley and Stuart Macdonald. We began early at the mouth of Nourlangie Creek where at least 15 boats were all on anchor mode with their Minn Kota electric outboards, and casting furiously. There was no room for us so we worked the other side of the river opposite Nourlangie Creek mouth. No one seemed to be catching which explained why suddenly at least half a dozen boats took off down the river, obviously doing the long run to Brook Creek. That gave us the window of opportunity to sneak by the boats remaining at the mouth and into Nourlangie Creek. Everyone has been talking about how many mullet were in the river during the Klash. Nourlangie Creek was no different the schools were endless and the barra had to be with them. In the old days, the stretch from Nourlangie mouth to the rock-bar 500m inside was one of the Top Ends great troll runs, especially at this time of year when the run-off is on its last legs. I said to Cords, who has won the Kakadu Klash four times, the first time with yours truly: You reckon we should do a troll? His answer was a quick: Yep. Out went the lures and Stueys Big B52 was smacked within 60m the result a tough battle in the current and a PB 89cm barra for Stuey at the end. Well, that started something: suddenly there were four boats trolling. I must say Josh Ker and team Big Fish did it well trolling on electric outboard only. He soon latched on and landed a spectacular 104cm barra, and then an 86 after that. Tony Hares Light Horse team followed suit with another in the 80s and Sharon Crawley in Team MasterBait soon did likewise. Our team also hooked a metrey, sadly on the end of my line because it jumped off! In the end, Shane Compain, Bryce Neal and Jamps Hughes in Team Top End Tackle World caught a 74cm barra on the third day and enjoyed a strong win. Josh and Natalie Ker and Martin Brain in Team Big Fish grabbed a pair of metreys to assist their three-fish tally for second place. Steve Compain, Chris Oram and Paul Foster in Team Tackle World fished hard to claim third spot. Finally, a special mention must go to Tim and Lucas Pel and Marcus Penno in Team Guppy II who had some unfortunate photography issues on the second day and would have come in second otherwise. This was one of the better Aurora Kakadu Klash tournaments; the quality of fishing and the resort amenities ensured that. Aurora Kakadu Resort really is a great venue, just 3km from the boat ramp. If youre after some serious metrey action, Id keep an eye on that Nourlangie Creek mouth troll run over the next fortnight. Josh Ker fished well in the Klash, catching this 104cm barra trolling Nourlangie to make it two metreys in two days and helping his Team Big Fish into runner-up position Stuart Macdonalds 89cm barra on a Reidys Big B52 ignited a sweet trolling bite inside the mouth of Nourlangie Creek If you miss out on a fish for any of the three days, your chances of winning are zilch Shane Compains 110cm barra helped Team Top End Tackle World win this years Aurora Kakadu Klash Sharon Crawley, with Ray Cook (left) and husband Darren, caught an 86cm barra trolling Nourlangie Creek on the last day