The challenge was on.
At 6am, we showed up at Corroboree Tavern to meet our guide Chris. The plan was to be out on the billabong for sunrise, with the barramundi fishing competition to begin soon after that.
Fishing has been an ongoing sore point for Clint throughout the Places We Go series. Good at almost everything else, he just can’t seem to catch a fish. And call it ‘lady luck’, but Jen seems to catch one every time.
Would today be his day?
Competitive Fishing in Corroboree Billabong, Mary River National Park
Up a nearby dirt track a few kilometres and we arrived at Corroboree Billabong in Mary River. But it seemed that sunrise might be hard to catch. The fog that covered the billabong was as thick as smoke and it was an eerie and mystical journey out on the speedboat to the wide open areas that are perfect for Barramundi fishing.
Despite the thick, heavy fog, you could see the beauty of this billabong. Lotus lilies lined the banks, pink flowers in bloom and just beyond them, you could catch the rich green vegetation where the prolific birdlife was just waking up.
As the fog started to lift and the sunlight peeked through, it was time for a quick lesson on ‘Barra fishing’. Let the line out 40 or 50 metres behind the boat, and as we cruised slowly and noiselessly along the sides of the river, three or four sharp periodical tugs of the lure would attract the fish that so many fishermen come up north for each year.
Jen and Clint are good students. Committed and studious, they followed Chris’ instructions with determined faces and competition was in the air.
And then it came… A sharp pull… A fight… A yelp… Was it real?
Within a few minutes, the line has been pulled in, the fight had been won, and the fish was on board…. a 55-centimetre Barra, caught by Clint!
After a four-year drought, Clint was finally back in the game! The smile on his face was priceless. Jen became more determined.
Then it came again! Another yelp, another tug… And a cry of pain from Gary our cameraman. Jen had managed to snag him!
After unhooking the bright lure from his shirt and a check to make sure no skin was punctured, it was ‘Behind the Scene’s gold as we realised Jen had caught a cameraman, not a fish!
Sadly, that was all that Jen would manage that day, but Clint went on to prove his worth as a fisherman and landed another Barra, this one close to 70 centimetres.
So, after this day in Corroboree Billabong, the competition is tied and the drought broken. But, really, we all just wish that we weren’t moving on from Mary River that day and could have taken that Barra home for dinner!
Have you ever been Barramundi fishing? Tell us about it in the comments below!