The Women’s Outdoor news would like to thank Roxsean Edwards for submitting this fantastic guest post. We encourage the rest of our dear readers to do the same!
My target specie is the Australian barramundi. It is one fish that is on every Australian anglers bucket list. It is a popular and exciting capture, renowned for putting up a good fight and leaping spectacularly out of the water. The Barramundi is arguably the premier freshwater/estuarine angling specie in Northern Australia. It is a protoandrous hermaphrodite, meaning that it starts life as a male and after roughly 5 years when it grows to 28-inches long it changes gender and become female. A fish measuring 39 to 40 inches is elusive for most anglers and deemed meritorious captures.
Barramundi sport and recreational fisherman practice catch-and-release and keep the occasional fish for the dinner table. Barramundi is one of Australia’s finest fish to eat.
My home in the Northern Territory, is semi-tropical and I experience hot and humid conditions the entire year. The waterways are crocodile infested and hauntingly beautiful. I experienced a dream run, during a nightmare barramundi season; below is my story.
I started fishing in 2003 when a team of girls from my office was looking for a new teammate for an upcoming women’s barramundi competition. At that time, women were being encouraged into the sport of fishing by way of female-only fishing competitions. The competition was held on Corroboree billabong, near the world-famous Kakadu National Park, in the Northern Territory of Australia. I had never fished before, but love new experiences, and jumped at the chance to join my colleagues on this adventure. I caught 8 fish during the first tournament. I was completely hooked. When I arrived home, my priority was to get my own fishing gear, and I did just that.
After fishing 2 tournaments using a male skipper, my team decided to manage everything on its own, and in 2005, we entered the Reel Women’s Barramundi Classic tournament as an independent women’s team. My team won Champion Team, Champion Independent (no male assistance) Team and narrowly missed out on catching the biggest fish and winning the Champion Angler category of the event. Fishing was fast becoming a passion for me and I bought my first boat, a 15-foot side-console aluminum boat.
Due to our success at the Reel Women’s Tournament, my team was invited to enter Australia’s premier barramundi fishing tournament, the 2006 NT Barramundi Classic ,held on the iconic Daly River in the Northern Territory. My team was fishing with some of Australia’s best barramundi fishermen and the competition was way above our level of fishing. The Barramundi Classic was a fabulous experience for me and did elevate my level of fishing and boating, overall.
My team has since parted ways and each member has continued on to fish in other tournaments. I have been fortunate enough to be invited back each year to fish the Barramundi Classic.
In 2012, I joined a team in another major barramundi tournament, “The Northern Territory Barra Nationals” also was also held on the iconic Daly River. I fished the Nationals again in 2013. For the past 2 years I have camped for 4 — 6 weeks, fishing the Daly River in and around these 2 major Australian barramundi tournaments; it has become my annual holiday. Earlier this year, I bought my dream boat that is specifically set up for tournament barramundi fishing. I opted for a tiller steer to allow more space on the floor to handle fish and had installed a Lowrance HDS7 with a structure scan and a 55-pound Minn Kota electric motor.
This year is proving to be a tough year for barramundi fishing in the Northern Territory, due to a poor wet season and lack of runoff from the landlocked billabongs that would normally overflow back into the rivers.
It was extremely tough fishing, but my dream came true when I landed a barramundi just over 42-inches long during the 2013 Barra Nationals. This fish was the second biggest captured overall, and helped me secure the inaugural Champion Female Angler award for the event.
A week later, I was preparing for the 2013 Barramundi Classic, and during a pre-fish outing with my ladies’ team, I caught a 44-inch barramundi while trolling down the middle of the river using a shallow, hard-bodied lure. It is my personal-best barramundi catch.
My run didn’t stop there; during the Barramundi Classic tournament I caught a barramundi that measured just over 41 inches by using the same lure and techniques. This fish helped me become the Champion Female Angler for the Barramundi Classic. I currently rank in the top 10 to 20 anglers in both events.
Fishing is now a very important aspect to my life, and man’s best-kept secret is not a secret anymore.