I had been looking forward to this for the last twelve months. Even though I had to travel four thousand kilometres to receive it. The winning prize for Red FM radio station’s 2015 Father’s Day prize. Barramundi HeliFishing in Kununurra for father and son.
We had figured if we couldn’t catch anything armed with a helicopter, then we might as well give up for good. Our high hopes however became increasingly subdued as time got closer. The water wasn’t warm enough yet we were told. You’re out of season we were reminded.
It was a 4:30am rise for the early morning take off. Barra or no Barra, flying anywhere over this part of the country was a prize in itself. To experience how a sunrise or sunset magically transforms the colour of the escarpments, switching on a deep rich red background glow, overlayed with a sparse green patchwork of spinifex bushes, eucalyptus trees and the odd boab trees.
A sizeable croc had taken up position on the pilot’s preferred spot on the river bank. He angled the chopper away taking us further up stream, passing smaller less troublesome crocs.
Unfortunately the first Barra we landed was considered not good enough for the dinner plate. “See the brownish skin. Too much of a muddy taste” our pilot explained as he slipped my prized 70cm plus catch back into the water.
Back in the chopper, we manoeuvred off to another river. These rivers are the dry season residual of a king tide that flushes this huge mud flat plane twice a year, bringing in fresh supplies of the coveted Barramundi.
Nathan landed the rest, finishing off with a 78cm much more silvery keeper. Thankfully it shot Nathan’s FiHi Index up to respectable bragging rights territory. Our Barra took over the Esky that had kept our celebrity beers chilled for the flight back. With the help of the local ice works who froze our catch overnight, the butcher next day who cut it in half, one half was enjoyed on a campsite on the WA west coast by Nathan and his family. The other half with my other waiting family members in Darwin.
A fantastic, memorable experience. A few thanks. To Helispirit and your top gun, top bloke pilot Liam, to Red FM for the promotion, the local Butcher, the Baker’s use of his freezer and in particular to my son Nathan for the prize. You never did tell me what those 25 words or less were you wrote in your entry! To all of you, a VERY BIG thank you.