Sports Non-Fiction posted May 17, 2020

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Catching a Barramundi in Australia's Top End.

On Tenterhooks

by LisaMay

We were visiting the Northern Territory of Australia and had arranged a day’s fishing on the Mary River. The two men I was with were excited about their chance to catch a barramundi, prized by sport-fishing enthusiasts for their fighting ability. 

None of us were locals; the Mary River had been recommended to us, so while the men were getting their gear loaded into the little aluminium runabout we had hired, I was reading a tourist brochure about the area. 

My heart leapt in fear. Crocodiles send my flight instinct off the dial, and here we were, about to launch a tiny ‘tinnie’ in the river that is reputed to be the most densely populated with estuarine crocodiles in the Southern Hemisphere, if not the world! 

We set off, with my role being to steer the boat. Anxiously, I gripped the tiller and stared ahead, noticing a line of rocks across the river's expanse. They began to move.

“Maybe we should turn around and go back,” I suggested plaintively.

“Nah… keep going… the outboard motor’s noise will put them off.”

Taking a slalom course through the croc-rocks, I was able to breathe more easily when they slipped beneath the surface and swam away. 

By then, the men had their lines out and I relaxed enough to enjoy the riverside birdlife as the boat trolled along. A pair of Brahminy kites were roosting in a pandanus palm; a jabiru strutted along the riverbank; a flock of corellas wheeled overhead, screeching.

Suddenly, Roger’s line went tight and the fight began. The barramundi was strong; it took off and did an occasional acrobatic. After playing it carefully it eventually exhausted itself, and Roger reeled the barra in. Pete assisted with the net. 

When I saw a large croc looking interested, instinctively I twisted the throttle to get away, nearly pitching Pete into the river.

Soon enough we were back on dry land, cleaning the catch ready for what would be a scrumptious dinner.

The men were delighted to have hooked a big one. I’d been on tenterhooks myself for the fishing trip’s duration. 


~~~FISHING~~~TRUE STORY writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
~~~PROSE ONLY~~No poetry~~
1.  Name of Author will be displayed
2. Dedication and title may be included with text of story.
They do NOT count towards number of words allowed.
3. Author may sign and date poem at bottom--
does NOT count towards number of words allowed--up to 3 lines may be added.
4.  LENGTH--300--350 words 
5.  ONE picture--author's choice (refer to rule #7)
 6. ONE color font with ONE color background /  FONT choice MUST come from what is available on Advanced Editor on Fan Story (no outside sources)
7.  NO animations, videos, or music
8. Author notes allowed
9.  TOPIC (subject) of story MUST be a TRUE STORY about FISHING
10. Category--SPORTS (select this)
11.  No warnings of any kind will be acceptable--(PG allowed)
12. At least 5 entries submitted before voting booth opens  


Author's Note:
Story word count: 350 words. The photo is of Roger with his catch.

The Mary River, situated south east of Darwin, is approximately 225 kilometres (140 miles) long and the catchment area is over 8,000 square kilometres (3,089 square miles). It only flows in the wet season (November to April); during the dry it is a series of pools and billabongs.
The river is noted for its population of saltwater crocodiles and is a breeding area for the Barramundi, the target fish species for recreational anglers in the area. There are plenty of other fish species in the river as well.

- Barramundi (also known as Asian sea bass) have been recorded up to 150 cm long (59 inches) and weighing more than 40 kg (approx. 88 pounds), but larger fish have been reported!
- Barramundi are thought to live for around 20 years.
- Barramundi change sex; they generally mature as males in their third to fifth year and then change to females between four to eight years of age, but only in salt water.
- Barramundi inhabit areas where the water temperature ranges between 23-35 degrees celsius (73-95 Fahrenheit).

Crocodiles are VERY dangerous and can be found almost anywhere in Australia's Top End. Large crocodiles have been found a long way from the sea, and in many smaller rivers and streams.You must be crocodile aware wherever you go; don't assume it's safe just because there's no sign, or no one has warned you. Assume they are everywhere in the Top End, even if you can't see them.
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