When Victorian Arthur Chapman found out he’d hooked the ultimate fishing trip to the Territory, the first person he told (apart from his wife) was his best mate.
Arthur, who won the Million Dollar Fish Season 6 NT Now Helifishing Adventure, said choosing his best mate of 46 years and fellow mad keen fisho Keith Gitsham was a no brainer.
“I had a few mates who were angling to join me, but I’ve known Keith since we were kids. Almost every fond memory I have as a kid growing up has me and Keith holding a fishing rod,” Arthur said.
“We’ve been fishing all over Queensland and just a little in the NT, and he was the perfect person to share this trip of a lifetime for flying, fishing and fun in the Territory.”
Arthur, from Paynesville, Victoria, and Keith, from Maryborough, Queensland, reeled in half a dozen elusive barra on their three-day, four-night bucket-list trip earlier this year, which included a Helifish tour and a Darwin Harbour Fishing Charter. Sadly, the barra were “pitifully small”.
“The biggest barra we caught was about 50cm long, but it wasn’t the size that mattered. It was the whole mind-boggling experience,” said Arthur, 58.
“Most people do not get the chance to spend a few days fishing with your own personal guides, flying over the most stunning countryside in a chopper or fishing all day on the water, for free with your best mate. We probably won’t ever get a chance to do it again.”
Arthur and Keith were so keen on spending every minute fishing that they only went to one pub on the HeliFish tour. “Part of the tour is a pub crawl, but after a beer and some lunch we were keen to get back on the water and cast our lines. Our enthusiasm for fishing never wanes,” Arthur said.
“We had a great day with our guide, who had a wealth of local knowledge in regards to the fishing and landscape. The views from above were incredible. We saw pigs, wild buffalo and shoals of fish, but no crocs.”
The two mates also spent a day out on a charter fishing boat in Darwin Harbour, where they had more luck luring in other species of fish, including black jewfish, and their catch was cooked up for them.
“Winning this trip away was more than just about catching fish. It was about visiting some of the best places in the Territory, making new friends, chasing barra, eating fresh fish and creating memories for a lifetime,” Arthur said.