Tub remembers the date of the last rain as clearly as he remembers the size and shape of every snag in the Lawley River, and every spot where the barramundi will be biting. It was April 3. The dry season has been unrelenting up here on Western Australia’s remote Kimberley coast, cracking the land and sucking up waterholes. The whole country is crying out for a drink. We’ve barely had time to crack a beer ourselves before the barramundi start biting just where Tub — one half of the owner-operator team that runs Kimberley Coastal Camp — said they would.

I don’t think I’ve seen a fishing rod bend the way this one does. Something has a good purchase. There’s loosely controlled chaos as we rush over to get a glimpse of the first catch. We get more than a glimpse. A whopping barramundi launches itself out of the river, hangs in mid air momentarily then slaps back down, splashing water over our astounded faces. When she’s finally reeled in she measures 91cm. We throw her back and she quickly disappears. Our happy fisherman is busy regaining his breath. You never forget your first barra, especially not one this size. “That rush,” he says, still buzzing with nerves, “it’s like nothing else.”

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