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BARRA’S BIG COUSIN
I don’t think any serious barra angler hasn’t at some stage yearned to go and have a crack at a Nile perch.
This massive freshwater fish is almost a spitting image of the barramundi, or at least it is before closer examination.
It grows to more than 2m and is believed to reach a whopping 200kg.
On the other hand, barramundi... (more)
The Cobourg Peninsula is without doubt a jewel in the Top End recreational fishery.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and fish it many times in a period spanning more than 30 years.
My association with the region began not long after it was declared a national park; namely, the Gurig National Park.
A mate and I opened a small fishing safari camp... (more)
With Alex Julius
You may have noticed that the last three or four weekends have been quite windy.
It’s a typical dry season scenario off the Top End as those high pressure systems roll through the Great Australian Bight and cause moderate-to-strong winds to blow across our coastline and inshore waters.
Good news this weekend is that a low pressure... (more)
I’m guilty as charged if sneaking three more trips to the South Alligator River before the end of the Runoff is a crime.
The first trip was on a waning spring tide a fortnight ago with a couple of mates: Phil Hall and Tim Pel.
It was too far to go downstream to the mouth looking for clear water on a day trip, and it’s just too easy to buzz... (more)
If winning Barra Classics is something you get tired of, then Shane Compain must be exhausted.
Not only did the champion angler lead his Top End Tackle World team to a bludgeoning victory over the 56 other teams that competed in this year’s Classic, but it was also his team’s sixth victory in the seven years he has been competing.
It was a swishing and swoffing affair at Corroboree Billabong last weekend when 28 anglers in 14 teams vied for the trophies in the annual Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open.
According to Darwin Fly Rodders President, Matt Hayne, Saturday the fly fishers chucked a multitude of feathers, fluff and fur while testing their skills waving the wand in search... (more)
“They came, they saw, they conquered”… immortal words first used to describe a crushing Roman victory at the Battle of Zela over 2000 years ago.
This week – in a much more friendly spirit of competition – an all-Queensland team came, saw and conquered the mighty Daly River in yet another exciting chapter of the Club Marine... (more)
The 23rd annual Club Marine Barra Nationals gets under way today on the iconic Daly River.
Hosted by the Palmerston Game Fishing Club, the venue once again will be the spacious Banyan Farm Tourist Park with hosts Wally and Kerri Draper.
Predicting how the tournament will go each year is never easy.
The vagaries of the wet season – a ripper this year... (more)
The Runoff continues and there has been no end of great fishing reports.
The old Silver Fox, Roger Sinclair, hit Shady Camp with Glenn Hubble (aka Harbourmaster), late last week and caught upwards of 150 barra and a bunch of threadies.
Interestingly, many of their fish were caught on the long wand – fly fishing.
“Glenn fly fished more than I... (more)
Last weekend was a big one for fishing on two fronts: fishing politics and fishing in action.
At the AFANT AGM on Sunday, Attorney-General Natasha Fyles announced the well-received NT Government's back down on random breathalysing boat drivers.
She explained that the Government will now follow the WA model whereby boat drivers will only be breathalysed... (more)
A question I’ve been asked fairly often recently is whether the runoff fishing this year has been as great as predicted.
In two words: not quite.
That’s probably because two iconic rivers didn’t fire up to their best: the Daly and the Mary.
The Daly fished well for some – including on two separate trips for me personally –... (more)
Last week’s Aurora Kakadu Klash on the mighty South Alligator River was once again a resounding success.
More so, it was so very different from any previous Klash I can remember.
After a big wet season, and a river still riding its banks way upstream, it was no surprise that practically all the teams fished downriver all the way to the mouth.
For Darwin anglers, fishing went on hold last weekend.
Cyclone Marcus roared through, intent on blowing over every African Mahogany and undernourished native tree from the CBD to the northern suburbs to the outer rural area.
As if not having power for several days for some households hasn’t been bad enough, bloody Marcus delivered just a piddling... (more)
It’s hard to believe that the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) has been around for eight years.
This great event is held over weekends six times a year at different locations each time.
The first event is always held at Shady Camp with competitors able to fish from Marsh Creek to the Wildman River and places in between.
That first event in the series was... (more)
With Alex Julius
If you’re into your barra fishing, then you probably hit one or other big river over the last week.
I’ve heard reports from every river this side of Arnhem Land and then down the west coast all the way to the Victoria River.
The best information I have is from the Daly River where I spent two great days late last week.... (more)
All you can say about how the fishing went last weekend and since is that it was a very mixed bag indeed.
Every accessible big river was slammed by dozens and dozens of boats.
I checked out Shady Camp on Saturday and was surprised that there were hardly 50 rigs in the car-parks.
That’s probably because of all the publicity about bogged 4WDs at the... (more)
It’s an old cliché, but I can’t believe I’m sitting here now, writing about three and a half decades of contributing this fishing column, when I can still remember clearly typing the very first one in February 1983.
I suppose, when you reflect on how the Territory recreational fishing scene has evolved since the early 1980s, it... (more)
With Alex Julius
I can remember a time when hardly anyone went barra fishing until the wet season was over, the skies were blue and the rivers were dropping fast.
Back then, that time was called post-wet-season fishing, but has since become known as The Runoff.
How different is it nowadays when anglers are out chasing some runoff fishing practically... (more)
With more heavy rain forecast across the Top End, the odds of the Arnhem Highway reopening by the weekend is problematic to say the least.
According to the Bureau of Metreology, the monsoonal trough is pushing back north and
storms may bring heavy rainfall to some locations.
If the Arnhem Highway at Scotts Creek is one of those locations, you can forget... (more)
There’s nothing like a good wet season to stimulate conversation amongst anglers, so you can imagine the banter going on at the moment following the wettest January rainfall across the Top End since 1904.
I was at an all-blokes luncheon on Thursday at the Cav and for a while there everyone was talking about various flood events they’d heard... (more)
It’s now a no brainer that we will have a good wet season and great Runoff fishing.
This monsoon we have been experiencing is widespread and relentless; it has been dropping millions and millions of litres of water across the Top End.
Luckily, there hasn’t been a sneaky low to the west or the east which would have sucked this monsoon away like... (more)
Not before time, we’re starting to get more serious rainfall.
According to Angline Prasad from the Bureau of Metreology, a weak monsoon has moved onto the north coast, mainly central north coast and across to the east.
However, as it drops down over the Top End, it is likely to extend to the west coast.
“It’s not very strong, not an active... (more)
You’d have to say that that was a Clayton’s monsoon that we just experienced.
It put a bit of rain about the place, raising the Daly River to a bit over 5m, but not really achieving what we want for the first monsoon of the year.
What’s with Broome anyway?
It never gets so much rain so early in the wet season; and now not one but two cyclones... (more)
As forecast last week, the run up to New Year and just after was all about calm days on the water without any serious, widespread rainfall.
Unfortunately, now it even it looks like we are going to get a late start to the northern wet season.
This is despite Cyclone Hilda giving Broome and places nearby a thorough drenching a few days after Christmas.
I spent Christmas with friends in Broome WA, and I left them last Wednesday afternoon to enjoy a good start to their wet season.
It was such a good start that I was lucky to get out; that’s because a cyclone formed practically over the top of Broome.
It was just a tad to the north, descending on the famous pearling town just as my plane took off,... (more)
The Roper River has always been a major Top End river that has somehow escaped my serious attention.
In terms of iconic barra waterways that do not require a permit to visit, I can’t think of any other big river that I haven’t gotten to know somewhere between “quite well” and the proverbial “like the back of my hand”.... (more)
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge several times since its development in 1990.
Back then, it was a grandiose tourist venture, established by my good mate, Lex Silvester, on the western side of Port Essington in the now-called Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on the Cobourg Peninsula.
Although sportfishing was an... (more)
Recently, I saw an amazing post on the great new Facebook page Darwin Women Hunting and Fishing.
It was from keen fisho, Zerena Di-Prima, who was lucky to survive a recent outing to Leeders Creek, and Zerena was happy for me to tell the story in this column.
On the day, Zerena and her husband Allan had already caught a legal barra and a mangrove jack in... (more)
Sometimes your fishing expectations are exceeded big time.
That was certainly the case for me last Tuesday morning on a brief but well-executed mission to catch some quality reef fish practically under the Darwin skyline.
I’d organised a trip with old mate Steve Compain aboard the 14 metre Wai Adi, one of a fleet of fishing tour boats in the Arafura... (more)
Last week, I was on a bit of an assignment, covering a day’s heli-fishing with the company called that very name: Helifish.
It involved quite a few anglers, travelling south-west from Darwin in not one, not two, but three helicopters.
As we crossed over the Daly River mouth and flew past the red cliffs of Anson Bay, I was reminded of that great Vietnam... (more)
If you’re up to date with the Darwin barra fishing scene, you might be wondering whether you should be targeting a big fish or a Million Dollar Fish, because both are readily available right now.
As far as the money barra are concerned, it seems two more were caught in quick succession last week.
The first came from Manton Dam and was caught by Michael... (more)
The neap tides this weekend offer some interesting estuary barra fishing options.
Today is a three-tide day and, if you’re reading the paper nice and early, and your boat and tackle are ready to go, there’s still time to hit one or other of a couple of spots that just might produce.
Firstly, a launch at Buffalo Creek around 8.30 this morning... (more)
There were close on 100 nice barra caught in last weekend’s final round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) held on and around the lower Adelaide River estuary system.
This is a great area to fish during the build-up on neap tides, and always offers the chance of a bigger barra.
According to TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham, there was concern that... (more)
It’s no surprise that Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s announcement last week that the Government intends to legislate for a blood alcohol limit whilst driving a boat has caused an uproar in the recreational fishing community, particularly on social media where there has been a barrage of protest and condemnation.
It follows the publishing... (more)
With so much happening on the Top End angling scene, I just wonder if I can get it all in and give it justice this week.
Firstly, and most importantly to myself and many 1000s of anglers, last Friday there was a monumental release of ravenous Cyrtobagous salviniae weevils in our iconic Four Mile Hole in Kakadu National Park.
This has been an ongoing saga... (more)
Talk about a trail of improbable coincidences.
Thursday morning last week I was chatting fish with Alice Burton on 104.9 and she asked me where are the $Million Fish, as none had been caught at that stage… or so we thought.
Right about that time, George Voukolos Junior was calling in the capture of the first $10,000 tagged barra for season three... (more)
There are three great reasons to be fishing next weekend: Palmerston Game Fishing Club will be holding its 30th Anniversary Corroboree Park Challenge; Million Dollar Fish season three will be into its third week; and National Gone Fishing Day will be held on Sunday the 15th.
It’s hard to imagine that the Corroboree Park Challenge has been going... (more)
The starter’s gun is cocked and ready to fire at midnight when season three of Million Dollar Fish gets under way.
Originally devised to increase fishing tourism to the Northern Territory, which has certainly worked, it has also galvanised Top End anglers into something akin to a barra fishing frenzy.
On that note, I have no doubt that there’ll... (more)
The fishing was tough but the camaraderie was strong – that pretty well sums up the 11th annual Secret Women’s Business Barra Challenge held last Friday and Saturday at Corroboree Billabong.
This is the second time that I’ve had the pleasure of being on the water and covering the NT’s premier female fishing tournament.
The Top End Barra Series (TEBS) continues to go from strength to strength, and the recent round four in Darwin Harbour was certainly testimony to that.
According to TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham, the harbour round again demonstrated that the city backyard is in healthy condition.
“Despite the wind that turned up on the weekend of TEBS, there... (more)
It’s been a long time coming but finally there will be proper boat ramp access to the Mary River at Shady Camp.
Tomorrow or early next week, Fisheries Minister Ken Vowles will be officially opening the concrete boat ramp.
“The ramp will be a welcome piece of infrastructure for fishers that will improve access to the world-class Mary River Barramundi... (more)