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We just can’t seem to get the monsoonal downpours happening in a way that give us the best prospects of a great widespread Runoff.
The tropical low shot through across the Top End like a scalded cat, dropping a bit here and a bit there, but only two locations copped a fair dinkum deluge.
One was Dum In Mirrie Island north of Dundee Beach where 562mm... (more)
Better late than never, it now looks like we are going to get a wet season after all.
The impending Cyclone Claudia is wandering on a path through Arnhem Land and across the Top End.
Hopefully it will leave a significant rain shadow and dump big volumes of rain on all our major river floodplains.
May no mistake that we need a good wet season, especially... (more)
It’s not so bad that the New Year is kicking off with a terrific set of neap tides.
Most of you will be back at work today, so let’s check out the options for this weekend.
Saturday is a three-tide day with the least tidal movement of any days during these neaps.
On the barra scene, a dawn start at Leaders Creek might pay off for a quality barra... (more)
Unbelievably, Darwin’s four brand-new artificial reefs are already producing fish.
I’ve heard reports of big bait balls hanging around the reefs, jewfish and other reef fish being caught and mackerel swimming about above the reefs.
The four reef complexes are comprised of 116 purpose-built artificial reef modules which were deployed early this... (more)
In what is wonderful news for the Top End angling community, it’s now official that the iconic Kakadu Klash barra tournament will be on again next year.
This famous event has been taking place for nearly 30 years and is the first leg of the trifecta of big barra tournaments – the others being the Barra Nationals and the Barra Classic.
The apparent... (more)
It was a sad loss to the Northern Territory and in particular the Top End angling community last week with the passing of Garry Simpson.
Known to his friends and associates as “Big Foot”, the words “larger than life” only just begin to describe this true Darwin legend.
I first met Garry in 1982 not long after he arrived in Darwin... (more)
Today is a three-tide day and, as always seems to be the case on these occasions, there are two low tides and one high tide, and there’s hardly a metre difference between top and low.
These tides are basically in the middle of an average phase of neap tides, and this weekend the tides are still very much neaps.
Depending on where you are fishing,... (more)
It seems weird to be writing that I just returned from a barra fishing trip in PNG.
I mean, why would you fly to Cairns, then fly to Port Moresby in PNG, and then drive for several hours over the worst road I’ve ever been on?
Ostensibly, this was supposed to be a black bass trip, but our destination – Terapo Lodge – is better known... (more)
I do fancy the tides this weekend for a shot at a quality saltwater barra or two.
For starters, you could certainly do worse than plan a foray to one of the many great spots in the Shoal Bay system.
There’ve been plenty of reports of quality barra from the famous Shoal Bay Rock.
However, the huge sandbar that has formed in recent years and nearly... (more)
We’re now into Season 5 of Million Dollar Fish (MDF), and it’s interesting that there have only been two tagged barra caught that were worth $10,000 each: one from Manton Dam caught by Greg Fry and one from the McArthur River caught by Jamie McGuiness.
Neither location has produced a red-tagged barra before, but even more interesting is that... (more)
It was one of those special Top End October days when waters offshore were so smooth you could ski across them.
Plus you couldn’t pick a better location to scout the local seas: offshore from Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge which sits proudly near the entrance to Port Essington in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park.
The park encompasses the entire... (more)
Last week’s NT Billfish Classic produced mixed results for the 14 teams that competed.
Given how regularly the Dundee billfish grounds have been going off with amazing sailfish and marlin action this year, it was surprising that most boats headed over to the Bathurst Island grounds.
In one respect, it was a good decision because there were some mighty... (more)
It’s always great to catch a metrey, but to do it in an iconic fishing competition is real icing on the cake.
That’s exactly what Lucas Pel did when he a caught a 103cm barra which helped him win Champion Angler at Palmerston Game Fishing Club’s recent Corroboree Park Challenge.
Lucas is 28 so it’s been at least 20 years since he... (more)
There were certainly a couple of surprises in last weekend’s Corroboree
This 32-year-old Palmerston Game Fishing Club family-fishing event is held on the Mary River system and all waterways east of the Mary as far as the East Alligator River.
For ease of access and general convenience, most teams fish Corroboree Billabong.
Given that... (more)
It seems the legacy of a poor wet season has continued to haunt competitors in this year’s Top End Barra Series (TEBS).
This wonderful social/competitive event revolves around six locations fished respectively six times through the year.
Sadly, the results in general this year have been the worst in TEBS nine-year history.
Last weekend’s sixth... (more)
When you are thinking about memorable barra sessions, you are usually thinking about the Runoff.
However, at more remote locations, where barra can be left unchecked for weeks, months or even years on end, the Build-up can also provide opportunities to find concentrations of hungry barra just waiting to eat your lures.
Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge... (more)
Top End anglers and visiting fishos are getting organised for a shot at Million Dollar Fish Season 5 which gets under way after midnight next Tuesday.
This mega fishing competition will continue until 31 March 2020.
This season, there will be 126 barra tagged and ready to be recaptured:
• five red tags re-activated from seasons 1,... (more)
Just when you thought the easterlies were a thing of the dry season just passed, last week, and particularly the weekend, was more than just a bit blowy.
One area where it really howled was Bynoe Harbour, and didn’t that make fishing interesting for competitors in round five of the Top End Barra Series, aka TEBS.
According to a TEBS organiser, Regis... (more)
The NT’s premier women-only fishing competition was another ripper for the host Palmerston Game Fishing Club last weekend.
This was the annual Secret Women’s Business Barra Challenge, held over two days on beautiful Corroboree Billabong.
There were 41 teams of three or four anglers competing and, as always, they had to fend for themselves with... (more)
Last weekend was a day to remember for a whole bunch of anglers who were part of the billfish action off Dundee Beach.
The number of billfish – sailfish in particular – sighted by the dozen or so boats working the area was the stuff of dreams.
In fact, it was right up there with the best sailfish action that you get off Broome WA, and that’s... (more)
It seems last week’s round 4 of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) was anything but a walk in the park for most of the competitors.
This was the annual Darwin Harbour round, timed as it was for the beginning of the build-up season.
According to Regis Martin, who competed in the weekend competition, the barra were fickle and incredibly hard to entice.... (more)
The old adage “he was like a kid in a candy shop” certainly applied to me last week down at the annual Australian Fishing Trade Show on the Gold Coast.
This is the industry show where Australian fishing tackle manufacturers, importers and distributors set up elaborate stands to present their wares to fishing tackle retailers.
At each show,... (more)
After a dry season with favourable breezes for much of the time, we’ve had a fair bit of windy weather over the past month, and it’s only been getting stronger this past week.
It’s not only reduced the options for the smaller-tinny brigade but it’s also stopped the bigger trailer boats from heading offshore for full day trips.... (more)
In Top End fishing circles, there’s been a fair bit of chat about sharks in recent times.
Many believe there are more sharks around now than ever before, and there has even been discussion about the risk of shark attack.
All of a sudden, our world-famous “legitimate” man-eater, the saltwater crocodile, is taking second fiddle.
Given the... (more)
Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to Four Mile Hole in Kakadu National Park.
I’ll get onto the fishing later in the column but firstly I wanted to report on something I found absolutely amazing: the almost total eradication of the noxious floating aquatic plant – salvinia.
Frankly, it blew me away; there were snags that we fished that for... (more)
It’s been a while between rounds but number three round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) took place last weekend.
The fishing grounds for this round were any Mary River billabong, so competitors had four to choose from: Mary River Bridge Lagoon, Hardies Lagoon, Corroboree Billabong and Shady Camp Freshwater Lagoon.
TEBS co-ordinator, Ross Abraham... (more)
Talk about brass monkey weather this week – by golly it’s been cold.
I reckon Tuesday was the coldest, something that was quite noticeable given I was heading out to a favourite billabong an hour before first light.
With me was old mate Andreas Bischoff who was up here for last weekend’s 4WD Outdoors and Boating Show, supporting a team... (more)
We’re sliding right into the neap tides this weekend, and this will provide the ideal opportunity to target bluewater fish.
Sunday is the pick simply because the offshore wind and wave forecasts are for milder conditions than on Saturday.
The tidal range will also be less on Sunday and both the daytime high and low tides are at respectable hours.... (more)
I find it difficult not to buy into the discussion on whether Darwin should have its own iconic “Big Thing” and, if so, what that should be.
To be frank, I’ve always thought we should have our own “Big Thing”, and you don’t have to be a quiz master to guess what I’m tipping.
I most definitely believe we should... (more)
I’m in Cairns as you read this, fishing day trips with an old mate, Kim Andersen, at Copperlode Dam.
Copperlode is about 30 minutes out of Cairns, practically at the top of the nearest hinterland.
You reckon the mornings are cold in Darwin right now; I can tell you it’s brass monkey weather on the dam at first light.
Copperlode is where Queensland... (more)
In what was widely discussed as the toughest Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals ever, this great tournament is done and dusted for another year.
There was never any doubt that fishing would be incredibly challenging down the Daly last week, and some of the statistics certainly back that up: 28 of 71 teams didn’t catch a point-scoring barra and... (more)
I can’t tell you how the Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals is going because I’m down on the Daly River myself, hopefully catching fish.
However, even though the fishing has been tough down the Daly in terms of barra numbers, it hasn’t stopped some absolute stonkers from being caught.
The biggest so far is a great, big, fat 127cm barra... (more)
Judging by how tough the fishing was on the Daly River for competitors in the annual NT Barra Classic last week, it’s a fair bet that next week’s Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals will see more of the same.
What unfolded down the river was not really a surprise.
For months now we’ve all been talking about the poor wet season and lack... (more)
As you read this, the NT Barra Classic will be well under way.
Yesterday was the first day of competition and it will be interesting to see how the boats fared with the low-river conditions.
Old mate and top fishing guide Stuey Brisbane from Daly River Barra Resort said the river was as low as it gets at the end of the dry season.
“The rock-bar on... (more)
You could do worse than spend Easter at Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge.
It’s on the western side of Port Essington in the Garig Gunat Barlu National Park, Cobourg Peninsula.
You get there via a 40-minute charter flight almost due north of Darwin.
Seven Spirit Bay is possibly the most-upmarket resort in North Australia, which is not surprising considering... (more)
Easter is here, and the Easter Bunny has brought anglers excellent fishing conditions to help us enjoy our extra-long weekend.
Big spring tides offer plenty of opportunities no matter what style of fishing you favour.
Out on the blue water, Fenton Patches and South Gutter have all produced quality fish; bottom bouncers report coral trout, golden snapper... (more)
The only real expectation for this year’s Aurora Kakadu Klash was that the fishing would be tough.
After all, we’ve just had one of the lousiest wet seasons on record, and reports from the iconic South Alligator River were all negative, including that there was bugger-all runoff happening.
My information gleaned before this great Territory... (more)
I’m away at the Aurora Kakadu Klash where the fishing is tough but some good ones are getting caught.
In my absence, I asked old mate Roger Sinclair to shed some light on the Top End salt water fly fishing scene.
I doubt anyone has a better handle on the history and scope of fly fishing in the Territory than Roger, aka the Silver Fox.
Over to Roger:... (more)
With Alex Julius
With a low pressure system potentially forming over the Arafura Sea early next week, the eyes of about 120 anglers competing in the Aurora Kakadu Klash later next week are well and truly focused on the weather charts.
The Klash commences next Thursday and there’s considerable uncertainty as to what impact the forming low might... (more)
If you’re wondering when this year’s Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT (AFANT) annual general meeting will be held, I can tell you it won’t be on a Sunday morning at Tracy Village as it has been for the last couple of decades at least.
Instead, in a break from tradition, the AFANT committee is trying an evening time slot at a... (more)
It seems that everyone’s given up hope of getting any sort of a rain drenching before the official dry season.
However, it was interesting chatting with Ben Price from the Bureau of Metreology about our chances.
“There’s a weak trough in the southern part of the Banda Sea,” Ben said.
“There’s a bit of a low happening... (more)
Neap tides, calm waters and a great deal of angling enthusiasm combined to ensure last weekend’s opening round of the Top End Barra Series was an absolute ripper, especially for some bigger barra.
TEBS co-ordinator, Rossco Abraham, said this first round is known as the “Shady and Coastal Round”.
“Competitors were able to fish from... (more)
I was chatting with a mate the other day who had just recently undertaken a trip going right down the South Alligator River, across to the East Alligator River and then right up the East.
He and his mates fished the whole way there and back, casting to anything that resembled a colour change or a likely barramundi ambush point.
Their catch was just one... (more)
Without delving too much into the missing-in-action wet season, and the forecast for bright, sunny days over the next week, I am happy to report some great barra fishing around the traps of late.
The top of the South Alligator River has been going well, and even better on the last set of neap tides, which means this weekend could be perfect.
There is still... (more)
If there’s one pair of anglers who know how to catch barra, it’s the father-and-son team known as The Dickos.
Michael Dickinson – aka Dicko – has been catching lots of barra, and plenty of big ones, for at least the last 25 years that I can remember.
He’s a competitive bugger too; there’s not a barra tournament... (more)
There’s no choice but to talk about the weather this week; that’s because finally we’re getting some.
It’s only a weak monsoon trough, but it is a monsoon at last.
According to Bureau of Metreology (BOM) records, the latest onset of the monsoon over Darwin was 25 January 1973, so we were just two days off matching that and three... (more)
I’m not going to bang on about the weather – or lack of a wet season – this week, except that it’s not looking good.
According to the Bureau of Metreology, the North Australia Monsoon is not expected for at least another week.
Basically, you can plan to go fishing this weekend.
On a different note, let me tell you about the best... (more)
It’s now officially the Build-up, that wonderful time of year when both ambient and water temperatures begin to increase, humidity claws upwards, easterly trade winds abate and barra line up for a feed.
The Build-up is one of the Top End’s two iconic barra fishing seasons, the other being the Run-off.
It heralds the transition from the cooler... (more)
Overall, it would be hard to complain about the great weather we’ve had this dry season: endless cool nights with so many days of low humidity and just perfect temperatures.
Best of all, we’ve been experiencing one of those years when the fierce south-easterlies have hardly gusted through the dry season.
Sure, we’ve had a couple of weeks... (more)
This last week has been an interesting exercise for me as I was able to fish for barra in both salt water and freshwater.
Three days staying at the delightful Crab Claw Island Resort in Bynoe Harbour gave me the opportunity to try a number of different locations on changing sets of tides.
Early-to-mid August is never the best time of year to chase barra... (more)
The blockbuster NAFA 35 is now on sale Australia-wide. Perhaps our best issue ever,
NAFA COMES OUT ONLY TWICE ANNUALLY.
This blockbuster edition features talented Top End angler, Crystal Neal, on the cover with a big Nourlangie Creek Rock-bar barra, a huge NT Section and just amazing features and images all the way through from all of this great fishing... (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)