Alex's Fishing Report 29 September 2016
My tip is that this Saturday Darwin boat ramps leading into Darwin Harbour will have more traffic than they have had on any day this year.
That’s because Saturday is 1 October and that’s the official start of Million Dollar Fish season two.
Although ostensibly designed to attract interstate fishos to the Top End during the build-up and the wet season – which it definitely does – the impact on the local barra fishing scene is huge.
Of course, what else would you expect when 101 tagged barramundi have been released at popular Top End fishing spots, and 100 of those fish are each worth $10,000 upon recapture, while one tagged fish is worth a cool million bucks.
Last year, 10 of 76 tagged barra were recaptured, which surprised the heck out of me.
Each of those fish was worth $10,000 to the lucky captor, and Darwin Harbour is where six of them came from.
So even though the vast majority of anglers fishing for a red-tagged barra will be Territorians, the campaign still serves a great purpose as it gets lots of people out there fishing far more than would otherwise happen.
The spin-off from local anglers means lots of expenditure through the community.
Tackle shops this week must be doing a roaring trade.
In fact, George Voukolos at Fishing and Outdoor World told me that the new store is going crazy with customers gearing up.
But don’t forget that it really is a great incentive to fishing tourism at this time of year.
Tourism NT has pushed the campaign in a big way, and there are lots of supporters, including the major sponsor CrownBet which is underwriting all the tagged barra recaptures, including the big one if it goes off.
Even if you don’t intend to fish, it’s definitely worth registering because there are nearly $200,000 worth of prizes that can be won on www.milliondollarfish.com.au, including some great trips, a Jayco campervan and a huge amount of quality Shimano fishing tackle.
It’s good too that some of the NT fishing tourism sector has gotten behind Million Dollar Fish, offering to match dollar for dollar any tagged barra recaptures whilst fishing with their operations.
Two I know of are Helifish and the Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge.
Another good reason to fish Darwin Harbour this weekend are the tides which are just perfect for barra on both days.
Another noteworthy event which will take place on Sunday 16 October is the first-ever NT Gone Fishing Day.
This is being held as part of National Gone Fishing Day and is designed to highlight the economic, social and environmental benefits recreational fishing provides to the wider community.
NT Gone Fishing Day is being hosted by the Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT (AFANT).
More than 100 events have already been registered nationally for Gone Fishing Day with something happening in every state and territory.
Events range from fishing clinics and family fishing days through to fishing tournaments and clean-ups of our waterways, which means there is something to suit everyone from first-time fishers to old salts.
AFANT President Warren de With said: “Gone Fishing Day is the first of its kind where we can come together and celebrate our proud recreational fishing community, and this great pastime that is part of the Northern Territory lifestyle.”
“As part of this great initiative, AFANT is holding a free, family-friendly event at the Lake Bennett Wildness Resort.
“As this is an artificial lake, it is an ideal venue in which the general public can receive instruction on the use of fishing equipment and have the opportunity to catch numerous iconic NT fish species such as barramundi, tarpon and sooty grunter in a safe, easy, accessible and crocodile-free location.
“Fishing gear will be provided for the use of the general public with a sausage sizzle, great prizes and giveaways,” Mr de With said.
“In addition, we have also arranged for numerous partner organisations – such as NT Parks Crocwise, Department of Fisheries, Maritime Safety, Million Dollar Fish, NT Water Police and the Royal Lifesaving Association River Safe team – to also attend this event.
“Registration is essential via the AFANT Facebook page, with a schedule of events to be released shortly.
“It doesn’t matter if you haven’t fished before, Gone Fishing Day is for everyone.
“Grab the family, take a mate or just take time out for yourself and enjoy a day of fishing with the help of AFANT.
“One thing is certain: more Territorians should be picking up a rod and giving it a go,” the AFANT President said.
Bynoe Harbour was again the venue for the recent annual Territory Saltwater Fly Fishing Challenge hosted by the Darwin Flyrodders
According to Warren Jeffery of Darwin Flyrodders: “A total of 22 fly fishers competed for individual and team honors in this catch-and-release tournament which focuses on seven target species: barramundi, salmon, tarpon, queenfish, trevally, mackerel and snapper.
“The challenge is to land all seven species in one day, although neap tides made barra and salmon a difficult catch with most of the drains and gutters remaining submerged.
“Good numbers of queenfish, trevally and snapper helped in reaching the total of 1273 fish caught, making this one of the most successful tournaments in recent years.
“Blue salmon made up the bulk of larger fish caught with the shallows around Bare Sand Island being the main area for their capture.
“Small grey macks were in numbers around Middle Reef, although not many were landed with many bite-offs due to their razor sharp teeth.
“Saltwater tarpon again proved scarce although Team Fishizzle managed to catch a few.
“Team Strippers (Tony O’Malley and Matt Harding) came out narrowly on top with Tony also taking out Champion Angler for the tournament,” Warren said.
Warren fished with son Jarryd Jeffery in Team ZedeX and they came in a close second.
“Team GOFF (George Vlazny and Scotty Mithcell) managed a creditable third after missing half of the first day with motor issues.
“George’s capture of a monster 88cm barra on the second day was the biggest fish of the tournament and the most meritorious capture was awarded to Matty Hayne for a stonker 47cm barred javelin,” Warren reported.
Russell Hanton’s first build-up trip of the year paid a huge dividend with the capture of this terrific 116cm barra working a creek bottom with a soft plastic.
Brassy trevally made up the bulk of the catch during the Saltwater Fly Fishing Challenge. Brendan Gilmore caught this one using a white Clouser fly fished amongst the snags.
Mercia Neville found a willing barra in the Saltwater Fly Fishing Challenge at Bynoe Harbour.