Alex's Fishing Report 26 January 2017
There’s been some terrific widespread rain over the last week and it’s done the trick for all our major tidal rivers.
I heard Magela Creek was 1.2m over the road early this week and all three Noulangie Creek causeways on the Kakadu road were flowing right up to the top of their banks.
So both the East Alligator and the South Alligator Rivers are rising, and that’s great news.
Perhaps the biggest news is what happened down from Shady Camp at the mouth of Sampan Creek on the Mary River last weekend.
Ron Voukolos from Fishing and Outdoor World told me several boats were seeing mobs of barra on their sounders.
As the tide rose, the fish started to bite and at least 10 barra over a metre were caught.
Bryn Montgomery had cracker of a session with his dad Todd.
“We’d only just done up our old 4.8 metre boat and this was its maiden voyage,” Bryn told me.
“There was just a small window on the incoming tide when they bit.
“If you trolled deep, you’d get catfish so we stuck with the big Bomber Longshot lures in the silvery colour.”
Bryn caught two fish: 102cm and 107cm.
“Actually, it was great to catch them but it would have been good if dad and I caught one each,” he said.
It seems those big river-mouth catties sure were on the bite – one boat landed seven with six of them hooked in the tail.
Water clarity was good both Saturday and Sunday but the barra shut down on Sunday.
If you’re thinking about checking out Shady Camp and beyond this weekend, the best bet will be to run the coast and try out the coastal creeks.
They always fish better on big tides; you just need a nice colour change.
There hasn’t been much happening down the Daly as the river has been rising again… but we don’t mind that.
Locally, the fishing has been hit or miss, but the tides this weekend are spot on for both Darwin Harbour and Bynoe Harbour.
Don’t forget that on similar spring tides a fortnight ago the barra were really busting in Darwin Harbour.
A most-unusual capture was made recently way out from Darwin: a Maori wrasse aka humphead wrasse.
These brightly-coloured funny-shaped fish are found in numbers along the Great Barrier Reef.
They also occur at only one location off the WA coast: Rowley Shoals which are 200km due west of Broome.
That’s where I have encountered them, even catching and releasing some on lures.
However, Jeff Skeggs kindly sent me a photo of one caught by his brother Kevin Skeggs at Marie Shoal last November.
“We were on a seven day trip to the top of Apsley Strait and Marie Shoal aboard the Mia Vista,” Jeff said.
“What a magnificent fish and the catch of a lifetime… especially in the NT.
“We were in 15 metres of water on top of the shoal in a trench.
“We had caught a couple of nice trout then Kevvy hooked up to what we thought was a lemon shark as it didn’t fight much at all.
“It took a while for him to bring it to the surface and when we saw it we couldn’t believe it.
“We left it in the water while we got our camera ready as we had no intention of taking it.
“Then, as we were lifting it, it slipped out of the lip grips and fell back into the water,” Jeff told me.
“We were horrified as we hadn’t taken any photos; however, it was suffering from barotrauma and flapped around on the surface.
“We went over to it and tried to swim it to revive it but it didn’t recover – surprising in only 15 metres of water and a slow retrieval.
“However, its airbag was well extended from its mouth.
“I understand that they are quite rare in the NT, and we made a few calls on the sat phone to make sure they are not protected as they are in Qld and WA.
“We filleted it and it was amazing how blue the bones were; even the flesh had a bluish tinge to it.
“It was excellent eating,” Jeff reported.
Kevin Skeggs with an incredibly-rare catch for the NT: a 20kg Maori wrasse aka humphead wrasse.
Bryn Montgomery got amongst the big barra action at Shady Camp last Saturday, landing two metreys on his trusty Bomber Longshot lure, including this one which measured 107cm.
Nicholas Livsey was at Shady Camp and was in trouble with his girlfriend after catching this 115cm barra on her fishing rod when she had to pull out of the trip.