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Alex's Fishing Report 9 February 2017

“We’re definitely going to have a March Runoff” were the prophetic words of Fishing and Outdoor World’s George Voukolos.
Following the massive deluge across the western Top End mainly last weekend, all the big rivers within a day trip of Darwin are well and truly flooding.
It’s interesting that Darwin and environs generally received the most rainfall, with some recordings over the weekend close to 400mm.
Mind you, once again the lower Daly River region was rained upon with a vengeance.
However, as this week has progressed, the rain has become more widespread with great falls along the coast of Chambers Bay, out at Jabiru and Oenpelli, and right through Arnhem Land where places like Maningrida have received more than 100mm of rain daily.
It really does augur well for the coming Runoff as everywhere should fish well.
For the last couple of years, the Daly River has had to carry the brunt of the annual Runoff-fishing fever, with often more than 100 boats on the river at the one time.
This coming March and April, it’s a given that both the East Alligator and South Alligator Rivers will fish brilliantly, the Mary River at its double river mouths and along the coast will go off with great barra, the Adelaide River at places like Beatrice Creek and Marrakai Creek will produce quality fishing, the Finniss River mouth and inside rock-bars will be hot with chrome-sided fish, and the mighty Daly River will most-likely yield the coveted Million Dollar Fish.
I just thought I’d throw that one in because, if you are keen to target a $M barra, you have until the end of this month.
In any event, the Daly will go crazy for sure.
Big rains like these also ignite local estuaries around Darwin.
Both Darwin Harbour and Shoal Bay will fish exceptionally well in April/May.
Right now you can fill a bucket with prawns just by throwing a cat-net around in Shoal Bay.
This wonderful wet season is also great news for organisers of the several major barra competitions held annually across the Top End.
The first is the Aurora Kakadu Klash which is one of the three “Majors” on the Top End tournament scene.
Hosted by Aurora Kakadu Resort, this year it will be held on 6-8 April, with 40 teams competing for $9000.00 cash and a great assortment of other prizes.
It should be a ripper comp this year, especially given how well the South has already been fishing before the recent rains.
Apparently, only on Tuesday, an angler caught 30 barra at the South Alligator culvert.
You won’t get to the East Alligator for a while as Magela Creek is flowing 1.7m over the road.
However, that didn’t stop one mob who were ferried across and picked up on the other side by locals.
They went down the East and caught 80 barra on Squidgy soft plastics.
The next big competition – and the second “Major” – will be the Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals on 21-18 April, which once again will be held from the Banyan Farm on the Daly River.
Barra Nats co-ordinator, Dallas Smith, is more excited than late-night talk show hosts were when Donald Trump announced he was running for President.
“With all this rain, and after the Daly getting plenty for the last couple of years, we’re expecting amazing fishing this year,” Dallas said.
The final leg of the big-tournaments trifecta will be the famous Barra Classic, scheduled for 6-12 May.
That should be a ripper too.
Of course, there’s a lot more rain predicted to come thanks to the low in the Gulf of Carpentaria which may or may not form into a cyclone.
In any event, it is expected to move west across the Top End and dump another motherlode of rain across Arnhem Land and our big river floodplains closer to Darwin.
On the business side, fishing tour operators big and small are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of all those frustrated anglers down south – who have been waiting for a wet season like this one – to descend upon the Top End.
Expect fishing tourists to visit in their droves come the end of the Wet, and it won’t just be the fishing tour operators who will benefit; accommodation places close to the rivers will all be full, tackle shops employees will be run off their feet and boatyards will be flat out keeping up with the hundreds of outboards needing servicing.
To the Chinese, this might be the Year Of The Rooster but to recreational fishermen, and the huge industry they support, this will surely be The Year Of The Great Runoff.


Roger Sinclair bagged this tasty coral trout before the deluge on the deadly Gulp Jerk Shad.Roger Sinclair bagged this tasty coral trout before the deluge on the deadly Gulp Jerk Shad.

Mark Lee’s Arnhem Land 107cm barra was caught before the recent downpours.

Robbo Robinson with a ripper threadfin salmon from a local estuary.