Alex's Fishing Report 2 March 2017
An epidemic of gargantuan proportions is spreading across the Top End angling scene: it’s called Barra Fever.
River levels are dropping everywhere and I’ve heard lots of reports of barra biting.
Perhaps the best report has been from the Finniss River where one party landed more than 20 barra around the metre mark.
The Adelaide too has been fishing exceptionally well upriver.
Old mate George Moussa was up inside a creek last Saturday and caught 17 barra at a nice colour change.
He told me there was another boat nearby that was live-baiting with several rods, and pulling in a barra every minute.
Brad Woollams also reported good fishing up the Adelaide.
“We didn’t launch until 10 o’clock and then we caught some good fish both casting and trolling,” Brad told me.
“The best fishing was as the tide dropped,” he said.
As the tides move from big to small this weekend and next week, the creeks up the Adelaide should drain more quickly and barra fishing might just get better.
I heard the South Alligator River is still quite high up the top, but there has still been reports of great barra action about midway during the falling tide.
The best fishing has been upriver but surely some of those big creeks down the bottom will fire up on the coming neaps.
For those itching to get to the East Alligator, Magela Crossing is still over a metre high and may rise further.
Of course, you could always access the East by going down the South Alligator and then across and in.
You would need to overnight in your boat but you’d sure get the drop on everyone.
I’ll bet there is water coming off the plains at many hotspots along the East Alligator.
For those looking for a chance to fish the Daly River, the Woolianna Road is still closed, as is the boat ramp.
Boats will be permitted to launch off the road leading down to the crossing, but that will be a muddy affair.
For those happy to travel further afield, the Victoria River has been on fire over the last week.
I’m not Robinson Crusoe on this one but, for my money, the place to be next week is surely Shady Camp.
On the last set of neap tides, the mouth of Sampan Creek went off with metre barra and lots of great big threadies too.
If you haven’t caught a metre barra before, then next Tuesday to Thursday presents a wonderful opportunity.
You would need to get there early to launch while there is plenty of water, but that will give you the opportunity to fish across low tide at the mouth.
Once the tide starts to push in, anything could happen; it did a fortnight earlier and conditions are probably better this coming week.
Locally in the salt water, barra are feeding like mad up Darwin Harbour arms, but you’ll have to use damn small lures or even flies as they are feeding on tiny baitfish and little jelly prawns.
I fished the harbour with friends last Saturday and at one spot barra were boofing every few seconds; but getting them to take something was near impossible.
George Voukolos of Fishing and Outdoor World told me something interesting about Darwin Harbour.
“These blokes who work at Stokes Hill Wharf shone a torch on the water in the dark about 3.00am,” George said.
“It was low tide and they reckon they saw at least 200 barra just rolling around.
“Some were big, in the 90s, and they swear two fish rolled over and they clearly saw red tags hanging of them,” George said.
I bet one of those tags had the number 2656.
Tony Halikos from Crab Claw Island Resort tells me that barra have been on the chew in Bynoe Harbour.
“A lot of nice fish are being caught,” Tony said.
“Mud crabbing has been great too, but you have to check your pots every 15 minutes, otherwise the crocs will get into them.
“I think the crocs have learnt that crab pots are easy pickings because they follow you around when you’re crabbing,” Tony said.
I suppose the message there is not to crab Bynoe Harbour from a little boat.
Finally, here’s some advice for your runoff trips ahead: try to remember that everyone wants a piece of the action so don’t get narky when another boat pulls in near you at a feeder creek mouth.
Similarly, watch where you are going at the mouth of Sampan when you’re trolling.
There could be 100 boats all working the area but it’s not a problem as long as you are careful not to cut off other boats.
If someone hooks a good fish, try to give them the space to fight it.
Above all, be careful – there are more boating accidents during the runoff than at any other time of year.
John Ducksbury caught this beaut silver barra fishing with Brad Woollams up the Adelaide River.
As Kim Wheatley (left) and Rocky Edwards found last weekend, barra are busting out in Darwin Harbour arms. Rocky used a little Zerek Fish Trap to catch this nice harbour barra.
Pat Hollowood caught this 71cm barra fishing a creek colour change with husband Peter.