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FISHING With Alex Julius

Hands up if you’ve never fished Buffalo Creek before.
I doubt there’s an angler in Darwin who hasn’t chucked a lure from the sand into a ch7urning incoming tide in Buffalo Creek.
It’s interesting that I haven’t heard much happening at Buffalo Creek this year.
It can’t be because no one has been chasing barra there?
Always at this steamy, build-up time of year, there is great fishing available at our handy northern suburbs mangrove waterway.
More importantly, the statistics speak for themselves: as long as I can remember, there hasn’t been a Build-up go past without a sprinkling of big barra caught from the banks of Buffalo Creek which is renowned for the size of the barra it produces from October to December every year.
Fish well over a metre have not been uncommon and the opportunity is there for anyone to go and have a shot.
Night fishing is definitely the most productive.
That’s because the big mullet that metre-plus barra love to eat are much more easily ambushed under the cover of darkness.
You can fish anywhere along the sand, but there’s a bit of a walking track from the boat ramp up through the scrub to a rock-bar which can be a magnet to barra holding up at night.
Big poppers work but you’ll need to work them so they make enticing “bloops” across the surface.
Most fish, however, seem to be caught on slow-retrieved, shallow-diving big minnows.
You can choose between Bombers in 15A and 16A, shallow Classic 120s and 160s, Reidy’s B52s in any of the biggest three sizes, and others of this ilk.
Spring tides are usually best for Buffalo Creek because of the sheer volume of water that moves in and out.
Fishing from half tide up and through the high – particularly under the cloak of darkness – could yield a welcome big surprise.
Pay careful attention to the sounds of the water: mullet flitting about nervously and the tell-tale “boof” of a barra devouring the goodies.
Of course, if you want to make absolutely sure something eats your bait, take a cast-net with you and round up some live mullet, the bigger the better…but do that near the boat ramp and check for a croc first.
You can keep them alive in a large bucket with one of those nifty little 12 volt aerators that blow bubbles through the water.
While I’m on the subject of Buffalo Creek, if it’s just a feed you want, then all you need to do is bait up with prawns and fish for those tasty sand whiting that live in the creek.
Any old rod and reel, loaded with skinny braid, with a small running sinker and No 6 long-shank hook attached, will suffice.
The whiting aren’t big but a couple of dozen will feed a family easily.
And guess what: a slippery little whiting makes a great live bait for a big hungry barra – they just love them.
And if you didn’t know, there have been a bunch of big barra caught throughout the Shoal Bay system over the last month.
With Buffalo being the first creek in, it’s bound to have a few metre-plus visitors, and maybe even one carrying a Million Dollar Fish tag.

If you’ve ever wanted to give fly fishing a try, this Sunday presents the perfect opportunity.
Darwin Flyrodders is holding an open day from 12.30pm to 4.00pm at Palmerston Game Fishing Club’s premises, 28 Catalina Road, Marlow Lagoon.
There’ll be a sausage sizzle and both fly tying and fly casting lessons.
Children are welcome for what should be a fun, family event.

crystal neal barra
1.    A long-planned fishing adventure down to the Roper River paid off for Crystal Neal when she boated this 102cm barra.

clint Jabbink
2.    Clint Jebbink with an 80cm East Arm barra - a ripper for Darwin Harbour.

peel Kids Barra
3.    Leila Peel with was rapt with her 81cm Adelaide River barra. Lending a hand were Felix Chatenay and sister Tilly Peel.