Alex's Fishing Report 4 February 2016
Gearing up for barra to bite
Last week, Top End anglers received the best clue yet to the Daly River firing up for certain this run-off.
Old mate George Voukolos Junior rang me to tell me that the mighty Daly is chockers with cherabin from one bank to the other.
George fishes the Daly land-based and year-in-year-out catches more metre barra than anyone else in the NT.
“You should have seen it Alex; 100s of cherabin were crawling out of the water and some were a foot long,” George told me.
“I’ve never seen anywhere near that many before.”
This report was repeated to me by two other sources.
If you didn’t know, the cherabin is a freshwater prawn, and yummy to both barra and barra anglers.
The Daly is famous for its annual cherabin run when schools of these crustaceans march up the river along the bottom.
It’s been the focus of many university research studies over the years, and plenty of smart scientists have gained their a PhDs from the cherabin.
For whatever reason, the sudden, early evacuation-level flooding of the Daly has led to a massive spawning run of the swashbuckling cherabin.
Harking back to how I started this column, it can only mean that the barra will come for sure so they can feast on the easy pickings that slow-crawling cherabin are.
Both barra in the river that have escaped from the billabongs, and silver barra moving up from the salt, will come to join in the feast.
It’s just a waiting game, I reckon.
I’d like to report now on a still-fairly-new barra lure that I’ve being paying a lot more attention to of late: the Killalure Needlenose.
This funny-looking lure was designed by legendary fishing guide, Lance Butler.
Nowadays a regular guide at the famous Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge, when he’s not putting clients on to trophy barra, he is chiselling away at new barra-lure designs in his Cardwell home workshop.
Highly-respected among his peers, it’s no surprise that Lance applied his barra-fishing knowledge to his own lure designs.
For several years now, Lance has been working closely with Killalures to produce a range of commercially-available lures which have well and truly become great barra catchers.
Viewed side on, the Needlenose injection-moulded-plastic Needlenose has an unusual profile: it looks a bit like the nose of an Elephant seal.
According to Lance, the inspiration for this unique design had nothing to do with fur and blubber; in fact, the idea came to him whilst watching Formula One racing.
“I noticed that Formula One race cars have a very low nose to reduce air resistance,” Lance said.
This light-bulb moment led him to applying this design aspect into a diving minnow lure.
“I wanted a lure with a low tow point but to also draw from the lure body, not the bib.
“Having a low tow point provides a number of benefits: it minimises water resistance on the front of the lure body allowing the lure to dive deeper and, from an angler’s perspective, decreases resistance when either retrieving or trolling, therefore reducing angler fatigue.
“The Needlenose has a sweet, tight swimming action as it is drawn from the low-slung nose rather than off the bib,” Lance explained.
Personally, it’s one of the many performance aspects of the Needlenose that I like.
I was recently jig trolling some barra at the mouth of the Mary River, and the reduced front-on resistance enabled me to really rip the lure forward on the stop-and-jig, making it dart then stop and back up. The barra were smashing it.
The Needlenose comes in 8+ and 20+ versions.
“You can expect that the deep version will dive about 4m when cast and retrieved and up to 7m when trolling,” Lance said.
Like other lures in the Killalure range (2Easy and 2Deep), the Needlenose also incorporates three different interchangeable rattle chambers: for a loud rattle, for a single-ball rattle and for a silent action.
It is currently available in eight eye-catching colour patterns and measures 150mm size, but Lance hopes to design a smaller version in the future.
Alex caught his first barra in 2016 jig trolling the Killalure Needlenose deep diver.
The Needlenose is available in 20+ and 8+ diving versions.
Sascha Wilkins’ beaut silver barra came from the recent hot run at the mouth of Sampan Creek on the Mary River.