Alex's Fishing Report 14 July 2016
How good is it that the Million Dollar Fish campaign will run again on 1 October this year until 28 February next year.
Tourism NT’s Million Dollar Fish campaign was heralded a great success, with some truly impressive statistics to back this up.
For starters, more than 43,000 people registered for the competition from 62 different countries, including 25,800 people from interstate and 14,600 Northern Territory locals.
Plus around 6,000 people actually visited the NT to participate in the competition.
The local fishing tourism sector benefitted significantly, particularly in October and November during the Top End build-up.
However, easily the most-outstanding statistic was the capture of 10 of the 76 barra tagged and released.
That is a phenomenal return that is far in excess of what anyone could have predicted.
Frankly, it would not have surprised me if not one tagged barra was recaptured, and in fact that was always the big worry for Tourism NT and the major sponsor, CrownBet.
I remember the sighs of relief from the organisers when the first tagged barra was caught not long after the competition started.
Then the recaptures started to add up, and in hardly more than a month four red tags were handed in to collect $10,000 cash prizes from CrownBet.
In a breakdown of where each of the $10,000 tagged barra came from, there were two from the Daly River, one from Corroboree Lagoon, one from Bynoe Harbour and, incredibly, six from Darwin Harbour.
Good on CrownBet for jumping back in after having to cough up $100,000 in the first round.
And this year CrownBet has upped the ante: there will 100 tagged barra worth $10,000 each, as well as the $M fish itself.
With neap tides this weekend, you could do worse than anchor off Lee Point, get a burley trail of crushed pilchards happening and float baits out for Spanish mackerel.
Take a small outfit too and fish for garfish for live bait; that gets the macs excited.
Chris Hurt fishes Lee Point a lot as a guide and he told me an interesting story from just the other day.
Apparently, one of his punters hooked a mackerel about 8kg on a live garfish.
“It took some line then jumped,” Chris told me.
“I’ve seen them jump before and it’s usually because a shark is after them.
“But suddenly the fish stopped fighting and my client wound it in slowly against the current.
“Finally it came in dead and we could see it was hooked in the side.
“I lifted it aboard and one side was all scratched and torn as if it had been hit with a file,” Chris said.
“I turned it over and the other side had huge denture marks with gaps between them.
“I’m certain it was a big mackerel that tried to bite a chunk off; a shark would have kept going to get a feed,” Chris said.
It doesn’t surprise me as, over the years, I’ve reported some truly big mackerel being caught off Lee Point.
The best Chris has seen was on Anzac Day last year.
“We’d had a great day, catching Spanish mackerel on bait and broad-bar mackerel casting metals,” Chris told me.
“I had just finished cleaning the fish we were keeping, and we didn’t want anymore, but just as we were packing up a huge mackerel took the live garfish bait.
“It didn’t fight much really, and when it came in it was bleeding so we couldn’t let it go.
“This fish was about 30kg and the bloke who caught it was 6’ 4”, and its fork went to his chin with the nose touching the ground,” Chris explained.
Apparently there was a boat trolling nearby with a family aboard so Chris motored over and, as they’d caught nothing, he tossed the big mac on their boat and said: “Here you go, there’s a feed in this lot.”
Charles Britton from the Gold Coast with a beaut Darwin Harbour barra nabbed whilst fishing with local, Shane Moon
Harold Hubble took 85 years to land his first barra. After this Darwin Harbour catch he's now in training for the Million Dollar Fish season which starts in October.
Olivia Foster kicked off her fishing career with a nice tricky snapper caught with Arafura Bluewater Charters.