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FISHING With Alex Julius

As forecast last week, the run up to New Year and just after was all about calm days on the water without any serious, widespread rainfall.
Unfortunately, now it even it looks like we are going to get a late start to the northern wet season.
This is despite Cyclone Hilda giving Broome and places nearby a thorough drenching a few days after Christmas.
There’s quite a bit of information on the BOM website, but mostly it’s about a late start to our Top End wet season.
One bright note is a forecast model that sees a second tropical low developing closer to the Western Australian coast sometime next week, with indications that a monsoon trough may develop to Australia's north at the same time.
Combined with deep-layer moisture from the Coral Sea, there is an increased chance of widespread rainfall affecting parts of far northern Australia.
Let’s hope that scenario kicks in.
In the meantime, there’s some great fishing on tap at the moment.
There were certainly plenty of fish caught over the New Year break.
With beautiful calm weather to travel, places like Fog Bay, the Finniss and the South Alligator River produced some quality barra, while the Perons went off with great reef fishing.
I snuck up to the Arnhem Land Barra Lodge, which is in caretaker mode, and had two wonderful days fishing with mates Shaun and Andy Taylor, who are Lodge Manager and Head Guide respectively.
With unusually glassed-off seas for the end of the year, it was a great opportunity to prospect new waters for the coming fishing tour season – it’s part of the job description when caretaking an amazing fishing lodge.
When the Taylor brothers hit new water, any unsuspecting fish don’t stand a chance.
This pair takes no prisoners and right from the start they were ripping in solid barra on both hard-body lures and soft plastics.
Believe it or not, this sort of work can actually be fun, and on more than one occasion I noticed they were enjoying themselves.
But they still remained devoted to the task before them, ensuring there were lots of
multiple barra hook-ups in sheltered waters and huge sessions on the blue water for goldies and other tasty reef fish.
For the most part, I played around with my Phantom 4 Pro drone and a pair of on-board Nikons, capturing some great footage of Andy landing a big black jew that crunched a barra lure.
For a bit of variety, I should mention the zillion quality mangrove jacks we caught in a special creek that I'd never fished before but was doable with the great weather.
Once again sticking to the task at hand, Shaun and Andy proved conclusively that there were bank-to-bank jacks in the creek.
I’m sure plenty of Barra Lodge guests will get to visit “Jack Creek”.
Perhaps the best was a session chucking at a creek mouth for double and triple hook-ups on rocketing metre threadies.
That was such a buzz... and my Classic 120 Ghost in Bananafish Green was a real favourite with these energised threadfin salmon, and definitely curried favour with the barra too.
It was a great couple of days in this sportfishing paradise, which also boasts ridiculously-luxurious, safari-suite accommodation.
With African-style polished timber decks and durable canvas construction, the 12 safari suites are also fully air-conditioned and have tasteful en suite bathrooms.
On the water, you fish from sea-eating, comfortable Ocean Master boats.
Given the combination of the luxury accommodation, the great boats and the fish-rich waters – not to mention an escarpment view to die for from the elevated, spacious Barra Lodge deck bar – it’s a tough gig being a caretaker at this time of year.


andy taylor fights jewy
1.    Andy Taylor fights a big jew while Shaun Taylor readies the net; meanwhile AJ snaps away with the Phantom 4 Pro drone hovering above.

shaun tayloer and brother andy with salmon
2.    Shaun Taylor (left) and brother Andy with a pair of big threadfin salmon… the threadies were partial to the Classic 120 Ghost Bananafish lure.

alex with jack
3.    “Jack Creek” lived up to its name as a mangrove jack hotspot; AJ with a Bomber-crunching jack.

jumping barra
4.    The Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge minders found thrashing barra at several new locations.