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FISHING With Alex Julius

Not before time, we’re starting to get more serious rainfall.
According to Angline Prasad from the Bureau of Metreology, a weak monsoon has moved onto the north coast, mainly central north coast and across to the east.
However, as it drops down over the Top End, it is likely to extend to the west coast.
“It’s not very strong, not an active monsoon, so we don’t expect any monsoonal squalls in the short term,” Angline said.
Apparently, coastal areas will see the heaviest falls, but that’s not bad news for those of us willing some serious river flooding to happen.
Good news right now is the South Alligator River has been fishing exceptionally well right up the top where the river has actually flooded.
Earlier this week, anglers employing the tactic of drifting down from the rope right up the South, and casting to eddies and backwaters, were cleaning up with up to 60 barra a day.
These weren’t huge fish, but there was a sprinkling of 80cm fish amongst them.
Sadly, the opposite has been the case at Shady Camp and the lower Mary River.
The river has been so low that launching boats has been no different to what happens in the dry season: you need to get in while the tide is high.
Hand in hand with that has been some pretty average fishing down at the mouth.
The odd barra is getting caught at both Sampan Creek and Tommycut Creek mouths, and not surprisingly a few whopper threadfin salmon have been boated, but overall it’s been tough going.
Hopefully, the monsoon will get some serious flow into Shady Camp.
Once again, the river filling up the quickest is the good old Daly.
On Thursday, it was a tad under 9m at the Daly River Crossing, and should rise further with more rain.
On the local Darwin front, the harbour fished exceptionally well for barra last weekend, and the 1.3m low tide today just after 2.00pm is perfect.
However, if the rain is plummeting down over those harbour arms, forget it as the water will be too murky.
From barra to blue, isn’t it great that the hot billfishing off Dundee continues to continue?
Some boats have been raising double-figure numbers of both sailfish and juvenile black marlin.
Conversion rates – ie number of fish landed compared to those raised and those hooked – have been pretty good too.
The phenomenon of juvenile black marlin is puzzling.
These are fish well under a metre long, and there have been stacks of them caught over the last 10 months.
Their ages would be less than 100 days, so you might think that it points to a nearby black marlin spawning area.
However, according to renowned billfish scientist, Dr Julian Pepperell, the closest black marlin spawning could still be thousands of kilometres away; it’s all dependent on currents.
In any event, it’ll be interesting to see if the Dundee billies are still around in numbers after the wet season.

PHOTOS:
crystal neal thredfin
1.    Crystal Neal with her whopping big threadfin salmon from the mouth of Sampan Creek on the Mary River – a common catch in January.

peter gray barra
2.    Peter Gray’s 92cm barra was one of the better fish to come out of the Mary this January.