FISHING With Alex Julius
With Alex Julius
If you’re into your barra fishing, then you probably hit one or other big river over the last week.
I’ve heard reports from every river this side of Arnhem Land and then down the west coast all the way to the Victoria River.
The best information I have is from the Daly River where I spent two great days late last week.
I fished with mates George Moussa and Stuey Brisbane.
Stuey and his wife Marni own the delightful Daly River Barra Resort where we stayed, and our trip coincided with the opening of the public boat ramp.
It’s a rare occasion that you get the Daly River to yourself during the Runoff, but that’s what happened for much of the first day.
Old mate Stewie Martin turned up mid-morning but he and his crew worked their way to the river mouth where they would swag it in their boat.
We worked hard for two days, catching barra at several different creek mouths, and also along reed edges and tiny gutters.
But conditions were far from ideal: the river was still a good 3 metres too high and there was hardly any bait about.
On both days in the morning during the ebbing tide, there were good colour changes with clear, dark water flowing into the main river.
But once the big incoming tide pushed in, the creek mouths went to mud.
We just managed a double-figure catch over two days, with some nice fish amongst it.
By far the best hard-body lure for us was the Classic 120 Ghost 10+ in Bananafish colour.
I think this has become my favourite hard–body lure during the Runoff – it smashed them last year and continues to do so this year.
Interestingly, it seems to work best on a steady retrieve rather than an aggressive jig action, and that goes for trolling too.
My other favourite for the Runoff is again the Classic 120 10+ but the suspending version in the gold Nitro colour.
This lure you need to jig: wind it down to its depth, whip your down-pointed rod tip a couple of times and then just let it sit.
It won’t float up because it’s a suspending lure.
Just keep working it that way and you’ll find barra will often hit it while it is paused.
Another great hard-body lure for the Runoff is the Killalure 2Deadly.
Designed by legendary fishing guide and lure maker, Lance Butler, it is a hybrid between a surface popper and a shallow-diving minnow with a Bomber-like action.
It comes in three sizes and, as you might appreciate, it is incredibly versatile, even on a single cast and retrieve because you can “bloop” it on the surface a couple of times then wind to make it duck under the water and swim.
That technique can really suck the barra in.
In the soft plastic department, a variety of standard and weedless-rigged lures worked, the latter especially when chucking into the reedy edges, pulling the soft plastic through the grass and letting it drop at the edge.
That’s where the barra were, hard up against the reeds.
The mouth of Clear Creek worked for a short time, but we should have hit this major tributary across the top of the tide.
I learnt after the trip that it went off over the weekend as the creek flow slowed on the high tide.
By all accounts, the big barra caught last weekend all came from the Mary River system and the coastal creeks in Chambers Bay.
According to Ronald Voukolos at Fishing and Outdoor World, one angler caught a 103cm and a 105cm barra at the mouth of the Mary.
“Raymond Hughes went from the Mary to the Wildman River by sea and caught a 110cm barra,” Ronald told me.
“The Adelaide River also fished well from the Barra Farm Creek all the way up to Beatrice Creek.
“Beatrice Creek produced a lot of barra at night,” Ronald said.
As expected, there were plenty of boats on the South Alligator River, sussing it out for the Aurora Kakadu Klash which kicks off two weeks from today.
It’s still very high up the top but some quality barra were caught right downstream in Brook Creek.
This year, there will be more than 40 teams competing in the Klash, and I have no doubt some very big fish will be caught.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the neap tides this weekend.
Water clarity will be improved no matter where you chuck a barra lure.
Plus, with all the big rivers starting to perk up, angling pressure should be spread out.
You won’t get into the East Alligator River yet, but pick a choice between the South Alligator, the Mary, the Adelaide, the Finniss and the Daly, and you’ll have as much chance as anyone else of experiencing some frantic runoff action.
1. Stuey Brisbane from Daly River Barra Resort reckons the versatile Killalure 2Deadly lure is a winner during the Runoff, especially down the Daly River.
2. George Moussa’s Daly River barrel of a barra fell to a Squidgy Slick Rig.
3. AJ’s favourite hard-body lure for the Runoff – the Classic 120 Ghost 10+ in Bananafish colour – was a standout down the Daly last week.