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FISHING With Alex Julius

A question I’ve been asked fairly often recently is whether the runoff fishing this year has been as great as predicted.
In two words: not quite.
That’s probably because two iconic rivers didn’t fire up to their best: the Daly and the Mary.
The Daly fished well for some – including on two separate trips for me personally – but the hot bites were restricted to less than a handful of places.
Given that there have been upwards of 30 boats on the Daly even during the week, only the real early birders, and those with good knowledge from many past visits to the Daly during runoff, jagged the best spots at the best times.
Plus for some reason there wasn’t the clarity of water running out of many creeks, even though the floodplains have been virtual seas.
Over at the Mary River, missing were the big runs of metre-plus barra at the mouths of Sampan and Tommycut Creeks, these being the two tributaries of the Mary River delta.
Sure, some truly big girls were caught, but I’ve seen better years by far over just the last decade.
Could it be that the succession of poor wet seasons before the last two bumper Wets took its toll on the barra stocks?
Mind you, looking at other rivers, the runoff fishing has been far more consistent.
How good has the Adelaide fished so far this Runoff?
I am constantly hearing of great feeder creek sessions, and with quality fish to boot.
Down at the Finniss River, those in the know have also been cleaning up.
Residents at Darwin’s coastal playground, Dundee Beach, have been enjoying the spoils of a fabulous new boat ramp and great barra fishing just a half hour away.
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the South Alligator River which really turned it on at last week’s Aurora Kakadu Klash.
Who would have picked the top half of the river to fire better than right downriver at this time of year?
The winners, that’s who – only one team worked it out that big barra were practically schooling and on the chew at Nourlangie Creek.
One river we’ve heard bugger all about is the East Alligator River.
Only just this week have vehicles been able to drive in over the flooded Magella Crossing and the other flooded parts of the road to the main river crossing.
Usually, the East has given of its best runoff fishing before you can get to it, but that might be different this year; we’ll know more after the weekend.
Further afield, the Victoria River has produced some vintage runoff fishing, so much so that Katherine anglers have been favouring it over their beloved Roper River.
Hasn’t the Roper been a tale of woe this year?
While the rest of the Top End has been drowning in flood water, the Roper has experienced the equivalent of a river drought.
Plenty of Katherine anglers had their fingers crossed that Cyclone Nora would head west and give the Roper the rain it needs.
That didn’t happen and it’s all getting too late now for the Roper.
So, while the Runoff has not been as great overall as predicted, there have still been some fiery sessions in some of our big tidal rivers.
Better yet, there are still a few weeks left of runoff fishing to go.
One measure for the Daly will be this weekend when round two of the Top End Barra Series is held.
A lot of boats will be on the river this weekend, and there are some pretty skilled barra anglers amongst them.
On a different species altogether, if you haven’t heard, the sailfish are back biting like crazy out off Dundee Beach.
Riley Farris and crew landed 12 sails after raising 22 and hooking up to 19.
That’s not only a whole heap of action but it’s also indicative of the skill factor on the boat.

If you’re not wetting a line this Sunday, why not check out the AFANT AGM at 10.00am at the Tracy Village Sports Club.
There’s always a wealth of information for anglers to glean at these annual meetings, and there’s a free barbecue lunch after the meeting.
This meeting will be add addressed by NT Senator and Federal Minister For Aboriginal Affairs, Nigel Scullion.
The pending claims over the bed and banks of the Daly River and other important recreational fishing areas will be up for serious discussion.
For nearly four decades now, AFANT has been doing an amazing job representing the interests of NT recreational fishermen, and the AGM is always one to mark on the calendar.

Bryce neal barra
1.    Jamps Hughes (left) helps fellow Team Tackle World Revo’s member Bryce Neal lift his stonker 106cm barra; Bryce’s fish was the biggest caught on the third day of the Aurora Kakadu Klash held on the South Alligator River.

ashley Beckett barra
2.    Ashley Beckett cracked her PB barra when she hauled in this 102cm ripper at the Adelaide River over Easter.

Trever Jones barra
3.    Trevor Jones found fish on the bite down the Daly River, bagging this 93cm barra to prove it.