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FISHING With Alex Julius


Last week’s Secret Women’s Business Barra Challenge (SWB) was again a great success.

I was on the water at Corroboree Billabong for media coverage and I must say that the professionalism and skills displayed by the 42 teams were simply awesome.

It’s a common blokey thing to knock all-female teams, but there would have been zilch justification for that with SWB.

I watched as teams safely passed each other at speed and port to port which is the correct way for boats to cross each other’s paths.

I continued to be impressed at how well teams worked their spots, either casting or trolling.

And it was great to see how much fun most teams were having – both on the water and at the Corroboree Park Tavern venue.

SWB Co-ordinator, Kris Noble, told me: “I think it went really well this year, especially as the fishing was better than expected.

“There were only a couple incidents: one team was followed by a big croc and one of the girls lost her reel and rod overboard.

“The Landcover Slushy houseboat was a huge hit – women could come on board out of the sun and grab some refreshing beverages.

“SWB is about providing a safe and educational experience on the water, and also a chance for the women to get away and have a break.

“For me, it’s about encouraging women to get on the water and be in charge, and the domino effect of getting families and children fishing,” Kris explained.

“We had very positive feedback: there were lots of emails and texts from the women about how much fun they had and how much they learned; a lot walked away feeling empowered.

“Many were nervous coming in and went away saying ‘we can actually do this’,” Kris said.

There were 42 teams of two to four anglers competing this year, and 12 teams were new to the event.

A total of 55 barra and 116 saratoga were tagged and released.

Champion Team was Slippery Gypsies, comprised of Christie Palmer, Danger Berg Bartolo and Jade McGowan.

Runner-up Champion Team was Skirts Ditch’n Work – Tash Rammers, Melita McKinnon and Helen Stuart.

Danger was Champion Angler and Melita was Runner-up Champion.

It was no surprise that the 45km of Corroboree’s fishable water simply swallowed all the boats.

To me it showed that the big waterway is still a viable proposition for one of the five-day open barra tournaments.

Congratulations to Kris Noble and to the Palmerston Game Fishing Club for once again hosting a great tournament.

I understand the dates for SWB next year will be 6-7 September.



I don’t half mind the tides for a shot at a Darwin or Bynoe Harbour barra this weekend.

Lately, I’ve been steering more towards bigger low tides, so long as they are building towards springs.

On both Saturday and Sunday, if you hit the water by 7.30am, you’d have plenty of time to get in position on some windless flats and work the mangrove edges.

Conversely, on the incoming tide, there would be ample time to work stretches of muddy flats where there was the odd shade tree for a barra to lay against in ambush.

This sort of fishing requires sharp casting skills, especially if you’re not fishing with weedless soft plastics, which I recommend anyway.

It’s prime Build-up time so you may as well give it a go now if you ever are.



 Slippery Gypsies

1.      The Slippery Gypsies team of Christie Palmer (left), Danger Berg Bartolo and Jade McGowan were convincing winners of SWB, and Danger won Champion Angler.


Alicia boyd barraAlicia McGowan’s 75cm barra was the biggest caught in last week’s SWB Barra Challenge.

3.       Tash Rammers togaAlways in the mix, Tash Rammers is pictured here with a ripper Corroboree saratoga.

4.       Tracy Sherwood barraTracy Sherwood’s silver barra is tagged and ready for release.

5.      Kim Barra Kim Marifioti with her beaut Corroboree barra.