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FISHING With Alex Julius

I know I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, but it’s probably worth revisiting the Corroboree Park Challenge which is scheduled to commence late tomorrow and continue over the weekend.
This is actually one of the Top End’s oldest fishing competitions, and it’s a beauty because it’s so family-oriented.
Hosted by the Palmerston Game Fishing Club from the top Corroboree Park Tavern venue, competitors can fish anywhere east of the tavern, so that brings into play four river systems including associated billabongs.
Look no further than Corroboree Billabong on the Mary for the most boat traffic, and there could be some nice barra caught given you can fish all Friday and Saturday nights.
This year, saratoga are equal billing with barra, so either species or a combination of both can form individual and team three-fish entries.
It’s a fair bet that anglers hunting bear will be launching in the dark at Shady Camp or Stuart’s Tree Fishing Camp.
They’ll need to if they want to get away before the tide is too low.
Some quality barra have been caught at the mouth of the Mary accessed from Shady Camp over the last month, especially on neap tides like those this weekend.
It seems too that everyone knows of the big barra waiting to be caught at the mouth of the Wildman River on the incoming neaps; there’ll be some serious fishermen hitting that joint.
Heading further east, my favourite Four Mile Hole beckons, but you won’t get a decent-sized barra there unless you fish at night, trolling up the guts.
However, there are some bigger ‘toga to be caught in the lagoon during daylight hours.
Going further east again, there are some sweet lagoons on the upper South Alligator River system.
Alligator Billabong, Bucket Billabong and Red Lily Billabong are three that are just plain fun to be on, and they can produce barra in the 90cm range too.
The South Alligator River itself is a special for big barra on the neap tides, but only down at the river mouth and beyond.
There’s a conspiratorial club of anglers who sneak down the South Alligator at this time of year, sleep on their boats and bang some beautiful silAver barra.
Where to next? How about the iconic Yellow Waters Lagoon, also on the South Alligator River system?
Did someone say “Million Dollar Fish”? Well there was one plucked last Friday from Yellow Water, so there are bound to be more red-tagged fish splashing around in this Kakadu treasure.
The beauty of Yellow Water is that you have excellent accommodation and camping facilities at Cooinda Lodge, as well as cold beer on tap.
There are some other lagoons which you can access from the Kakadu Highway, including Jim Jim Billabong, Mardugal Lagoon, Sandy Billabong and Muirella Park.
Finally, at the western-most boundary of the Corroboree Park Challenge is the East Alligator River which forms the border between Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land.
You could have a dare-devil flick from Cahill’s Crossing on the East, but I can tell you my days of doing that are long gone… just too many big crocs.
Launching a boat at the East Alligator is an option, but you won’t have much fishing time on the bottom side.
However, the top side is great just being there, especially upriver beside the escarpment.
There you go: the world is your oyster for the Corroboree Park Challenge this weekend.
To register, go online at http://tix.yt/corroboree-park-challenge, or you can register at the tavern from 5.00pm tomorrow.

kim barra
1.    Kim Marifioti’s barra was a beauty in the recent Secret Women’s Business Barra Challenge on Corroboree Billabong.

Tom Grose barra
2.    Tom Grose’s Darwin harbour barra was caught in the recent Top End Barra Series round 5.

regis martin TEBs
3.    Regis Martin was surprised and a tad disappointed when he caught a tagged barra in Darwin Harbour… it was the wrong colour.