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FISHING With Alex Julius

Glassed-out sea conditions and two great fishing options made for a memorable NT Billfish Classic held over three days late last week.
Although not co-ordinating the tournament this year, Billfish Classic stalwart, old mate Peter Dienhoff was right across this year’s tournament which is hosted by Darwin Game Fishing Club.
“The Classic only targets billfish – namely sailfish and marlin – and this year there were $10,000 in cash plus prizes up for grabs,” Peter explained.
 “With the stella run of billfish captures right on our doorstep at Dundee Beach this year, it was always going to be a hard choice for skippers between fishing Dundee or traveling to the Tiwi Islands.
“The Bathurst Trench off the Tiwis always has the potential to offer up big black marlin at this time of year, plus cricket-score numbers of sailfish.
“Another consideration was the Northern Territory Government initiative for the placement of a FADs off Dundee Beach and closer to Darwin.
“These FADs have been attracting heaps of baitfish already and will not only further enhance the bill-fishery in the area, but also be a great benefit to recreational fishing in general,” Peter commented.
“So decisions were made and 10 teams fished off Dundee Beach while 7 teams fished off the Tiwi Islands.
“Day one saw 6 sailfish caught – 5 from Dundee Beach and one from the Tiwis – with Kurt Williamson tagging the first fish on Istiofox.
“Day two also saw 6 sailfish tagged – 5 from Dundee Beach and one from The Tiwi Islands – as well as a Dundee black marlin for Bronwyn Loud on Istiofox.
“Damon Michael from Team Mexico tagged the first fish on day two, and a big marlin was lost at the Tiwi Islands by Team Bigfish,” Peter reported.
“The last day was a blinder with 8 sailfish and 3 marlin tagged off Dundee, and 2 sails and 5 blacks tagged off Bathurst Island.
“The first tagged fish was Kel Payne’s black marlin from Flippin Bills,” Peter told me.
This year set a tournament record of 22 sailfish and 6 black marlin tagged and released. 
Champion Team: Istiofox on 3750 points
Runner-up over 7m: Bills To Pay on 3000 points, on a countback from Meg II
Runner-up under 7m: Rock Bottom Boys on 3000 points
Champion Angler: Bronwyn Loud (Istiofox) 2250 points
Champion Junior Angler: Joey Selvey (Quest for Cortez) 725 points

As I’m sure you’ll read elsewhere in today’s NT News, a second Million Dollar Fish was captured.
Worth a cool $10,000, unbelievably it was caught at the same location as the first fish: at Kakadu’s Yellow Water Billabong.
For what it’s worth, guess where I fished last weekend… yep, at Yellow Water.
George Moussa, Crystal Neal and I were competing as Team NAFA in the Corroboree Park Challenge.
We saw fish farm numbers of barra, but the vast majority were doey, no doubt as a result of a recent 70mm downpour at Cooinda Lodge and surroundings.
We caught a few but our lures were largely ignored, and we didn’t fish at night which is when this latest MDF barra was caught by Basil Te Aho.
Angie Walker is a co-ordinator of the Humminbird Corroboree Park Challenge which is hosted by Palmerston Game Fishing Club.
“It was great to see the Challenge attracting strong support from families again this year, with kids from as young at 18 months reeling in fish,” Angie told me.
“The range of locations available for anglers to fish proved successful with South Alligator, Yellow Water and Corroboree Billabong at night delivering the goods.
“While the winners will be announced this Saturday night, it is safe to say some good fish were caught and competition was strong.
“The new addition of a Family Ironman competition was a big hit on the Saturday night and there have already been requests for a rematch at the presentation night.
“Also a hit this year was incorporating a scavenger hunt where the young competitors had to find various birds, animals and plants to keep anglers (young and old) engaged during fishing down time.
“It was a great opportunity for families to unplug from technology and enjoy the natural wonders the NT has to offer,” Angie said.

bronwyn loud marlin
1. NT Billfish Classic Champion Angler, Bronwyn Loud, with a Dundee black marlin caught fishing from Istiofox, skippered by Kurt Williamson.

ben maclean
2. Ben MacLean from team Rock Bottom Boys with a Dundee sailfish tagged and ready for release.

shaune walker and sis kayla

3. The Corroboree Park Challenge was well contested by junior anglers, including Shaun Walker (3) who helps sister Kayla (7) with her Mary River barra.

addison povey

4. Addison Povey (7) with one of the better barra from the Corroboree Park Challenge.