FISHING With Alex Julius
Is barra fishing in Darwin Harbour tough at the moment, or is it just me?
I’ve spent three days over the last fortnight: two days in West Arm and one day in Little West Arm, and you could count the barra we caught each time on one hand.
What’s more, only one or two were legal size per fishing trip.
Admittedly, we tagged and released a barra in West Arm for Million Dollar Fish.
This was a purple “charity tag”, one of three I was given by BetEasy’s Brad Fanning.
These tags aren’t worth as much as the 100 $10,000 red tags that were put in the water on barra backs; they’re worth $2500 cash and $2500 to your choice of one of three charities.
I’ve been asked by a few keener anglers what the GPS co-ordinates are for the release location of the Darwin Harbour purple-tagged barra so here’s half now: S 12⁰35.130’.
I’ll give you the other co-ordinate in the near future.
While on the subject of me tagging barra, I recently tagged one on the Liverpool River where I spent a day on an Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge boat with some terrific blokes from Toyota.
That fish was a 60cm barra caught by ever-affable Joe Mullen from South Australia.
It awaits recapture, and that may well happen, but it’s worth noting that there are a further nine red-tagged barra in the Liverpool River system.
These are fish released as follows: five during season two of MDF in 2016 and five the following year.
One of the 2016 tagged barra was actually captured by a Maningrida local – hence why there are only nine red tags in the river – but it was after the season closed, so all he got were a couple of fillets.
The significance of these earlier tagged barra is that a tagged barra worth the magic million dollars was reactivated in the Arnhem Land region, and it might easily be in the Liverpool River.
In fact, there is a $M tagged fish swimming about in each of the five Top End regions: Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu, Tiwis and, of course, Arnhem Land.
I know Brad Fanning and the team at Bet Easy are super keen for one of them to be recaptured.
It would make world news if that happened, and what a celebration that would be.
Meanwhile, back to my average success in recent Darwin Harbour trips, my fishing companion, Phil Hall, reckons it’s because the water temperatures were too high and the barra were lackadaisical.
Also, there’s been a surprising lack of baitfish in the harbour estuaries we fished.
What’s that all about?
The tides this weekend are pretty good for Darwin Harbour, and also for Bynoe Harbour which I know has been fishing quite well.
As I let slip last week, a lot more barra were tagged and released into Bynoe Harbour for this season four of MDF than in the previous three seasons.
With low tides around 1-1.30pm both days, a launch from Six-pack Creek boat ramp around 9.00am could make for a leisurely start to a day of quality barra fishing.
You’d be out by 4.00pm too, so there’d be plenty of time to get home, fire up the barbie and guzzle a frosty Great Northern.
Who knows, you might even catch a million dollars!
1. Joe Mullen (left), Barra Lodge guide Dylan Brier-Mills and Steve Harris with the 60cm Million Dollar Fish which Joe caught and which was tagged and released.
2. Here’s one of two GPS co-ordinates for the barra we tagged and released in Darwin Harbour’s West Arm.
3. Dan Campbell’s harbour barra fell to a Classic Just Under lure.
4. Shane McCarthy with a Bynoe Harbour barracuda caught in the recent Territory Saltwater Fly Fishing Challenge.