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FISHING With Alex Julius

Motoring along the Adelaide River earlier this week, it was hard not think a monsoon trough had finally descended upon us.
We’d nailed a few barra up to 70cm, so the trip had been worthwhile, but the rain smashed us on the way home.
It was torrential and big drops drove into our faces like nails as my boat skipped across river chop towards the boat ramp near the Adelaide River Bridge.
The highlight of the day had been the first barra, caught by my fishing buddy Alastair Lau.
It measured 63cm and was the unwitting recipient of a BetEasy purple Million Dollar Fish charity tag.
This was the third and last charity tag that had been given to me by BetEasy’s Brad Fanning.
He’d requested that I tag the three fish at different locations.
The first went into an Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge fish caught by South Australian Joe Mullen last October.
The second went into a Darwin Harbour West Arm barra caught by Dan Campbell last November.
I can now reveal the GPS co-ordinates of where that 60cm barra was released: S12⁰35.130’ and E130⁰43.727’.
This third charity-tagged barra was caught and released in the mid-tidal section of the ancient Adelaide River.
Tourism NT and BetEasy are seriously committed to a $Million tagged barra being caught in this MDF Season Four.

If you didn’t know, there is one barra carrying a BetEasy $Million tag in each of the following five Top End regions:
1.    The Darwin Region which not only encompasses places like Darwin and Bynoe Harbours, but also iconic fishing spots like Corroboree Billabong, Shady Camp, Dundee Beach and Daly River.
2.    Kakadu National Park with its myriad big tidal rivers and secluded inland lagoons, including the famous East and South Alligator Rivers and both Yellow Water Lagoon and Four Mile Hole.
3.    The huge Katherine Region which extends from one side of the Top End to the other and features great barra rivers like the Victoria, the Roper and the McArthur.
4.    The vast expanse of Arnhem Land with its many barra-rich waters dotted along more than 1000km of coastline from Cobourg Peninsula then east to Nhulunbuy and south to Blue Mud Bay and beyond. There are plenty of fishing lodges across Arnhem Land too.
5.    The Tiwi Islands which boast two fishing lodges, but also can be accessed by boat from Darwin to fish the permit-free barra creeks on the southern and eastern shores and up inside Apsley Strait.
We’re halfway through MDF Season Four and, should one of the five $Million tagged barra be recaptured, the other four will revert back to $10,000 tagged fish.
However, even though MDF Season Four finishes on 31 March, if a $Million tagged barra has not been caught, a bonus season just for these five $Million fish will be activated until 30 September this year.
In addition to the five tagged barra each worth $1Million, another 100 were tagged each worth $10,000, and then there are 20 charity-tagged fish each worth $5000.
So far, there have been four tagged barra recaptures.
Given Season Four has been extended to the end of March, the opportunity for some MDF tagged barra to be caught during prime Runoff fishing is greatly enhanced.
If one of the five big ones goes off, I’m tipping it will be in March.
So, back to the weather, it seems the widespread rain earlier this week was the result of a Clayton’s monsoon – the monsoon you’re having when you’re not having a monsoon.
It was all looking good until ex-Cyclone Penny skipped across to Queensland and took all our serious wet weather with her.
According to the Bureau of Metreology, there’s a bit of a chance of a weak trough developing over the Top End in a week or so, but don’t hold your breath.

alister Lau tagged barra
1.    Alastair Lau’s chunky barra was tagged with a Million Dollar Fish BetEasy purple charity tag and released into the Adelaide River.

Motley Crew
2.    A motley crew if ever there was one: from left to right, Sundra Selvadurai, Jim Neil and Brian O’Gallagher with a beaut golden snapper from an Arafura Bluewater Charters’ half-day trip.

Alex Parkins Travelly

3.    Alex Purkis with what I suspect to be a Papuan trevally caught at night from the Darwin waterfront.