Alex's Fishing Column 23 January 2020
It sure looks like we’re finally getting a proper wet season.
According to the Bureau of Metreology, by Saturday most of the Top End will be getting solid rain.
Apparently the Daly has been getting a deluge and, with low pressure systems moving in from east and west, there could be some serious flooding on this iconic Top End river.
Of course, that’s what we want: lots of flooding but not enough to cause an evacuation.
Out at Kakadu, there’s been less rain, but that is forecast to change over the next few days.
The Mary too will get more rain in its catchment, which bodes well for fishing at Shady Camp.
Mind you, a 103cm barra and a 105cm barra were caught from the Shady Camp barrage last week.
There certainly is a lot of excitement around town.
George Voukolos from Fishing and Outdoor World said: “This is our first monsoon in a long time and it’s not quite a monsoon, but it’s bringing plenty of rain.”
Locally around Darwin the rains have been causing roads to flood, especially out Berry Springs way.
That’s good news for the Darwin roadside warriors who like to chuck a lure off the bitumen at the culverts and road crossings in the Darwin River area.
We’ve now all got our fingers crossed that the heavy rains stay over the Top End.
Yesterday’s radar showed huge areas across the top copping it.
Of course, once these first rains are over, we’ll be able to evaluate the impact on our big rivers.
Certainly the South Alligator could use heaps more, but it is also one of the best rivers to fish early.
Often the South will turn on some colour changes upriver, and sometimes there is an explosion of tadpoles.
I’ve seen it a couple of times: cubic metres of 100s and 100s of tadpoles the size of ping pong balls moving out of the creeks and flowing with the current along the river edges.
That’s when the barra can go ballistic; they just love to scoff down tadpoles.
What we haven’t seen yet, and it still might happen, is a fish kill at Shady Camp.
Most years with the first rains, barra queue up just above the barrage and the water quality goes to putrid with not enough oxygen for the fish to survive.
I remember one year when 1000s of barra – many well over a metre – died above the barrage.
There has been one fish kill: in a Daly River billabong where up to 100 barra died.
Right now is probably a good time to get your gear ready for an early assault after the rains.
Make sure your boat and trailer are up to scratch, including engine service and trailer wheel bearings.
Maybe take your favourite reels into your preferred tackle shop and get them serviced.
Replace the braid too if it’s been on your reel for a few years.
Hopefully next week we can report about some seriously flooded rivers and predict a super Runoff to come.
I certainly hope so.
Crystal Neal knows a thing or two about metre barra: this 101cm Shady Camp barra is her 10th metrey so far.
Andre Agterhuis used his fly-fishing tackle to land this silver queenfish.