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Alex's Column 04/05/2023

It was good news for competitors in last week’s Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open which was hosted by Darwin Fly Rodders on iconic Corroboree Billabong.

After blustery conditions leading up to the event, conditions improved drastically and competitors were able to wield their long wands with ease.

Thirty anglers in teams of two competed in the two-day event, staying at Corroboree Park Tavern.

There are no favourites in this comp: according to length, every species counts in the final tally, including catfish.

However, barra and saratoga are worth double points.

The 62 barra caught were mainly on the small side, averaging 29cm, but Tim Harding bagged a good one at 77cm.

With 413 saratoga caught at a surprising average length of 45cm, togas were the go-to fish to target.

According to regular competitor and tournament founder, Roger Sinclair, the best tactics seemed to be to chase saratoga with fast-sinking lines along the edge of the lilies and other likely locations.

The biggest toga, a great fish at 69cm, was caught by Sonya Lovegrove.

However, those sprightly lagoon tarpon were clearly heavily targeted, given that competitors caught 1085 of them.

Also caught were 101 catfish, 19 sleepy cod, nine long tom, eight mouth almighty and four archerfish.

Roger said: “Noticeable this year was the vastly increased presence of some sort of floating grass.

“You see more of it each year and it’s now so thick in some places that you just can’t access fishable water.

“Areas that were traditional trolling stretches close to the lilies and the bank in 2-3m of water are now gone as the grasses extend way out in the lagoon.

“It’s bad enough now but, in another few years, it will be terrible; there’s so many places that are now all grass with the lilies no longer accessible,” Roger said.


Champion Team: Draggin’ Flies – Peter Cooke/Richard Carter – 9560 points

Runner-up Team: Territory Towelups – Quinten Pope/Glenn Hubble – 8753 points

Third: Two Casts – Shane McCarthy/Robyn Gless – 8155 points

Champion Angler: Peter Cooke – 4818 points

Runner-up: Quinten Pope – 4785 points

Third: Richard Carter – 4742 points


Hopefully, conditions won’t be too bad for this weekend’s Dundee Billfish Bash.

Hosted by the Darwin Game Fishing Club, the comp was postponed from a fortnight ago due to strong winds.

This terrific annual event focuses on getting junior anglers into billfishing.

But there’s also a strong competitive element, especially as it is held in conjunction with the Penn Top End Billfish Series.

The two comps together should ensure plenty of participation.

AJ’s ripper barra came from up inside Nourlangie Creek on the South Alligator River.

Ethan James fished with his dad Neil land-based on the Daly River and caught himself a fine barra.


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