If you’re after a barra this weekend – preferably one with a Sportsbet tag – pack your gear, fuel up the boat and head for Darwin’s Middle Arm.
Right now there is a reasonable barra bite taking place in Middle Arm, and I suspect in nearby West Arm and the little arm next to it too.
There have been numerous reports of anglers catching good numbers in the harbour, and there seems to be enough legal fish to go round.
Sunday’s tide, in particular, is a pearler for harbour barra fishing, and perhaps even better for Bynoe Harbour.
It seems some of the best fishing in the arms is around the rock-bars, mainly casting but also trolling on the making tide.
If you’re lucky and the wind’s not blowing, casting the mud flats adjacent to mangroves on the early making tide can be exciting, especially if the water’s clear enough to sight your fish.
If you’re casting, you’ll find shallow-running minnows productive, especially on the flats.
A good tip is to use the Just Under lure in predominately green colour.
It’s quite light and can’t be cast far against the wind, but it gets chomped pretty quickly by estuary barra.
Of course, other shallow-runners that consistently produce in the harbour arms are fluoro green, gold and tiger lily Bombers, small silver B52s, Classic 97s with the small bib and, for just a bit more depth, proven favourites like the Terminator and Spearhead in brown tiger stripe and tiger lily.
Mind you, if snagging mangrove suckers or tight snags is a concern, then weedless soft plastic fish and prawn imitations fix the problem.
It’s a bit of a double whammy for local barra fishing this weekend because the tides are good for both sides of Darwin.
I covered the harbour, but the tides aren’t too bad for the Shoal Bay Rock and the Howard River where some quality barra have been caught so far this Build-up.
Up the Howard River itself, and also up Tree Point Inlet, several holes produced on low tides similar to these a fortnight ago.
As with the Rock, it’s a case of stranding yourself for a few hours over the low tide, and anticipating a barra bite from when the tide officially turns according to the charts, until it climbs the sand and mud flats and flows into the holes.
In those holes up the river itself, don’t be afraid to use soft plastics, espoecially
Squidgies and prawn imitations.
To get a boat into the Shoal Bay system, you need to launch at Buffalo Creek and head out the creek mouth while there is still plenty of water.
That means an early start, and then there’s the long run into the bay which in turn means you would be exposed to any storms that blow in.
If a feed of barra is not on the agenda, but you’d still like to tangle with a few, then the inland billabong scene is definitely the answer.
Corroboree and Hardies on the Mary River are both yielding barra, and any lagoon in Kakadu is a certainty.
Liverpool River traditional owner, Marlene Kernan, and her mother, Maurisa Scott, with a big family feed of saltwater barra and black jew.