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Alex's Column 09/06/2022

There’ll still be a bit of breeze around following the strong wind warning for coastal waters this week.

However, Darwin anglers can look forward to increasing tidal movement and the opportunity to target bluewater fish early and late in the day when the wind won’t be as strong as during the middle half of the day.

There are a huge number of bluewater options, including Kakadu; that is as long as you’re prepared to belt down the South Alligator River at first light or even before.

From the boat ramp, the first third of the river going down is where you have to be careful not to run aground on submerged mud-bars.

Be especially careful at Round The World which is strewn with mud-bars.

As long as you have a depth sounder that works at fast-planing speed - with a shallow-depth alarm that you can set at about 1.5 metres - then you should never run aground because you will always have enough time to pull up.

If you suddenly find yourself in shallow water and you can’t come off the plane because you fear you will dig your outboard leg in, sometimes a full lock at planing speed will get you out of trouble because the boat will be right over on one side and the propeller will be near the surface…this might get you back to deeper water.

Out from the mouth of the South, you have Field and Barron Islands, with Field the pick for working the shallow reefs and ledges for snapper, jew and salmon.

A good trip is to overnight, swagging in your boat on a lee shore.

Of course, there’s barra fishing options too down that way, in particular around Barron Island and the reefs in that vicinity.

These areas are the domain of metre-plus barra, so be ready.

There’s also good jewie fishing to be had by boating down the Mary River from Shady Camp and heading offshore a few kilometres to the shallow jew grounds.

Some of the reef patches out there are less than 3m at low tide, so you can actually work them for barra too.

And don’t be surprised if your succulent squid bait is set upon by a carnivorous species of painted crayfish.

Cape Hotham and round the corner to Ruby Island is a nice day trip heading out from Leader’s Creek, but you’d probably want to fish along the western shore which will offer some protection from the south-easterlies.

There is excellent security for a small price at Leader’s Creek Fishing Base, and that is also one option for accessing the Vernon Islands and the famous Blue Hole at Gunn Point.

Don’t forget also the huge artificial reef complex out towards Cape Hotham; it’s one of four in Darwin coastal waters that you can locate by downloading the NT Fishing Mate app.

You can also camp at the Leader’s Creek Fishing Base, or avail yourself of the air-conditioned donga accommodation; it’s a pretty good setup there.

By the way, both weekend high tides are perfecto for trolling the eastern bank down near the mouth for both big saltwater barra and black jew.

Closer to Darwin, Lee Point is where you go if it’s blowing and mackerel action is your goal.

Fish early and late, or on the change of the tide.

If you intend to target jewfish on the neaps, it’s hard to go past the new artificial reefs, but also Charles Point Patches, Dundee Jew Reef, Point Blaze and Channel Point.

Bondi’s Alex Danilatos, who was up visiting her Uncle of the same name, with a whopper sleepy cod from Corroboree Billabong.

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