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Alex's Column 1 July 2021

Once we get through this latest bout of Covid lockdowns, plenty of anglers will be looking at heading inland for a billabong barra fish.

One place that will be at the top of the list for quite a few of us is the iconic Four Mile Hole in Kakadu National Park.

I sure miss my annual Four Mile Hole fix as it’s such a delightful inland waterway, and it’s pretty hard not to catch a barra or 10 there.

Last year, Four Mile remained closed due to huge infestation by that noxious floating plant: salvinia.

It was inevitable after successive very poor wet seasons, and the same thing happened back in 2016.

Previously, the salvinia there had been combated by the release of Cyrtobagous salviniae weevils in a major operation undertaken by the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation in Jabiru and its proactive Djurrubu Rangers.

However, I understand that the salvinia last year was just so thick that the weevils couldn’t keep up.

Well, as we all hoped, this latest big extended wet season has given Four Mile Hole a huge flush, to the extent that practically all the salvinia has been washed away down to the tidal reaches of the Wildman River where it cannot survive.

That’s great news for the Top End angling fraternity, and also for Kakadu Park Management which in recent years has espoused its desire to not further restrict access to recreational fishing in the park.

The Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT (AFANT) has been strong on maintaining and hopefully increasing access to Kakadu waterways.

This week I spoke with AFANT CEO, David Ciaravolo, who said: "Four Mile Hole offers excellent barramundi fishing, and a unique experience for adventurous anglers who like to get off the beaten track.

"Ongoing access to Four Mile Hole and, for that matter, all other accessible billabongs in Kakadu is really important for recreational fishers, with recreational fishing being one of the most popular reasons Territorians visit the National Park.

"Following the closure of the Aurora Kakadu Resort near the South Alligator River, many recreational fishers are this year staying at accommodation in Jabiru and helping to support a range of businesses that have been impacted by the global pandemic.

“So, subject to COVID restrictions, it is essential that fishing locations like Four Mile Hole are opened as soon as they can be made safe and ready following the wet season,” David told me.

I actually heard a whisper that it was planned to open Four Mile to the public on 8 July.

Let’s hope that happens and, subject to Covid restrictions, there are no impediments to this majestic Kakadu lagoon going straight onto the weekly Kakadu Access Report as “Open”.

Old mate Steve Sarev enjoyed some good Daly River barra fishing last Sunday with Scott Coutts from Brisbane.

The pair stayed at Daly River Barra Resort and were guided by resort owner Stuey Brisbane.

“The tides were huge so trolling was no good,” Steve told me.

“Stuey had us live-baiting with cherabin instead and I caught four good ones up to 75cm.

“We fished the last part of the low just as the tidal bore came up.

“I felt sorry for Scott because he didn’t catch one.

“I think it’s because he goes bass fishing and is not used to a real fish, he’s lost the skills.

“He hooked up twice but didn’t manage to land one,” Steve joked about his old mate.

Steve Sarev’s 75cm barra was one of four good fish he caught fishing with Stuey Brisbane of Daly River Barra Resort.


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