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Alex's Column 12 April 2024

I’ve been looking but I haven’t seen any dragon flies hovering about.

Traditionally, that’s one of the best signs that the wet season is over and the dry season is upon us.

It’s a bit like the old superstition that bananas in the boat will put the fish off the bite.

I can tell you what is not superstition though: when those south-easterlies start blowing, the dry season is well and truly upon us.

The South-easterlies have been blowing since last week and the forecast is that they will continue for the foreseeable future.

I think we’re all agreed that it’s not before time; this incredible wet season has gone on long enough.

As old mate George Voukolos said to me the other day, “Alex, in 50 years this is the first time I’ve said that we’ve had enough wet season; that it’s time for it to end.”

Given that this March was the wettest on record since 1900, George’s comments are understandable.

Mind you, the wet season can always come back.

Well I remember 2006 when Cyclone Monica crossed the NT north coast late in April.

It had been fine and sunny for at least a month before this most severe tropical storm to ever cross into mainland Australia battered the Arnhem Land coast with winds exceeding 300km per hour.

Anyway, back to the business of fishing.

We are now entering one of the best Runoff seasons you could ever imagine.

All the big rivers are set to fire as water levels continue to fall rapidly.

Next week, you can basically take your choice, although water traffic will be heavy on the Daly River with the Barra Nationals kicking off this weekend.

The tides are still pretty big on Saturday, and slowly moving to neaps early next week.

That scenario has Shady Camp written all over it.

Water clarity will be on the improve and the barra should really come on the chew with the receding conditions.

The South Alligator should be good too.

Downriver is the best option for the bigger tides, fishing any of the creek mouths in the lower section of the river all the way to Brook Creek at the mouth.

Come next week on lesser tidal movement, the top section of the South Alligator will be a great option.

You’ll be able to fish all the way up Nourlangie Creek, as well right up the main river itself.

There are bound to be some great barra fishing sessions in that mix.

Talking about great barra fishing sessions, I recently experienced champagne barra fishing at the iconic Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge.

The Barra Lodge is the premier fishing lodge in Northern Australia and regularly produces 100-plus barra boat days.

I was at the lodge for three days fishing with mates Steve Harris and Joe Mullen.

The first day was all flats fishing around the mangroves, and we had a ball sight casting and catching barra up to 90cm.

However, the next two days were the stuff of dreams, with over 150 barra boated each day.

Double and triple hook-ups just kept happening, and there were some beauties amongst them.

My best was 88cm, although I hooked four bigger fish that frustrated me with the ease that they threw the lures.

One was definitely over a metre, and with a head the size of a plastic bucket.

Steve Harris had more luck with the bigger fish, putting a metre barra in the boat as well as others close to that size.

He now goes onto the Metre Club Board for the second time.

Joe Mullen is from Adelaide and is not as an experienced angler, but he couldn’t go wrong either, catching many dozens of barra up to 90cm.

The fishing is pretty well always good at Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge but, with this great wet season we’ve just experienced, it was simply awesome.


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