Alex's Column 16/12/21

This weekend’s spring tides are a whole lot better than those a fortnight ago, especially for Darwin Harbour arms.

The low tide two Sundays ago was 0.17m, and friends and I had lunch looking at mangrove roots well above our heads.

I like the tides this weekend because they are still making springs, which means the low tides get successively lower and the high tides get successively higher.

It means the food chain is more dynamic as currents increase with more tidal movement.

A fortnight ago, where I fished in the harbour was surprisingly devoid of bait.

There was a bit around, and we suspected we saw a barra break surface, but it was far from exciting.

This weekend’s midday lows are perfect for places like East Arm in Darwin Harbour and along the inside of Indian Island in Bynoe Harbour.

There’ll be ample time to work the mangroves along the edges of the flats without having to run away fearing getting stranded.

Keep an eye out for barra too on the flats as sight fishing is definitely on the cards.

Once the water drains off the flats, chuck lures in front of snake drains pouring into the channels.

That period when the water has left the mangroves on the falling tide but is still draining off the mudflats through snake drains is also a good time to troll.

Just tow some small-to-medium hard-body lures like Bombers, or soft plastic lures like the Zerek Cherabin.

I don’t like to mix hard bodies with softies when I’m trolling because the hard bodies need a bit of pace whereas the softies are best trolled as slow as possible.

In both cases, a bit of twitching helps.

Electric outboards are the go for trolling the edges of flats, and you’ll be looking for 1.5m to 2.5m of water.

A good time to have lunch is when the tide stops altogether because any activity that was happening usually stops.

But get ready for the incoming tide window which on the weekend will be 1.5 to 2.5 hours after the turn of the tide.

Work the gutters, snake drains again and the edges of the mangroves on the flats.

For a completely-different option, and an easy afternoon session, slip over to Leaders Creek mid-afternoon on either Saturday or Sunday and work the top half of the making tide.

The spot to fish is from the mouth on the eastern side, trolling up and down for 1-1.5km.

Keep an eye on your sounder for a ledge that you should try to troll along using Classic 120s in 10+ and 15+.

Reidy’s Judge lures also work along this ledge.

It goes without saying that you look for fish showing up on sidescan.

If you see any, it can pay to stop trolling and spot lock within casting range.

Reidy’s Fish Snakz Vibes are the go here.

The beauty of fishing this area is that quality barra are always on the cards, and the odd rampaging jewfish might surprise you.

Whether you fish Darwin Harbour, Bynoe, Leaders or elsewhere, make sure you check your barra for a SportsBet red tag.

It’s quite extraordinary that four tagged barra were caught in five days recently, and they were all the Christmas released fish.

I asked a mate where he was going fishing this weekend, and he said Cullen Bay.

You’ve got to laugh.


Brodie Quaas with his ripper saltwater barra caught on a Classic Ghost Bananafish.