Alex's Column 17/12/20

It’s shaping up to be a wet weekend ahead, so fishing options could be curtailed.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there’s a fair possibility of a broad monsoonal flow across northern Australia, and potentially the official onset of the Australian monsoon at Darwin.

That’s what we want to hear.

However, just in case we don’t get serious rain, there are some pretty good barra fishing options this weekend.

If you’ve fished along the coast heading west of the Lodge of Dundee, you’d be aware that there are some nice rocky outcrops before you get to the Finniss River mouth.

These fish best from the top of a 6m-plus tide down to about half tide, so Saturday is the best bet.

My favourite is the iconic Chan Rock, made famous by once-upon-a-time co-owner of Fishing and Outdoor World, Greg Chan.

We’re talking more than 30 years ago when Greg would launch a car-topper off the beach at the then Finniss River Station… before it was subdivided into Dundee Beach.

I went with him a couple of times, camping overnight at the back of the beach and motoring out to the rock early in the morning.

We’d drag the tinny up on the rocks and cast big Nilsies along the western face.

This was metery territory and Greg has caught some very big fish off his rock.

The best I managed to pull in was around the mid-90s.

Another way to fish Chan Rock, the other rocks just off the coast and the rocky headlands west of the boat ramp is to slow troll under electric outboard power.

Once again, around the top of a biggish tide is the go, and you can use both hard-body lures and soft plastics.

Mind you, if the tide is too high, you mightn’t see any rock to troll around, the exception being the rocky foreshores.

Another option is to check out either Darwin Harbour or Bynoe Harbour.

Once again, Saturday’s tide is the best, but because of the 1.6m low this time.

That’s low enough to get the water well out of the mangroves and draining off the flats at promising drains, and also draining the deeper bankside gutters.

Look for colour changes and for bait being harassed.

In Bynoe, there are also snags to be fished; much more so than Darwin Harbour anyway.

There are some beauties off the eastern face of Indian Island, but you’ll be working them over flats that will get too shallow and require a hasty retreat to deeper water.

An option from left field if you don’t mind an even longer drive is to head for Shady Camp and launch on the top side in the freshwater section.

Sometimes at this time of year you can catch 20 or more barra trolling the rock-bars up the top of Shady Fresh.

Killalure Terminators and Reidy’s Little Lucifers come into their own in this scenario.

However, if the lagoon is rising, it could also pay to cast to the barrage from your boat on the top side.

I’d advocate that fishing offshore is not wise this weekend, given the rough-and-tumble weather forecasts.


Issie Danby, with the muddies, and Louie Danby, with the threadie, made the most of their Top End fishing holiday.