Alex's Column 19/05/2022

From the Kimberley, across the Top End and in far north Queensland, I’ve been lucky enough to go chopper fishing at least 20 times.

Every one of those chopper trips had been exhilarating; it’s always been such an adventure whether you catch a fish or not.

In recent years, all of my heli-fishing has been with the company of that name: Helifish.

Notwithstanding the adventure factor, I‘ve never been on a Helifish trip that didn’t produce; the barra fishing has always been good to amazing, which was certainly the case on the latest trip.

With me were Roger Sinclair, Christine Mansfield, Roxy Woolley and Tahla Robinson… and we were in good hands with Barry “Baz” Blacker as our pilot.

I flew with Baz a couple of years ago and that trip was awesome.

Our flight plan on this occasion was to check out a couple of creeks in Anson Bay.

About an hour and a bit after departing Darwin, we reached the first creek and

Baz caressed the Long Ranger down onto a tussled clearing between mangroves.

This was not just a fishing trip but also an assignment for NAFA magazine and, while everyone else fished, my role was to take photos.

We gathered our copious gear before scrambling through the growth to the creek mouth where the biggish tide was just peaking and the water was nudging the edge of the mangroves.

Roger nestled into an opening in the mangroves just big enough to underarm flick a soft plastic, while I sorted out the girls with their respective outfits.

It was hardly a minute when he hooked a thrashing silver barra which he slid up the bank in anticipation of some photos.

I was taking a photo of the girls with the fish when Roger interrupted matters.

“Here’s another one if you want it,” he said as he slid a twin up the bank.

And that’s how that first morning session progressed: with not just Roger but also the rest of the party, except yours truly as explained, ripping in a whole bunch of barra, particularly as the tide fell away enough to access more spots.

We estimated we caught at least 20 barra at that location, which certainly kept Baz busy releasing them.

When the fishing slowed, we headed back to the chopper for an Apocalypse Now rendezvous at another creek further down Anson Bay.

The barra were bigger at this creek, and Christine went toe to toe with Roger during a hot bite.

At one point, she yelled out: “Camera, get the camera!” It was a good call as she fought and landed the fish of the day: a hefty 85cm job.

Once again, everyone got into the action.

If the truth be known, the fishing on the day was probably as good as you could expect on a land-based chopper fishing adventure.

Really, the only thing missing was a metery, although they do pop up on these trips; we caught one on our previous Helifish trip two years before.

We finished the day with a scenic detour over Litchfield National Park’s spectacular waterfalls.

It was definitely mission accomplished on this adventure-packed Helifish trip!


Roxy Woolley and Tahla Robinson with two of the many barra caught on the Helifish trip.


Christine’s 85cm barra was the catch of the day