Alex's Column 21/1/2021

There’s good news and bad news about the weather this weekend.

Starting with the bad news, it should be mainly fine, with no serious widespread rain forecast.

It’s not what we want during this third week in January; we want it to bucket down and fill up those big river floodplains.

We’ve had a great start to the wet season, so let’s hope it gets going again soon.

Now for the good news: there are some great barra and blue fishing options on this weekend’s neap tides.

Let’s start with barra and the ongoing terrific fishing at Shady Camp.

Surprisingly, after some great catches at the Mary mouth on the last neaps, the mouth continued to fish well through the spring tides.

Normally, you’d expect the water to be dirty at the mouth on spring tides, but some beautiful barra were caught on the push in when water clarity wasn’t too bad.

Fishing and Outdoor World’s Ron Voukolos said there were lots of meterys caught, including a 118cm beast of a fish.

“Barra were caught both casting big soft plastics around the mouth and trolling big green Bombers,” Ron said.

“One boat last Saturday landed a pair of metreys and at least another 15 barra in the 80s and 90s casting the ledges on the side of the river mouth.

“I heard there were only about 10 boats at the mouth on both days of the weekend,” Ron reported.

So the mouth of Sampan Creek – which is the main tributary of the Mary River delta – could fire up big time this weekend.

Water clarity should be excellent, and there might just be a squillion big salmon to be caught amongst the barra.

The story hasn’t been the same down the Daly River.

According to old mate Stuey Brisbane of Daly River Barra Resort, the river has been a tough course over the last week or so.

“We’ve had four groups staying with us and none of them caught a fish,” Stuey said.

“These blokes know what they’re doing and only had a couple of taps over two days.

“There was a big barra caught – a 110cm fish on live bait at the mouth of Charlies Creek – but I haven’t heard of any other good fishing reports,” Stuey told me.

Last weekend’s spring tides were perfect for a Darwin Harbour barra fish.

As often happens, Jason Rogers was Johnny On The Spot in the harbour last Saturday.

He fished the arms with Josh McKenzie and the pair caught three barra over 80cm – a notable catch in Darwin Harbour for sure – plus a few 50-60cm fish.

“We caught them on a variety of small soft plastics and small shallow-running hard-body lures,” Jason said.

“I’ll tell you what: the flathead were on the chew too, and there were some beauties.”

Jason and Josh launched early in the morning and began by venturing out on the bluewater.

“We found small tuna out wide of Fenton Patches and then headed out further to try the “Rig”.

“But as we got near it, we saw at least 50 boats so we turned round and headed back to the harbour,” Jason told me.

It seems the new rig in town is designed for shallow water, and sits on its own legs rather than float with huge anchor points.

I understand it is more suited to trolling for pelagics rather than bottom bouncing for reefies.


Josh McKenzie with his terrific 83cm Darwin Harbour barra.

Jason Rogers with his 80cm-plus harbour barra.

Josh McKenzie with a ripper flathead for our waters.

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