Alex's Column 23/12/21

What we want for Christmas is more rain.

So far this build-up season, we’ve had above-average rainfall, but now we want it to come pelting down and get those rivers flooding.

According to the Bureau of Metreology, La Niña is established in the tropical Pacific, and that is a great indication of a good wet season to come.

La Niña is usually associated with an earlier monsoon onset date at Darwin, and an increased chance of average-to-above-average tropical cyclone numbers.

We don’t want a Tracy or anything like that on Christmas Day, but a fair dinkum monsoonal burst across the Top End would be just fine.

Just to throw in a bit more weather-boffin lingo, the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) remains in the western Pacific, and this also increases the chances that the monsoon will develop across northern Australia by encouraging westerly winds over the area.

In the event we don’t get serious rain over the Christmas-New Year period, or at worst you don’t mind getting wet, there are lots of good fishing options.

Some fairly-strong northerly winds are forecast, but mornings won’t be too bad, so that’s when you should plan any offshore forays.

It’ll be neap tides from Christmas Day through all of next week, so the artificial reefs will be worth a shot.

If you do travel offshore, just be careful of storms, especially those spooky electric ones.

Barra fishing will be the safe option over the holiday period.

If you’re not celebrating Christmas Day with family and friends, the afternoon low tide for Darwin Harbour up the arms is still not too high.

I’d suggest East Arm or up inside Middle Arm on Saturday.

Most of us will be watching the Boxing Day Test on Sunday, but an afternoon foray to Bynoe Harbour could be worthwhile if it’s not raining.

There’s about 3m of tide drop from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, and that’s perfect for flats fishing in Bynoe.

From Monday onwards, it starts to get very neapish, so river mouths are the go.

I’m sure there’ll be a bunch of boats hunting around the Daly, down the South Alligator, inside the Adelaide mouth and around Sampan and Tommycutt Creeks in the Mary.

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On a different note, it’s a great Christmas for some keen Tiwi Island fishos who won boats, a Toyota HiLux and lots of secondary prizes thanks to a great initiative of the Tiwi Islands Training and Employment Board (TITEB).

According to CEO Maria Harvey, this terrific program basically rewards Tiwi Islanders who attend Work for the Dole activities.

“We bought three boats on trailers and a HiLux as the main prizes,” Maria told me.

Prizes were given based on attendance at work, with finalists going in a barrel draw.

For people to qualify, they had to attend work for at least 80% of the time over a six month period.

It was primarily aimed at the people who voluntarily do training programs.

“Each full fortnight that someone works a four day week, they get a $50 basic-needs voucher and go into a draw,” Maria explained.

“A total of 186 people achieved the 80%, and there were 36 finalists.

“We do it every 6 months - it’s a very successful scheme,” Maria said.

Suzie Tipiloura from Wurrumiyanga won the Toyota HiLux, and the boats were won by Karlene Tipuamantumirri (Wurrumiyanga), Pedro Woneamirri (Milikapiti) and Declan Apuatimi (Pirlangimpi).

I wish you all a wonderful, safe and fish-rich Christmas.


Will Bosma’s silver estuary barra is what we're we’re after over the holiday break.