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Alex's Column 23 February 2024

The fairly dry weekend just passed certainly gave many anglers the opportunity and incentive to head out for a barra fish.

Shady Camp and the adjoining coast saw plenty of angler activity as this is where the first round of the 2024 Top End Barra Series was held.

I’ll have a full report on that next week.

According to Ronald Voukolos of Fishing and Outdoor World, there was plenty of action at the top of the South Alligator River.

“They weren’t big barra but there were quite a few caught, mostly darker fish coming down off the floodplains,” Ronald said.

“Anson Bay coastal creeks out from the Daly River mouth fished well for some anglers, but there was lots of commercial gill-netting going on.

“A great report was the capture of some monster golden snapper a couple of weeks ago down around the Peron Islands,” Ron told me.

A bunch of fishos tried out the upper Adelaide last weekend, but it seems there was just too much water.

Now that the rains have abated, at least for the time being, this weekend could deliver some quality fishing.

Bynoe Harbour is one area worth prospecting on the spring tides.

Hopefully, the water won’t be discoloured given little rain this week.

Depending on where you launch, Bynoe Harbour is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Darwin and therefore a great day-trip proposition… Saturday before the full moon would be my pick.

There are also good accommodation options should you wish to extend your visit.

Bynoe Harbour has myriad arms, creeks, rock-bars and low-tide mud and sand flats.

On the right tides, it’s a reliable place to chase barra.

Spring tides with a low tides seem to get the barra out in the open, so to speak, although you can still catch barra across all tides, including neaps when there is good water clarity.

One of my favourite locations is the Charlotte River, which is right at the base of Bynoe Harbour.

However, most Bynoe barra regulars concentrate on the creeks and gutters inside Indian Island.

No matter where you fish on a falling tide in Bynoe, if there is no visible bait, the fishing will be tough, especially on the run-out tide when the bait, and barra, can be quite dispersed.

Once the tide turns to come in and gains some momentum, there are some obvious “hot zones” that need working quickly.

In fact, as is often the case with any estuary barra fishing, the best fishing is during the early run-in tide, especially on those big spring tides.

Drifting in with the tide and casting at the entrance to snake drains and gutters on the mud flats is the go.

You basically get your boat as close to these spots as you can, although it’s best not to run aground as that stirs up the mud and can spook hunting barra.

If you have an electric outboard, once again avoid getting too shallow as the propeller will churn mud and impact on what you’re aiming for: a surprise attack.

It’s better to quietly lower your anchor, preferably without a chain (which can make noise) and let the boat drift with the incoming current flow into a gutter mouth or snake drain, stopping when the anchor takes up and the rope becomes taut.

Primarily, you will then cast ahead of the boat up into the gutter or drain.

With this tactic, you can pick up a bunch of barra quickly in Bynoe, regularly repositioning as the depth increases.

Of course, you can also reposition to another spot, one where the tide has not yet risen enough to allow bait and barra inside.

Clearly, timing is everything, and local knowledge can only be gained by repeated visits to Bynoe.

Remember too, with a million bucks up for grabs, Bynoe might just be where to look.

Chris Errity and Tam Little found some early Runoff barra in between rains.

Tam Little with a double barra caught by himself and Chris Errity.


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