Alex's Column 26 August 2021

How exciting is it that we’ve had some super-early build-up rainfall?

In fact, the official build-up – in my books anyway – doesn’t start until September, so the terrific rain we’ve had earlier this week actually precedes the build-up to the wet season.

I’ve always loved the month of August – you can feel the humidity beginning to rise, and water temperatures also go up.

It sets the scene for good fishing, especially barra fishing.

In the estuaries and around tidal river mouths, the barra start to get toey; they start getting anxious for the wet season ahead, and mature fish are itching to spawn.

Their appetites are also on the increase, and that means they will take a lure more readily.

In the inland freshwater lagoons, the action can really hot up as water temperatures rise, especially at night which is when the bigger fish come out to play.

It certainly augurs well for the Secret Women’s Business Barra Challenge which starts next Thursday evening with the pre-competition registration.

Hosted by Palmerston Game Fishing Club on Corroboree Billabong, with headquarters the Corroboree Park Tavern, all reports point to a bumper catch this year.

I’ve been reporting for the last few weeks that Corroboree is chockers with barra, albeit little fish, but that might change the complexion of this great female fishing event.

For the last few years, the emphasis has been on saratoga, to the point that the competition has been invariably won by teams that targeted ‘toga.

However, this year it’s likely that barra will play a much more prominent role in the point scores.

Tournament co-ordinator, Kris Noble, said: “I’m hearing lots of positive feedback from pre-fishing reports.

“Other than the boat ramp, marshals have undertaken the pre-event ‘bong check’ to make sure there are no additional hazards, outside of the snapping handbag variety, that is.”

On a different note, friends and I went crabbing on the weekend at the bottom of the Adelaide River.

If our success is any indication, the muddies are running at the moment.

We trapped nine crabs with our legal number of 10 pots, and as always pieces of barra carcase enticed the big crustaceans into the pots.

Lots of different baits work – including other types of fish and chicken carcases – but nothing beats barra.

It makes sense too: mud crabs and barramundi inhabit the same water environment, so it’s a natural bait.

It’s a good reason to freeze your barra frames, ready to go for your next crabbing trip.

By the way, the tides this weekend are pretty good for crabbing in both Darwin and Bynoe Harbours.

High tide on both days is mid-morning, so you have time to get your pots in tight up inside filling gutters before the tide peaks.

Don’t forget there are important regulations which you must abide by when you are crabbing in the NT.

Both male and female mud crabs may be taken, but females bearing eggs must be released unharmed.

Males have a minimum upper shell width of 130mm and for females it’s 140mm.

You can use a maximum of five pots per person and 10 pots per boat.

For other regulations, refer to your NT Fishing Mate app; it has everything.


1. The mud crabs are on! AJ with some good ones from last weekend.

2. Tim Pel and Christine Mansfield with three muddies in the one pot.