Alex's Column 27/01/2022

There are mixed reports from all four big tidal rivers in close proximity to Darwin.

Starting with the South Alligator River, I hear last weekend’s Palmerston Game Fishing Club competition was fun but with very few barra caught.

Most boats fished upstream and, according to PGFC President, Daryl Smart, the river was still quite low up the top, and definitely in need of more rain.

That surprised me, given how much rain we’ve had recently, but it seems the east end of Kakadu has not had as much rain as further west.

It was a different story down the bottom end of the South Alligator where some big barra were caught in between rain storms.

Shady Camp on the Mary River continued to fish well.

Old mate Jason Rogers returned to Shady with his wife Melita and they caught some lovely barra up to 89cm casting around the mouth of Sampan Creek.

“We boated 20-odd all up, with a few in the 80s and mostly better fish in the 70s,” Jason told me.

“Melita pretty much just uses her Stella 1000 spin reels loaded with Schneider 10lb braid on Shimano Adrena rods.

“Some of her captures are pretty good when you consider how light she is playing the game, and she mostly uses that gear in competition as well,” Jason explained.

I’d imagine a Shimano Stella 1000, loaded with 10lb braid and matched to a gossamer-light Shimano Adrena rod, would be a delight to use.

Landing those bigger barra on an outfit like that would be a lot of fun, and really brings into play the skill factor, which no doubt is partly why Melita always seems to do well in fishing competitions.

My great old friend George Voukolos from Fishing and Outdoor World told me some quality barra have been caught in the Adelaide River, both upstream and down.

On the other side of Darwin, down the Daly River, the barra fishing was surprisingly good before the recent rains as the river was falling.

Catches of up to 40 barra a day came from some feeder creek mouths.

Locally, Darwin Harbour continued to fish well for barra, mainly in the West Arm.

Golden snapper have also been on the chew in West Arm.

Ron Voukolos took his nephew there last Sunday and they caught a heap of goldies on the rock bars; they also got smashed by heavy rain.

We mainly used bait and little Zerek vibes.

“I was surprised how small the goldies were; we only caught five good ones that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have in the esky,” Ron said.

“Actually, good snapper are going nuts close inshore along the coast.

“Charter boats couldn’t get away from them, and there were plenty of jewies too.

“Offshore is well worth a hit,” Ron advised.

We’re coming off the neaps this weekend so, as long as it is not bucketing down, the fish will hopefully bite well in the rivers, in the estuaries, and also offshore.

Melita McKinnon skilfully caught this 89cm Shady Camp barra on her super-light favourite outfit: a Shimano Stella 1000 spin reel, loaded with Schneider 10lb braid, on a Shimano Adrena rod.