Alex's Column 28/1/21

It’s great that the rivers are back on the rise, in particular the Daly River which at time of writing was close to 6m above the crossing.

There’ve been mixed reports from the Daly: most who tried it over the last week missed out, but a couple of boats saw moderate barra action.

Top End Tackle World’s Steve Compain went down with Shane Compain and Terry Ryan.

They worked hard and battled to catch a handful of fish, but one was a beauty: a 107cm caught by Terry.

Out Kakadu way, old mate Andy Ralph tells me that Jabiru had received more than its January average rainfall by early this week.

“So both December and January have been above average, so that very promising for a good Runoff ahead,” Andy said.

“Last week, the Arnhem Highway was closed just before Jabiru.

“Plenty of people are coming out from Darwin and barra are being caught from several culverts and crossings.

“The Nourlangie Bridges are all fishing well for barra, including fish in their 70s.

“Magela Creek crossing is 1.5m, down from 2m last week.

“People are spreading out along the bank there and barra are getting caught.

“But don’t take unnecessary risks because there are crocodiles about,” Andy cautioned.

“Kakadu Park Rangers caught a 4.3m croc in a park ranger trap upstream from Magela.

“Plus there’s the 4m croc that caught a dog near Mudjinberri.”

Andy’s wife Senior Ranger Jenny Hunter filmed the big croc strolling across the road with the dog in its gob; it’s had 11 million views so far.

Just Google “Croc with dog in its mouth” if you want to have a look.

Andy also told me the big mud bar at the South Alligator boat ramp is starting to move down and should be gone in another week or two.

That’s certainly good news because upriver on the South is nicely flooded now and there should be plenty of tannin water flowing.

Apparently, the water is roaring out of Nourlangie Creek.

I heard that a few boats have gone down the South and crossed over to the East Alligator River.

It’s not a bad ploy given that you can’t get to the East by road.

There’s good news at Shady Camp too: you can now launch at low tide.

A fortnight ago on big tides like those this weekend, some big barra were caught at the Sampan Creek mouth during the push-in when the water cleared.

The Tommycut Creek mouth has also been producing a few barra, but you could surf the waves on the flats.

It’s been that rough that boats were getting stuck in Wildman River.

On the blue water, if conditions favour it, a trip out to the oil rig 30-odd kilometres out is certainly worth it.

It’s loaded with trevally and mackerel, with jewies getting caught there at night.

If you don’t want to travel far, the weekend’s tides are perfect for Darwin Harbour.


Louie Danby was rapt with his terrific mangrove jack.

Issie Danby with his first-ever barra.