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Alex's Column 29 June 2023

I must admit it’s great that the big wet this year flushed most of the salvinia out of my favourite Top End billabong: 4 Mile Hole.

I would have fished 4 Mile dozens of times over the years and I‘ve had some wonderful fishing there.

Being on the water at this delightful lagoon is like sitting in a postcard of spectacular inland tropical Top End landscape.

Sadly, in recent years, the dreaded Salvinia molesta has infiltrated the billabong and at times it was unfishable.

Salvinia is a floating noxious fern that found its way here from Brazil, most likely through the aquarium fish trade.

Once it takes hold, it literally suffocates a waterway.

At 4 Mile, it was so bad in 2016 that Kakadu National Park closed the waterway that year.

In recent years, park management and rangers have been outstanding in their endeavours to keep 4 Mile Hole open to fishing.

The main control method is the release of Cyrtobagous salviniae weevils into the lagoon.

These weevils were grown out in big tanks by the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal

Corporation and the Djurrubu Rangers, working in conjunction with Territory parks and wildlife and Kakadu National Park.

The use of the weevil has had moderate success in recent years, but there’s no doubt that a seriously big, prolonged wet season flush is the best answer to controlling salvinia.

Kakadu opened 4 Mile earlier this year than in previous years, and I for one appreciated that.

You’ll see at the launching area a big pump to wash your boat trailer after fishing and remove any salvinia.

Please make sure you don’t transport to any other inland waterway.

My second trip there for the year was last week when I had the pleasure of taking Hamish Shannon fishing.

Hamish won the Bridge Toyota Ladies Day prize last year which was a fishing day with AJ.

Did someone say second prize were two days fishing with AJ?

It was a fabulous day with a couple of dozen barra landed, including a fat beauty around 80cm which Hamish caught on a blue-and-silver Reidy’s Little Lucifer.

These two lads are in the live cattle export trade and it was very interesting to get an insight into that industry.

If you’re after more-edible barra, then the Daly River is the go on the neap tides this weekend.

Colin Burdon fished there recently with his mates Zorny and Paul Moran.

On their last day they got up a little earlier so they could get more of the runout tide.

“Akame Guppys were used with a very slow retrieve and this ended being our best session with 11 barra landed and heaps of small barra lost,” Colin said.

“I switched to the Akame Hybrid and had immediate success until the tide started to push.

“We noticed a lot of mullet were moving up in the rubbish, so we decided to troll.

“We used Reidy’s Big, Big Ass and Big Ass 200 B52s.

“I landed a 77 on a Big B52 Escat and we were seeing plenty of fish on the sounder, but the water was filthy so we moved upstream and trolled from the main rock-bar to the little rock-bar where I hooked up and landed an 83 barra on the same Big B52.

“Zorny then hooked and landed an 81.

“For the last morning, we landed 14 barra plus a few of the usual subjects.

“We decided to head home but discussed how good the fishing would be for the next few days with all the bait arriving,” Col reported.

I had the pleasure of taking Hamish Shannon fishing after he won the Bridge Toyota Ladies Day prize… He caught this beauty on a Reidy’s Little Lucifer.


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