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Alex's Column 3 November 2023

By all accounts, last week’s 35th Palmerston Game Fishing Club’s annual Corroboree

Park Challenge was a humdinger.

The major sponsor is Humminbird and it has been for as long as I can remember.

According to competition co-ordinator, Greg Hester, this year’s event was a

resounding success.

“A total of 221 anglers, 72 teams and 77 children participated,” Greg said.

“There were 487 fish caught, including 251 barramundi, the biggest measuring


“Competitors shared in over $100K worth of prizes and giveaways with kids sporting

smiles like Christmas with their very own angler bags packed full of gear from the

comp’s many sponsors.

“There were Staunch Crab hats and lures being traded like the hottest Pokémon

cards in town,” Greg explained.

“On the water, there were moments of pure glory with some monster fish caught

for the weekend and a few stories of the ones that got away.

“There’s even a video doing the rounds of poor Matt Keene who watched his PB

barra slide out of an undersized net and back into the billabong.

“The kids were firing on all cylinders though, racking up scores equally as impressive

as the adults and quite frankly holding up the teams.

“The kids partied 10 times harder than the adults, both in the Corroboree Park

Tavern pool and the awesome jumping castles back at base camp.

“The pollies also got a break from politicking with Gerard Maley, Shadow Minister

for Recreational Fishing, opening the event and the Honourable Natasha Fyles

taking to the water on the Saturday to try her hand with a baitcaster.

“The Chief Minister did manage a very impressive bird’s nest and the only pies in

sight were consumed by hungry anglers at the tavern.

“The crab races were held on the Saturday night to raise funds for local charity

Max’s Cast for a Cure; some fairly beefy mud crabs lined up for the cause,” Greg


The Corroboree Park Challenge has always been a family affair.

I can remember taking photos of kids lined up with their barra during the early


Most would be middle-aged by now.


I was interested in a recent report of a metre-plus barra getting caught trolling past

the boat ramp in Buffalo Creek.

At this time of year, barra can go ballistic on the first of the incoming tide at Buffalo.

It can be a noisy affair as barra “boof” the mullet until the tide rises over the

sandbar at the mouth.

Always at this steamy, Build-up time of year, there is the chance of great fishing at

this handy northern suburbs mangrove waterway.

More importantly, the statistics speak for themselves: as long as I can remember,

there’s hardly been a Build-up go past without a sprinkling of big barra caught from

the banks of Buffalo Creek which is renowned for the size of the barra it produces

from October to December every year.

Fish well over a metres have not been uncommon and the opportunity is there for

anyone to go and have a shot.

Night fishing is definitely the most productive.

That’s because the big mullet that metre-plus barra love to eat are much more

easily ambushed under the cover of darkness.

You can fish anywhere along the sand, but there’s a bit of a walking track from the

boat ramp up through the scrub to a rock-bar which is a magnet to barra holding up

at night.

Big poppers work but you’ll need to work them so they make enticing “bloops”

across the surface.

Most fish, however, seem to be caught on slow-retrieved, shallow-diving big


You can choose between Gold Bombers in sizes 15A and 16A, shallow Classic 120s

and 160s, Reidy’s B52s in any of the biggest three sizes, and others of this ilk.

Of course, if you want to make absolutely sure something eats your bait, take a

cast-net with you and round up some live mullet, the bigger the better…but do that

near the boat ramp and check for a croc first.

You can keep them alive in a large bucket with one of those nifty little 12 volt

aerators that blow bubbles through the water.

It will definitely be worth a shot on the neap tides this weekend.

Tegan Blockey with one of her many barra from a recent trip to Arnhem Land

Barramundi Lodge.

Roy Marando with a quality barra from his recent Arnhem Land Barra Lodge



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