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Alex's Fishing Column 13/4/21

By all accounts, the Runoff is over; there’s now very little water coming off the big-river floodplains.

Like all Top End Runoffs, this one was a mixed bag.

I heard plenty of reports of great fishing at feeder creek mouths, at the mouths of coastal creeks and at back eddies swirling in flooded rivers.

But there were also reports of very poor Runoff fishing, and this emanating from some damn good anglers.

One gun barra fisho, who once was a top fishing guide, spent the better part of a week in March fishing the South Alligator, the East Alligator, the Daly and elsewhere, and he and his crew hardly raised a scale.

Personally, I did five Runoff trips this year.

The first two were to Shady Camp where the fishing was tough on one visit and not bad on the other visit.

The next two trips were to the Wiltshire Creeks inside the mouth of the Adelaide River.

They both produced some good fish but it was nothing to get too excited about.

The fifth trip was down the Daly River to a special spot that I worked out a few years ago only fires when the river is at a particular height.

This was just a day trip and we ended up staying there all day, enjoying some fabulous fishing for barra on hard-body lures, soft plastics and surface fizzers.

About 60 barra in all sizes up to 80s made for a fabulous five-hour session with mates Steve Harris and Tim Pel... and it was even better that we didn’t need to move until we came home.

The annual Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open was held last weekend at Corroboree Billabong.

The venue was Corroboree Park Tavern and there were 10 teams of two anglers per boat.

Regular competitor Roger Sinclair was there for this two day event.

I asked Roger what the situation was with the lilies which had flourished over the last couple of years thanks to poor wet seasons.

Paddocks of lilies make targeting barra in particular hard, but a good flush can change things around.

“There weren’t too many lilies at all,” Roger told me.

“They’ve certainly thinned out a lot, and anglers were able to get there flies into many more spots.

“However, the water was quite a bit higher than it’s been over the last few years, which meant a lot of saratoga were still out on the floodplains.

“But it was good to see barra numbers up which was not surprising following the good wet season.

“There were lots of juvenile barra and saratoga around,” Roger reported.

“The Champion Team Territory Towel-ups, comprised of Glenn Hubble and Quentin Pope, fished in The Rockhole.

“They fished along the banks and cast at anything that stood out using fast-sinking lines and small flies.

“The Champion Angler, Shane McCarthy, fished a gutter loaded with juvenile barra,” Roger said.


Champion Team: Territory Towel-Ups (Glenn Hubble and Quentin Pope) 8364 points

Runner-up Champion Team: Two Casts (Shane McCarthy and Robyn Gless) 8055 points

Second Runner-up Team: Draggin Flies (Peter Cooke and Richard Carter) 5123 points

Champion Angler: Shane McCarthy 4222 points

Runner-up Champion Angler: Quentin Pope 4150 points

Biggest Barramundi: 53cm Dean Ovens

Biggest Saratoga: 62cm Richard Carter

Biggest Tarpon: 43cm Tim Harding

Most Meritorious Capture: 50cm Sleepy Cod - Dean Ovens

Encouragement Award: Helen Stuart

Barra caught: 128

Saratoga caught: 155

Total fish caught: 949

1. Steve Harris with a quality barra from a hot Runoff session.

2. Tim Pel’s fat, silver Daly River barra took a Classic 120.

3. Shane McCarthy won Champion Angler at the Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open.


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