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Alex's Fishing Column 13 February 2020

There’s some good wet season news at last: there have been reasonable falls out Kakadu way.

Old mate Andy Ralph – a well-versed Kakadu confidant if ever there was one – told me that the three Nourlangie Creek bridges on the Kakadu Highway are now flowing strongly.

“When the water starts flowing under the Kakadu Highway, there are a few big billabongs to fill up before it flows into South Alligator River, namely Dreaming Water and Coffin Swamp, as well as the floodplain itself,” Andy said.

For my money, that means that a lot of “green” barra will be liberated from the lagoons and there could be quite a bite in Nourlangie Creek accessed from the South Alligator River. It’s a regular occurrence, although it didn’t happen last year.

“The great news is that, not only are the Nourlangie Creeks pumping, but Yellow Water carpark is now closed due to rising water levels, so the South Alligator River will now start receiving floodwater from both directions.”

I asked Andy why they closed the boat ramp at Yellow Water and not let anglers launch from a higher level and fish some runoff.

“Crocs mate – you’d have to walk through ankle-to-knee-deep water after you launched and parked your car,” he replied.

Not much I could say about that.

“The East Alligator, at Cahill’s Crossing, is still at 2m and Magela Creek crossing has finally gone above 1m on the Oenpelli Road… bad news for vehicle access now, but great news for the runoff in March,” Andy said.

It’s amazing how many boats have been getting stuck on mud in both the East Alligator River and the South Alligator River.

I know of four: two just downstream in the East, one upstream on the South and one downstream on the South.

I bet there’ve been a few others who have managed to keep it quiet.

According to Ronald Voukolos at Fishing and Outdoor World, there’s been a lot of local rain down the Daly River, washing into the river itself.

That in itself is a good thing, as long as it’s backed up by floodwater coming down the main river.

In that scenario, feeder creek mouths can really fire up.

Last week I suggested that Darwin Harbour could likely fish well on the weekend’s making spring tides, especially with a full moon just after, and the fact there hadn’t been much rain. It turned out some quality barra were caught in the harbour, including a 98cm, a 94cm and some in the 80s.

I took my own advice and snuck up West Arm with mates on the Saturday.

It was a good day as we found plenty of willing barra.

At times, they were in a feeding frenzy, rolling on what seemed like squillions of hapless jelly prawns.

Most lures worked, including small Z-Man soft plastics in chartreuse, Classic 65s in green, and tiny sliders that looked just like skittish mullet as you worked them across the surface. The neap-ish tides this weekend aren’t so conducive to Darwin Harbour but, given all the jelly prawns about, Shoal Bay just might be the shot.

Another good report from Ronald was about all the big golden snapper his mate caught just before the westerlies started blowing in.

“He caught 60-70 cm goldies in the channel just inside the Vernon Islands,” Ronald reported. If the winds abate this weekend, that location could well be worth checking out.

As Tim Pel discovered, harbour barra were on the bite last weekend, in this case enjoying a snack on a Classic 65 lure.

Cooper Rudd’s AFANT Brag Broad photo captures a joyous moment for a young angler.


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