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Alex's Fishing Column 16 January 2020

We just can’t seem to get the monsoonal downpours happening in a way that give us the best prospects of a great widespread Runoff.

The tropical low shot through across the Top End like a scalded cat, dropping a bit here and a bit there, but only two locations copped a fair dinkum deluge.

One was Dum In Mirrie Island north of Dundee Beach where 562mm of rain was recorded in a 24-hour period.

That actually created a new NT record.

The other was Wagait Beach which recorded 515.2mm of rain.

At least the Finniss River should be well and truly flooding because it’s between those two locations.

But imagine if all that rain had fallen on the Mary River and Daly River catchments, which are not that far apart: we’d have been set.

I understand that water is coming over the Shady Camp barrage at about ankle deep, and a lot of rats are being caught during the day on the upstream side.

However, a few metreys are being caught off the barrage at night.

My report tells me that most anglers are using live bait off the crossing, which of course is illegal.

Other rivers rose too, including the East Alligator which got to 1.8m over Cahill’s Crossing. As a mate said, we need it to stay at 1.8m for another couple of months.

Nearby at the South Alligator River, I saw a video posted on Facebook showing huge schools of mullet working their way upriver above the bridge on the South Alligator.

The water was filthy but that’s good all that yummy barra tucker is upstream.

The Daly River also rose some more from the 0.6m I reported last week: it’s now 1.6m, so that’s a start.

Plus there was a huge storm in the Katherine region on Tuesday night, with cars having to pull off the road, so maybe some of that will find its way into the Daly.

Fishing and Outdoor World’s Aaron Sammut found a couple of nice barra inside the Adelaide River mouth last Monday.

“We discovered a nice little colour change which fished well for half an hour,” Aaron reported. His was one of two boats fishing together there and Aaron landed a 92cm barra while the other boat’s best was 97cm.

Given this was on spring tides, the neaps this weekend could fish even better at the Adelaide.

Sunday is a three-tide day and you can get a couple of hours runout before dead low if you launch at Saltwater Arm at first light.

George Voukolos told me there are still plenty of goldies getting caught offshore, which is not surprising given that January is a top month for golden snapper, and for black jew too, just quietly.

Apparently there’s been some great jigging action on the reefs between Mandorah and the No 6 Buoy.

Species getting caught include queenfish, golden trevally and even tuna.

Harking back to the Finniss River, I reckon plenty of Finniss regulars will be hitting the small system this weekend, if not already.

It could really go off, including for some big barra.

That’s happened before at the Finniss after the first good drowning.

Meanwhile, according to the Bureau of Metreology, monsoonal conditions are no longer occurring across northern Australia, although significant residual moisture remains over the region.

While monsoon-like conditions were experienced over northern Australia this past week, and some locations experienced heavy rainfall, official thresholds used to determine the monsoon onset at Darwin were not met.

Monsoonal flow was too shallow and did not last long enough over Darwin for monsoon criteria to be met.

So, once again, it’s not looking good.

Fingers crossed there’s a turnaround soon; otherwise we’ll all be fishing the Finniss.


Aaron Sammut’s beaut 92cm barra came from the mouth of the Adelaide River.

Yaz Cooper fished Darwin Harbour with Lucas and Tim Pel, and found a typical harbour fish that nudged legal size.


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