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Alex's Fishing Column 17/7/2020

It’s certainly been one of those windy dry seasons this year.

Fortunately, this weekend should have light winds so Darwin anglers contemplating whether it’s worth heading out onto the wild blue yonder should give it a go.

We’re coming of the neaps this weekend, and hopefully the Spanish mackerel should still be in a biting mood.

It’s curious that, although the macks have been going well offshore, very few seem to have been wondering in close to that great dinghy mack-fishing spot: Lee Point.

I hear regularly of the odd Lee Point mack hitting the deck, but the numbers are not there as they have been in past years.

The shame of it is that Lee Point has traditionally been the stamping ground of anglers not equipped with big trailer boats, and who fish only from smaller boats not suited to offshore windy conditions.

On the reef fish front, great catches of red emperor and coral trout continue to be made way offshore from Dundee Beach along the submerged gas pipeline.

Both golden snapper and jewfish have also been on the chew.

Steve Compain of Arafura Blue Water Charters reports great catches of both species.

I asked him if his boats have been getting stuck into all those jewfish hanging on the new artificial reefs.

His reply: “We catch plenty of fish without needing to go to the artificial reefs.”

Fortunately, there are some excellent fish-catching options this weekend that do not require getting a pounding at the same time, just in case the winds do blow.

One place which has been fishing extremely well is Mandorah Jetty.

Anglers land-based fishing from the jetty have been catching nice GTs (and losing plenty more around the pylons), big longtail tuna, and even the occasional big Spanish mackerel.

If you put in the hard yards by jigging squid before dawn and keeping them alive to use as live-bait during the day, you really can’t miss.

Speaking of live bait, some excellent barra – 90-95 cm – have been caught on live mullet up the harbour arms.

Shoal Bay and the Howard River have also been fishing well for barra, certainly better than you’d expect at this time of year.

However, my choice for a barra-fishing option would have to be our great inland waterways.

A day on Corroboree Billabong, for example, is certain to produce both barra and saratoga for any angler who knows his or her way around these species.

A bit further afield at Two Mile Hole, good catches are available once you get the hang of this delightful Kakadu waterway.

This is a great lagoon for anglers who like to cast for barramundi.

There are plenty of snags and lily patches to probe, and both small, diving minnows and soft plastics work.

Sadly, Four Mile Hole is not looking good to open this year as it’s covered in salvinia, that noxious floating feral plant.

For a while it looked like the certibagus weevil was doing its job at Four Mile Hole, but there haven’t been any weevil releases for some time and the successive poor wet seasons have allowed the salvinia to flourish.

Gee I hope we get it right at that magnificent spot one day.

Another pleasant Kakadu waterhole is Alligator Billabong on the South Alligator system.

Once again, there are plenty of snags and weedy banks but, if you look carefully, you might just find a small, submerged rockbar that is just crawling with hungry barra.

Deeper into Kakadu, Yellow Water is always a great fishing hole, and the pub nearby will give you all the civilisation you need.

Perhaps one final inland spot – which only requires a half day to fish – is the Mary River Bridge Lagoon.

It has a concrete boat ramp, more bankside structure to cast at than most inland waterways I know, and plenty underneath for those preferring to troll.

And if you like eating your barra, then take it from me that the sandy bottom in this lagoon contributes to a fine-tasting fish.


What a better way to enjoy a morning’s fishing than with your grandson: Marion Gray with Eli Neal and his whiting from Ludmilla Creek.

David Sharpe was rapt in his tasty mangrove jack from a Darwin estuary.


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