There are good things and bad things about this weekend’s spring tides.
On both Saturday and Sunday, the tides are almost identical, and are basically the peak springs of the set.
These tides represent excellent opportunities for estuary barra fishing across several spectrums.
However, the elephant in the shop is the full moon tomorrow night.
I rate just before the full moon as a peak barra fishing period, but a day or two after is not usually as good.
Nonetheless, it is mid-November – prime build-up time – and the low tide of 1.0m early afternoon is suited to both Darwin Harbour and Bynoe Harbour.
At both locations, you’ll need to be on the water at 8.30am so you can hit the flats and drains before the water gets too low.
Once the tide turns to come in, get ready for a brief window of opportunity as the water rises on the flats and into the drains.
Look for the bait and work hard and fast before the tide reaches the mangroves and it’s all over.
Bombers, Junior B52s, Classic Just Unders and Killalure Terminators are hard-body lures that all work in Darwin and Bynoe Harbours and their arms.
Soft plastic prawn imitations also catch plenty.
Another spot worth a shot on Saturday is the famous Shoal Bay Rock.
You’ll need to launch at Buffalo Creek just after first light so you can get out of the mouth and across and into the bay to The Rock.
Once there, be prepared to stick it out through low tide, trying out various fishing options.
In the old days, we’d all pull up to The Rock in our boats, tie off and fish from The Rock itself.
No one does that anymore, most likely because the boats these days are all big and comfortable… and have fancy wraps which can get scratched by exposed rocks.
Most Rock fishos either cast from their boats or troll.
If trolling is you preferred technique, use your electric outboard if you have one; the water is fairly shallow and barra can be spooked by the noise of a petrol outboard.
My favourite Rock lure is the Killalure Barra Bait in natural colours, but there are plenty of other lures that catch fish at this popular location.
A huge sand bar has built up on the mainland on the northern side of The Rock and there’s not much channel in the middle.
Consequently, the best fishing in recent years has been on the Darwin side of The Rock, especially as the tide starts to come in.
If you get on to them, expect quality.
Also worth trying on Saturday’s tide is Leaders Creek in the afternoon.
High tide is late so two or three hours spent trolling near the mouth from mid-tide until dark could yield a nice barra or two.
Troll from the mouth on the eastern side for about a kilometre and then back and forth.
Use your sounder and try and work the ledge at about 3-5m depth using Classic 120s 10+ and 15+.
If you hook something that tears off at a million miles an hour but doesn’t jump, don’t worry because it won’t be a barra… it’ll be a thumping black jew for sure.
The muddies are running – Sian Cassidy and Melanie Ottaway with 10 beauties.