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Alex's Fishing Column 2 January 2020

t’s not so bad that the New Year is kicking off with a terrific set of neap tides.

Most of you will be back at work today, so let’s check out the options for this weekend.

Saturday is a three-tide day with the least tidal movement of any days during these neaps. On the barra scene, a dawn start at Leaders Creek might pay off for a quality barra or two. Low tide in Darwin Harbour is at 6.33am, but you can add nearly an hour to that for the mouth of Leaders, so you should be able to fish across the low tide.

Last set of neaps, there were some nice barra caught at the mouth, both trolling and casting soft plastics and vibes.

The issue nowadays with Leaders Creek is that the lovely sealed Gunn Point Road has increased traffic to the creek, as well as to Saltwater Arm and the Adelaide River.

Everyone wants to have a fish, but most anglers fishing in and around the mouth of Leaders tend to spot-lock on their electric outboards and cast.

This makes it difficult for the trollers, although you can still troll from just above the mouth where everyone seems to anchor, and work your way a few 100 metres upstream.

Another option is to try live bait, but on the opposite side of the creek – the eastern bank – along the shallows.

A mate of mine did this last year: he left the pack who were trolling and casting at the mouth on the eastern side.

He had his two boys with him and threw his cast net around the shallows, gathering live mullet.

He then anchored in hardly 2m of water as the tide came in, soaking live-mullet baits in anticipation.

An hour later, he and his boys had boated a pair of barra just a nudge under a metre each. It goes without saying that Sunday’s tides are also ideal for Leaders Creek, fishing from the low right up to the high.

Another great weekend barra fishing option is Shady Camp.

On Sunday in particular, the tides line up nicely for a dawn launch while there is plenty of water to get through the channel just downstream.

Head down to the mouth of Sampan Creek and start trolling.

Even if you don’t hook on to a good barra or two, there’s every chance that the mouth will be crawling with threadfin salmon, and big ones at that.

Weather permitting, you could duck over to Tommycut Creek, but be very careful that you check to make sure there are no storms about for the sea run back to Sampan.

I was also chatting with Ronald Voukolos from Fishing and Outdoor World, and he told me the Pipeline continues to produce magnificent reef fish, including some whopper red emperor.

The downside is that, even though the Pipeline comes all the way into Darwin, the fishing action is about 80 clicks offshore from Dundee Beach.

Much closer to home – in Darwin Harbour in fact – Ron reckons black jew have been on the bite on a couple of the old sunken wrecks.

You can’t beat this weekend’s tides for a shot at some harbour jew.

“If you’re after a land-based option, the jetty rats have been catching nice queenies of the Mandorah Jetty,” Ron reported.

That could be an easy day fishing trip for sure.

I hope 2020 is a good one for you, and let’s all chant: “Bring on the wet season”.


Sydneysider, Chris Kolar, was actually stoked to catch this very pregnant white-tipped whaler which was released.

Randall Ragenovich’s 90cm barra was a great end-of-year catch.

Riley Tolmay with a queenfish destined for a brew of numus.


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