Alex's Fishing Column 25 June 2020

It was tough going for competitors in the second completed round of the Top End Billfish Series.

This was a three-day event with only a couple of boats fishing last Friday, about 15 on the Saturday and just four on the Sunday.

According to series co-ordinator, Doug Saunders, the weather was rough on the first two days but it glassed out on the Sunday.

“Sadly, no billfish were landed, although Ryan Branford’s boat dropped two marlin on Friday,” Doug told me.

“I’m not sure why fishing is so tough because competitors did see a few billies free-jumping.

“There wasn’t really much bait around… just a bit marking on the sounders,” Doug said.

This is the first year of the Top End Billfish Series, and there are about 80 anglers registered in 26 teams, including 19 juniors.

“The first two rounds were cancelled due to Covid, and it would have been good to get the series going with those two straight after the Runoff,” Doug said.

“The next round is in early September.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had a really good run of sailfish and marlin caught in September, including catches of a dozen or more billfish by individual boats, so big numbers are possible,” Doug explained.

Doug’s team Meg II is still leading, and everyone else is equal second.

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If you’re heading offshore this weekend, plan for an early start and a late finish because that’s when the winds will be kindest.

By mid-morning on both days, it’s predicted to be blowing stronger than 30kph, and up to 40kph, so you don’t want to be travelling around too much during the middle part of the day.

The tides are getting smaller now, with good high tides late morning on both Saturday and Sunday.

It could be a good time to try some offshore bottom bouncing, especially wide of Dundee Beach.

I’ve heard reports of some ripper catches of coral trout and red emperor way out from Dundee.

Jewies have been on the bite too, so pick your favourite jewie reef for a whack at those on the changing tides.

Probably the best tides to be fishing for reefies are the late afternoon lows when the winds will have abated.

There are also lots of mackerel about, so a feed of fresh sashimi would be a worthy and achievable goal.

I heard there were mackerel all over the new artificial reef off Dundee.

Sadly, there were many sharks too and, between the macs and the grey coats, getting a bait to the bottom or a hooked reef fish to the surface was difficult.

There’ve been some good inland reports, with quality barra coming from various lagoons on the Mary River system.

I also hear a few anglers are heading out to have a fish on Yellow Water now that it is open in Kakadu.

Apparently, you can camp at Cooinda.

I reckon there’ll be some good fish caught.

If you’re after a feed of muddies, reports are flowing in of good mud crab catches from various locations.

The Adelaide River is one, as are the creeks and Finniss River down Dundee way, and good old Shoal Bay and its tributaries never seem to fail for a feed of muddies.

PHOTOS:


Aaron Walker found a Hardies Lagoon beauty with this 92cm barra that scoffed down a shallow Reidys Little Lucifer.



Kerry Johnston caught this terrific 109cm Vic River barra, and hubby Garry was happy to hold it up for the camera.

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