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Alex's Fishing Column 30 April 2020

It’s really difficult to get a clear handle on the restrictions in relation to fishing.

Last week, the NT’s Chief Health Officer put out an update on Coronavirus regulations titled: COVID-19 Directions (No 23) 2020 – Directions for Gatherings.

Of particular interest to fishos is Direction 7:

“The operator of a vessel:

(a) Must not allow a gathering of more than 10 people to occur on, in or at a place, including the people who live at that place; and

(b) Must not allow the density of people present to be more than one person per 4m² of the deck area.”

I’m not sure that anything had been specified for boats before, except that the standard social distancing rules were in place, and you could freely fish with people who lived in the same household.

A typical trailer boat has at least 9m² of deck space… I know mine has.

Personally, I’ve gone solo-fishing three times over the last two weeks.

The first was in Darwin Harbour’s East Arm with old mate Phil Hall; we took two boats, chewed the fat from a few metres away, shared a couple of beers each and caught SFA.

The second time I went solo-fishing was to Shady Camp on a week day with neap tides.

I reported last week that, unfortunately, I slam-dunked a croc tearing down the river, and probably killed it.

There were boat 60 boats at the mouth of Sampan Creek so I headed over to Tommycut and was rapt to find only four boats there.

I caught some small barra but sadly lost a big fish.

Motoring up Sampan on the way home, I pulled up and caught four threadies in an hour before heading back to the ramp for an easy retrieve and easy drive back home.

The last solo-fishing trip was again to East Arm in the harbour.

I threw in my allocation of five pots and went barra fishing.

I caught three undersize barra, but finished up with a few nice muddies for the dinner table.

Today, the Chief Minister will announce revised regulations pertaining to coronavirus.

Speaking to AFANT CEO, David Ciaravolo, it’s clear that AFANT has been lobbying Government hard to for an adjustment to the recreational fishing restrictions.

“We’ve been engaged with the Government and sought consideration that the adjustments for recreational fishing are in line with other recreational activities like camping and swimming,” David explained.

It seems that the authorities have been pleased with the way the majority of fishos have respected the social distancing rules when fishing.

It’s why no stricter, punishable restrictions have come into place.

We’ll know today if fishing restrictions that are in place will be eased.

In the meantime, you might want to plan a trip to Shady Camp this long weekend.

The neap tides are perfect for the three days, and launching and retrieving will work beautifully with the tides.

It might also be the last set of neaps when there is good freshwater still coming down the Mary River.

Some big barra were caught on the last neaps, as well as huge numbers of big threadies.

That sort of action might just happen again.


Ashlea Beckett scored a great catch with this jewie on a lure at the Mary mouth.

Laura McDonald got into the Shady Camp barra on the last neap tides.

Shane Compain is never far away from quality barra during the Runoff.


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