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Alex's Fishing Column 5 December 2019

Today is a three-tide day and, as always seems to be the case on these occasions, there are two low tides and one high tide, and there’s hardly a metre difference between top and low. These tides are basically in the middle of an average phase of neap tides, and this weekend the tides are still very much neaps.

Depending on where you are fishing, if barramundi is the target, tides like this can be either great or ordinary. In Darwin Harbour, for example, catching a barra will be tough; harbour barra like a bit of movement and they like the low tides to get down below 2m and preferably closer to just a metre. On the opposite side of Darwin to the harbour, the tides aren’t that great for Shoal Bay and the Howard River either. About the best that can be said for them in those bodies of water is that at least boats will be able to move around freely from mid-morning until well into the afternoon, so the conditions aren’t bad for prospecting, especially if you don’t know your way around Shoal Bay and its tributaries. The Howard River and places like King Creek and Mickett’s Creek in Shoal Bay are tailor made for ready exploration on this weekend’s neap tides, especially Saturday. Normally, the Howard and the four creeks in Shoal Bay become landlocked with only pools remaining, but that won’t begin to happen until next week. This Saturday, your typical 3.6 to 5 metre tinnie will be able to move right through these systems. There might be a bit of shallow-water running, and floating your boat over the skinnier spots, but you’ll definitely get the opportunity to find good, fishable water that can either be cast to or trolled. Another plus for wherever you fish for barra in the salt is that water clarity will be excellent, so at least the fish will see your lures due to the high visibility. Green colours usually work best on the flats in clear water, but try also other dark, not-overly-bright colour combinations. Trolling lures is both relaxing and potentially effective in the estuaries on tides like those this weekend. In the harbour, work depths from 1.5 to 2.5 metres with appropriate lures that can be trolled a long way back. Bombers and B52s are good, as are Classic 120s 3+ and F18s, but they need to be worked slowly, with the engine being pulled in and out of gear every few seconds. Perhaps the pick of fishing spots for barra this weekend is the Adelaide River. The Adelaide can power on days with low tidal movement. If that’s your call on Saturday, I’d suggest launching at sparrows and fishing down to the low tide and early incoming. It’s the same story on Sunday, although there’ll be a bit more movement. Leaders Creek will also be worth checking out this weekend, fishing from low tide all the way to the top of the high tide. ………………………………………… I’ll be fishing in Fiji, hopefully banging yellowfin tuna and wahoo, as you read this. At time of writing, the third $10,000 tagged fish had been captured as part of Million Dollar Fish Season 5, with Territorian Daniel Klingner reeling in the prized catch off Mandorah Jetty. Daniel and his brother Anthony decided to drive to Mandorah to wet a line off the jetty. Little did they know they would bag a red-tagged barramundi worth $10,000. Although the self-confessed fishing fanatic’s catch did not have a $1 million tag attached to it, Daniel said he was looking forward to putting the cash towards purchasing a boat so he could go on more fishing trips. The 67cm barra is the first to be caught land-based fishing this season. Data reveals the fish travelled approximately 14km to Mandorah, with records showing the barra was initially tagged and released in West Arm Darwin Harbour. BetEasy Strategic Partnerships Manager Brad Fanning said: “I couldn’t be more excited to see the third $10,000 tagged fish reeled in by a local angler, along with his brother, who are huge advocates for fishing in the Northern Territory. “It’s no secret that we have some of the best fishing spots in the world here, and I’m thrilled to see Season 5 prize-tagged fish being caught right across the Northern Territory from Manton Dam, to King Ash Bay and now Mandorah.” In Season 5 of the Million Dollar Fish competition, 121 Barramundi have been tagged and released across the Territory, including 100 carrying $10,000 cash prize tags and a further 20 purple-tagged barra each worth $5,000 to be split between the angler and one of three Northern Territory-based charities. Season 5 of the Million Dollar Fish competition runs from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020. To be in the running to win a prized-tagged fish, register for the competition at Participants will also go into the draw for more than $30,000 worth of prizes from Anaconda, Bigfish Gear, Engel, Shimano and Holidays of Australia and the World. PHOTOS:

Daniel Woods’ 104cm barra fell to a Tiger Lily Bomber 16A.

Stewie Martin swims and releases a great barra.

Daniel Klingner with the third red-tagged barra caught in Season 5 of Million Dollar Fish.


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