Alex's Fishing Column 5 March 2020

Round 1 of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS) gets under way this weekend, and for the first time, the competition will kick off at the Daly River instead of Shady Camp.

TEBS has been going for several years now, and takes place on six different waterways over six rounds.

Fishing is always from 6.00am Saturday to 6.00pm Sunday.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens down the Daly River this weekend.

The river level was about 8m above the crossing mid-week and was steady.

All recent reports indicate very poor fishing down the Daly, and with potentially 50 boats on the river, feeder creek mouths with colour changes will be congested.

There’s not a lot more water to come down from the Katherine River and elsewhere on the Daly catchment, so the river level could drop quickly over the weekend.

That would be a recipe for good runoff fishing, and there might just be some quality barra caught.

The TEBS boundary on the Daly is from Clear Creek to the old Daly River Crossing. According to TEBS Co-ordinator, Ross Abraham, there will be no contingency plan put in place unless the situation changes and there is no access to the launch sites and or the river becomes too high and dangerous.

None of that is likely to occur.

Meanwhile, elsewhere there appears to be plenty of water heading down the rivers.

At Shady Camp, silty, black water was roaring over the barrage and some boats didn’t even bother to launch.

However, there is water flooding the car-park at Mary River bridge, so that needs to get down the river and things may clear up.

One report I had was that huge numbers of fish are marking on side-scan at the mouth of Sampan, but there was no feeding.

Further east, there’s good flow down the South Alligator now, and Magela Creek leading to the East Alligator was too high for most 4WDs.

Old mate Andy Ralph issued a warning about the South Alligator boat ramp.

“Over the last day or two with new floodwater, a couple of mud-bars have formed right out the front,” Andy said.

“These are easily seen at low tide, but imagine with floodwater coming down, or on a decent high tide, getting stuck only metres after launching,” Andy said.

On a different note, a new style of fishing film will be screening at 2.00pm this Sunday at Gateway Palmerston.

Called “Big Fish Big Adventure”, it’s a fishing documentary that dives into the unexplored spectacular waters of the Coral Sea.

It premiered last night in cinemas around the country but will be screened again this Sunday. The Queensland production follows seasoned marina Captain James McVeigh and his crew on “Big Cat Reality” who venture to the furthest reaches of the Great Barrier Reef chasing the catch of a lifetime.

Unlike most fishing programming, there’s more to experience than just watching fish be reeled in and the ones that got away as this film explores remote untouched islands and reef systems.

“The true sense of adventure is why I run these fishing expeditions: being able to head out into the ocean with a bit of a plan and idea in mind but no clue what you will find is quite an amazing feeling, something I don’t think I will ever get used to,” said Captain James McVeigh. Director David Quarrell had worked for several years on a national television fishing program but felt the audience was missing out.

“Beautiful scenery, underwater adventure, tension, it’s all there but most fishing shows don’t make the most of the elements that will draw the audience in.

“Instead they focus on personalities, brands and marketing; that’s why we’ve made a fishing film like no other,” he said.

If you’re not doing anything on Sunday Afternoon, it might be worth checking out.

Tom Gordon with his early runoff barra.



Watch out for the sand-bars at the South Alligator boat ramp.

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