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Alex's Fishing Column 6 February 2020

I won’t dwell too much on the wet season this year because we’re just not getting one… AGAIN!

It was all looking promising with a tropical low moving up from below Katherine, but then it buggered off over to the Kimberley.

According to a Bureau of Metreology bulletin: “Shower and thunderstorm activity over the Top End is expected to become more isolated over the next few days as a tropical low over the Kimberley moves west, dragging the weather away with it.

“The weak monsoon over the northern Top End is also due to gradually peter out during this period.”

It’s not good and we need something significant to happen soon.

In the meantime, rub your hands with delight if you like Darwin Harbour barra fishing because the tides this weekend just couldn’t be better.

I love making springs for the harbour, and these ones are even better because they fall just before the full moon… the stars are all lining up, that’s for sure. On Saturday, low tide is 1.3m at 11.53am.

You could launch from the East Arm boat ramp around 8.30am and belt up the arm to fish inlets and gutters within.

I’m talking both sides of East Arm because there’s good barra water on both sides. Work the tide down to the low, concentrating on any colour changes and especially if you can see baitfish working.

Of course, if you hear and see barra boofing – which is on the cards with these tides – you’re more than likely In Like Flynn.

Generally around low tide, when the current has stalled, the action peters out, but once it gets moving again from the opposite direction, there’s a good window of opportunity. Once again, work those gutters as they start to fill up.

By mid-afternoon, it’ll be home time, and hopefully a barra on the barbie toasted with a frosty cold beer.

That’s the East Arm, but you could also launch at Dinah Beach ramp and fish Sadgroves and Blessers Creeks, two small but very productive barra systems.

Travelling further afield, you could check out either Little West Arm or West Arm itself. Mind you, I prefer Sunday’s 0.9m low tide for those arms. Let’s not forget the expansive Middle Arm.

You would go there after launching at either East Arm or Dinah Beach. Whichever arm you choose, and be it Saturday or Sunday, the conditions are in your favour and, sadly, I doubt there’ll be much rain about. ………………………………………………………… By now, you’ve p

robably checked out the photo on this page of the weird-looking Bowmouth Guitarfish. It was caught last Sunday by Rhys Shearer in an estuary near Darwin.

After receiving the capture report, AFANT’s Executive Director, David Ciaravolo, contacted Dr Peter Kyne, Senior Research Fellow at Charles Darwin University RIEL Institute.

“Dr Kyne confirmed the species identification and told us it is from the family Rhinidae which includes wedgefishes, and the order Rhinopristiformes (sawfishes, banjo rays and wedgefishes),” David explained.

Dr Kyne said: “It’s somewhat of a rare species, and certainly not commonly caught by rec fishers.

“They have a wide range across northern Australia and throughout the Indo-West Pacific.” Dr Kyne explained that, since 2018, the Bowmouth Guitarfish has been listed as Critically Endangered globally.

“Scientists suspect that the population in northern Australia is doing okay but the protection in our waters is not enough to prevent the global listing,” he said.

“This is due to heavy fishing pressure throughout the rest of their range, where they are harvested for meat and their highly-valued fins.”

If you check out Rhys’ video postings on Instagram at Rhys2551, you’ll see that this rare fish was released, which is a good thing.


Amber Page with her terrific barra in a photo submitted to the AFANT Brag Board.

The Bowmouth Guitarfish is an extremely-rare species, but every now and then one crops up in Darwin waters.


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