There’ll be a lot of swishing and swashing on Corroboree Billabong this weekend. That’s because 18 teams of two anglers will be competing in the annual Territory Freshwater Fly Fishing Open. Hosted by the Darwin Flyrodders, the event will commence with the briefing at the Corroboree Park Tavern venue on Friday night and then there’ll be a day and a half of competition on the iconic lagoon. I spoke to Darwin Flyrodders President, Matthew Heyne, about the weekend event, and he was full of optimism. “Some of the boys checked it out last weekend and the tarpon were as thick as,” Matthew reported. “Also, there were ‘togas everywhere and I’m confident everyone will catch them. “The little barra seem to be spread out and bigger barra are probably in the deeper channels. “I do know that one boat caught 30 barra at the boat ramp on lures, but a couple of fly fishos tried and caught just two little ones,” Matthew told me. Several species are eligible for points in the competition – tarpon, sleepy cod, longtom and catfish – based on the simple calculation of one point per centimetre of length. However, barra and saratoga are each worth double points. “Basically, when you hit a school of barra, you win,” Matt said. “I think we’re going to have a good comp,” he predicted. I was at Corroboree earlier last month, and the baby barras were in plague proportions. There was plenty of beaut barra tucker for them too: rainbow fish, by the squillions. The water was still over the banks in places and all day you could hear the “boofs” of little barra feeding on rainbow fish up in the grasses. Small lures like Reidy’s Little Lucifers were certainly hammered, and Bomber 15As in chartreuse and tiger lily accounted for plenty of barra for our boat during two days fishing. If you’re not “swoffing” at Corroboree this weekend, it’s worth noting that the slow-moving neap tides will offer plenty of opportunities to have a crack at a big barra or two in the tidal rivers. Certainly the Daly River is still producing big fish: on the big tides just past, some whoppers were caught fast trolling above the Rock-bar around the top of the tide. The regular guides have been getting their clients on to quality fish down the Daly. Stuey Brisbane of Daly River Barra Resort and Mousie from Mousies Barra and Bluewater Fishing Charters have been finding plenty of good barra. The water will be clear right down the Daly this weekend, and the spots worth trying will be endless. Closer to Darwin, the Adelaide River continues to fish well and this weekend you can fish upstream of the bridge or right down to the mouth. Further away, both Sampan and Tommycutt Creeks at the Mary River mouth might offer up a big barra or two. On the last set of neaps, some huge threadfin salmon were caught down the bottom, and they’re likely to show up again. I’m not sure what’s happening at the South Alligator River but, if there is still fresh coming down from the top, there could be some good fishing working the rock-bars upriver. Downriver at Brooke Creek and others near the mouth of the South, the water will be clear for sure and big barra will likely be hunting the mullet schools. PHOTOS: Michelle Creagan’s fat 96cm barra was caught fishing down the Daly River with Mousie’s Barra and Bluewater Charters.
Glenn Hubble’s 112cm threadfin salmon was a great consolation catch in the quest for a big barra down the mouth of Sampan Creek on the Mary River.
Michael Taylor snaps a selfie with a very happy Jordyn Lowther after catching her first jewfish.
Shaun Bochow waited 11 years before catching his next metrey, in this case a 102cm Daly River barra trolling a Strada 150.
Craig Latimore’s 102cm Shady Camp barra, caught on Reidy’s B52 Big Ass 200, is his biggest yet.