It looks like forecasts from the Bureau of Metreology reported in this column at least a month ago are spot on: the first monsoon of the Top End wet season will arrive during the fortnight of Christmas; ie the week before or the week after. The most-likely scenario now is that the monsoon will descend across the Top End by next Thursday. There is also a strong chance of a cyclone forming north of the Top End and heading down past the Tiwi lslands west coast and then pretty close to Darwin. A great Facebook site for detailed Top End weather forecasts and explanations is Northauschasers. This site often compares different models for coming weather patterns, in particular the Euro models, the US models, the Canadian models and our own BOM’s models. Apparently three of the four models – the Euro being the odd one out – forecast the above scenario with at minimum a category 2 cyclone passing by Darwin similar to what Cyclone Thelma did a week before Cyclone Tracy smashed Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974. Well we don’t want a repeat of the double banger, but the rains They Are A’coming, that much we do know. Hot on the heels of an amazing build-up that began early September, much of the Top End – especially the western Top End – will be under flood by Christmas Day. The impact will be enhanced because of all the great build-up rain that has saturated otherwise parched big river floodplains. Often when the first monsoon arrives, the impact of the heavy rains is modified because the water soaks into the ground; that has to happen on the river catchments before it floods. However, this wet season, everywhere the monsoon hits should flood immediately. ************************************** The weather should be fine enough to fish offshore this weekend, but there’ll be some storms about as the monsoon gets closer. Winds are predicted to be light, but not of course if you’re caught in the middle of a storm. Last weekend was glass-off weather and a few anglers capitalised on the conditions and found both sailfish and quality reef fish out wide of Darwin. Last Sunday, old mate Clint Jebbink went fishing with Doug Saunders, Doug’s son Nate and Danny “Greenzone” Johnson following a tip from Mick Carey of Micks Ally Fab in Winnellie: sails at North Gutter. According to Clint, they launched pre-dawn and kicked the morning off bottom fishing for some nice jewies and a big goldie in close before heading out to North Gutter for the low tide. “There were small flying fish everywhere, as well as jellybean tuna with scattered bait showing on sounder,’ Clint said. “We worked the area with five ‘premo’ baits and Doug’s secret hard-body mack lure. “Yep, it got smashed and a sail came up with it in its mouth, but then the lure dislodged below the surface and the sail went straight for my skipping garfish. “I free-spooled for six seconds, engaged bail arm, fought the urge to strike and let the line come tight… the circle hook worked and I soon had a nice North Gutter sailfish tagged and released,” Clint said.. Mick Carey’s session the day before was also a beauty. “I took the boys from work and we managed some nice goldies at the first drop,” Mick said. “Once the sun poked over the horizon, we headed to Fenton Patches, dropped the gear in and trolled in the direction of North Gutter. “Halfway there, Matty Rolfe spotted a free-swimming sail 20m in front of the boat; it rolled into the spread but faded away just as quickly as it came… not interested at all. “Once into the gutter, we saw lots of suspended bait with the odd tuna school working the area. “After about 5km, I spotted a sail come up on the port side rigger; nice and aggressive, it took the bait and was on,’ Mick said. “After a short fight with some spectacular jumps and some quick leader work from Matty, we tagged Troy Phillip’s first sailfish… high fives all round. “We then dropped gear back again when not five minutes later Matty yelled from the roof as he pointed to a free swimmer feeding on the surface 70m in front of the boat. “We dragged the starboard rigger straight over its head and it came up hard on the teaser before switching to the skipping gar on the rigger. “It swam behind the bait for 70m before fading away without touching it; very frustrating but a very rewarding day overall,” Mick reported. ********************************** Our regular Gove contact, Murray Knyvett, has just competed in the 30th Anniversary Aggreko Gove Game Classic “There were 14 teams competing in what was a very tough competition for those of us chasing billfish,” Murray said. “We managed to tag a 50kg marlin and a sailfish over the four days. “We jumped two other marlin off which was disappointing when opportunities were so few and far between. “I don’t have the full results yet but the highlight for me was catching both of our fish on Catbo Custom Lures that are being made by a good mate of mine, Danny Barrow, who left Gove and moved to Broome a few years ago. “The marlin was a first for my wife Jacque and the sailfish was caught by our little rod grabber, Toby, who keeps adding to his billfish tally,” Murray told me. According to Robert McDonald of the Nhulunbuy Regional Sport Fishing Club: “The mackerel proved problematic to most of the billfish teams, with plenty of lures cut off and bait rigging was endless. “Team Bones was robbed of a black marlin after the razer gang ran through while the fish was in play, cutting the leader. “The Mackerel Mania section again proved a popular competition, while tuna schools were found across most of the grounds which allowed for plenty of billfish action. “Team Bones raised nine fish, hooking three but losing them at the boat. “Many other teams reported good numbers raised, but it appeared that they were not hungry enough. “Team Suzuki had a nice 80kg black marlin beside the boat taking photos of it, and failed to tag the fish before it rolled off the hook!” “All up there were 31 raised with 14 hook-ups and 6 bills tagged,” Robert reported. Results: Champion Male angler - Mal McIntosh 2 Sailfish Champion Female angler- Jacque Knyvett 1 Black Marlin Champion Junior Female - Tiannah Piddick 600pts Mackerel Champion Junior Male – Toby Knyvett 1 Sailfish Champion Team over 6m – True Blue 2700pts Champion Team under 6m- Such is life 1850pts
Matty Rolfe (left) helps Troy Phillips with his first-ever sailfish, caught at North Gutter. Clint Jebbink (left) is helped with his North Gutter sailfish by Nate Saunders and father Doug Saunders. Toby Knyvett does it again with a nice sailfish from the Aggreko Gove Game Classic.