Overall, it would be hard to complain about the great weather we’ve had this dry season: endless cool nights with so many days of low humidity and just perfect temperatures. Best of all, we’ve been experiencing one of those years when the fierce south-easterlies have hardly gusted through the dry season. Sure, we’ve had a couple of weeks with strong wind forecasts but, overall, increased time on the water has been facilitated by great weather and sea conditions. In what seems to be the continuation of a great dry season, this weekend is shaping up yet again as a beauty to go fishing offshore. On Saturday, in particular, you can expect comfortable seas, and Sunday will be pretty good anyway. Add to this that the neap tides will be building towards springs – and just before the full moon – the fish will surely be on the chew. Water clarity offshore should still be good and you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground with the calmer waters. According to Top End Tackle World’s Steve Compain, bluewater fishing has been outstanding of late. “It’s been a really good season all round,” Steve told me. “I’d say it’s probably because of the last good wet season, and our charter boats are finding so many goldies and jewfish. “Even the pros are saying there are jewies everywhere. “We’re also getting macs out wide on the other side of Lorna Shoal, and a big sailfish popped up this week,” Steve said. A good trailer boat option would be to head out and west of Darwin, down towards Bass and Roche Reefs, being careful to avoid the closed areas. Launching from the great new ramp at Dundee would cut out a lot of sea travel. There are still plenty of Spanish mackerel schools along that part of the coast, and it seems the further west you go the bigger the macs get. You could also try North and South Gutters, and have a shot at jigging up a big goldie or two on either metal jigs or big soft plastics. On the barra front, Bynoe Harbour will get a good work out this weekend. Up to 40 boats are expected to hit Bynoe for the fourth round of the Top End Barra Series (TEBS). With hopefully warmer weather and less wind than when I fished there on similar tides two weekends back, I reckon the flats and gutters will produce plenty of barra action. Low tide is just after midday on both Saturday and Sunday and, given it’s just before the full moon, the barra should be ready to bite. The same applies to fishing in Darwin Harbour and, given the height of the tides, a sneaky trip to Shoal Bay could also pay dividends. On the freshwater, Corroboree Billabong has kicked into gear again for both barra and saratoga. Several guides have been doing well, mainly trolling Bomber 14As in fluoro green and Reidy’s Little Lucifer in pink and white. Lucas Pel was guiding for Darwin Barra Fishing Tours late last week and netted 14 barra. A notable catch for one of his clients was a 58cm barra which sported a yellow tag. Not to be confused with the Million Dollar Fish red tags, the yellow Fisheries tags are what anglers involved in the AFANT tagging program are using. Another spot that continues to produce quality barra consistently is Cahill’s Crossing on the East Alligator River. The biggest I’ve heard caught there was 104cm on a big fizzer lure. Mind you, it’s worth asking whether the risks outweigh the results chucking lures from the crossing at night. Cahill’s Crossing is crocodile central and buggered if I’d be fishing from it at night.
George Moussa has been fishing his secret black jew spots and scoring quality fish in the process.
The Top End Barra Series moves to Bynoe Harbour this weekend and competitors will have barra like this Bynoe beauty in their sights.
Greg Ryan’s AFANT tagged barra was caught fishing with Lucas Pel at Corroboree Billabong.