I haven’t written about the weather for a while but it’s certainly clear that we are looking far better for a good wet season than we have been for the last couple of years. The great build-up weather that the Bureau of Metreology predicted for September/October certainly happened. It was a result of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which is a measurement of the difference between sea surface temperatures of the tropical western and eastern Indian Ocean. According to the bureau, however, the IOD is well and truly dead and buried; and yet we’ve still been experiencing great build-up rains right through November. Apparently, the explanation is mainly due to really warm waters off the north coast – there’s more moisture in the air as a result, with more evaporation, and hence more rainfall. In fact, there’ve been some ripper storms of late. I was driving back from Jabiru weekend before last and it pelted down all the way from Kakadu to Adelaide River. Just last Saturday, there was torrential rainfall east and south of Darwin. It’s fair to say that the rainfall has been more than spasmodic and it could mean that, when the first monsoon arrives, our already sodden big river floodplains will flood far more quickly than if there hadn’t been a great build-up. So when can we expect the arrival of the wet season proper? Again according to the bureau, it’s looking good for the week just before or just after Christmas, but it could arrive even earlier. It’s also good to know that we are looking at an average or better wet season ahead with the average of two to three cyclones of which one will cross the NT coast. All of this augurs well for the anticipated runoff fishing early next year. Given the ongoing build-up rains, it will be interesting to see whether our landlocked inland waters continue to fish as well as they have. Last week, Corroboree Billabong, in particular, fired up again at night with big barra, including a 106cm fish that took a black Bomber lure. What is it with all these big barra in the famous lagoon? I’ve written it up before but, as long as we don’t get a major fish kill along the Mary River, come the wet season there could well be a motherlode of big barra liberated from landlocked lagoons into the tidal reaches of the Mary. Speaking of big barra, there’s every reason to try Shoal Bay and especially the Rock this weekend. Some lovely fish have been caught there so far this build-up and the tides this weekend are ideal. I like Saturday’s low tide of 2.1m falling around 11.00am. As with all good tides of this ilk, you’ll need to launch at first light from the Buffalo Creek boat ramp, and be prepared to lock in at the Rock. Best fishing this year has been on the incoming tide, mainly trolling medium-running, hard-body minnow lures like Killalure Barra Baits 8+ and Classic 120s in 6+ and 10+ depending on water depth. This weekend is also a pearler for offshore bluewater fishing. The forecast is for light winds on both days, so heading offshore in your trailer boat should be a pleasant escape indeed. This time of year, both goldies and black jew begin to congregate and bite in earnest. I’d suggest checking out the Fenton Patches artificial reefs; there are seven out there. Try your hardest on the change of tide, either high or low, and pay attention to your fish finder – modern sounders don’t lie so, if yours shows fish, then there’ll be fish down there. The Fenton Patches is as good a place as any to troll and or cast for pelagic species once you spy some birds working on the surface. I hear there are still some longtail tuna about and the Spanish mackerel are biting too. For landbased anglers, Fishing and Outdoor World’s George Voukolos reckons heaps of queenfish are on the chew most days from the wall just next to the Jetty restaurant car-park. As the tide comes in, move to the Deck Chair Cinema for some matinee GT action. PHOTOS: Alistair Lau, skipper of Arafura Bluewater Charters’ “Wai Nawana”, with an unusual catch for NT waters: a bar cod which was caught in 200 metres at Evans Shoal.
Alistair Lau with the unusual footballer trout which is apparently just as good to eat as the more common bar-cheek coral trout.
Yet another unusual NT catch from Wai Nawana was this rare longfin trout – spectacular to say the least.