Now Into its eleventh year, the annual Alligator Fishing Club Challenge was once again a great success. According to the club’s Andy Ralph, last weekend 40 boats spread far and wide in Kakadu competing in the challenge. “The all-species competition sees many teams race down the South Alligator River chasing bluewater fish; then next day hitting the billabongs for hungry saratoga or upper East Alligator River for a big barra,” Andy reported. “With most teams overnighting in their boats near Mud Island or up Brook Creek at the mouth of the South Alligator, anglers battled rough conditions, electrical storms and a never-ending assault from sand flies to score some golden snapper in the mid-70cm range, as well as other great fish. “Junior angler Matt Bolitho won the outright jewfish prize with a 122cm fish after zipping across to the mouth of East Alligator River. “But the catch of the day went to local female angler, Lou Webster. “After bottom fishing without luck, and with a winning barra in mind, her skipper Brett Warhurst ventured a few kilometres upstream to the mouth of Brook Creek to throw a few lures around. “With the boys having the first flick, they quickly wound in two fish in the mid-80s, then Lou’s first cast saw her Reidy’s Judge lure smashed by a 98cm barra – taking out the major prize in the competition. “Overall, 248 fish were registered and, although fish size was down on previous comps, organisers were happy that good numbers were not only caught in the big rivers, but also in the billabongs where it’s been slim pickings since the big rain event in mid-September,” Andy said. ****************************************** The tides this weekend are quite interesting. Given that last Saturday’s low tide in Darwin Harbour was 1.6m, it’s unusual that this Saturday’s tide is practically identical at 1.7m. The difference is that last week’s tides were on the making springs and this weekend the tides will be moving towards their neap tidal range. Normally this scenario would throw up better barra fishing in the harbour, for example, last week than this week. However, my information is that last weekend the barra were far from co-operative. Even though there was plenty of bait evident, little surface feeding was taking place. What does this tell you? Maybe it’s a clue to better fishing this weekend in the harbour, against what one might have predicted. Saturday’s tide is definitely the pick for a harbour arm barra session. I’d suggest you’d want to be at your chosen spot by 11.00am, fishing the flats first and then the gutters whilst the arms are still draining. Expect the usual lull around dead low tide, but the barra could really come on the bite when the 6.6m high tide begins to flow in, especially as it will be late afternoon – around 4.30-5.30pm. If nothing happens by 6.00pm, there’s still time to get off the water before dark and home for a coldie around the barbecue. This scenario will roughly repeat itself on Sunday; it’s just that there won’t be as much movement given the 2.1m low rising to 6.3m. By the way, the water police were at the East Arm boat ramp checking boats for safety equipment late on Sunday, so make sure you have all your safety gear and your flares up to date. PHOTOS: Former World MotoGP Champion, Casey Stoner, and IFish TV’s Paul Worsteling have just returned from a great trip to the revamped Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge where they caught everything from barra, to mackerl to tasty reef fish like this coral trout and golden snapper combo.
Lou Webster’s 98cm barra from the South Alligator mouth enabled her to win last weekend’s Alligator Fishing Club Challenge.
Jemma Pope’s 78cm barra was tops in the junior section of the Alligator Fishing Club Challenge.
Jordyn Lowther was rapt with her Bynoe Harbour goldie.