There’s no doubt that we’ve had a much better runoff than the last three years. However, I don’t think it reached its full potential simply because there was just so much rain over so long a period. I never thought I would be writing this but, just when all the rivers were flooded nicely back at the end of February, and levels began to drop, the Top End received another rain belting and the rivers rose again. Unbelievably, when they again began to fall, another deluge came in, and up the rivers went again. The recent Barra Nationals was indicative of what had happened: there was bugger all bait around and overall the Daly didn’t fish as well as it had promised to. A couple of little feeder creeks produced some quality sessions, barra were caught on the troll at a handful of locations, and a few of teams hurled weedless plastics around with both good and bad results. Barra Nationals Co-ordinator and Champion Mixed Team member, Dallas Smith, told me the best thing about this Nationals was that the teams were really spread out. “The ones who didn’t have many boats around them seemed to catch the most fish,” Dallas said. Interestingly, last weekend the Daly fired up with big barra on the fast troll, and fishing guides were doing well. Bryan Spick of Darwin Barra Fishing Tours told me the river went off early this week: “We fished two boats and caught nearly 300 barra in three days from the top of Clear Creek to the S-Bend.” All eyes will be back on the Daly starting Saturday when Shane Compain and his Team Tackle World Revos attempt to win the third major in the Top End’s barra tournament Grand Slam: the NT Barra Classic. Shane has had remarkable success in recent years, combing his uncanny ability with fish-spotting Simrad state-of-the-art marine electronics. One of the images he posted of his 24 inch Simrad was like looking into an aquarium; you could see barra swimming above the snags. Any team which beats Tackle World Revos will sure have earnt it. Elsewhere across the Top End, the barra fishing has been spasmodic. Old mate Andy Ralph told me the South Alligator just hasn’t produced consistently as it should have with so much rain; although the Aurora Kakadu Klash early last month was a winner on the tides it was held on. I reported a few weeks ago how the barra were lined up and biting right along the length of Nourlangie Creek. But it’s been on and off since. Currently, there is a heap more flood water to drop at the top of the South so more good fishing can be expected there. The coastal creeks in Chambers Bay came on last week. Terry Holtz of Stuart’s Tree Fishing Camp on the other side of the Mary River reported plenty of metre barra caught along the coast. The track in is open now and there is good camping and self-contained cabins for hire at the fishing camp. There is also a boat ramp that works on the top half of the tide. Certainly, both Sampan Creek mouth and Tommycutt Creek mouth will be worth trolling on the neap tides this weekend. The blue water has been going crazy over the last fortnight. Stacks of small sailfish were caught off Dundee last neap tides so that might happen again this weekend. George Voukolos of Fishing and Outdoor World told me that juvenile jewfish in the 80cm range were biting their heads off at No 6 Buoy. Jamie O’Brien got stuck into much bigger jewies off Charles Point, eventually driving away from ravenous 120cm fish. If you’re after some thrilling sportfishing on light tackle, head for the rocks around Mandorah where big queenfish are really on the chew. PHOTOS: Dan Mathieson’s 110cm fish was the biggest barra in last week’s Club Marine Insurance Barra Nationals.
Pirates team members Paul Williams (left) and Warren Pope (right) flank Mark Olsen who caught this barra casting a corner.
Mitch Tokley, Dan Bromham and Dan Terry of Wenlock Warriors were rightly rapt with this 85cm barra.
Dan Harding banged this 170cm barracuda on fly down at the Sir Edward Pellew Group of islands.