We are about to find out exactly how good the fishing is at the South Alligator River. The reason is that the annual Aurora Kakadu Klash kicks off today, and no less than 40 teams will be plying the big river’s waters for three full days. This is the first barramundi tournament of the Territory Grand Slam and, for many, it is their favourite. The other two big ones are the Barra Nationals and the Barra Classic, and these are held over five days of competition with points awarded for all barra caught, measured and released. The Aurora Kakadu Klash, on the other hand, awards points only for the biggest barra each team catches each day. This makes it pretty well a team event only because each team of three can register just one fish for each of the three days of competition. Points awarded correlate to the length of each day’s nominated fish. This means that, to have a chance, you must catch a fish a day. Normally, it is won with a three-day total of about 280 points; that is, your three barra would total about 280cm in length. Catch a couple of decent metreys in the first two days and you’ll be a big chance of winning even with a small fish on the last day. Mind you, I’ve seen that scenario tumble before: a team having a mighty lead after two days and needing only a 55-60cm barra on the last day to win, but catching zilch and getting beaten. In the Klash, competitors can use whatever line they wish, but the total length of leader and double line cannot exceed 10 feet, including the lure length, and neither double nor leader can exceed 6 feet. All hooks used must have their barbs crushed flat too so fish can be released quickly with minimal damage. Fish are measured on a measuring board or mat and must be photographed on the measuring device with the scoring competitor’s name card easily seen in the image. The Klash is being held on neap tides this year, which opens up much more of the river due to less tidal flow, and also facilitates easy launching and retrieving at the start and end of the day. I understand there is still a great deal of water up the top of the South on the floodplains, but it should be dropping quickly now with the lesser tides. Mind you, there is plenty of tidal momentum on the last day which should liven up the fishing if it has been slow. On these tides, I’d expect Nourlangie Creek mouth and the first few hundred metres up the creek to the rock-bar to get plenty of attention. But the bigger, faster boats will still charge downriver to fish places like the famous Brook Creek. I was chatting with Aurora Kakadu General Manager, Martin Sisson, on Tuesday, and he told me that a charter boat with three clients caught four metreys that day. I also heard there are 1000s of mullet swimming in the river; hopefully they’ll still be there as the barra will be hanging around them. First prize in the Klash is $9000 from Aurora itself, and there are always great sponsored prizes too. I’ll have a full report next week. …………………………………………………….. You won’t want to be at the South Alligator while the Klash is on, but Shady Camp certainly beckons. Over the past week there has been some spectacular barra action at creek mouths along the coast either side of the Mary River in Chambers Bay. However, on these tides, the respective mouths of Sampan Creek and Tommycut Creek should also be clear enough to troll. These two creeks make up the Mary River itself. The Finniss and Little Finniss Rivers have continued to fish quite well, although not to the frenzied extent of a fortnight ago. I haven’t heard much from the Daly River, so that may mean there’s not much happening there, but that is sure to change shortly as the river begins to drop. Another option is the Adelaide River, both up and downstream. Wherever you finish up this weekend, if you find a nice colour change at a feeder creek mouth, you’re halfway to barra success. PHOTOS:
A nice runoff barra comes aboard the River to Reef NAFA boat… notice the colour change behind.