Easter is here, and the Easter Bunny has brought anglers excellent fishing conditions to help us enjoy our extra-long weekend. Big spring tides offer plenty of opportunities no matter what style of fishing you favour. Out on the blue water, Fenton Patches and South Gutter have all produced quality fish; bottom bouncers report coral trout, golden snapper and jewies on the chew. With bigger tidal movements this Easter, aim to fish around the turn of the tide so it is easier to get a bait or lure down to the bottom. The turn of the morning high tide is the prime time to be out there if you’re chasing mackerel, so Saturday through to Monday are the go with early-morning high tides sure to produce. An early morning start is always a good idea when heading offshore anyway, as it generally ensures better weather conditions. Mind you the forecast for this Easter weekend is mainly light winds, so boaties can roam far and wide with ideal dry season conditions. Trolling bibbed minnows is as reliable as anything for mackerel, and will allow you to locate where the macks are holding so you can drift back over the school and jig. The Bluewater Saury lure – a monster weapon – is proving deadly on mackerel, and can be trolled super fast. If anchored, feeding a live bait out the back will soon attract a few toothy customers, although they might not always be the species you’re after. The best spot for jewies right now seems to be Dundee where most fish are over 10kg and have been caught in numbers. Moving onto barra, with the exception of the top of the South Alligator River, there is bugger-all runoff action available in our big rivers. The Daly was very disappointing for the competitors in the Girls Gone Fishing competition last week. That’s not good news for the two big barra comps to come: the NT Barra Classic and the Club Marine Barra Nationals. My tip is there will be many qualifying for the 'full stop' awards this year, given how low the river is expected to be. Shoal Bay is producing some good barra as well, with the famous Rock featuring prominently in reports. The afternoon low tides all through Easter are perfect for Darwin and Bynoe Harbour barra; you don’t even have to get up too early. If you’re heading for Shoal Bay, as long as you launch when there is still sufficient water to get to your chosen spot, then you can fish the run out, the turn of the low and the start of the run in tide. Good news is that the iconic Corroboree Billabong is starting to fish well. Corroboree expert, Kevin Eccles, has been up to his old tricks – fishing solo and catching lots of barra in the 80s and 90s. Roger Sinclair checked out Corroboree with Tim Pel, and they found plenty of willing barra on ZMan MinnowZ weedless soft plastics. “Once you get through the hordes of tarpon, you have a chance for a barra or saratoga,” Roger told me. “The tarpon would hit the softies and put them out of alignment; it was happening just about every other cast. “They were a good size but it did get painful,” Roger reported. It seems the lilies are back with a vengeance at Corroboree; not surprising given the lack of push this last wet season. If you do drive to Corroboree, watch out for wandering buffalo. So both barra and blue are good options this Easter. Enjoy, and please stay safe.
Kim Goodhue with her first metre barra, a whopping 115cm fish caught with Mousies Barra & Bluewater Fishing Charters.
The man himself, Mousies’ Shannon Latham with a beaut 95cm Daly River barra.
Team Barrarinas’ Kelsey Macmillan, Crystal Neal and Amy Le Hars with Crystal’s 69cm barra caught in the recent Great Northern Brewery Girls Gone Fishing competition on the Daly River.