We’re sliding right into the neap tides this weekend, and this will provide the ideal opportunity to target bluewater fish. Sunday is the pick simply because the offshore wind and wave forecasts are for milder conditions than on Saturday. The tidal range will also be less on Sunday and both the daytime high and low tides are at respectable hours. There are a huge number of blue-water options, including Kakadu; that is, as long as you’re prepared to belt down the South Alligator River to the mouth and beyond From the boat ramp, the first third of the river going down is where you have to be careful not to run aground on submerged mudbars. Be especially careful at Round The World which is strewn with mudbars. As long as you have a depth sounder that works at fast-planing speed - with a shallow-depth alarm that you can set at about 2 metres - then you should never run aground because you should always have enough time to pull up. If you suddenly find yourself in shallow water, throw the motor into reverse and back up immediately. Out from the mouth of the South, you have Field and Barron Islands, with Field the pick for working the shallow reefs and ledges for snapper, jew and salmon. A good trip is to overnight, swagging in your boat on a lee shore. Of course, there’s barra fishing options too down that way, in particular around Barron Island and the reefs in that vicinity. These areas are the domain of metre-plus barra, so be ready. There’s also good jewie fishing to be had by boating down the Mary River from Shady Camp and heading offshore a few kilometres to the shallow jew grounds. You’ll need to launch at least a couple of hours before dawn so you can get through the shallow section just below the boat ramp, and then come up with the rising tide late in the afternoon. Some of the reef patches out from the Mary mouth are less than 3m at low tide, so you can actually work them for barra too. And don’t be surprised if your succulent squid bait is set upon by a species of painted cray – they’re real carnivores out there. Cape Hotham and round the corner to Ruby Island is a nice day trip heading out from Leader’s Creek. Wide of Cape Hotham, there are good snapper grounds, and jew are also available. There is excellent security for a small price at Leader’s Creek Fishing Base, and that is also one option for accessing the Vernon Islands and the famous Blue Hole at Gunn Point. Jew on the change of tide are a special in the channel between South West Vernon and Gunn Point. You can also camp at the Leader’s Creek Fishing Base, or avail yourself of the air-conditioned donga accommodation; it’s a pretty good setup there. By the way, both weekend high tides are perfect for trolling the eastern bank down near the mouth for both big saltwater barra and black jew. Closer to Darwin, Lee Point is where you go if it’s blowing and mackerel action is your goal. Fish early and late, or on the change of the tide. Both mackerel and discreet schools of longtail tuna having been busting out from Lee Point to the harbour; and the further offshore you go, the more schools you will encounter. If you intend to target jewfish on the neaps, begin with the Bus Stop Reef off Lee Point, the harbour wrecks and artificial reefs, the Fenton Patches artificial Reefs, Charles Point Patches, Dundee Jew Reef, Point Blaze and Channel Point.
Head for the bluewater this weekend – Laura Tolmay with a solid golden snapper caught jigging an Asari Escape-Z metal vibe.
Christine Mansfield reckons giant trevally (aka GTs) are a special out on the blue over the next few days.
Rory Tolmay snuck into a Cobourg creek to catch this ripper threadfin salmon casting a small green Bomber.