Hooked up

Whether you’re trolling for a big barra on the Daly, flick­ing a plas­tic into the lilies on a Kakadu bil­l­abong, or chas­ing macs on the blue wa­ter, we’ve got you cov­ered


The Barra Na­tion­als on the Daly River last week proved tough for most teams, with fish com­ing on the bite in the last days of the com­pe­ti­tion as the tides picked up. Team Tackle World Revos won yet again, hot on the heels of their Kakadu Klash win on the South Al­li­ga­tor River.

Among barra fish­er­men, Tackle World’s Shane Com­pain has reached leg­endary sta­tus, con­sis­tently win­ning the Top End’s ma­jor events over suc­ces­sive years.

While day­time fish­ing was hard for Nats com­peti­tors, the Daly fired at night for at least a cou­ple of pri­vate crews, with good num­bers of mostly small­ish fish caught. This is not un­usual.

Boat traf­fic dur­ing the river fish­ing events can take its toll.

A for­mer Dar­win barra fish­ing guide told me last week he of­ten ob­served fish go off the bite with the ar­rival of sev­eral boats at a rock­bar.

Whether traf­fic af­fects the fish­ing de­pends on cir­cum­stances, as it is not un­usual to have a good bite with other boats around.

Else­where, the fish­ing has been noth­ing short of ex­cel­lent. Sail­fish were about in big num­bers in Fog Bay be­fore the wind set in, with sev­eral crews re­port­ing mul­ti­ple sight­ings, hook-ups and successful tags. Mack­erel were also around in num­bers. For those look­ing for qual­ity fil­lets, golden snap­per have been bit­ing well on the reefs around Dar­win, and you don’t have to travel far. The same ap­plies with jew­fish.

With crabs also on the move, it looks like be­ing a great year for Top End fish­ing. It is amaz­ing what a good wet sea­son can do. As I write this, a late low-pressure sys­tem was bring­ing blus­tery con­di­tions to Dar­win, and a lit­tle rain.

In re­ports, Fish­ing and Out­door World’s Ron­ald Vouko­los said the wind from the low­pres­sure sys­tem was slow­ing peo­ple down when the fish­ing was good.

“The mack­erel have come on at Dundee and the sail­fish run has con­tin­ued,” he said.

“There have been loads of sail­fish off Dundee, and mack­erel from Long Lost to Sail City. The jewie run is con­tin­u­ing in Dar­win Har­bour, and there have been good goldie re­ports from Fish Reef and even grounds just off Night­cliff. “Trevally have been around the fore­shores. “Barra-wise, our staffer Adam was out on the week­end fish­ing around Shady Camp bar­rage. They just hung around Shady Camp for their trip and caught quite a few, the best fish around 85cm, on soft plas­tics.

“Jor­dan Smart said his mate got a 96cm fish at Marsh Creek, but I have not had any other re­ports from coastal creeks.

“There was a bit of a fish kill at Cor­ro­boree Bil­l­abong, but a lot of the weeds have been flushed out and there are heaps of tar­pon in there. The wa­ter is still high on the flood­plain.

“You can get into the East Al­li­ga­tor River now, so the re­ports should be com­ing in.”

Craig’s Fish­ing Ware­house’s Matt Smith said there were plenty of thread­ies at Shady Camp.

“It has been a bit hard on the barra front, it is not go­ing as crazy as it was,” he said.

“The spring tides seemed to fish bet­ter than the neaps this year at Shady — it has been a more typ­i­cal run-off sce­nario.

“Even the big creeks Sam­pan and Tommy Cut have fished well on the top of the big tides, rather than the neaps. There is still a rea­son­able amount of wa­ter there.

“The Barra Na­tion­als was a bit of a strug­gle at the Daly. I think it was the Easter boat traf­fic that slowed it down, be­cause at night it has been fish­ing well.

“The Fin­niss River has been good, but it is get­ting dirty.

“Jewies and goldies have been bit­ing well in the har­bour.

“There are mack­ies and tuna rock­ing up al­ready, with land­based GTs off East Point and Lee Point.

“Crabs are get­ting around. They have been around most of the year, but peo­ple are get­ting some goods ones now.

“Cor­ro­boree Bil­l­abong is open, but I have not heard any re­ports.

“The top of Shady Camp is ab­so­lutely chock-full of rats from 25cm up.

“The Ade­laide River has been fish­ing all right up­stream.

“It looks like it’s go­ing to be windy for a while, which will slow ev­ery­one down a bit.”

Tackle World’s Si­mon Bo­chow said the Barra Nats saw crews catch­ing quite a few fish up­stream above Banyan Farm early on.

“As the tides got big­ger the fish down the bot­tom came on a bit more,” he said.

“As the tides started to build the fish started feed­ing a bit bet­ter.

“Tackle World Revo’s big­gest fish was only an 80cm or so fish — they got the num­bers rather than big fish.

“The Ade­laide River has been fish­ing all right around the up­per rock­bars and Beatrice Creek, with most of the fish in the 50s and 60s.

“Shady Camp has been fish­ing all right — it has been re­ally good this year.

“And the South Al­li­ga­tor River is fish­ing well with loads of rats up the top, and the oc­ca­sional big fish.

“The Fin­niss River is still fish­ing OK, but not like it was a cou­ple of weeks ago.

“The har­bour has been OK. Chris Rain­bird saw a 90cm barra out on the flats, and caught a cou­ple of smaller fish.

“There are a lot of jewies in the har­bour at the mo­ment, and tuna are around as well now.

“Cor­ro­boree Bil­l­abong has far fewer weeds now and there are a few barra be­ing caught — it should be a good year for Cor­ro­boree.

“There were loads of sail­fish off Dundee be­fore the low-pressure sys­tem came through, also lots of goldies, trick­ies and reds — the off­shore scene has been awe­some this year.”

The Tackle Box’s Hugh Rae­burn said he fished the blue­wa­ter last Fri­day wide of Dar­win Har­bour and found quee­nies and mack­ies on jigs.

“The big­gest mack­erel was 122cm to the fork, and the small­est 108cm,” he said.

“Then we did the Fin­niss fresh­wa­ter and got some barra and sooties — there was still quite a lot of wa­ter out there.

“Shady Camp has been on and off. Some have no luck and say it has gone quiet and oth­ers have done re­ally well.

“The ma­jor­ity of cus­tomers were chas­ing blue­wa­ter fish be­fore the wind came up.

“Mates have been chas­ing tuna — they have been out the front of the har­bour and wider.

“There are lots of lit­tle rat barra about at the Ade­laide River. And the Shady Camp bar­rage is pro­duc­ing heaps of lit­tle ones.”

On the fish­ingter­ri­tory.com fo­rums, the FFF Seadogs “Jew­fish Busters” brag mat round kicks off on May 1, with bar­ra­mundi also el­i­gi­ble.

Seadogs com­peti­tors are vy­ing for a Mo­torGuide Xi5 elec­tric mo­tor, Garmin sounder/plot­ter, GME VHF ra­dio, Rei­dys lures and more.

There is still time to en­ter — get into Craig’s Fish­ing Ware­house and grab a FFF sticker, then fol­low the easy in­struc­tions at fish­ingter­ri­tory.com to en­ter your fish.

Charli Hale with a PB barra caught in Dar­win Har­bour

Bring your camp oven, game meat del­i­cacy and best recipe to the Game Get­ter's Ban­quet at NT Field and Game on May 13

Ash­leigh Read­ett with a PB barra mea­sur­ing 76cm caught off Man­ingrida

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