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 c macs on the blue wa­ter, we’ve got you cov­ered

Sunday Territorian - - FRONTIER - MATT FLYNN FISH­ING

COBIA were a fish not of­ten heard of around Dar­win more than 10 years ago.

Yes, Dar­win fishos have al­ways caught one or two. But they seem to be show­ing up more in catches now.

There have been big cobia caught off Dundee Beach this year.

Oc­ca­sional crack­ers have been caught in the har­bour, but Dundee is where they are abun­dant.

Tackle World’s Shane Com­pain caught a cracker cobia re­cently on a swim­ming bait in­tended for bill­fish.

It does seem to be the bill­fish crews who are see­ing the most cobia.

Cobia are pelagic fish and can of­ten be found es­cort­ing large sea crea­tures such as manta rays.

De­spite their pelagic na­ture, they are a top rung ta­ble fish.

Recre­ational fishos are priv­i­leged in that cobia are hard to com­mer­cially har­vest in num­bers, so fishos have cobia to them­selves.

They are just one of the many big fish that NT fishos can tar­get with­out trav­el­ling far.

Cobia fight like a horse and have an ex­cep­tional flavour, so if one shows up on the sur­face, be sure to flick a bait at it.

Mean­while, the weather is warm­ing fast and there has been some early rain. Last year, Septem­ber was a very wet month. Will it start up early again? The new boat ramp is com­plete at Shady Camp, and fishos seem happy with, af­ter ini­tial doubts about the de­sign and lo­ca­tion.

The big test of the ramp will be in the wet sea­son, when the run-off is un­der way and the river is in flood, and a line of boats are wait­ing.

In re­ports, Craig’s Fish­ing Ware­house’s Mal Strong said red em­peror and snap­per had been bit­ing well at Dundee.

“The wind has backed off a lit­tle and we have been get­ting a bit of rain,” he said.

“Bathurst Island had a good storm on Wed­nes­day, and so did Humpty Doo.

“It is start­ing to get hot. All the tourists are leav­ing.

“The Stena Clyde drilling rig is still pro­duc­ing mack­ies, trick­ies and GTs.

“There are some sail­fish and marlin at Dundee and they are start­ing to spot a few bill­fish around the drilling rig now.

“Shane Com­pain hooked a big marlin and lost it at Dundee, they were trolling swim baits, his crimp gave way dur­ing the fight.

“There are some nice queen­fish be­ing caught off Man­do­rah jetty and nice mack­ies as well.

“The Fin­niss River and Shoal Bay have been pro­duc­ing barra, and also Dar­win Har­bour.

“There have been good mud crabs up the El­iz­a­beth River.”

Kather­ine Rod and Ri­fle’s War­ren de With said it had been get­ting warm in town.

“It was 38C on Wed­nes­day but the hu­mid­ity is not high yet,” he said.

“The wind has dropped off a bit.

“There are good tides this week­end and many lo­cal fishos are go­ing to the Vic, which has been crab­bing well, too, as the salt­wa­ter has pushed right up.

“There have been some good barra caught down the Daly, they are get­ting them in the usual places be­tween Char­lies Creek and Al­li­ga­tor Head.

“Fishos are just look­ing for the clear wa­ter for lure fish­ing, but cher­abin baits are pro­duc­ing fish.

“I think the new Shady Camp boat ramp is

tremen­dous, the de­sign and fin­ish looks the goods.

“It is go­ing to make a good ad­di­tion for the run-off fish­ing sea­son, you will be able to ac­cess the river with­out back­ing your car into the wa­ter.

“And it is also go­ing to make some­thing of a fish­ing spot, too, as there are back ed­dies around it where peo­ple will find bait and barra.

“Bait will be hang­ing out of the cur­rent around the ramp.

“But the ramp may cre­ate calm ar­eas where crocs can sit un­der wa­ter, too, so peo­ple must be care­ful.

“It has been very windy the past month so we have not had a lot of re­ports from down the track.

“Peo­ple will fish Port Roper in the build-up, but even the com­mer­cial guys are say­ing it has been tough on that side of the Top End this year, the top of the Gulf of Car­pen­taria just did not get the rain, even the head­wa­ters of the Roper River did not get the proper rain and it hasn’t for three or four years.

“Mud crabs in the Gulf started off well this year but seemed to have slowed right down.

“No one com­mer­cially crabs around Dar­win in the har­bour and much of Shoal Bay and there­fore the crab­bing is bet­ter.

“The Kather­ine River it­self was pretty slown this year be­cause the river did not flood for long, it got up to about 15m for a day or so, it needs more than that to re­ally fish.

“The Victoria River has been the stand­out for us, it got a proper flush in the wet sea­son and has fished well.”

Tackle World’s Si­mon Bo­chow said Shane Com­pain went to Dundee on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day and hooked and lost a de­cent marlin and landed a sail­fish.

“They reckon the marlin was pretty big,” Si­mon said.

“I haven’t heard much else lately, but peo­ple are get­ting ready for the bill­fish comp, peo­ple will be head­ing out there to re­con and they will prob­a­bly now be keep­ing quiet.

“It is re­ally start­ing to warm up, the har­bour is fish­ing quite well for barra, the bil­l­abongs are fish­ing well, Lead­ers Creek and the mouth of the Ade­laide River and the Shady Camp coast should all start to fish well.

“The new Shady Camp ramp looks good, hope­fully there is enough wa­ter around the ramp to get in with­out belt­ing your boat.

“But you still will not be able to launch or re­trieve from half tide out with­out flood­wa­ter be­cause there will be no wa­ter.

“Around Dar­win the jew­ies and goldies are still fir­ing.

“The Nar­rows and Shoal Bay and other coastal spots should start pro­duc­ing jew­ies now as the weather warms.

“There has been a lot of cobia off Dundee, whether there is more peo­ple out there re­port­ing them, or there are more cobia around is hard to say.”

Don’t for­get that the NT’s Mil­lion Dol­lar Fish kicks off next month.

There are 100 barramundi with $10,000 tags in them, and a $1m fish, all wait­ing to be caught.

They have been re­leased in wa­ter­ways across the Top End.

Ana­conda's Ja­son Rogers with a cracker barra from the har­bour

Alana Mon­tague and Chantelle Tre­b­ley with a solid Dundee cobia, caught with Dave Rinkin of An­gler's Choice Fish­ing Sa­faris

Paul O'Con­nor said his mate Ivan Pas­tauovic vis­ited the NT for his 50th birth­day last week and was very happy to catch this 92cm barra on a Clas­sic F18 lure

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