While in the Northern Territory I wanted to get after some good Barramundi and some of the other spp. like Saratoga. I have been a little reluctant to fish the tidal stretches of the rivers mainly because I have no boat but more so because the upstream clearer non tidal stretches must be far more pleasant to fish. Sure the fish might not be as big but sometimes its not all about size:)
So I had a plan when the guy who has kindly put me up in Darwin suggests his secret spot in Kakadu. Sounds good and Graham even kindly offers to drop me and my bike out there which is good as it means I can easily carry enough supplies to keep me going for two weeks no problem.
So we headed out a few weeks ago, me with some bags bulging with tins of baked beans, noodles, snickers and a heap of new lures that I suspect might tempt some fish. Graham with a few bits to camp for a night before heading back to Darwin for work.
Well as soon as we found a spot and saw the river I knew it was going to be a very interesting two weeks. grabbing my rod and attaching a small rubber shad within 5 casts a small Barra graced the bank, followed a few casts later by one of his mates. I then tried a small rubber crayfish (that twitchemup had kindly given me) and bang! on the drop a Saratoga nails it..hmm interesting indeed! three fish so a cup of tea was in order before having a wander up stream.
The rest of the afternoon passed with four species nailling the crap out of my lures. Barra, Saratoga,tarpon and Sooty Grunter. The river is shallow with a golden sand bed and every so often a pool will be found that more often than not is full of fish. Personal fishing as you see the follow, the take, the fight and then the fish swim back to it's spot. By the end of the afternoon I ended up landing around 24 fish and losing countless others. The last one was the heftiest. A nice Barra that tried to eat my spinner bait 5 times before finally getting it on the 6th cast. past the shallows are deeper strecthed where bigger fish lurk
On the way up I nearly stood on this crocodile
In the shallows many of the Barra were small but still very entertaining thanks to their cartwheels and tail walks
So the next morning Graham went back to Darwin and I started exploring and fishing hard. Its a long story which I can't really complete here but over the next 10 days I didn't see a single other person and caught probably around 250 fish of the above mentioned spp. and also some good Archer Fish. Most came to surface lure which made for some heart stopping takes. Plenty of great jumping antics from the barra and Saratoga and hard fights from the Sooties.
A barra that wanted the heddon baby torpedo
Hard fighting Sooty grunter on the surface lure
The Saratoga were big and strong. great fights with jumps and acrobatics. Hard bony mouths tho so often they would throw the hooks right at the bank
One of the better Barra on the surface lure
The Archer fish were something to behold and fought hard for their size. I remember reading them when I was a tiddler in one of my nature books..shit a fish that shoots insects out of a tree! wow and here they were nailing my surface lures! great
The Saratoga had some serious chompers so you must feel sorry for any frog that ventures into the river...or for that matter a r2s tango prop. most of the paint had been removed after 3 days.
battered and bruised after just three days. Sometimes the fish were really keen. One day from up in a tree i watched a 4kg Saratoga and a 4kg Barra both homing in on the lure from different directions. needless to say they both missed but it was pretty good viewing. At one spot I found a shoal of Barra..all around 40-60cm...they became frenzied after a few casts so I removed the hooks from the baby torpedo and had 13 strikes in 16 casts. some took the lure so hard and fast they even took line from the clutch.
Nice shot of a Saratoga in the shallow water
I had plenty of run ins with crocs...some a bit too close for comfort. One come up and try to smash the rubber frog. I had been casting for a few minutes in one spot so must have pissed him off. It was quite a strike with plenty of white water. Luckily i could get the lure out of the way. After that had three more follow froggy to with in 4 metres of the bank.
This was the lure that the crocs didn't like!
food stash for two weeks. I had to eat my through some before I could move on the bicycle.
Lure stash. most didn't get used but you never never know when you might need one..better to be prepared!!
A highly overloaded bicycle! because of all the buffalo hoof prints and the fact I had hurt my leg I pushed 50km down stream. after that the road got better and the bike lighter so I could ride again
Pushing to a new fishing spot
river at dusk before a big croc came out to thrash the fish all night..and scare the shit out of me!
After 700+nights my tent zip eventually broke. great luck to be next to a kakadu swamp. that was day three so for the nest 11 days the mozzies had a field day! luckily graham had left me some spray that helped a bit. I still struggled to sleep..and here I was contemplating the merits of mosquitoes! I came to the conclusion that they are w**"£Rers:)
The fish were pretty keen for a feed!:)
I nearly forgot the high speed ox eye tarpon. Plenty to put on a jumping show. a real delightful fish to catch
Fished out and exhausted after a long push downstream..march flies were sorting me out here!
there was great wildlife. lots of birds and also saw pigs, buff and horses, snakes, goannas, turtles, crocs, loads of fruit bats and heaps of interesting insects
stinking feral pigs
Good Barra that couldn't resist the surface fizzer
I hated these ants in India and now I hate them even more! they haven't got much going for them apart from having green bums but i don't even know if thats a good thing!
After exploring around 40km of river and walking over 12okm in the first ten days I decided to start moving. On the way I met a doctor from Darwin who invited me to join him in his tinny. It was nice to have company after ten days of solitude. At least I didn't have to talk to myself quite so much and he had cold beers!!
A good barra that we decided to throw on the coals for lunch
waiting for the fire to burn down
barra cooked to perfection
crocs came for a look when we were in the tinny.
Saying goodbye to DR Keith. Luckily my bike was lighter now having eaten most of my food in the previous 12 days. After a 10km push I could cycle for remaining few hundred kms back to darwin. Somehow with my shot leg I made it back in record time. I feel very priviledged to have got to fish this pristine place. The water tasted sweet and everything about the place was perfect. (apart from the mozzies) I hope one day I get to go back. Hope you guys enjoyed. There are many more photos on my site,
all the best, Scott