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A social group of dedicated fly fishers who are passionate about fly fishing in the tropical north of Australia and equally as passionate about the close camaraderie this sport brings. This passion and dedication led to the creation of the NT Flyfishers Social Mob blog site; an interactive and creative outlet where everyone can share our wonderful fly fishing adventures and link into the “after fishing” social events we enjoy in this incredible part of the world.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Love my Weekends!

Another long weekend saw me travel out to Muirella Park to have a fish. Arriving late Friday saw me being greeted by a large congregation of the locals, MOSSIES. Their presence made putting up the dome look more like a strange dance. Even more strange with a beer in one hand!


5 am saw the boat launched and on the water and just a few casts later, no more than 10 meters from the ramp, first scales in the boat, Archer fish. With the sun throwing its rays this billabong is a real pleasure to be greeted with in the morning, great to be alive feeling! The lack of surface activity in contrast to Corroboree last weekend stood out! Tarpon, Archer fish, Long Tom, Sooty Grunter, Catfish, Saratoga all came to the boat on fly in very quick time.

These pull hard!
Back to the camp for a bite of breakfast I noticed some changes to one of my favourite campsites in Kakadu, skip this paragraph if you don’t want to hear a Parks management bashing. The toilet block has received a lick of paint and looking good, fees increased from $10 to $15 per person per night, that’s life, the ground is an absolute overgrown mess, obviously no pre-opening clean up. The main change is that ALL the fire pits with BBQ plates have been removed so as a consequence people have been having fires all over and within a few weeks there won’t be a place to camp other than on top of a pile of ash. Maybe this is the reason why there was only one other camper (international) at the site who also commented about the same things. Park Management (our taxes) at work! Only a few years ago this site was so busy that it had its own onsite manager/ranger. I gave the visitor centre a call to ask if the channel from Home Billabong to Yellow Waters was still passable, “did not know????” Fished another couple of hours then decided to move on. Bashing ended!

Where are the larger ones??
Made a move to East Alligator and launched as soon as I got there and had Barra on within a few minutes. All the snags around the first corner upstream held rat Barra and the mouth of the first creek on left before sandbar corner had “a fish a cast” with rats. Took a run upstream to the sandbar where the river comes in on the left and fished the tannin water and again lots of rats along with lots of Bull Sharks that added to the aerial display of hooked Barra! If anyone is out Kakadu way don’t go past the East Fresh there are lots of barra and I am sure with persistence larger ones will be found.

From East Alligator snag. Thick with them.

As my truck still packed I made the call to take the run to Shady and give the fresh ago and know that there are BBQ plates there!!

Travelling down Shady Camp road about an hour before dark I could not get over the number of trailers coming out! Too many for unsociable me so turned off to the Rockhole ramp. I launched as soon as I got there and picked a couple of Toga immediately from under the Pandanus opposite the ramp. With darkness time for a couple of beers and a sleep, but no BBQ!

On the water before 5 am next morning and prospecting the lilies with a few Togas taking the fly with aggression. Have not been able to pick up any Toga of a decent size, 60+, at all this year.

As we get older we all tend to reminisce of things past and I recalled fishing with Dave Gardner years ago and he saying that after the wet the Barra would hold up in large mobs where food was flowing. That day with Dave was my first experience of getting more than a 100 Barra at the mouth of the Rockhole cut through. Similar thing happened with Dave Bowering and Wayne Hinton further down the billabong where water was draining off the plains through the Pandanus, big mob of fish.

With this in mind started looking for likely spots. As boats started to arrive I pushed harder up stream and pushed through the lilies where it blocked the way with the aim of getting to the junction with all the dead timber. Effort but got through, watch your engine telltail, and proceeded to prospect the likely areas, drains, snags, everywhere.

To cut a long story short, “seek and ye shall find”. When I pulled out at 3 pm I had had one of those fishing days. Smallest Barra was no more than 15cms largest 84cms. Any hooked Barra was fair game to a bigger one with the retrieve being boofed and a barra being scaled in an instant. Absolute insane!

Typical fish caught.


Yes the fish were mainly rats but if you could get past them larger ones were there. Why there? As Dave, Dave and Wayne had shown before, water coming of the plain. It does not have to be a water fall just an exit for the bait as it is forced out by the dropping level.

First legal of the day. They got bigger!!!

I love my Weekends!

Remember; “You’ll never never know, if you never never go. Get out there and fish!”

Tight lines,
Jim Churchley

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