Monday, April 25, 2016

Fishing Elisabeth River.

Hi There,

For the first time, I went fishing the Elisabeth River, Thanks to an invitation from Brett.

  • I had never fished the Elisabeth River before.
  • The main target was Barramundi.
  • I got badly sunburnt.
Brett had told me on the phone to meet him at Palmerston boat ramp on the Lizzie River.
Now, after arriving in Darwin a bit over 19 years ago, I still didn't know where was the Palmerston boat ramp or the Lizzie River...
Looking for Palmerston boat Ramp on Google Maps gave me another ramp.
Looking for Lizzie River boat ramp, gave me a boat ramp on Elizabeth River, close enough, that must be the one.

I made my way to the ramp and arrived a bit earlier than planned, but Brett was already on the water, so all was good.
With the tide still a bit high, Brett decided to show me a spot where Queenfish always go feeding on a big tide.
And yes, they were around in big numbers, feeding like hungry chickens.
Brett started to get some fish on the fly rod:

Brett getting a Queenfish on the fly rod.

This was getting real fun, with double hook up happening on a regular basis.
Even if I kept loosing my fish.
I was using a small Rapala Skitter Pop and the surface strikes were very visual and exciting.
I finally got a fish to the boat and released it, and immediately started to cast again.
Got another nice small Queenfish on the same lure:

Queenfish on Rapala Skitter Pop.

This one I keep for a feed.
I then tried to put a chrome slice with a single hook on my line. The idea was to let it sink, and then try to bring it back in an as erratic as possible way, on the baitcaster, to see if bigger fish were swimming deeper down the water column.
I was getting hits on the drop, and finally got a fish to stick to the lure.
It was a small Trevally.
It was great fun and I could have done that for a few hours without getting bored. But the tide had started to slow, and it was time to go and try for some Barramundi.
The plan was to fish some little creeks sight casting to the Barra.

One of the many little creek on Elisabeth River.

The first Barramundi that we saw, was on Brett's side.
He made a perfect cast just a bit in front of it, and swam the lure past its nose.
The Barramundi didn't think twice and boofed the little lure with gusto.
Once it realised it had been tricked, it jumped out of the water and showed us his nice chromy sides, that was a healthy fish!
Now, netting a Barramundi is not exactly rocket science, but for some reason I had to have a few go at it, and it is only on the third try that the fish finally went in the net. Which was about time, as I was starting to stress that it was going to chew on the thin leader used by Brett.

A nice salt water Barramundi.

That was a good fish and it made us very optimist for the rest of the morning.
Well, we did see numerous other ones, to which I flicked lures, but without any good results.
I just was too excited to see the Barramundi swimming in clear shallow waters. I casted too far, or too close, when it was not behind the fish.
I missed my casts, I spooked the fish, and I didn't catch any on them.

With the wind starting to blow, we decided to go in another creek.
At the entrance of which was a crocodile trap.

Crocodile trap in the creek water.

Let's just say that it must have been a very clever croc living in that creek.
And that instead of taking the bait in the trap, he had eaten all the Barramundi of the creek.
At least that will be our excuse for not finding any fish there. 

The creek.

It was a beautiful creek, but we couldn't catch any Barramundi in there.

By now it was the morning's end, and I had told my daughter that I would take her shopping early in the afternoon. It was time to go back.

Thank you Brett for inventing me on your fine boat, I had a great time on the water, and saw new places that I had never fished before.

Yes I know, I have to learn to stop being excited as a kid in a lolly shop, when trying to sight cast at some Barramundi. 

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fishing Two Locations On The Same Day.

Hi there,

Yes we went fishing on two locations on the same day, and this is the short story of it.
  • We fished Corroboree Billabong and the Adelaide River.
  • We got fish on many different lures.
  • It was a long but great day.
On the Saturday afternoon, I got a message from Jason asking me if I wanted to go fishing on Sunday?
It didn't take long for me to realise that really, there was not much else that I wanted to spend my Sunday doing. 
The plan was to fish Corroboree early in the morning, and then zoom to the Adelaide Rived in the afternoon.
So at 5:00am we found ourselves on the way to the Billabong. And yes, it is at least for me the city boy, always a very beautiful thing to see, the Billabong waking up in the morning:

Corroboree Billabong in the morning.

We had expected to see a long queue of boats launching at the ramp...
Nobody was there, we had the place for ourselves.
With no one else there, we decided that we could try first to have a few casts in the lilies just on the right of the ramp.
Well people often say that in fishing you have to do the miles to get the smile, but not this time.
We had just launched, it was not yet 7:00am, and just like that, I was on to a beautiful little fresh water Barramundi:

First Barramundi of the trip. Akame!

No it was not a giant at 65 cm (25.590551 In.), but hey, I was happy as one can be. Just a few minutes on the water, a dozen casts and we had a fish was on board.
Oh how that Barramundi fishing seemed easy just then. Well it was going to be a little while before the next Barra. But other fish were to be caught in the interim.
Yet with no other fish taking our lures, we decided to go for a bit of a troll along the waterways.
And simply enjoy the morning light.

Lilie pads at Corroboree Billabong.

A former colleague from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, had told me that if I could one day bring him back a Saratoga or Scleropages leichardti, as it is  called by the people of knowledge, for the museum collection. Well guess what? We hadn't been trolling for long, and once again I was On! This time to a nice little Saratoga who had taken an unhealthy liking to my Reidy's lure:

Saratoga on the Big Lucifer lure.

My first Saratoga of the day.

Mission accomplished, I had a Saratoga and it was going to go in the museum collection.
As such, we recorded the GPS coordinates of where it had been taken, the time (7:45am), and depth at with the lure was swimming (2,5 metres).
Sometimes simple little things like this makes me happy.

We then started to have a lot of success with the Tarpon, and it wasn't that hard because they were everywhere.

Jason with the first Tarpon of the day.

They were good fun, and some of them were really fat and hit hard, for such little fish.

Pandanus on the bank.

We even tried to fish with some small soft plastic vibes, and I got a nice Saratoga with them, and Jason got one too:

Saratoga on the small vibe.

Between the Tarpon and Saratoga it was great billabong fishing.

Jason working another Tarpon.

Still, I wanted another Barra, and started to think that for it to happen I would have to cast deep in the lilies again, instead than just on the edge of the lilies. Yet, I was not brave enough to flick a vibe with two treble straight in the under water forest made by the water lilies stems.
So I naturally opted for a small soft plastic, the smallest one in my bag, a little Reidy's of just a few centimetres, in the chartreuse colour. I would love to show you this lure, but really there is not much to show...
Judge for yourselves:

Can you see it?

Yes you can't see much, but let me tell you that the fish liked it.
With the temperature of the day rising, the action went down.

Every body needs a place to rest when it's hot.

So we decided that it might be time for a move toward the Adelaide River.
And this is just what we did.

Not long after starting to fish on the Adelaide, Jason got on his first Barra of the day:

Happy as a man who just caught a fish.

Yes, even after having lived outside of the Northern Territory for a few years, Jason was still able to find the Barramundi on one of his favourite rivers.
Not only he was able to find some fish, but he was able to put me on them too.
First I lost one at the boat, which if you ask me was totally unfair.
So we trolled again, when I got a nice little hit, and my line took a tangent for the bank.
Not wanting my fish to go straight for the snags, I thumbed my spool and jerked a bit the rod, and the fish started to swim my way. From the fight I quickly realised that it wasn't too big, but got a bit of a fright when it came boat side, as I had the impression to see a shark or a crocodile swim just under it.
Not knowing for sure what it was, or even if it wasn't just a figment of my imagination. The fish was rapidly lifted in the boat.

My dinner had been sorted.

At 56 cm (22.047244 Inches) it was just over the minimum legal size, and in the esky it went.
I was laughing at how I panicked when I had this small Barramundi on the line, thinking that it was going to be taken from me, by some underwater predator.
When Jason got a solid hit and was now connected to what was obviously a better fish.
As fast as possible I reeled in my lure, and got the net ready when I heard Jason scream: Oh there is a shark!!! Oh no!!!
And that was it:

When a shark gets the better part of your Barramundi.

Before I had even had the time to turn around with the net and to look at this big fish in the water, that shark had done his shark job... It had collected its tax, under the form of fresh food...
This is not the first time that I saw a shark taking part or even a full Barramundi from a hooked line. But this one was the fastest of them all. So fast that in fact, I didn't even see it.
But at least now I know that I had not dreamed when I had my smaller fish on the line, there are sharks in the water...

A bit further up the river, Jason caught another Barramundi:

Last Barramundi of the day.

All the fish we caught on the Adelaide, were very chrome looking. Not as fat as the fish we hooked in Corroboree billabong earlier in the day, but still very healthy.

Sadly it was starting to be late, and it was time to race down the river, toward the ramp and home.
As we started to make our way back, the weather dramatically changed, a storm seemed ready to pounce on us, and the sky kept changing all the way to the ramp, for the rain to start lightly falling only once we were in the car.
Yet the spectacle that the sky gave us, reminded me of one of the many reasons why I love going fishing in the Top End so much.

The multiple colours of the sky.

Yes I know, it is a lot of photographs of the sky, but I had forgotten how it can change so fast.
It was a good reminder of why I prefer going fishing than playing video games.

Thank you Jason for inviting me to fish from your boat.

And yes it is true, the best Barramundi of the trip was sharked...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,