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Like Fishing? You just gotta do the NT!

Monday, 3 September 2018

One place I never worry about getting enough fish for our Cameras is the Northern Territory.... but you don’t have to be a guru to hook in - anyone who has a crack catches good fish.

The choice of locations will fill your adventure creel, and you can hire a local guide or get your DYI on.

I’ll break it all down to help you out:



Many come to catch the iconic Barra and with good reason - these fish live in calm protected waters, are voracious predators, and they jump spectacularly during the fight! They also have a firm white tasty flesh that cooks up great across a range of dishes.

The NT lays claim to the world’s largest population of Barra thanks to great management by fisheries and the huge flood plains where the baby’s go to mature.

You can catch Barra anywhere from 250 kilometres up in the headwaters of the big rivers, downstream through billabongs, cattle stations and wetlands, and into the tidal reaches of creeks.  They also get right down amongst rock bars along the coast.

Guides are based throughout the territory, from remote camps and lodges, to nearby getaways like Dundee Beach. They even do half day trips around Darwin harbour.  Talk to them before hand and let them know you want Barra - they will provide.

Whilst targeting Barra you will also catch a variety of other species from Tarpon and Saratoga, to Mangrove Jacks, Trevallys, Threadfin Salmon and Cod.

If you’re bringing your own boat you’re probably staying a while – in this case working out when and where, to catch Barra for yourself is half the fun. (There’s few places I haven’t found them.)  If you need assistance rest assured you’ll bump into a local that will help.

Land based options are a little trickier, but if you’re Croc-wise and have a tiny bit more experience and time there’s loads of options. I love travelling though the NT in motor home or camper, the places we visit this way as a family remain gloriously etched in my memory forever. To make the fishing even easier every stop has like-minded people you can network and learn from.

River crossings are a great start - many are where the tide and freshwater meet (which Barra love).   There’s mini crossings throughout the Territory, and bigger ones like Cahills, and the Daly.  Locals will be there when the tides and times are right...follow suit!

Barra Fishing is typically family friendly, but if you’re ‘shorter’ members are short on patience the new Barramundi Adventures Darwin just 45 minutes from town and is fishing’s version of Mini Golf. 


Reef and Bluewater:

Few visitors realise the epic reef and gamefish on offer.

On the reefs the XL Jewfish and Golden Snapper are prolific, Red Emperor and Nannygui can be found further out, and you’ll get Coral Trout in between. 

Big silver speedsters like Longtail Tuna, and Spanish Mackerel, come right in close at times, while the magnificent Sailfish, Cobia, Marlin and a plethora of others gamefish are in crazy numbers out in the deep blue sea.

Again a charter boat or guide is the best option - you can do a day trip from Darwin or from any coastal resort or camp across the NT.  Before booking have a chat to them about a range of species you wish to catch.


City Land Based: 

If you’re on a budget or time limit all the following can be found within 20km of Darwin:

East Point – Barra, various Trevally, Queenfish.
Lameroo Beach and The Esplanade - Trevally, Queenfish.
Stokes Hill Wharf - various Trevally, Mackerel and Queenfish.
Mandorah Jetty - 15min ferry ride from Cullen Bay – Mackerel Tuna, Barra, and just about anything!
Nightcliff Foreshore - all of the above.
Casuarina Beach – Queenfish and Trevally
Elizabeth River Jetty (Palmerston) - Mangrove Jack and Barra and Threadfin. 

This is easily accessible fishing that anyone can do-you can take your whole family along, and you don’t even need a boat!



If you want to cram in a huge variety of species and environments; a mother ship is a cost effective option because fishing, food and accommodation is all rolled into one.   You can do mini overnight trips but most are extended 5 to 15 day adventures.   A little sea going experience is essential, for example you don’t want to be someone who gets seasick easily.



All the species above can be tackled on bait, lure, and fly, and just a tiny bit of research on your target species is all that is needed.  Alternately ask your guide - some specialise in one technique, some do the lot!


Million Dollar Fish:

As if catching a Barramundi in the spectacular Northern Territory isn’t enough, the now famous Million Dollar Fish is here to lure you in. It’s pretty straight forward – catch the fish with the million dollar tag and you’ve won!  There’s another 100 Barra with $10,000 tags as well!  The big news for this year’s event is that the season now runs until the end of March, AND there’s 5 barra with the million dollar tag!!  First person to get the million dollar tag wins!  Entry is FREE, for more details and to register visit


It’s ALL good:

During a week or two in the Top End I typically do a mix of the above locations and techniques, all the while surrounded by a myriad of beautiful tropical surrounds and abundant wildlife or marine life.

Best of all the locals welcome visitors and absolutely love helping you have a great time - the fish are prolific and there’s plenty to go around!

To find out more about the accommodation, adventures, and fishing on offer visit

Rob Paxevanos
Host Fishing Australia


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