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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Back to the Northern Territory - Top Water Time

Photos can be viewed in full definition by clicking on them 

 Back to the Northern Territory - Top Water Time - by John Cahill

On the backside of our stunning Darwin day tripping adventures of 2013 (view blog here) we hatched a plan with Ben Currell of Vision sport fishing to again hit the NT in the dry and concentrate almost exclusively on top water casting, a passion of his and incidentally ours.   Andrew was unable to make this trip so John teamed up with great mate on and off the water Victorian fishing guide Gawaine Blake.  It was to be short and sweet with 3 days on water planned

On the day of arrival we actually squeezed an unscheduled attempt - we wanted to get Gawaine a milkfish, I had enjoyed these speedsters on my last visit so a quick dash to the spot on the high tide change was planned but alas they did not show and by reports had been scarce of late.  Frequent visitors however were schools of small golden trevally which were incredible fun on our light gear.    

The next day we ventured to a billabong on the Mary River for an afternoon session devoted to top water.  We had received a small shipment of Hitter Jump Frogs designed for snake head and were keen to give them a try. Within a few casts we were starting to zone it on the honey holes amongst the Lilly pads and snags, it amazing how soon you get your eye in, it just takes a warm up.  The bites started to come pretty quick too, but converting them to hook ups was another matter, jump frogs are not known for a high conversion rate with messy eaters like saratoga and barramundi!  As the afternoon wore on we converted some very good numbers of both species.  Gawaine and I both had chances on barra in the 90 cm plus range too, Gawaines burying him deep in the weeds and mine detonating the main line on hook up, impressive take!  We had a constant companion in a saltwater crocodile of about 11 foot constantly shadowing us and slowly following us along several kilometres of billabong, he was clearly hungry and keen on some fish no doubt as he had a little chew on Ben's outboard, we decided he could have that spot, which was annoying as it seemed to have the best concentration of fish as well!  Right up to dusk the bite was very solid and inexplicably suddenly stopped.  No matter, next morning we were back on this water pre dawn and but working a different area, it was just as productive too.  Barra were caught in good numbers but at a ratio of about 1 to 4 against the the toga who were simply everywhere and some very solid fish amongst them, even switching to soft plastics the toga still were caught in higher concentrations.  We used a variety of surface lures and frog or mice imitations but its very pleasing that the Hitter Jump Frogs dominated, a retrieve using lots of pauses and twitches marginally out fished a very slow burn.  The takes were amazing!  Our final fishing day was in the salt, sight casting snags is one of my favorite things to do and Ben is a superb guide to do it with, pretty much every time he would identify the fish for you to cast at, his fish radar is pretty well dialed in.  It was great to fish along side Gawaine away from his home ground, to say he adapted to this style of fishing would be an understatement, whats next mate? - GT popping I think :) this was a brilliant day, only made better by an esky full of mud crabs - how good is the Northern Territory?  It was a brief but brilliant early winter escape, an annual event for me now.

If you want to get in some action like this - drop Ben a line via email or via Fish The Top End

Hitter Jump Frogs will be available in the Ebb Tide Adventures Lure Locker soon!

Territory local
A little swampy barra on a weedless Zman - Gawaine fishes on

OSP Power Dunk, not bad work from a bream lure!

Nice chrome plated salty on Lucky Craft Pointer 78XD

Gawaine and barra... taken on Megabass Bait X

More snag dwelling barra

We have crabs!
Species? OSP Power Dunk again

Mega fun golden trevs, OSP Power Dunk

Guy can fish....

Inhaled - Hitter Jump Frog

That's a good guide, never takes his eyes off the water :)

Cool seeing these things power off

OSP spinner bait - toga are too easy on these things

Gawaine and a solid saratoga on Hitter Jump Frog

Nice chrome billabong barra for Gawaine on Hitter Jump Frog

Its awesome to learn from an expert

Tarpon on Adhek Superduper Gecko

In the zone - searching the honey holes

Lots to like about this shot... Hitter Jump Frog again

Our 'friend'

Scum Frog caught toga on dusk
Yep, yours is bigger Gawaine, I get it...
Live Target Field Mice