Fd: Can you tell us how the idea of setting up a fly-fishing operation in Darwin came up?
Darwin is surrounded by vast areas of shallow clean waterways teeming with dozens of species of tropical fish in hundreds of locations. Fly fishing in the NT is a no brainer.
Fd: What kind of fish can fly fishermen go for in your destinations?
Barramundi is the king of the flats up here. There’s nothing like the strike and aerial display of a ferocious Barra.
Fd: Please tell us more about barramundi. Their feeding habits, the kind of waters they inhabit, etc.
Barramundi are apex predators of the intertidal zone. They will eat anything they can fit in their mouth and dominate the flats and estuary systems across the top end.
Feeding around the tides and waiting in ambush amongst discolored water, rocky outcrops or creek mouths, the Barra is the perfect fly casting target fish.
Fd: How do you fish for them?
Sight casting is most popular and challenging on fly tackle. The cast needs to be close to perfect to obtain a strike, but if its in the bite zone, look out.
Fishing color changes at creek mouths and rocky points is also very productive as Barra in discolored water often feed more readily.
Fd: What kind of gear should a client take for a week over there?
7/8 weight fly outfits are perfect for tropical estuary matched with a floating line and a sink tip on another rod for when a subsurface presentation is necessary.
Fd: Which are the must-have flies?
Clousers are a must have, bend back Deceivers are always within reach and a flashy profile baitfish is handy. All downward facing hooks should be dressed with a weed guard to enable aggressive casting around mangrove and other structure.
Fd: During which months is the season open over there?
There is no closed season for Barra sifting in the NT. Best times are from 1 march until mid December when the flats get too warm and monsoon rain interrupts proceedings.
Fd: What is the programme for a typical fly-fishing day?
There is no typical day of fly fishing in the top ends estuaries, tide is king and depending on the tide and moon phases you will find yourself sight casting for Barra on gin clear flats right through to white knuckle pelagic action on baitballs off shore. We plan our days according to the conditions we are presented with and match them with the goals of the angler.
Fd: How is the lodging in terms of accommodation and facilities?
There are numerous lodgings around the top end to base an assault on the water from. Most are lodge/cabin style accommodations. All are air conditioned and join quality watering holes where we can replenish our energy when required.
Fd: How long before should anglers contact the lodge for reservations?
Bookings are required as early as possible. The best tide and moon phases often book out 12 months in advance.
Fd: What kind of landscapes and wildlife will your visitors see?
The top end has some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes anywhere in the world. From tropical flood plain systems and Lilly lined billabongs to rocky escapement cliffs and white sandy beaches. Wildlife is abundant. Scored of bird species as well as iconic saltwater crocodiles proliferate all these areas.
Fd: Why do you think every angler should go fishing in Darwin at least once?
Darwin is on its own in the world for its fishing culture, wildlife and natural landscapes. On its own its the size of a European country with just a sprinkling of 200000 residents there is plenty of room for all of us to have some fun. It never gets cold here, apart from the beer which is always icy.
Fd: Any other words or advice for those visiting your destination?
Get in touch early, make a good plan and bring a camera. You'll never forget the top end.
For more info about barramundi and direct bookings, please visit: Barefoot Fishing Safaris