Hunter’s Fishing Tips!
Top End Northern Territory Fishing: How to Fish
- Safety First! Make sure you have sufficient life jackets for every person on the boat.
- Don’t go alone. Besides the safety aspects, it’s more fun. There are lots of dangers, don’t take risks in the Top End.
- Check off the requirements at the NT Government Marine Safety site here.
- Have the latest EPIRB – digital 406 MHz and it’s registered.
- During the dry season in the Top End, weather conditions are pretty constant and ideal for fishing. During the wet season (November to May), the weather can change suddenly. Always check weather forecasts before departure. Always keep an eye on conditions whilst your pulling in that big fish! Find sheltered estuaries, creeks etc to ride out a storm should you get caught. Be aware winds and swells can blow in very fast.
- Never choose to enter any water in the Top End no matter how deep or shallow.
- Salt water crocodiles can be found in both fresh and salt water everywhere.
- Take care how and where you gut that fantastic fish! Don’t attract crocodiles by leaving food scraps around. Even fresh water crocs can bite!
- Fill your boat a day or two before your planned departure. Don’t fill on the day. Fish will stay clear of the smell of fuel if you get some on you and subsequently your line and bait.
- Don’t let fuel sit too long. In the tropical humid atmosphere petrol will absorb the moisture from the air and you may end up with engine problems. Make sure petrol caps are tight.
- Similarly put sun screen on before departure and wash hands well with soap before leaving shore. Fish won’t bite bait affected with sun screens, especially those that are scented. Cover up. Use wide brim hats and long sleeves. The tropical sun burns!
- Top End waters lined with mangroves and mud flats are the breeding grounds for mosquitoes, midges and sandflies. Flies come from nowhere. Spray with a reliable deterrent again before departure. Always keep some handy. It’s no fun getting eaten alive – fish or no fish.
- Refrain from smoking whilst fishing. Firstly your boat is full of petrol that could ignite, but again, fish are not nicotine adicts and they will smell you a mile away.
- Check your anchor chain and rope. D shackles have a tendency to work loose. The last thing you want is to throw your anchor over board only to find on its retrieval – your anchor’s gone.
- Know your bag limits for different fish species. Check out the info here.
- Check and know your tide times. No run – No fun! Best to fish on the change of a tide. In the Top End, 6-7m tide changes are common. Be aware that sand bars and rocky reefs may be just below the water in low tides. What water you travelled over an hour ago, may now be dangerous.
- Heard about that big fish that got away? Too many Times? Suggest use braid rather than filament fishing line.
- Use quality fishing leader line. Many a good fish has got away by breaking the line at its weakest point.
- Way Points: Good starting point but also use navigation, depth sounders to finely adjust your boat to the edge of a reef, ledge or wreck, not directly over a hole etc.
Use freshest bait you can get. Don’t thaw and refreeze multiple times. Fish are picky eaters!
- Always clean your boat, rods, reels, tackle, immediately at the end of each day no matter how tired you are! Your fishing gear will last longer and be ready as soon as the fish are biting. Fishing is enjoyable, exciting, but all that fresh sea air and sun can be tiring. Plan you travel and clean up taking this into account.
- Take plenty of drinking water. The tropical sun and climate does take its toll, especially out fishing for a couple of hours.