Melville madness

For adventurous Darwin fishos, the magical Tiwi Islands – comprising of Bathurst and Melville Islands – represent a fishing Mecca that in the right conditions can be accessed by small craft from the mainland.

Last week Barraddiction and a couple of sister 5 metre plate alloy boats took the long run across to Camp Point on the south-eastern tip of Melville Island to savour the exciting fishing opportunities on offer in the coastal creeks on the southern side of the island. With all the necessary Tiwi Island Land Council fishing and camping permits in hand, we gunned the three Suzukis and left the placid confines of the launch site of Leaders Creek nice and early on Thursday morning. However, once outside it was a bit lumpy, which made the subsequent 85km run across to Camp Point a rather wet affair but we all got there in the end.

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Once we had unloaded all the camping gear, food and spare fuel at the designated camp site, we quickly jumped back into our boats (which you could now actually see the floor of) and headed into the creeks nearby for some lure casting around the snags. Suffice to say over the three days we were on the island the action was pretty hot with barras, threadies, blue salmon, jacks and goldies keeping all the crews busy and the cameras snapping.

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Despite the variety of fish on offer, the highlight of the trip was actually managing to jig up some nice jewies on Gulps fished over a strand of sunken snags in just two metres of water. Truth be known, I had thought that those particular snags might hold some golden snapper so we were pretty blown away when the first drop resulted in a double hook-up on rampaging jewies. Just to show that it wasn’t a fluke (well it was…) the next drop resulted in a second double hook-up. Just goes to show its better to be born lucky than clever!

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After three nights on the island – eating freshly caught tucker, in the company of good mates … and with lots of crap talked around the camp fire – it was time to head back to the Darwin. On the early Sunday morning run back to the ramp at Leaders Creek, we first stopped off to jig a reef out from NW Vernon Island. Our rich vein of luck continued unabated as the macks (and sharks) were there in numbers. Before too long Spaniards and grey macks hooked on Shimano Butterfly jigs and Halco Twistys were flying through the air with sharks in hot pursuit. Suffice to say we boated a few good macks but by and large we were taken to the cleaners by the whalers, but you get that sometimes.

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Anyway, after a few torrid hours of battling under the tropical sun it was time to pull the pin and head on home, contented in the thought that we’d all experienced one hell of a good trip. Funnily enough the dates for next year’s one are already penned in the 2011 diary!

NOTE: In the upcoming December 2010 issue of Fisho Peter will have a piece on how to safely undertake small boat expeditions to fish remote Top End waters, including those around the Tiwi Islands.

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