Report: The Secret Creek

WE recently found a little creek while out exploring on a family fun day on Melville Island in the Northern Territory.

While the boys were having a swim in the clear fresh water I was quietly enjoying a rest in the shade and noticed a nice sized fish cruising along the edge of a deeper hole below where the boys were swimming. I didn’t get a real good look at it but was sure it was very “barra-ish”. We hadn’t packed fishing rods so I was super keen for a return trip armed with appropriate tackle.

Fast forward a few weeks and there I was standing once again on the shady banks with a trusty baitcaster and a small shallow running lure attached. On the very first cast I hooked a very energetic tarpon. Next cast the lure was followed back by two fish that I couldn’t pick the identity of. Next cast, one flew out from beneath my feet and nailed the lure and proceeded to create merry hell in the confined waters of the small creek.

When the fish finally slowed down I grabbed hold of the leader and was surprised to see a sooty grunter around a kilo in size. I was surprised because it was the first time I’d seen or ever heard of sootys in these waters. Turns out there are quite a few sooty grunter and barra as well in a creek that, if I was back in my home town of Bathurst NSW, would have trout swimming in it. What an awesome find this spot has turned out to be!

Recently, Fisho’s Mark “Wilbur” Williams came up for a visit and after the first few days of chasing all the usual target species (barra, jacks, saratoga etc.) the Smith family decided it would be a great idea to take Wilb into our secret spot.

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Wilbur and a “secret creek” sooty caught log-hopping.

Now Wilbur and I go back a long way and have spent many many hours poring over topographic maps then four wheeling and bush bashing on foot in the search of elusive untouched bass, trout and cod waters. We also both became very good at keeping our hard won spots a secret!

 We made our way down to the water’s edge and on Wilbur’s second cast he yelled “I’m on!” and we watched as a sooty put up a spirited fight before being gently lifted for a quick pic and release. We then took it in turns to fish the pools and every likely looking spot held fish – either barras or sootys.

Our youngest boy Jamie has really taken to fishing and at only six is very proficient with a baitcaster. Wilbur was amazed at how well he was casting,  hooking and landing fish in the tight confines of the small creek. Jamie was having a ball and his older brother Kirby had taken on the job of grabbing the leader and releasing the fish for him. It was great to watch them fishing together as a team.


Young Jamie showing off his prowess with a baitcaster.

I’ll probably get in trouble for telling you this bit …. but my lovely wife Tarn was having a great time catching fish when a spider ran up her arm and what did she do? She let out a great big girly scream (which caught everyone’s attention) and hurled her rod and reel into the creek! Apparently a spider the size of a dinner plate was crawling up her arm (that’s her story) which resulted in us keeping an eye out for crocs while Tarn retrieved her rod and reel. We boys also pointed out that that if she was going to keep making loud noises and chucking stuff in the water we were trying to fish she might be relegated back to the camp with a carton of Mortein to protect herself against the giant spiders of secret creek.
By the way, we’ve never seen any sign of a croc but it makes for a better story.

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When she wasn’t battling giant spiders, Tarn caught some nice fish!

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Kirby also got in on the action.

After a few hours of catching mainly sootys with a few barra thrown in, it was time to call it quits and walk back to the car. With Tarn and the two boys leading, Wilbur and I wandered along discussing how much fun this quick trip had been and what a special place it is. No other footprints were, or have ever, been seen along the banks of our special spot and we reckon there are not many places around like this anymore. If anyone else ever stumbles across it I hope they enjoy and respect it as much as we do.

The Smiths’ lips are sealed…

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