REPORT: Wet season wrap up from the Barra Lodge

WELL our first run-off season at the new-look Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge has come to an end and, despite successive poor wet seasons, the fishing has still blown away our clients, with both the diversity of the fishing available and the opportunities to land trophy fish.

So far, for the first part of our season there have been two barra landed that measured an impressive 116cm and quite a few other anglers’ names went up on the Metre Board at the Lodge. It’s not just the barras, however, that are getting anglers’ hearts pumping. This has also been the best season I have ever seen for big black jewfish in the rivers! In other areas across Northern Australia, these fish are targeted offshore on heavy gear. However, when hooked in shallow water on baitcasters or light spin tackle, they are incredible sportfishing targets. Your skipper has to be quick on the throttle or run the risk of being spooled as beasts up to 140cm long head for the horizon. These great fish are being targeted with a variety of methods, including vibes, slow-rolled and jigged plastics, and trolled and cast hard-bodied lures.

Lodge regular, Mike Taylor, enjoyed the refurbished Lodge and re-acquainted himself with the locals.

Our blue water fishing continues to be an under-utilised gem, with all manner of pelagic sportfish and hard-fighting bottom fish available. I would urge anyone coming to the Lodge to sample this option, as it offers some amazing fishing. Anyone who has experienced a mad popper session on big queenies and Spanish mackerel, or a hot bite on golden snapper, will know what I’m talking about. Add to this many other species like giant herring, longtail tuna, coral trout, giant trevally, bluebone etc.

Our two new 7.4 Oceanmasters have taken it to the next level in boating terms, with long ocean runs to remote rivers and blue water days now a lot more comfortable. Our revamped Oceanmaster fleet of super-stable, tough-as-nails unsinkable vessels are perfect for the job at hand. Together with the latest Shimano fishing equipment and all the best lures sourced from over a decade’s experience fishing these areas, our guides are well armed to give you the best chance at a fish of a lifetime.

Away from the fishing, the new air-conditioned tent cabins (safari suites) are spectacular, with your own furnished front deck looking out over the Tomkinson River Valley from the top of the escarpment.

I have been informed by several of my well-travelled clients that these “tents” rival anything from the top game parks in Africa or indeed anywhere else in the world.

David Mathersul landed this 94cm barra after a mighty tussle in tight water.

Our chef Gary has been getting quite a few complaints, however! It seems most guests are leaving a few kilos heavier from his magnificent creations! Gary endeavours to make our dining experience very much a showcase of what’s available in our area, so you can expect the freshest fish you can possibly get – barramundi, threadfin salmon, golden snapper etc – plus mud crabs when available, as well as some amazing steak dishes and tasty lunches. I can assure you won’t go hungry!

We are well into our overland bus tour season now at the Lodge, with a dedicated “Build-up” fishing season ahead of us starting again in late September. The Build-up has always been a favourite at the Lodge, thanks to mainly calm seas and cricket-score numbers of barra fighting over your lures. And again, the blue water fishing is simply spectacular.

I look forward to meeting you for the trip of a lifetime at the Arnhem Land Barramundi Nature Lodge.


Shaun Taylor

Manager at Arnhem Land Barramundi Nature Lodge.

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