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Batman's Darwin Adventure


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Well friends…I just returned from a weekend up in Darwin.

This was my birthday present that the missus had ever so kindly sponsored and I have to give her a rap for being such a top chic…….it turned out to be a truly awesome experience.

With my Baitrunner 3500 and Shimano heavy duty shogun rod, plus my Raider rod with the 2500 Symetre BATMAN was ready to go…

So we touched down and boy o boy it’s hotter than hell the humidity was like 99% and I was drenched with sweat in about 5 minutes!! How anyone can live up there, I don’t quite know. Anyway we popped down to the local tackle shop where we picked up some new Shimano SPF50 clothing and got chatting to the local gun, with story’s of metre plus Barra singing in my head I was pumped!

The next morning Peter from Darren’s Barra Sport Fishing Safari’s picks us and two other blokes up at the hotel and we headed off to Carrobori Billabong. These guys have a custom made 7m billabong boat, 250 Suzuki four stroke that is just an awesome piece of kit. Pete unloaded the boat whilst we waited on the very skinny pontoon. My missus was babbaling away about something and I look down to see bubbles coming up to the surface. I grabbed her arm and steered her towards me, low and behold up pops a monster croc all but a few meter’s away from us and trust me he wasn’t small! …I had a serious pucker moment! They are just awesome!!!! Serious dinosaurs and they are evil! We spotted at least another dozen crocs but like Peter said it’s actually the one’s you don’t see that are the worry. Falling into the river was just not an option and these things are not that shy………

So, on that note we nervously hopped on board the boat and for the whole morning we trolled and trolled…but nothing. I got a hit but no jump….up comes a tiny friggin catty!! WTF, had I paid big bucks to catch catties? We persisted on……

The scenery was spectacular, the bird life is amazing and we had the privilege of witnessing a huge fish eagle swooping down and hooking a Tarpon. We started at 7 o’clock and by 12pm we had landed three catfish…I was spewing inside and my missus was looking at me with “I should have purchased that sounder for you†look on her face. We had no hit’s, not one….my patients was wearing thin, especially in light of the fact that their was a woman’s comp and some of the chics were landing barra in the two’s and three’s.

We pulled up under some trees to have lunch and I got to take in the awesome spectacle a billabong really is but inside I was spitting chips that out of four people in the boat we had not landed one barra but I guess that’s fishing.

We got going again and Peter had a very nervous look on his face, we belted up the other side of the bong to a spot that had never failed him. We did one pass and then another, on the third Nathan one of the guys from Mackay hooked up to a mid sized barra and it was great to see how the fish jumped, he played it to the boat nicely...one down. We went again and this time it was my turn, not a monster but a decent fish, I was so relieved. It didn’t pull as hard as I thought it would but it was really only a juvenile not a metre plus monster. Another hour past and my enthusiasm was dwindling in the stinking hot sun when I had a huge hit…..the fish leaped out into the air, gills flared it was a cracking fish, maybe in the 80cm mark,,,,,,then he spat the lure and my heart broke into a million pieces. Pete gave me comfort that you loose as many as you catch so I smiled under my sunnies. Nathan got another decent fish on the same stretch but that was it really and I must say I was A little disappointed.

After a hot shower and some tucker back at the hotel I reflected on the day and in all fairness it wasn’t the best time of year going into the wet season and even Peter said that it was one of the hardest days he had encountered in a loooong time. Was it worth it? Yes, because we got to not only land a few barra but also got to have a full on nature adventure in an awesome boat with a one on one guide so yes the $290 pp we had a great day. It could have been a lot better but you win some………..

I drifted off to sleep with the alarm set for 5am….I was on a mission…………….

Milk fish madness

On the four hour flight up I got reading an old mag which had a very interesting article on Milk Fish, the story’s of these ulgy eating super charged speedster really captured my imagination. So the alarm went off and with my rods in hand I set off on my mission. The guy from the tackle shop had given me some rough guidelines where to go but at 5am it was pitch dark…..I walked for about 20 minutes and got down to Doctors Gully. The Aquascene is a sanctuary for fish feeding and for $8 you can hand feed the fish but more importantly you can see the huge milk fish in their own habitat. Doctors Gully is a NO FISHING ZONE and a $10k fine applies to anyone that gets caught, so with that in mind I walked through this walkway through the forest in the pitch dark. After a lot of hit and miss I found where the small clearing in the bush was and came to a VERY steep spoon drain. Some bush bashing fisho had constructed a rope to abseil down to the rocks so down I went.

How to catch a milk fish

Armed with three loafs of white bread I started a burley trail. You must not toss the bread to far out because Darwin’s tides are huge. So just a steady trail of bread was going out and after about 30 minutes splashes started to break the surface. There was certainly heaps of activity on the high tide and I had purchased size 2.0 Gamatzu hooks, needle sharp, you have to use small hooks as these fish mouth are very small. Break the bread into quarters and squeeze the bread onto the shank carefully so that it stays on for casting. Not easy but after awhile I got it perfect. The problem is that the bread does not stay on for long and I got three hits plus awesome runs but they either pulled the hooks or the fish spat the hooks. I had 45 min till I had to go and I got snagged and lost a hook on my heavy gear so I swapped over to my light rod. The article said to use a minimum of a 4000 size real so was my Bream style rod and reel going to cut it? I attached a 30lb fluoro carbon leader and tossed out a half lob cast. I teased the milk fish in to the shallows and a big splash irrupted, then a pause and I kinda half striked, then nothing then BANG the biggest run I have ever had, this fish took me down to the backing!!! Then it turned around and came directly back towards me, a pattern it would repeat for 20 minutes. It also took me into the tree’s and I could feel my line rubbing on the branches and rocks….I was leaning to try and steer it away from the half submerged tree when I slipped and in to the drink I fell!!! I felt like such a turkey! Anyway I was wet but still fighting, I was up to my knees in water when I thought about those crocs, then I thought of Box Jellyfish and I retreated up the rocks a bit more!!!! The milk fish had four to five huuuge runs and I had to constantly adjust my drag because I was on such light gear and their mouths are so soft. Real heart stopping action!!!! Eventually I played the fish into the shallows, he was shagged and I grabbed him with a belly hold still in the rock pool. WAAAHOOOOO, was I stoked!!! Pound for pound the only other fish that had had bigger runs was that Tuna in Noosa. Just amazing and the previous day’s average disappointment melted away. It really made my trip and I can honestly say that it was worth the effort. I kept him in the rock pool removed to hook and got him to swim away into the warm sea of Darwin harbour.

There is something mystical about bush bashing your way down cliffs, finding a secret little spot, burleying up and the after a lot of hard work bang the fight of a lifetime. Yeah, I could have used heavier gear but honestly it was so much fun on light gear. It wasn’t the biggest fish that I had seen that morning but my God was it the best fun in the world!!! I wish we could get em down in Brisbane….I would be in heaven.

If you ever visit Darwin, Google Earth Doctors Gully, there is a perimeter that is a no fishing zone but about 50 meters past the no fishing sign is a little clearing burley up and if you hook up ….HANG ON for ya life! Otherwise email me to get the finer details of where to find this spot because it was very hard to find but oh boy is it worth the effort.

Till next time!

Screaming drags!


P.S Apologies for the long post but I love to share!

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Yeah Cheers Terry

Posting pics on the site is hard work for the I.T challenged like me! :laugh:

Yeah the Milk fish was just simply the best thing I have done with my cloths on and for the relitivley inexperienced fisherman like me IT WAS INSANE!

These Milk fish take off like they have a stick of dynomite up their clacker!

Very rewarding!


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Rocket75 wrote:

Great adventure batman! Love the colour in those barra.

How's the Milo beast?



Milo is soooo happy his daddy is home, his paw is not giving him any jip and he was belting around the garden like a bat out of hell today!

Yeah I have to say that I will be going back for a week in March when the run off from the rains is happening, apparentley your lure hits the water and BANG your on. The Batgirl and I are going to take a drive up to lake Awoonga to yak the Barra up there. I loved the way they jumped out the water but to be honest a Milk Fish will pull a Barra backwards!!!! FACT!

I will have a love affair with them for the rest of my days!


Thanks so much to Terry for putting those pics up for me! Cheers champ!

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Zim man wrote:

great read there mate. i now want to catch a milkfish :laugh:

Mate I want to stock the Jindalee pool!!! Toss a bit of bread and your ON!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!

They are sensational fish to fight but terrible to eat. They are really a very pretty fish with these huuuuge googly eyes and damn can they swim fast.

If I ever go back to Darwin I will definatley be having another crack at them.

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Good stuff mate. pity about the day at corroborree but you gotta love the wildlife.

If you can get out on to doctors gully and fish that out of a boat for the milkfish you can get some monsters. It is best on the spring tides early in the morning and some of them are well in excess of 1m and hve enough power to spool you with 200m of 20lb in one run :laugh: . Great fun. Congrats on the fish mate. Makes me homesick :(

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There is something about the outback that is mystical and so ruggered about the place. Everything from the bugs to the people to the fish is al wild!

I could only imagine what was going on under the waters of Darwin harbour!

Yet I couldn't live there in the wet season...dang it is hotter than Paulene Hansons hair! fookin hell!

Mmmm Milk fish! mmmmm lol! :laugh:

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There were Tarpon, Mullet, Milkfish, Barra, one nice sized cod, eels and a few others!

It's a great little spot and the woman on the mic says

" we don't want to influence the fish to much by introducing to much bread into their habitat!"

I laughed out loud...she heard me...

Yeah right woman, you chuck 3 shopping trolley's worth of white bread into the area and the fish won't become conditioned?

It's like a dinner bell!

Good for fisho's who want to shove a hook in their face! :ohmy: :woohoo:

Evil Batty

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I just read your report and was spell-bound throughout. I felt for you with the disappointing first day (we've all had them), but the Milk fish sound like so much fun. I don't know that I could handle the Darwin weather, I lived in Townsville for a few years and never want to feel that sort of heat again.

Great report and great photos. Good to hear Milo is better as well.

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