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"got Milk?"


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G'day Raiders

A few weeks ago a fishing buddy Evan and I were talking of some different fish to catch, sooner or later talked turned to milk fish.

I remembered reading a few years ago in some fishing magazine about a big silver over grown mullet that was called a "Milk Fish" that slurped bread off the surface just as the humble mullet did. Reading this Milk fish pulled line like nothing else but were a very fussy eater and very hard to temp onto a hook.

Not long after Evan and I were talking fishing again and he mentioned a mate of his in Darwin had caught a couple after being spooled a few times on earlier attemps.

A few phone calls later and a good look at the tide charts a plan was set.

Fish the neaps for clear water and the smaller tides so burley wasn't washed away in the big northern tides.

Arriving in Darwin in the usual 30+ degrees we were met by Bennie who would be our host for the next few days. 15mins later we were back at Bennies sitting in the shade making a plan for the next days asault on the milkies.

At a reasonable hour after a few to many the night before (gee you drink more in the northern heat!) we hit the bakery and before I new it I got my first look at Darwin Harbour.


As we neared the "spot" we drove into the wind and and started dropping over small chunks of bread the size of a 50c coins into the water. Dropped anchor and began the waiting game.

We rigged up our snapper outfits that we use down here. Long 8ft rods loaded with 25lb braid and I used a light 15lb leader to try present a finesse bait. Hooks we used were little size 2 hook. This was sort of the heaviest hook we could still float naturally in the bread bait we were using.

15mins later we heard a BOOF out the back in the trail.

"Shit! THAT WAS HUGE" I heard from someone as I looked in total shock :1yikes: at the size of the creator left where a small piece of bread was 2 seconds ago.

Kaos set threw the boat as we squeezed our baits on and flicked these unweighted baits out.

Ever tried casting a unweighted bait on dry line before?

Doesn't go very far!!

I quickly wind in, shit my bread just fell off the hook, bloody soft baits! :ranting2:

Bait on and out she goes. It lands with a little plop in a between a few bits of burley.


Shit was that my bait?

Holly crap batman I'm on!

Well I have caught my fare share of tropical speedsters in the past BUT nothing would catch these things!

Some might say "but giant herring go hard", Caught em and this thing has longer legs than any herring!

With a solid snapper drag I pushed that 15lb leader to the max!

My Branzino 3000 was screaming madly and with over 100m out on its first run I thought I might have lasted the brunt of it's power. I started to use slow steady pumps with the rod and got a good 10 to 15m on and I felt the fish turn and all of a sudden slack line.

Winding like crazy hopeing to come back onto weight, I must of got at least another 20-30m before relief I feel the fish again! :thumbup:

Great solid weight and the fish slowly arcing out into deep water and drag just slowly ticking off.

Just as I think things are looking better the fish changes into second gear and bye bye! Line starts spewing off the reel just as fast as the first run and before I know it the spools getting very shallow again and pop!


Winding in all the line and a look at the end reveals a bent hook and a very freid leader!

As I started to collect myself and pull out the 20lb leader and a stronger hook BOOF another one finds the trail. I quickly cut my leader and bang Evans on!

With a "stop it or pop it" attitude he goes hard!

The fish turns towards the shore thats only 20m away and goes to the air!

Yeaha! Awesome :1yikes:

"I have him beat, Iv'e bluffed him" I heard Evan scream, Get the Net!

Ever tried to rerigg with total kaos on the boat and other fish boofing in the back ground before?

I start my uni uni, Evans reel starts to scream.

As I pull the knot tight I hear "shit there goes 150m of braid and now I'm into the backing!"

By the time I had trimmed the tags of the knot Ev's clamping onto the spool before he looses all the line. Luck, stopped it with around 5 turns left on the spool!


After a smoke we re collected and just sat there stunned.....

2 more hours we didn't raise another fish, things were heatiing up and so was the wind. Time to go back home for lunch.

That afternoon it was a little blowy still so we hit the pub...

Next morning we settled into our spot and set the trail.

I had gone back to light leader as I found the heavier hook and leader sank the baits pretty quickly and didn't drift the same speed as the burley.

Just as I had finished I looked down and bugger, I tied on 10 instead of 15lb :mad3:

BOOF first fish finds the trail, looks a smaller one.

What do you do?

Rerigg or hope for the best?

I squeeze on a bait and lob it out 5m out the back and instantly it's gone!

Out went the usual 100m on the first run, this time I went soft as remember I still only have the 10lb leader on.....

10mins later we see color for the first time.


These milkys turn on a dime!

One way then the other and they never seem to give up!

Seriously the last 10m took another 10mins till it finally hit the net!

My first Milky :yahoo:



In the end after 3 sessions on the buggers we all got one each and blew many more.

We achieved our goal on first attempt which made it even more sweeter!

With such a easy fishing style and easy access these have to be the most under rated sports fish this country has to offer!

I know I'm going back to chase these weird looking critters, amazing I tell ya's, truely bloody amazing :biggrinthumb:

Here are the others.




Edited by GregL
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Nice fishing there Greg :thumbup: them buggurs sure can be hard to catch at times.

I saw some 120 -130cm models while I was in Darwin a couple of weeks back, they

sure have some power with their masive forked tails. :1yikes:


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Fantastic report Greg! :thumbup: You sure tell a great story and the photos are terrific! I wish I had your writing and fishing skill.

Those milkies look a lot like pictures of bonefish I've seem. Sort of like a cross between a giant whiting and a mean mullet. I'd love to have a go catching one some day.

Awesome read!



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Great read and good fish. The style of fishing you are doing is something similar to what i used to do off the rocks a few years ago. It may help if you greese your line like fishing for blackfish to keep the bait floating. Also we used to get whole loaves of bread and cut the crust off. Use the centre for berly and then cut the crust into round pieces with a wad punch. You then take the round pieces and put your hook through the centre using two or three per bait. They float well because you do not squash the air out of the bait.



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Great review! Great reading as well as bloody good snaps and results!!!

Fished the harbour a few times and you can find a hell of a lot of fun not too far offshore.

Never thouhgt of targeting mIlkies, considering we watched the kids chuck bread to them often enough! Doh!

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Great fish!

I remember when we went to darwin there was a fish feeding place that was restricted to fishing...watched mullet and massive milkfish tussel for bread and even got to hand feed them. We had a guided tour fishing for barra, the guide said he just loves the battle with them on fly gear!

They're defiantly a under-rated sport fish, i heard that they can be quite good on the tooth too.

Justin :1fishing1:

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Thanks guys for your comments!

Peter if my english teachers heard that I think they would cry laughing! I never passed and english exam ever!

Kingpig, nice idea with the crust baits, the crusts definatley float better than the centre but the centres got eaten faster than the crust bits. We found smaller pieces were eaten and larger ones left. The larger seemed good to get the mullet and other fish feeding. This seemed to create the perfect mix big and small, big to keep the berley trail long and small to keep the milkys interested in the trail. Fussy buggers!

Bakery bought whole loaves crap all over sliced bought servo bread too hands down! Worth the extra $5 and stays on the hook way better.

Squidboy, yep that's Bennie!

A great bloke that sure knows his fishing!

First time I have met Ben and his Mrs Jazz. Their hospitality was second to none especially we were there as guests and not clients.

Well this is the end of my holidays today :( but what a great holiday it's been!

3 weeks off, the longest I have taken off since I started work about 20 years ago. It's been the fishiest for sure but now I have the BUG!

I have met plenty of new people and fishing contacts, fished in some beautiful places and have caught plenty of PB's and new species, what a holiday! :biggrin2:

So where's NEXT?

Hmmm, Barra build ups coming soon but theres talk from the OS GT boys for a quickie in Fiji in a couple of months. Plans are in motion to lock a date away for NEXT years coral sea adventure already but no way I can wait that long!

Anyone got anywhere else or other weird and wonderful creatures to catch?

What about snakeheads, anyone keen?


Edited by GregL
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Fantastic report, Greg - must put Milkfish on my list next time I visit my brother in Darwin! :D

Sounds like you had a terrific time with the milkies!!! I would love to test myself on them! How about putting on a bread fly & trying them on a flyrod! Now THAT would be REALLY AWESOME!!! :1yikes:

Hmmm - other species to target ...... could try for a crocodile ..... I nearly caught one when barra fishing Corroboree Billabong in 2000!! We had to skull drag the barra across the creek to get it away from the croc!! :wacko:



Edited by Roberta
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