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Barra fishing on Tiwi(Melville Is)


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Hi Raiders,

I shouted myself a retirement present in May, after 40 years of working  by booking a barra fishing trip to Melville Island. The only way to fish the Tiwi islands is with one of the 2 fishing lodges based there.

I went to Melville Island for 2 days of solid fishing. The lodge accommodation is clean and of 3 star standard but the onsite food is excellent. There is only 1 room with an ensuite and the rest of the rooms have access to shared bathrooms and toilets in each block. Air conditioning is available in all the rooms. Telstra reception works on the island.

I flew from Darwin airport with Air Frontier and it took ~30 mins to get to Milikapiti runway. My ride to the lodge soon arrived and in it were a happy group of anglers who were leaving soon on the Air Frontier plane back to Darwin.

After a 5-10min ride into town, we reached the lodge where I met more happy anglers. At dinner, I met my guide, Wayne, as well as heard some tales of the day's adventures from fellow fishos.

The next day started with brekkie at 6.30am  for a 7am start. The aluminium boat used was about 24 feet and was a centre console with a forward casting platform. The boat is readied at the lodge and I was beckoned to board the boat which was already hitched to a Toyota and the whole setup was driven to the boat ramp which is about 5 mins away. Return was 4pm

After launching, the boat headed in a north easterly direction initially and then followed the coast to the next inlet which was Snake Creek about 40mins away. The centre console had sideway sonar fish finders which were excellent at seeing barra against the banks. Casting was with bait casters, and hard body lures as well as soft plastics were used. Even though the barras could be easily seen on the sonar, enticing them to strike was not easy. The change of tide at about 10am seem to switch the fish on and I was finally getting hits. On both days, about 10 fish a day was boated and released on Snake Creek(the Tiwi is a catch and release fishery).

Further up river, the water is fresh and clear and lily pads abound, and this is saratoga territory and it was the  white soft plastic frogs that did the damage. Whereas down river, the water is muddy and both soft plastics and hard bodies worked. The hits from both barra and togas was awesome, the togas especially as the lure was swimming on the surface. Many a lure were hit but alot  did not stick.

The staff at the lodge were great and the guiding excellent. Thanks Wayne.

Biggest barra was ~80cm and toga ~55cm. Here's a sample of some fish boated.

Regards Kit







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Some good sized fish in the photographs, sounds like it was worth the trip.

Using sideways sonar fish finders? I have to sniff them out. 🤣 Too much technology for me.

Edited by Yowie
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7 hours ago, LuckyFil said:

Was there an opportunity to do any blue water fishing from the lodge?


Hi Fil,

You discuss with the guide at dinner the night before, as to what you would like to target. He would advise you depending on the weather, the time of year and what was biting. In early May, generally the target will be barras, the guide said Oct/Nov for blue water as the seas are calmer then.

Regards KIt

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What a top report and congratulations on your retirement Kit. Some very nice fish caught there, judging by the photos. What's next on your bucket list?

I hope that you get to reap the rewards of your 40+ years in the workforce and have a long and happy retirement, with plenty of great fishing adventures still to come.

Cheers, bn

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Thanks fellow raiders for the good wishes. Yes, the catch and release policy does help to preserve their existing stocks, but the lodge is allowed to keep fish that is consumed onsite as per their agreement with the local community. As the kitchen had sufficient supply, all of my catch was released.

Regards Kit

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