It’s the dry season. The tidal rivers have shut down due to low water temps and the blue water is subject to the relentless south easterlies that blow hard enough to wash mud crabs up the beach. The billabongs are one of the only options left and luckily we have plenty to choose from.
Hitting the ‘bongs is a seasonal pastime that we look forward to because even if the fishing is slow the scenery makes it worthwhile. Kakadu is full of bongs and each has it’s own personality. Sandy Billabong has sandbanks (funny that!), deep edges and a ridiculously steep gravel ramp. The fish from there lack that muddy taste of the floodplain billabongs. Then there’s the bongs off the South Alligator River- Bucket, Red Lily and Alligator. These holes are less fished and can only be accessed with small tinnys via some hectic 4WD tracks. A local was pulled from his boat by a croc on one of these bongs recently. Yellow Water is probably the most famous billabong and links to Home Billabong in the wet. Then there’s Nourlangie, Mardugal and Corroboree… the list goes on.
Darwin Cup Day marks the last long weekend of the dry season so we loaded a couple of utes, hooked up the boat and headed into Katherine for ice and fuel. It was friday night and there were social distractions that we couldn’t ignore. A quick stop turned into a late night bender and we didn’t hit the road till the following morning with copious levels of caffeine in our bloodstreams.
Overall we landed around five Barra and one Saratoga. We had heaps of missed hits on the surface though and the atmosphere out there will have us hitting the bongs again sometime real soon.
Hamish Webb, Dan Firth, Graham Fifield and Lee Georgeson have been fishing the south-east Australian region since 1987. Since then they’ve become avid sportfishermen who are constantly looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They are all scientists and conservationists who are passionate about the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. They promote understanding and appreciation of the complex socio-political, economic and environmental issues surrounding fish, fishing and fisheries, while never losing sight of the various motivations that keep them coming back. In English, that means they love all things fishing and have a damn good time on the water, and that’s all that really counts in the end!