The Barra is most at home in tidal estuaries and rivers, an aggressive predator the fish will take a wide range of lures, although live bait will often entice reluctant fish to strike. With the exception of periods when the wet season is in full flow, you can find great barra fishing action just about anytime of the year.
Golden Snapper are prolific in the Northern Territory, they can be found in most saltwater location, from tidal creeks and estuaries to coastal reefs. Often encountered in large schools, and attaining a weight in excess of 8kg, the Goldie is considered by many to be our number one fish.
Golden Snapper can be caught year-round, but congregate in larger numbers on inshore reefs and in estuaries during the build up and wet season. They take a well-presented squid bait with relish and fight hard and doggedly when hooked. Once located in a school, Golden Snapper will feed ravenously, but they have the annoying habit of the school moving off if a hooked fish is lost before being brought aboard. The Golden Snapper is a superb table fish.
Threadfin Salmon are often seen breaking the surface as they feed near the water’s edge in the lower river reaches and estuaries. They are great fighting fish with hard runs and high lure-shaking jumps. They can be caught year round but are prolific between November and March. They grow to 15kg but anglers rarely encounter them larger than 8kg. It is a first-class table fish.
The Black Jewfish caught in the Northern Territory are usually 8-15kg in size. This powerful fish tends to congregate in deep holes, around rough bottom structures and on sunken wrecks and man-made artificial reefs. It can be targeted year-round, but December and January are prime months. Once hooked, its fighting strategy is uncomplicated: straight ahead and at a blistering pace. Anglers usually fish for Black Jewfish with solid reef fishing tackle and squid and fish baits, baited on big strong hooks and dropped to the bottom. Black Jewfish will often also take an artificial lure fished from lighter barramundi tackle, and provide a memorable sport fishing experience. The Black Jewfish is an excellent table fish.
The Queenfish is one of the Top End’s great sportfish. It grows to 14kg and is often encountered at 7-9kg. Once hooked it combines speed, aggression and spectacular aerial displays in its zest to get away. It is best eaten on day of capture.
Coral Trout are particularly common along the Arnhem Land and Gulf of Carpentaria coast, and are also readily available around the Perron Islands west of Darwin. In the Top End, they attain a maximum size of 8kg. Many consider the Coral Trout to be one of our finest table fish.
The Red Emperor attains a maximum weight of 8kg in the Top End and is caught on reefs along most of the Territory Coastline. Some of the best fishing is wide of Dundee Beach, around the Perron Islands and along the Arnhem Land and Gulf of Carpentaria coast where it is prolific. The Red Emperor is a highly sort after table fish.
Spanish Mackerel school right along the Territory coast. Fish of 12kg and over are common and 35kg monsters are caught each year. Spaniards are great fighters with sizzling speed and are wonderful on lighter tackle. They can be caught off the coast year-round, but come inshore during the dry season. They are also excellent eating. (Broadbar or Grey Mackerel are also common in Territory waters.)
Mud crabs are common in Territory inshore waters and often a fun alternative to line fishing. An incoming tide spent baiting and checking the crab pots in an estuary can be most rewarding, especially if you end the day with a few muddies. Territory mud crabs are regarded as an absolute delicacy.