about us

A social group of dedicated fly fishers who are passionate about fly fishing in the tropical north of Australia and equally as passionate about the close camaraderie this sport brings. This passion and dedication led to the creation of the NT Fly Fishers (Social Mob) blog site; an interactive and creative outlet where everyone can share our wonderful fly fishing adventures and link into the “after fishing” social events we enjoy in this incredible part of the world.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


Jack White is one of the young guns in the Mob and here is an article that he submitted for a school project and it must give heart to all of us that want to see our fishing paradise, remain just that, a paradise. 

Jack with an elusive 'Dart'

Does the Territory really need more fisherman to admire and plunder what is on offer in our local waters, asks Jack White.   

Survey's provided by NT Fisheries show that Golden Snapper (Fingermark Bream) and Black Jewfish numbers are quickly diminishing around the reefs of five hot fishing locations including Melville Island and Bathurst Island.  This is believed to be due to the influx in recreational fisherman over a period of seven years and the impact of commercial fishing.

In the long term, this issue will not only affect recreational fisherman, but also charter operators and commercial fisherman.

A five-year protection plan has already been established and has shut down five popular fishing locations: Melville Island, Bathurst Island, Charles Point, Lorna Shoal and Port Keats.  The personal possession limits have also been lowered to 3 Golden Snapper and 2 Black Jewfish.  But is it enough?

The Million Dollar Fish scheme, to encourage tourists to travel to the NT and fish in our waters, can't be good for the future Golden Snapper and Jewfish populations.  The inexperience and limited education that 'Southerners' have about legal fish sizes and fish sustainability in the NT is a substantial problem.  Unfortunately, many have no concept of 'catch and release'.  Charter and guiding operators are faced with continual dilemmas of letting their clients know that it is not right to keep their fish when it is the size of a successful breeder.

In saying that, Golden Snapper and Black Jewfish are known to suffer from barotrauma when caught in a depth of ten metres or more, meaning that it would be a waste to release as the chance of their survival is slim.

Should commercial sectors be allowed to fish the protection areas?  Commercial fisherman cull fish in masses for the demand from restaurants, fish markets and the cat food industry.  Is the need for fish that large? 

Commercial fisherman primarily target Barramundi and King Threadfin Salmon, however a common bycatch is Black Jewfish yet not Golden Snapper.  They have particular zones to fish and have a season of 7 months.
The Amateur Fisherman's Association of the NT (AFANT) discovered that commercial fisherman were still operating in the reef protection areas, "this was despite governments repeated assurances that all stakeholders; commercial, recreational, indigenous and tour fishing operators were required to 'share the pain' and be excluded from fishing these areas to aid in the protection and recovery of at risk reef fish species." says AFANT President Warren de With.  Recreational fisherman are permitted to keep 3 Golden Snapper and 2 Jewfish at a time, whereas commercial fisherman fish on an unsustainable level with no limits at all.

Great size Golden Snapper, 2015 
Unfortunately they are unable to target different species due to the use of nets, as there is minimal guarantee that a Snapper or Jewfish will not be caught.  Perhaps, to keep things fair, all fishing must be excluded from all stakeholders in the protection areas to allow the fish to develop growth in both size and quantity.  Shortening the commercial fishing season may be a good alternative as this would raise the demand for fish and also their prices, creating a sustainable income for the fishermen.

Healthy Jewfish caught in October, 2015 - Photo by Rod and Rifle Tackleworld
Long time flyfisher's Cathie and Roger Bassett, spoke of an entry in Captain Cook's journal where his sailors caught fish in their nets.  However, when the nets were brought ashore the indigenous people, who up until then had been peaceful bystanders, suddenly became disturbed and gestured threats to the sailors.  The sailors retreated leaving behind the net.  The indigenous people then began reducing the catch by two thirds and releasing these fish, thereby ensuring that the sailors only kept what they needed and not the entire catch.  This is a great example of the 'catch and release' method that is used today and sustainability at its best.

So, in order to keep the actions fair and just, a 'happy medium' must be found where everyone in the fishing community and industry 'shares the pain' because we are all held accountable for the decline of two of the Territory's most beloved eating and sporting fish.  Assuming that many people would oppose the introduction of fishing licences, let's do our part and show our concern for the welfare of fishing in the Territory!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Yellow Waters

Last weekend ventured out to Yellow Waters to try my luck. The drive out was met with a nice cooling storm at Jabiru and was to be the first of a couple of storms to eventuate over the next couple of days.

Rain on its way!

Fished both Home and Yellow Waters over the weekend with Home providing fish that seemed to be in much better condition and were much more receptive to the fly. Yellow Water stock was very visible but would shy away from the fly, frustrating to the max. Don’t know if the water temp had anything to do with it, Home 30-31 degrees, Yellow Waters 32-34 degrees.

Great fish to catch!

While the numbers of fish caught came nowhere near to that of my last visit about a month ago it is a great place to visit at this time of the year to sight all the wildlife that has congregated on the billabongs. Crocs by the hundreds with one taking my largest fish of the weekend, estimated at 70-75 cms, right at the boat, came out of nowhere. It then spent the next half an hour trying to evade other crocs that wished to have a feed also. Hope it did not have a Million Dollars stuck in its back! Waterbirds covered the water surface and often wondered if their activity of landing and taking off en-mass had anything to do with the Yellow Water fish being timid!

He wanted it more than me!

While the temperature was hot it wasn’t unbearable and the evening storms cooled it enough for good sleeping under the stars.

Home Sweet Home

Remember “You’ll never never know, if you never never go. Get out there and fish”.

Tight lines
Jim Churchley

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nostalgia from the mid 80's

When I first came to the Northern Territory in 1985 it was to view a destination with then local Col Roberts (Wildfish Magazine today) the idea was to build a Floatel in the waters of Port Hurd Bathurst Island.This later for various reasons changed to the option of building a more permanent fixture that today is known as the The Barra Base.

In the process Rod Harrison and Dean Butler who were producing videos using John Haenke as the cameraman came to Barra Base and shot a video called "Top End Barra" it was during this that Rod requested that Dorothee and I  host, in part American Flyfishing Legend Lefty Kreh on his upcoming down under tour.

The upshot was a video called the " New Frontier " Harro was admiring an approach we developed in the visual stalking of Mangrove flats for Barramundi ,Threadfin and anything else that showed its nose, The tour was very successful with Goose Creek (Saratoga) being included in the Barra base section,The Drysdale, Cobourg peninsula  and New Guinea Black Bass .

The Mid 80's with Alex Julius then in the Fisheries Department and Mike Reid the Minister spearheaded what was to become a major tourism thrust that we still reap the benefits of today,Alex with Harro and John Haenke later spent a week producing a 10 Min promo of Fishing in the NT it recently was taken from Beta cam to a digital format and is uploaded here.

Names such as Alan Philiskirk, Phil Hall, Alex Julius,Gary ( bigfoot ) Simpson,Rod Harrison, Dean Butler, Lex Silvester and other locals obviously skinnier and  much younger are here.
Hope you enjoy this 27 yr old video.
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