about us

The Mob are 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.

Thursday, 18 September 2014


The 2014 Bynoe Sheep Station Stakes are about to begin, some are already camped out and others will be filling what is left of the rooms at Sand Palms from to night and tomorrow ( a couple of boats are at Crab Claw too).  Remember it is for a sheep station!!!!

Link for score sheet etc. 

Here is the wind forecast at 10am for Saturday and Sunday

if BOM is correct then it will be very still of a morning, but be warned the sea breeze always comes up of an afternoon this time of year, at least for an hour or so.

The sheep are being loaded ....

The fridge is nearly full..thanks to COOPERS

and the lamb shanks (sorry shaun) are being prepared.... and the STIG has tied the flies...

I suppose now that all is left is to go fishing, and remember  HAVE FUN and..

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What Is The Future of Fly Fishing?

What Is The Future of Fly Fishing?

Photo by Louis Cahill
Photo by Louis Cahill


If you do you might be ahead of me. Whether it’s marketing, zeitgeist or a true sea change in the nature of the sport one thing is for sure. Fly fishing is changing, but into what?
The signs are all around us. Let’s take you for example. That’s right you are part of ‘Fly Fishing 2.0′. Your are sitting in front of your computer, or tablet, or smartphone reading about fly fishing while you probably should be working. The enthusiasm for fly fishing on the internet is almost unreasonable. Just a few years ago the idea that you could visit a site and read a new article on fly fishing every day of the year would have seemed crazy. And yet, here you are.
If you had a parent, or grandparent who fly fished, they had no such outlet. Fly fishing was whispered about, if that. Now the internet is full of sites where you can read about fly fishing, watch videos and look at cool photos. This is not just a function of the ubiquitous Internet. There are hundreds of times as many folks into conventional fishing as there are in fly fishing. Do a quick Google search. There are far more fly fishing sites online. Why?
Perhaps fly anglers are a more tech savvy group. Maybe they have more time on their hands. I doubt it. Personally, I believe it’s raw passion, but I may be personalizing the issue. Whatever it it is, it’s real and it’s powerful, but to what end?
It’s fair to say that moving out of the media closet is bringing more people into fly fishing. That’s a great thing. New folks discover fly fishing every day and as they matriculate into the community they bring with them ideas and aesthetics from their other passions and interests. These ideas broaden the base of an already diverse fly fishing community. Diversity is good but does diversity mean dilution? The culture of fly fishing is changing, but is it for the better?
The first time I recognized this migration it was the ski bums. If you live in the west and work in the ski industry, you end up with a lot of time on your hands and some pretty good trout water all around you. It was natural that ski bums would spend the summer being trout bums. Naturally, they brought with them some of the culture snow skiing.
As a result, the pace of fly fishing accelerated. The soundtrack changed. In the media, if not on the stream, fly fishing began to take on some of the trappings of extreme sport. Some of that is valid. Anyone who has ever gotten sideways in a class four rapid has certainly felt a rush of adrenaline. That rush exists in our sport but it has been commonly oversold, particularly In fly fishing videos.
It’s hard to express the more spiritual (for lack of a better word) side of fly fishing in video without reinventing Ambian. On the other hand, some film makers in the genre Have spun out of control and are producing ‘fly fishing videos’ which amount to fifteen minutes of jackassery with no actual fly fishing. It’s hard to make compelling videos but at some point you have to recognize that you’re driving a square peg into a round hole.
The creation of the ‘fly fishing celebrity,’ fueled largely by the video production arm, but present in all of the media, is down right surreal. There have certainly been anglers who I have admired, and possibly endowed with superhuman powers, over the years. Guys who wrote books and set an example I worked to follow, but they were just fishermen who tried to share their knowledge and experiences. I guess what I’m saying is they were neither Johnny Knoxville nor Paris Hilton, and those archetypes are now alive and well in fly fishing.
Perhaps a more natural path to fly fishing is through conventional fishing. I think most fly anglers started off with conventional gear and many continue to use both. More often however, once an angler discovers that the fly rod is their calling, the serious tackle starts collecting dust. Among those folk are some who have come over from the world of competitive bass fishing. I had the chance to talk with one of these guys the other day. Zac Cassill who guides at Alaska West. Zac left a promising career in professional bass fishing to be a fly fishing guide.
His vision of fly fishing is one where competition is positive, bringing new anglers into the sport through competitive fly fishing. I’ve always been pretty vocal on the subject of competitive fly fishing. I don’t care for it and any incarnation of fly fishing that resembles professional bass fishing is my worst nightmare, but talking with Zac, it’s hard to not be caught up in his passion and enthusiasm. Especially on the subject of conservation.
It turns out that’s why he left the competitive bass fishing world. “Competitive bass fishing is completely driven by the manufacturers,” he told me, “I was an outcast for supporting the idea of a ban on lead, an idea the sport should be fully behind.” I’m not crazy about the idea of competitive fishing but we can use more guys like Zac in the sport any day.
If you’re getting the idea that I’m concerned about the future of fly fish, fear not. I’m actually really excited. I’m not afraid that the Johnny Knoxvilles or Mike Iaconellis are going to change fly fishing. I have the greatest faith that, in the long view, fly fishing will change them.
That’s the beauty and the power of fly fishing. It is a pursuit which changes you. It opens your eyes to the greater natural world and to your place in it. It will ultimately break down ego. It will supersede competition. It does not give rise to Jackass or UFC. It gives rise to Project Healing Waters and Trout Unlimited.
That’s my vision for the future of fly fishing. A future where the hearts and minds of the fly fishers come together around conservation and community. A future where we preserve, protect and embrace our differences as we do our common interests. A future where ego and self interest are replaced with respect and service. That, I believe, is the natural evolution of fly fishing and regardless of the soundtrack, that’s a video I want to watch.
Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline

Saturday, 13 September 2014


Over the weekend of the 20th and 21st  September, 2014 we will  be holding the 2nd BSSS (Bynoe Sheep Station Stakes) and yes, we will be playing for a sheep station....but just to give you a bit of insight into 'Playing for Sheep Stations' here is the Wikipedia definition.....

Playing for sheep stations
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The phrase is a traditional Australian English term to denote something large and/or important. A sheep station is a large sheep farm in Australia or New Zealand.

The phrase 'playing for sheep stations' has both a literal and ironic usage. Literally, it is used to encourage participants to play in a friendly and not too competitive manner. Playing sport or cards or a game of some sort, but not for prizes, one might say 'take it easy, we're not playing for sheep stations'. It could be used starting a game of cards or pool for example, to check whether the game would be played for money, beer, or just pride, asking 'so, are we playing for sheep stations or what?'

In typical Australian fashion, it can also be used to mean the exact opposite, because a sheep station is such a ridiculously expensive item that nobody would bet it on a game, the phrase 'we're playing for sheep stations' can also be used to mean that the game is purely for sport, and there is no bet or prize involved.

First off.  The Bynoe Sheep Station Stakes is a great name thanks to Dion, and Andy has added another gem in calling it, the'non-comp comp' and with that in mind, the new definition of a non comp comp is  "Fishing Trip". So on that basis here are some of the important rules for the BSSS Fishing Trip, and all trippers....whoops, that might not be a politically correct word, so I'll use fishers, are welcome to put in any ideas of modifications or new rules.  There is, however, one stipulation from Cathie, the rules must all be 'nice'.

Rule One:                       Go fishing and have fun

Rule Two:                       If you're not having fun, revert to rule one.

Rule Three:                                                    AND!!!!!


The whole idea is to allow everyone a reasonable level playing field by having five (5) species drawn out of a group of around twenty(at this stage) that is made up as much as possible of five of the most usual fish from the three different areas, that is, flats, rock bars and blue water.
The five species drawn out would be the main target species for that particular day. Another five would be drawn that evening for the next day.  Species to be chosen from are, at this stage, golden trevally, all other trevally, queenfish, golden snapper (fingermark), mangrove jack, black bream, catfish, cod, mackerel (all), blue salmon, tarpon, threadfin salmon, ock ock or javelin fish, spanish flag, barramundi and tuna (and more). 

NOTE;  Any number of fishers may be on your boat, providing it is within the legal requirements of the boating regulations.  I know that some will fish the 'Dark Side'  but they may miss out on the glory, and it is really just for fun remember.

and here are the tides

and the tally sheet for Saturday which you can copy

Friday, 12 September 2014

"God's Country the NT" part 2. More than just Barra!

Having had my saltwater fix last weekend time to satisfy the fresh withdrawal pains. Trip out to the Alligator Billabongs found the track just graded so easy travel but two boats at my planned destination so the search was on for another “less crowded” spot.

Found a Billabong with one other boat/camp that was in the throes of being packed up after three days and only 2 catfish! Not deterred, the offer of a shady camp spot with a mountain of firewood sealed where I was to set camp. While the couple were breaking camp I launched the boat for a fish before setting up camp. Traveled twenty metres, had four casts and had two Archer fish in the boat from the snags. 

Great fish to catch on fly

Then travelled to the shallow areas on the flood plain and found Barra tailing in the 29 degree water. About ten casts produced three Barra with one in the mid 60’s which was kept for the couple vacating the site. This fish offering produced mountains of ice, cold beer and offers of anything else that was hiding in the car fridge!

First of 50 to the boat!

Who said Billabong Barra were black?

While we all travel to these spots for fishing there is just so much more than just fishing. At this time of year the Billabongs are just alive with activity. Wallabies, Sea Eagles, Water Buffalo, Crocs, Jabiru, Feral Pigs, Wild Horses, Egrets, Brolgas, Ducks, Snakes, Frogs to name just a few, none stop activity around you to fill in the quiet fishing moments. We really do live in “God’s Country the NT”.

Never far away!

"This is my waterhole"!

Non-stop bird life.

With the increase in water temperature reaching 29.5 degrees late afternoon the Barra have started to come alive with 50 Barra boated over two days largest going 68 cms, at least 40% of all those caught were legal size, fat and very silver fish. Good eating!!


Not just Barra on offer!

Now is the time to get out to the Billabongs before it get too hot and it is still comfortable to camp (great sleeping weather under the stars at the moment).

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

Tight line
Jim Churchley  

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Stig's report on Bynoe 7th Sept 2014

See The Stig's blog at Swoffing NT waters

Fog bound mornings are not my usually experience since moving to Darwin, but Sunday morning was just that on to way from a mate;s place at Dundee beach to one of the two boat ramps onto Six Pack arm of Bynoe Harbour. We used the one off Barramundi Drive, Don't like it (too steep) at bottom of tide but top of tide it's great. When it's steep the boat at front of trailer could be tied on and the back keeps moving around  especially if tide is racing by, quite difficult. You need to get the front on, move trailer forward a bit and the check all is in place before getting all the way out as the back of the boat tends to be at a different floating angle to the trailer.High tide was just an a hour earlier than our launch time of 6:30am. The water was smooth as, and the pink sun just poking its head through the mangroves at the water edge towards the east
We headed at WOT to Simms Reef out front of the harbour hoping for some mackerel to be lurking near it
On the reef already, there was an a mate's boat from Darwin Fly Rodder club (who had their fishing competition on the weekend). We had a quick chat and moved away about 100 metres to do our thing.

They had hooked up to a few queenies as we arrived but there was zero visible signs of fish activity. There were some birds working a couple of hundred metres north of Simms but once we got there it was easily seen as just small 15cm Fringefinned trevally bursting at the water surface.

We preserved blind casting for a while but given the tide was half out we headed in fishless (so far) for the back of Turtle Island. The flat there was almost too shallow for us to fish so we had to travel too fast to get off it before it dried off and left us high and dry for four hours before the water came back.
Worse still it was covered in fish, big slashing queenies, heaps of small groups (5-25) of blue salmon, heaps of rays - we still caught nothing but it was awesome seeing so many fish on the flat - MUST BE THERE WITH 50cm more water next time!

Right up in the really shallow water - 20cm or less of water about three casting distances - there were occasional huge rushes of baitfish out of the water to escape predators (that we could see!)

We proceeded off flat towards the bays on the western side of Turtle island, we saw a few fish but again either we spooked them or they showed no interest in us or our flies.

Having had such an awesome day, water temp good, breeze gentle - we (I mean me!) were getting a bit frustrated. We thought we would give the flats opposite Six Pack Arm a few hours of cruising and search for species given the 2+m low neap tide meaning no chance of getting stuck on the mud, however, half way there from Turtle island we come upon some large slashes at the merest of sand points on an otherwise bare shoreline. We had found (stumbled on!) an area with some grey mackerel with varying in size queenfish amongst them.

But again while they attacked the schools of baitfish with abandon, regardless of colour, size and fly changes they showed rare interest in our flies. The deckie got one grey mack that cheered us slightly (I.e. Not me!)

I had a couple of quite large queenfish follow my Fleye Foil fly (I had made the week before) to the boat , shouldering each other to follow but even though they had some half hearted swipes at it didn't hook up. I had had so many 'almost' hook ups so far that day it was getting quite frustrating. I had made the 2/0 Fleye Foils quite long as in previous outings the macks had a preference for longer flies. Even trimming them on the boat - didn't help hookup the fish that were repeatedly swiping and slashing at the back of the fly.
We did have a mini worm hatch - well one at least -
This one worm was swimming along (quite fast too) just under the surface, in the middle of all the baitfish getting hammered by the grey mackerel - maybe I should have used a worm fly!

After that excitement.....
We chase the macks and queenies for a few hours as they disappeared and appeared, herding and attacking the baitfish - and we missed the bottom of the tide time we wanted to fish the flats. So headed round bottom of Indian Island and went over to Knife Island - a 'sure thing' location in the past. But here too we found nothing, yes a few occasional slashes but nothing consistent or interested in our flies. We did manage a few small queenies and one or two baby trevs but nothing  too exciting.

After being glass off with no wind for a few hours, the wind finally arrived whichever caused us to move round to the leeward side of Knife Island. Given water had risen to bottom of the mangrove lower limbs I switched to a prawn pattern (the BFCW) hoping for a barramundi hanging there in ambush. After 60 or so metres of casting to shadows under the trees for naught - not a scale or sparkle or flash. We were almost to the corner and back in the wind.
I should have been more attentive because a 70-80cm barramundi had followed the fly 5-6m from its ambush possie. Its head was just millimetres from the fly. I did a fast strip, it moved just as fast and again positioned itself just behind and close enough to be tickled by the rubber legs of fly. Pause, small strip, pause, and again the barra would copy the fly's movements - BUT NOT TAKE THE FLY!!!!!  Aaaarrrrgggghh!!!!

So all day I had follows, half takes and no hook ups! Maybe Graeme William's 'low tide at midday is no good' theory has merit - ??? (see Everyone love the Moon )

We then worked the mangrove edges at the bottom of Indian Island while hoping for a barra. The deckie got a small Estuary Cod on a BFCW fly which changed things up a bit and gave him a new species for his 'all time capture list'.

To top of this type of day, we fished a mangrove flat right at the back of Six Pack and found nothing, but on last tree the deckie had a follow from a huge metre plus barracuda, thicker than my lower leg. Again, it mimicked the movement of the fly - fast or slow stripped, it stayed just behind and under the fly, Nothing we tried could induce it to take the fly. It travelled 20m from its snag as we drifted along with the current before finally fading away into the depths.

Seems all the fish for the trip had the same attitude, a bit like a hot chick at a nightclub- all follow and no take (i would have taken an ugly fish today given my poor form!).

I heard today only a few barramundi were captured by the guys at the DFR competition so maybe it wasn't just me who was frustrated by the fishing on the weekend and its uncommitted fish!
Hope the fishing is different in two weeks when we are SWOFFING at a tournament with the NT Fly Fishers Social Mob in the same area.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

“God’s Country the NT”.

After three (3) weeks of wandering around South East Asia and not picking up a fly rod for a month (my longest dry spell for more than two (2) years) it was great to get back and to appreciate what we have on our door step. While I came across some fantastic places none comes close to what we have here in “God’s Country the NT”.

From the "Beach" in Manila

To "God's Country the NT"

Bynoe the location neap tides with heaps of fish to be sight cast to. Had four (4) days exploring the flats with water clarity the best I can remember. At one point the sounder showed 3.8 metres and the bottom looked as if it was just below the surface. For most of the time Barra and other flats dwellers were easy to find, hooking up a different matter as I think the water clarity made them very easy to spook. I found the best result in this clear water was to strip the fly of most of its bulk leaving a very anemic offering. This I found did not spook the fish as much. Ended up with good numbers of Barra to 70 cms and Queenfish to 80 cms. Great few days!

From the flats!

My contacts tell me that things are warming temperature wise out Kakadu way so going out to see if the Barra have awoken from their winter freeze. Report to follow in a few days.

Remember: “If you never never go, you’ll never never know”. Get out there and fish!

Tight lines
Jim Churchley