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, 30 October 2014


I am sitting down here in the bush trying to sort out a question....is this a permit???...it is a pompano?..and I believe a small spotted or black spotted dart???? and I think Trachinotus baillonii. (see list below)

Jack White with his fish.

Some of you might remember some years ago the debate (argument) over the issue of what was a permit. There was different opinions up here when some of us caught the snub nosed dart calling them permit and others argued that they were not in fact permit.  The 'Permit' and darts come from the 'Pompano'family apparently of which, according to records there are around twenty types..these are listed below...

 The 20 currently recognized species in this genus are:[1]

This list and others have the  Trachinotus falcatus   whereas other sites list the Trachinotus goodei         as the only actual 'permit', all the others have different names, but in Australia other different pompanos are considered permit, like  Trachinotus anak   and   Trachinotus baillonii . BLOODY CONFUSING HEY??

Then there is this on the scientific fishing pages..which indicated pompano are also classified as permit the way I read it.....
  1. Pompano
  1. Scientific nameTrachinotus
  2. RankGenus
  For me, the fish like many others that were disallowed in the past through argument, it is a Permit, maybe not the Permit, but still a permit. 

The Bassett's

Saturday, 25 October 2014

"Lizzie River" sea trials!

Fitted new fuel lines to the boat the other day so a sea trial in sight of land required, "Lizzie River" fitted the bill. All good with the fuel system but could not pass up the acres of Queenfish busting up around the islands at the river mouth. 

Launched at 6.45am, pulled out at 8.30am, 15 Queenies in the boat, smallest 50cms, largest 62cms. NT must be short for "Fishing Heaven"!

No camera on-board, sea trial run!!! 

Remember; "You'll never never know, if you never never go." Get out there and fish!

Tight  lines
Jim Churchley

Friday, 24 October 2014


If this blog doesn't post properly, you can blame my little mini laptop....it has something called and Intel Atom in it, but that should read Intel Alzheimer I think, because I takes everything in, but then slows down and looses it somewhere in the web!!! leaving a message that it is not responding....might just be me?

We are at Bynoe Haven for a few weeks, though travelling back and forward on some days, so should get plenty of fishing in.  Arrived down here last Sunday and the Hagleys were here with Lord Jim.  Di was really into the fish too and I think Lord Jim is trying to get the photo's for a little report.  Barra seemed scarcer than usual though, and even though we got onto them, they were few and far between.  There were schools of wolf herring all over, some only about six inches long and others about two feet. ( sorry I'm a dinosaur and still relate to feet and inches)  Schools of queenies around too, Jim filled his boat with them then got onto the barra, and macs around, one was 1.3 metres.

Lyle and Greg O'Reilly were out there too, we dined with them a couple of nights, and bored Greg with tales of the fishing etc. in the past.  All true of course.

It was hot out on the water and in most spots the temperature of the water was 32C or more.  Big blue salmon on some flats, and around Knife Island there was a school of big queenies and trevally, but they were hard to follow and only came up now and then.  The jelly prawns are starting up since the rain, and on one flat that was alive with them, there were tarpon, both salmons and barra chopping through them, they were good size barra too, and a couple jumped completely out of the water chasing the jellies.

Barra liked the simple white clousers with a thin blue centre line
This  blue took an all silver vampire.
We had a selection of flies, but the simple white clousers with a bit of subtle colour in them proved the best. I just got some EP fibre in white and light blue, I tied a couple of clousers with this stuff but they didn't impress me because they looked rather dull, so I only made the two, but it was this fly that caught six of the old species on our first day out there. We used other similar flies while one of us was fishing with the EP one, but it was the favourite of the fish.   Will tie some more with this stuff just to see if it wasn't a fluke.

A few of the flies, the two EP ones are in the box top right and they are the two under the red headed ones, they look a bit thicker and stubbier too.

If I can get this computer to stop dropping out, we will send more soon.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lee Point trip report and ramblings

Two new blogs on my blogger site

Last Sunday's morning outing trip report and video

One blog of  my rambling thoughts on the WANT to be fly fishing all the time!!!!!

Hope everyone else is getting into fish - go on tie some flies and get them wet!!!!!

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Some of our interstate mobsters are taking part in the Variety Children's Toga on Fly comp on the 17th, 18th and 19th October 2014.

Helen Abdy from WA ..."Hired a ute and borrowed a boat of my good friend Peter Soanes and when Richard Hilton gets here tomorrow we be ready to fish the Variety Children's Toga on Fly comp at Borumba dam. " 

Helen and Richard's ride...a bit different to those eighty wheelers Helen drives in WA.

Mark Hosking and Mario Demaio (SEQFF) have been tying these special flies....

Good luck to everyone....

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


We have fallen in love with Alligator Billabong. The place was absolutely teaming with life - within an hour of being on the water we had seen wild horses, Brolgas, Jabirus, wallabies and of course…….crocodiles! 

Wild Horses and some Brolgas

Just chillin'

Lunch on the go……..

It was not long before we started catching fish. Marty was on first with a nice barra. The archer fish were numerous, very aggressive and quite sizeable. Over the one and a half days we spent in this wonderful oasis we landed Barra, Toga, Archer fish and Long Tom. We lost loads more than we caught and all were caught on the dark side. There was a constant slightly cool wind/stiff breeze which, too our surprise, spun about 180 degrees after the sun went down and suddenly started pushing us away from the shallows. The delightfully cool wind kept us fly free during the day, mozzie free in the evening and unfortunately, kept the fly rods in their tubes!

Its been a while….

On another note: The crocodiles were numerous and visible, with a number well over the 3m mark out and about. All of the crocs that we saw were very active and moving around a lot. We trolled on the electric mostly, so we could really hear the sounds of billabong life - there was a lot of croc barking (yes it does sound like a dog woofing!) and there was a lot of thrashing about in the shallows. It was hard to tell what the crocs were thrashing about with - whether it was another croc or intended dinner we couldn’t always see but we could see the croc tails and backs. They also seemed to be going at the brolgas and other wading birds quite determinedly.

Spot the croc and 2 Brolgas keeping us company as we fished into the sunset

Usually the waders seem to wander the shallows with impunity but not last weekend!  Not long after watching some gorgeous wallabies drinking and eating at the waters edge, we saw a large croc swimming with what looked like a wallaby in its jaws. She headed back towards our camp, which made us happy - one less hungry croc in the vicinity!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Kakadu Bongs

I couldn't think of a better place to view the Lunar Eclipse than the flood plains of Kakadu with the added bonus of some fishing thrown in. Found myself floating around Alligator Billabong watching the sun set in the West and the moon rising at the same time in the East.

"Lunar Eclipse in progress" 

Throwing poppers around in the fading light enticing that big “boof” never ceases to get the adrenalin flowing through the veins. Great fun! I still jump every time the fish strike even after all these years. I must be a slow learner!

Had two days fishing Alligator and Red Lilly with plenty of fish to the boat but none of any notable size. Even so not a bad way to spend a couple of days. Alligator Billabong had Barra schooling up and tailing along the edges of the lilies while in Red Lilly I did not sight a single Barra and could only catch them here by dragging the depths. Probably due to water temperature, Alligator 29 degrees, Red Lilly 32 degrees.

'Tailing Barra of Alligator"

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

Tight lines
Jim Churchley

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


If you tie flies, 'Bucktail' is probably one of the most widely used natural materials. We use it in all lengths and colours, but I prefer the moderate crinkle.  It is reasonably priced, and for me it is essential to stop the tail wrap of other materials that I use with it.   Most prefer the hair closer to the tip of the tail, because the closer you get to the base of the tail the hair tends to be hollow and flares up if you tie it down too tight.

Nearly all my larger flies have a bucktail component like these..

These are on 3/0 Limerick 1830 Maruto hooks
On the recent trip to Bynoe we lost a lot of flies, we had a few on 6/0 hooks but most were on 3/0 SL12's.  They were all tied similarly to the bottom fly in the photo above, in that they did not have the long gar beak,  and with the exception that we had added the aluminium material with the blue DNA..

The materials used

NOTE: The Stig did tell me what that aluminium material is called but I'm afraid it went in one ear and out the other, but it is cheap and from spotlight in many colours.

Most of the flies were taken by schools of barracuda about 70cm long.  We would be trying to entice a large queenie or trevor onto the fly when the barracuda would come in and bite the fly off.  At one stage there were about four barracuda jumping out of the water trying to throw the flies they had bitten off.  Those schools may be around all the time, but we have not seen so many there in the past.

A bit blurry but you get the idea, there were schools of these around

Getting bitten off isn't usually a problem because I used to have heaps of flies, but we haven't been loosing too many so I have slowed up on the tying, and have also been concentrating more on flats flies (things) rather than all round deceivers or clouser type.

Even flies with a short wire trace were bitten off, because the fish took the fly right at the boat, and its mates were trying to belt the fly as well, biting at the leader and any knots that took their fancy.  It was just one of those days, but it was great fun.   Even when we had queenies or trevally on the cuda would still have a go at both the fish and the fly.  Must have been hungry?

So if the bucktail has a problem it is this, when there are heaps of small toothy fish attacking the fly, they shred the bucktail and leave only a small amount of the synthetic on the hook, which may still catch the smaller fish, but the bigger fish don't seem as interested.  I hear you say, "....just tie on another fly!" but when your in a feeding frenzy all common sense seems to go and you have to cast out whatever you have on, I just can't relax, sit down and tie on another fly, much to the annoyance of the Admiral on the boat.   Having too much fun.

To give you an idea of the damage here are they main hooks that I use and you can see what has happened to two of the flies in the photo that were only slightly smaller than the undamaged one above.....

NOTE:  I do like SL 12's but I favour the Mustad C70S D because they are a little bit longer on the shank and seem lighter.  Plus they are about a fifth of the price.  Cathie favours the limerick style hooks with a gar beek, because the first Saltwater competition she won was on those type of hooks, so when your on a good thing....stick to it!!

The two bottom flies are what was left after, small queenies and blue salmon gave them hell, we swapped to a smaller total DNA fly and the fly stayed together but being smaller the blues swallowed the whole and if you didn't manage to hook them in the side of the mouth, their teeth wore through the leader.....that's fishing...and is was great fun.

A blue and white DNA clouser that catches everything....Dion got a trout in Yellowstone National Park on one of these!!!!!

Truth is you can't beat the bucktail for what it does, so I just have to tie more flies and replace them on the boat as I am usually ordered to do.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Just back from two great days at Bynoe, it was breezy of a morning and around 1pm the sea breeze came in and that, with the heat of the sun, put us off the water.  Matt Henger and Helena fished the Saturday, and got a great threadie, but the water was fairly milky in the harbour and fish were hard to see.   

Sunday 5/10/14  
Lord Jim went down into the rivers where there was clear water, and it was non stop fish for a while, mainly small queenies, macs, some tarpon and heaps of trevally as well as some jack for a feed. We fished in the clearer water on the western side of Indian Island, saw some great barra and got very complacent watching big schools of mullet make bow waves in the water, because near the big flat rock at the back of Indian, we saw another 'school of mullet' swimming slowly towards us and took no notice of it until it was too late.  It was a 90 plus barra, just lazily swimming along with a big trevally following.  Too late to cast at it we could only watch as it turned under the boat and swam off into the cloudy water.  Bugger!!!

We had a ball on clear water at the top of Knife Island as the tide was coming in. There were some big trevally around but not the monsters we had seen a fortnight ago, our best was only 52cm, but there were a lot around that size and some goldies too that really gave us a great time.   

We lost more flies in a couple of hours fishing there than we have for the whole year I think,  because in amongst the trevally and a few reasonable queenies, there were schools of barracuda about 70cm long, and they would engulf the whole fly then bite the line off.  Roggie will have to start tying again.
Anything like these with blue in it was snapped up..

Monday 6/10/14 

When we were launching on Sunday we ran into a mate of Dion and Kate's, Dave, who was heading out to Fish Reef because he had got some good tuna out there recently, and as luck would have it, as we were pulling the boat out he came in too and told us that he had got into macs and queenies up on the reef.  So we decided to head out there, very early (not quiet Jim's time) just on sunrise.  It was choppy all the way there and we ran onto schools of smaller fish, bust up the water on the way, but they were not interested in fly and I think they may have been tiny butterfly fish or something like that?

As we got close to the bottom of Fish Reef around 7.15am, we could see flocks of birds working on the side out of the wind, in crystal clear water about a metre deep.   Roggie had been going to try the Go Pro, but it was wall to wall fish so we decided to just fish instead, and for the next hour we could not stop catching either trevally, queenies or some of the huge numbers of small macs that were there.  It was absolutely great fun, and the macs were even hitting along the fly line and leaders in their frenzy.

There were heaps of these 
and here is what they were chasing..

A savaged fly with the fish the school was eating.

Now and then one of the macs would take off like a freight train, because there were big queenies and barracuda going through the schools.  We hoped to catch one of the bigger ones, but as soon as the fly hit the water the little ones had it.  One queenie that was jumping looked to be nearly a metre fifty, and except in the Robinson River years ago, I have not seen them that size.  It was enormous.

Fish Reef

The fishing just stopped about 8.15am. (thank goodness) and everything went quiet except for a few schools in the distance, but we needed a rest then.  Just for your information, the tide that day was a high of around 6.4m at 4am coming down to a low of 2.2m around 10.27am. 

We then motored over to the nearby islands and Simms reef for the low tide, and got a few small snapper.  The water around Simms was crystal clear but not a lot of fish, so we got onto a huge flat that we have never fished before, well wasn't that exciting.   There had been birds working off this flat, and again we made the mistake of assuming it was just those strange little fish that had been all around the harbour, that was until we saw what looked like a salmon rolling in the school.  Another mistake we made was that because the fish were breaking up a fair way our from the dry flats we thought it was reasonably deep.  It was only when the motor got stuck in the sand that we realised that the flat came out a long way and was very shallow with a heap of drains on it that you could just make out in the cloudy water. (Later when the tide came in the water cleared and there were drains everywhere).  We didn't get stuck, but almost.

On this flat there were queenies, trevally and schools of blue salmon rolling on the shallows and hitting the small fish.  It was just before low tide and the fish kept going for nearly two and a half hours.  It was wonderful.  There were sharks around the eight foot mark shooting along the drains, and all the blue salmon looked to be in the 50cm to 70cm range.

Typical catch

 (The smallest we landed was 52 and the biggest was 56cm)  The blues really put up a fight, but because it was low water they would come at the boat and it was very hard to hook up sometimes but when we started to 'troutie' them we had a fish on that would usually continue to swim with the schools until it realised it was hooked then all hell broke loose.  One in the mid seventies was on for the longest, fighting all the way.  It was almost in the net a few times, but the netter (who shall remain nameless because he ties the flies) stood on my line as he put the net in the water and the fish made another run, breaking the line.
Didn't you hear him?  He was unhappy!.

They loved the blue and white clousers

We had a cook up with some of the fish, a special tempura batter with chips.  The Jack that Jim had caught and salmon.

and the dinner guests....why is Jim drinking both beer and wine???


See more on the Stig's Blog

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Trip Report 20141005 - Darwin Harbour

Quite surprisingly the wife let me go on another outing so close to the last. Problem was my casting hand had a few sore spots from all the awesome fishing last Thursday and my body hadn't recovered yet. Still a little pain isn't enough to stop me taking up the offer of more time for fishing!!

It was a very early start – why? Cause the deckie’s alarm went off an hour early and consequently arrived at my place early! In the positive we were on the water way before the sun peeked above the horizon. Stopped at Shelly again not sign of life.

Due to low tide at 9:30 we thought we would fish the last of the dropping tide for barra and such up West Arm. At first arrival fish were going nuts past the deep hole on the right arm. There is a rock bar extending across the river 300m past the hole. We cast around it for a while picking up various species. Got one good snapper, an ock ock (Javlin fish?), plus plenty of small trevally. I did see a huge flash of a lrge fish that followed the fly from the deep rocks to the boat before slinking away - could have been a barra given broad tail (the barra nemesis is still continuing to frustrate me!)

Also there were plenty of little sharks that kept distracting us till the tide bottomed out, then we moved out of arm to Weed reef. Here bait were boiling away but no predators. We did see a gigantic shark with its dorsal fin protruding the water - very pointed making us wonder at the shark species it may have been. There had to have been 2-2.5m between the dorsal and tail fin - so estimate it at at least 4.5 metres, the dorsal fin was huge like a sail sticking out of the water. It was just swirling around lazily in the one spot til we got too close and it slunk away to do whatever it is big sharks do.

Weed Reef proved vacant of fish as well – well fish that would take our flies at least. 

Next Spot was Mandorah, the little T bar rock platform south of the jetty was almost covered by water and a plethora small queenfish and trevally were swarming over any baitfish passing the rock bar. Even pulled a couple of nice stripies from the rock ledge.

We switched to poppers for more visual fishing but the fish didn’t want to travel too far from rock bar - so after one or two strips from rock bar the following fish would skittle back to the rock bar. We did managed one or two better fish on the poppers – I got the best fish of the day on a crease fly. The GT was very keen on the fly because he came  a long way from rock bar to get the crease fly! the surface strike was spectacular!!!!!

We popped back over the harbor to see if the goldens were still in Katlin bay area but alas no goldens. There was some ‘moving rocks’ in the form of schools of small trevally and queenfish harassing baitfish congregations. These keep us amused for 30minutes or so while we searched for the goldens.

So compared to last Thursday a very slow day, however we both caught 20 or so small fish with one or two bigger ones every now and then to keep us casting in hope of something larger. I only had half a day due to some work I had to do in afternoon , so we ended it there.

Weather was kind, wind light if there at all most of the day. The sunrise spectacular behind us as we headed towards West Arm. It is definitely getting more hot and steamy than last month - bring on the build up - let it get the fish biting freely!

My deckie just got us a new CB radio, so once this is installed we might be working more positively towards that hope for trip to Vernons. More updates and radio installation blogs to follow.