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.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Flood plain drains


Since my earlier post this morning (I love my weekends!) I have had a couple of phone calls asking me what is meant by the water coming off the plains. The attached video from last week end at Corroboree show a well defined drain with a body of water behind it. That water on the plain was only a couple of inches deep and was very slowly moving off and was full of bait, all of which did not know what to do, stay and evade the birds or swim like hell into the gauntlet of Tarpon and Barra. Just before light this point was like a washing machine on maximum wash cycle with Tarpon feeding on the bait fish and Barra feeding on the Tarpon. "The food chain". The 80 cm Barras from last week came from this spot.

While this video shows the drain very well most are concealed by the lilies but the same principle applies and this is what I hunted out this weekend up the back of the Rockhole.

Hope this answered some of your questions for those that have shown an interest and I am sure that an answer to one question propagates half a dozen others such is the magic of fly fishing.

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

Tight line
Jim Churchley

Thanks to the NT Flyfishers IT section for making this happen. I was lost big time. Cheers Roggie!

Love my Weekends!

Another long weekend saw me travel out to Muirella Park to have a fish. Arriving late Friday saw me being greeted by a large congregation of the locals, MOSSIES. Their presence made putting up the dome look more like a strange dance. Even more strange with a beer in one hand!


5 am saw the boat launched and on the water and just a few casts later, no more than 10 meters from the ramp, first scales in the boat, Archer fish. With the sun throwing its rays this billabong is a real pleasure to be greeted with in the morning, great to be alive feeling! The lack of surface activity in contrast to Corroboree last weekend stood out! Tarpon, Archer fish, Long Tom, Sooty Grunter, Catfish, Saratoga all came to the boat on fly in very quick time.

These pull hard!
Back to the camp for a bite of breakfast I noticed some changes to one of my favourite campsites in Kakadu, skip this paragraph if you don’t want to hear a Parks management bashing. The toilet block has received a lick of paint and looking good, fees increased from $10 to $15 per person per night, that’s life, the ground is an absolute overgrown mess, obviously no pre-opening clean up. The main change is that ALL the fire pits with BBQ plates have been removed so as a consequence people have been having fires all over and within a few weeks there won’t be a place to camp other than on top of a pile of ash. Maybe this is the reason why there was only one other camper (international) at the site who also commented about the same things. Park Management (our taxes) at work! Only a few years ago this site was so busy that it had its own onsite manager/ranger. I gave the visitor centre a call to ask if the channel from Home Billabong to Yellow Waters was still passable, “did not know????” Fished another couple of hours then decided to move on. Bashing ended!

Where are the larger ones??
Made a move to East Alligator and launched as soon as I got there and had Barra on within a few minutes. All the snags around the first corner upstream held rat Barra and the mouth of the first creek on left before sandbar corner had “a fish a cast” with rats. Took a run upstream to the sandbar where the river comes in on the left and fished the tannin water and again lots of rats along with lots of Bull Sharks that added to the aerial display of hooked Barra! If anyone is out Kakadu way don’t go past the East Fresh there are lots of barra and I am sure with persistence larger ones will be found.

From East Alligator snag. Thick with them.

As my truck still packed I made the call to take the run to Shady and give the fresh ago and know that there are BBQ plates there!!

Travelling down Shady Camp road about an hour before dark I could not get over the number of trailers coming out! Too many for unsociable me so turned off to the Rockhole ramp. I launched as soon as I got there and picked a couple of Toga immediately from under the Pandanus opposite the ramp. With darkness time for a couple of beers and a sleep, but no BBQ!

On the water before 5 am next morning and prospecting the lilies with a few Togas taking the fly with aggression. Have not been able to pick up any Toga of a decent size, 60+, at all this year.

As we get older we all tend to reminisce of things past and I recalled fishing with Dave Gardner years ago and he saying that after the wet the Barra would hold up in large mobs where food was flowing. That day with Dave was my first experience of getting more than a 100 Barra at the mouth of the Rockhole cut through. Similar thing happened with Dave Bowering and Wayne Hinton further down the billabong where water was draining off the plains through the Pandanus, big mob of fish.

With this in mind started looking for likely spots. As boats started to arrive I pushed harder up stream and pushed through the lilies where it blocked the way with the aim of getting to the junction with all the dead timber. Effort but got through, watch your engine telltail, and proceeded to prospect the likely areas, drains, snags, everywhere.

To cut a long story short, “seek and ye shall find”. When I pulled out at 3 pm I had had one of those fishing days. Smallest Barra was no more than 15cms largest 84cms. Any hooked Barra was fair game to a bigger one with the retrieve being boofed and a barra being scaled in an instant. Absolute insane!

Typical fish caught.


Yes the fish were mainly rats but if you could get past them larger ones were there. Why there? As Dave, Dave and Wayne had shown before, water coming of the plain. It does not have to be a water fall just an exit for the bait as it is forced out by the dropping level.

First legal of the day. They got bigger!!!

I love my Weekends!

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

Tight lines,
Jim Churchley

Sunday, 1 May 2016


The First of May is the official start of the 'Dry' for the North.  Basically the forecasters suggest that the 'Wet' or Monsoon season is over.  This is the time that the waters cools a bit and in the harbours the chance of good longtails and big queenies is usually a lot better.

The reason I'm going to concentrate on those two is because they are great eating, either raw with sauces or cured in lime, vinegar or similar mixes.  Click for a ceviche recipe from my mate Jamie Oliver   or, I'm sure everyone has their very own 'numas' recipe.

ceviche (photo courtesy Jamie Oliver)
They go particularly well with a mix of wasabe and soy, and because that is such a cheap meal, you can afford a great bottle or two of something like √áloudy Bay or Catalina Sounds to wash it down.   Better still try both and see which one you like the best!

.....here are some 'May' queenies...then tuna

Andy with another great queenie in May

.....and of course with the queenies, especially in Darwin Harbour, the longies run with the queenies a lot.  You can pick up the odd mac if you have a short wire trace on too...

This 102cm was running with the big queenies off the sand bar near Cullen Bay
92 cm Bynoe longie

Toc's with a longie off Weed Reef
Roggie makes me a long nosed fly which seems to work really well on both of these species...bucktail or synthetic works the same ...colours usually white with 'sea foam'/ blue DNA centre..these two are basically the same fly, with simply the bead chain eyes in alternative positions on the hook.

These almost opaque ones work just as well too...these are tied on a stiff, crinkly material from At the Riverbend 

We find that we seem to get the bigger fish on bigger flies, but that is not always a certainty either, so have some smaller versions just in case.

We have had the smaller queenies 'smoked' as well and they are great.  In fact the smaller fish are really what are best for a meal because there is a lot in a bigger fish....like this one of Lord Jim's that fed fourteen of us!!!!