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.

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.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Trip Report - Darwin Harbour 20141002 - Thursday

Also see at my blog site - Swoffing NT Waters

6am start to get on the water in the pre-Dawn light - so nice to go fishing midweek. The boat ramp was empty.
Met up with one fly fisher at the fuel pump on way to ramp (Wayne from Show Ponies team) -
Him to work, me to fishing - what can you say!
Someone has to do it!
He was muttering something about something being unfair, but what?
I can't see it!

First stop Shelly Is - nothing
Wickham Point - zip!
Weed Reef - a few splashes then nothing
Mandorah rock bars - very quiet!
I crossed over the harbour to Cullen Bay - quieter still
Headed towards East Point and a little action bird and slashing fish - hope rises

Finally, at 9:30am I managed two mackerel quickly in succession off the extreme outer edge of the reef now at the high tide level of 5.3m
A few more bust ups on bait on the drop off of East Point reef - a 60cm queenfish this time.

Then quiet again.......casting,,,,casting,,,,for naught!
The decision was then do I go to Lee Point knowing the wind would increase at lunchtime and it would be a rough ride back into harbour in the afternoon

I chose to go the other way (softie!) - and went round the corner from East Point into Fannie Bay.
Here birds were working, mainly in small groups but there was one large flock of birds worth investigation. Firstly I thought it would be mackerel - not the best to chase around as very skittish. But the slashes were different to mackerel.

It turned out to be large packs of 50-60cm queenfish, while very sporadic in their appearance and almost always out of casting distance when they did show up - I chased them around Fanny Bay amongst the kids learning to sail.

I stop counting after 20 fish to hand, they all seemed to fight above their size and weight class. It was tremendous SWOFFING! heaps of fun!
I used clousers and surf candies on sinking lines - neither fly showing any dominance over the other. The fishing was so good I switched to a floating line and a crease fly but after only a few follows went back to the deep setup even though only in 3 metres of water (best for a faster stripping style)

I was looking around the area for fish with the fly hanging in the water and fluked a 55cm mackerel on the stationary fly I wasn't even looking at - don't think that one counts! (at least ethically maybe)
Interestingly when I was netting this mackerel, a large seabird dove into the net to grab the fish. I told him it was mine!

The bird (I think its name is a Brown Booby(?)) seemed quite lazy in its attempts to feed, just sitting on the water and occasionally putting its head under the water searching. I got focusing on fishing again and next thing the bird is sitting on my console not a metre from me. Eventually it took off after some rest time.

A few of the fish vomited up some bait, the bait varied in length from 3-5 cm - which help explain why the smaller candies and clousers were taken aggressively, rather then the half-hearted attempts of fish at the large flies I tested out.

Having had my fill of chasing fish around the bay, I needed a different fish under different circumstances - so headed up into the harbour, back towards my eventual take out point at East Arm Boat Ramp. It is not often I leave the fish biting in search of new horizons.

The wind was already starting to blow harder, so was thinking of heading back to boat ramp given the great Swoffing already experienced but around 11am about an hour after the turn of the tide, I stopped off in a little bay called (I think) Katlin Bay between Cullen bay and Larrakeyah

First thing seen was a couple of very small surface ripples in the opposite direction of the wind waves
Once closer the tell tail indication of yellow flash tells me Golden Trevally. There was a couple of schools the size of a small car, working the area.

To start with and from a distance, they looked quite small and right in the shallows, but the first hookup immediately told me differently. As usual the Golden's fought much harder than the same sized Giant trevally.

One took me into my backing very strongly in a matter of seconds. but my leader parted after a few minutes of back and forth. Bugger! would have liked to seen that one, definitely bigger than the others I had been catching, giving its determined long run with that tell tale trevally 'thumping' on the end of the line.

After fifteen Goldens to the boat up to 55cm, they didn't want to play anymore. But my day was done so no issue. The wind was increasing and it had been a great morning SWOFFING Darwin Harbour.

A little mischief to explain as well
Fished by myself this trip but I had asked a few mates to come - my regular deckie had to work (in Court all day so couldn't take a sickie), one on a course he couldn't get out of, another moving house, two others that didn't reply to my messages and emails - so all the time I was fishing, well when I caught a fish - a photo was duly taken and sent to them with a count of fish caught.
One said he hates me, one asked for a fillet or two from the Goldens, the one on the course sent back 'Grrrrrrr!" - me laughing the whole time! hahahahaha lol lol lol lol!
Love SWOFFING Darwin Harbour!

Enjoy the video - (up soon)
Lets hope I have the same good times the next time I am on the harbour - (this Sunday)

video now up too - 20141002 - Darwin Harbour

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Dave, Leo and Pete apparently understood all those location names from Bynoe and found 'Birthday Flat' and the fish...here is a report from Dave....

After the mob had cleared out on Monday, we had the opportunity to sneak out in the morning and fish a couple of spots that had boats on them on the weekend…I see why Lord Jim is on water by 4am during these weekends.

After my southern guests had been hearing me bang on about the addictive nature of sight casting to cruising fish on the Bynoe flats, they had the opportunity to see what it is all about and why we love it so much. We got to our preferred flat (Birthday Flat?) nice and early and within minutes had Barra showing interest in our offerings. While I stuck with my trusty collection of  'things', Leo and Pete were keen to use Gold Bombers that they had been talked into purchasing from enthusiastic tackle store owners. 

It's been such a long time since a hard body has been in my boat, I forgot how much of a pain in the arse trebles and environets are when mixed together. While I was busy getting Pete's lure out of the net, Leo would catch the next Barra and the process would start again. Somehow on the fourth Barra they both managed to catch the same fish on both of their lures. Although the Barra had been pinned by all six trebles involved, it released quickly and easily. The next 20min it took the boys to get their lures out of the net gave me a chance to have a fish. the Barra were playing the game, cruising around in small schools and while they weren't big fish (55-60cm), they were pretty aggressive and keen to eat. Overall the bite lasted about half an hour with half a dozen Barra caught and a few more dropped boatside side. Pete got his PB at 68cm.

Pete with a 'Birthday Flats' barra

Leo with another.

After all the talk of the Finnis firing on Sunday arvo we thought it would be a good opportunity to show the boys some more of the Territory. We quickly got off water before the tide dropped out, packed up camp and cruised down the Finnis to Three Ways by 12.30pm.

Sooties too

It wasn't hard to find the fish, but getting them to eat was a different story. Rat Barra would consistently come up from the snaggy depths to look, nose, nudge, sniff and do everything else a Barra can do to a fly …..but not eat. I tried a range of fly's, big ones, small ones, light, dark, shiny, plain, etc… for no luck. Leo and Pete were still on their Gold Bomber high and tied on the Stigs Gold Bomber Bendbacks and were in luck. They both caught some small Barra and Sooty's. I must remember to grab a couple of those Bombers off the Stig when I next see him, it's the only thing the fish were willing to eat. While it wasn't the 24 fish session that Cathie enjoyed the previous day, it was great to get back on the Finnis and be reminded how lucky we are up here. 

I can't recall ever sight casting flats Barra in the morning and then catching their freshwater mates in the afternoon. A big hats off to all who helped organise the sheep station stakes, it was a great weekend and it was certainly enjoyed by Leo and Pete who were made to feel very welcome by all the mobsters and of course the crew at 'The Shelter'.

Dave and the S.A. Connection.

NOTE: The 'Stig' is going to do up a post on his blog for his special 'Gold Bomber Bendback' you can see it and his reports on the blog at SWOFFINGNTWATERS    (A few fished the fresh after the presentation and its a good way to clean the salt off.)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


I'll let the pictures do the majority of the talking but I do have this to add............

Steve Huff is a truely amazing guy, if you ever get the opporrtunity, get down to Everglades City and get out for a fish with him.  His skills are unsurpassed in my books.  You won't regret it. 

I will put together a short video at some stage and people can watch it at one of our gatherings. I took the photos from video frames so they are not really good quality, but the video fottage will be in HD. Atlantic Tarpon are an incredible fish that will leave you agast!

We saw a lot of Manatees and largetooth sawfish on this amazing day on the water.  I think I hooked 7 Tarpon, 4 stayed on for more than 5 seconds and 2, I got to the boat, though one was cut free when a Lemon shark got between me and the fish and the rough skin cut through the leader.  A truely amazing day. 

I should add that removing the fish from the water isnt allowed and under IGFA rules. Once your leader is on the rod the fish is considered landed.

A nice snook on the flats

The next three shots were really cool, I cast to a boil, the fish hits and the line tightens and creates a rooster tail.  The 2nd shot shows the boil ahead of the line and indicates roughly about where the fish is and in the 3rd shot out she comes.  This fish was about 60 or 70 lb and as I was clearing the line a loop caught on the butt of the rod.  There was nothing I could do!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love this series of shots.  #1 hook up

#2 boil on the surface

#3 and out she comes

This next lot of photos gives you a good idea of the habitat and the size of these bloody things, this one was over 100lb and again spat the hook after about 5 seconds.

This one we managed to get boat side and a hold of the leader and the estimated weight was 90-100lb.

Thanks Steve for an amazing day!!!
 The rod I was using most of the time was a Sage Method 11wt with a WF Floating line and long leaders, at least 12-13ft.  The fish I did manage to get to the boat took about 20-25 minutes and I learned that you can really give them some serious stick with a fly rod by constantly changing the direction of the pull of the line and keeping the rod very low, and at times even straight.  Great fun and definitely a tick from the bucket list.