Barramundi and Barrages

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

As our Australia trip progressed, we crept closer to the equator as we reached Darwin in the northwest corner. Still over 7000 miles from Bozeman, we were less than 700 miles south of the equator. This is a land of heat and extreme humidity, loaded with all manner of game fish offshore and in what seems to be an infinite variety of rivers, estuaries, and billabongs. Amid the CV craziness in the U.S., Australia seemed a bit laid back. Yes, precautions were clearly being taken across the continent, but it didn’t seem to be affecting everyday life in Darwin.

For the first time ever, we booked a trip online through Fishbooker and was not disappointed. Overall the booking experience and communications with the captain was very efficient. We got a bit of validation the day before our trip from a local fishing shop that our captain—Lincoln Kirby—was a good choice. It would be an early start—0530 just outside of Darwin. Once we met our captain, we’d drive well over 100 miles to the northeast to Shady Camp on the Mary River.

Shady Camp is a popular starting point for anglers on the Mary River as it is equipped with two very well constructed and large boat launching ramps. The two ramps allow access to a massive barrage that separates the upstream freshwater section of the river from the downstream tidal section. Other barrages downstream from Shady Camp would play well into my first Barra adventure. With an eight weight rigged up with a 5/0 Pink Thing we headed downstream in the raging waters of the Mary River. The Territory was at the tail end of the wet season and the massive flood plains of the top end were draining into the vast tidal rivers that flowed into the Van Diemen Gulf inside the Timor Sea. The tide was near low ebb and the exposed muddy banks of the river revealed a tide that might rise nine feet over the next four to five hours.

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