Fishing regulations to keep in mind this festive season!

Anyone who tells you that size doesn’t matter is not living in the real world. What fisho doesn’t want to go home after a hard day on the water and hear the words, “wow, that’s a big one!” It’s worth keeping in mind though, that catch sizes, fishing regulations and knowing your limits are all super important.

Fishing regulations are imperative when it comes to snagging a barra in the waterways of the Territory’s Top End.

To beat the odds of a flop at “Lake Disappointment”, you need to know the legal size for a barramundi. It is 55cm from nose to the tip of the tail. Anything smaller than this is a big no, no and must be released back into the water. This rule is the same right across Australia.

Northern Territory guides and conservation conscious anglers also have an unwritten law about those big boy barras. Anything from 90cm upwards should be quickly photographed and released. That’s because when a barra reaches 90cm in length it changes sex and becomes a female breeder.

Know your limits

Like anything in life, you gotta know your limits.  In the Territory, the bag limit for barra is five, with special controls of three barra per angler in Kakadu National Park, and the Mary and Daly River fish management zones.

While rules are in place to keep recreational catches at sustainable levels and reduce the potential for localised overfishing, that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your enjoyment at dinner time by dishing up a sizeable tale on your catch of the day.

If you’re ever in doubt over fishing rules, restriction zones and the best way to release a fish, and don’t want to come up short, head to the Northern Territory Recreational Fishing Controls guide at or download the NT Fishing Mate app for a simpler option.

Good luck out there! And make sure you’re registered before you hit the water.

Size really does matter when picking the perfect lure

When it comes to catching barramundi and deciding what lure to use, size really does matter.

Barramundi are a jumping, fighting and lure-smashing Australian icon. No other fish quite evokes the same sense of action and adventure.

So it’s important to know from the outset on the size of lure you’d like to use.

When it comes to chasing big barramundi, it’s hard to go past using big lures. If you have ever caught a whopper, you will know just how big that bucket mouth is and why they have an appetite to suit.

For this reason, larger barra will prefer to feed on larger sized baitfish often over the 20cm mark or a 15-17cm soft plastic. Remember, an inferior lure might not be able to hold up against the might of a metery.

Good things come in small packages

If you’re targeting smaller fish, you may want to drop down to a 7-10cm soft plastic. Good things can come in small packages so it’s worth keeping in mind that a big barra will always eat a smaller lure but a little barra may shy away from a larger lure.

A slow approach is also desired. No quickies, here. Barramundi, even when they are at their hungriest, love a slow-rolled lure. This can be worked at super slow speeds with maximum action. Being able to fish your lure slowly also adds to added visibility under the water.

Don’t be scared to switch up your lures from time to time, either. Variety is definitely the spice of life and fishing.

Experiment, too, with several sorts and colours (you can’t go wrong with a pack of paddle tail soft plastics and a pack of Gold Bomber hard plastics) until you find the one that works best for you.

Happy fishing! And make sure you’re registered before you hit the water.

Our top tacklebox tips this festive season!

While organising your tackle is a personal thing, you don’t want to be out on a boat or fishing by the water’s edge only to realise your bits aren’t up to scratch and you don’t have the right gear in your tacklebox to land the big one. Make sure your tacklebox is up-to-date with our top tips.

Check out these top five tacklebox tips and you could be in with a chance of winning a red-tagged barra … or at least be popular at dinner time.

Tidy your tackle:

When it comes to storing your tackle, separating out the reels, lures and line is key. There’s a range of storage systems to chose from. Just take your pick from bait boxes, bags, dry packs, lure wraps, leader holders and soft plastic wraps.

Rack up your rods:

Rods can easily get lost or broken without proper storage. Get them upright and organised with a rod rack, all ready to grab for a trip.

Lure ‘em in:

Have a few (maybe a dozen) lures in your box, like some soft plastics, wobbler-type metals and a couple of hard-bodied minnows in small to medium sizes. Bouncing a frog lure across water lilies and using surface popper lures at night are worth a try.

Take a hard line:

Buy god quality braid and leader. One recommendation is 30 pound braid and 60 pound leader on trolling rods. Another is 50 pound braid and 60 pound leader on bait fishing rods. Also, exposure to light weakens even the best line over time. So keep it shaded.

Pack essentials:

A pair of long-nose pliers to retrieve lures or hooks form fish, a sharp knife for cleaning and filleting your catch and a measuring device so you can check if your fish is legal. Here, size really does matter.

Good luck out there! And make sure you’re registered before you hit the water.

Top 5 Spots to Fish this Holiday Season

Put down the iPads and iPhones you got for Chrissy and reconnect with family or ya mates with a reel and rod. Check out these top five fishing spots and you could add your name to the list of Territory barra fishing legends… or at least be pretty popular at dinner time.

  1. For a wicked few days on the water you can’t beat Daly River. Located around 250km south of Darwin, make the most of your stay with camping and hotel accommodation at Daly River Resort. Fishing charters and guides to help you lure a barra are also available
  2. Shoal Bay is close to town and a ripper place to bag a metery. Make sure you don’t get smashed by the low tide, though. Anyone caught out in the bay will be “locked in” by a network of sandbars and, short of an aerial rescue, there’s no way out until the tide returns.
  3. An hour-long drive from Darwin, the clear, build-up season waters of  Leaders Creek teem with tropical sportsfish, all sorts of bait and, of course, barra. The creek leads into the nearby Adelaide River, which is a fishing mission all its own.
  1. While this popular recreational location doesn’t sound like your typical fishing haven, Manton Dam is actually great for finding barra. Camping isn’t allowed at the Dam, but its close proximity to Darwin makes it a sweet little day trip. 
  1. Darwin Harbour is known for quality fishing even when the tides don’t suit. You don’t have to travel too far either, and can be back at home or your hotel enjoying a beer and cooking your catch while it’s still fresh.

Good luck out there! And make sure you’re registered before you hit the water.

Book your barra bucket-list trip!

Searching for barradise? You need look no further than a four-night Helifishing and Helipub adventure around the Top End.

Whether you’re a first-time fisho or mad keen, fun and excitement are on the menu with a helicopter tour to some of the best local fishing spots and drinking holes to give you a true outback experience.

You can also get up close and personal with Tripod – one of Australia’s biggest crocs.

This bucket-list getaway, brought to you by our partner NT Now, offers a full day fishing charter around Darwin Harbour to maximise your fishing experience.

You’ll also be based at the Hilton Darwin which is the perfect place to explore the city’s shopping, restaurants and attractions.

The Million Dollar Fish Helifishing and Helipub Adventure is just one of several NT Now packages on offer with fishos getting more bang for their buck if they travel to the Territory before the MDF comp closes on 31 March 2021.

Visit ntnow to find out more and get your special deal of $200 off with every $1000 spent with the Northern Territory Summer Sale.

Releasing barramundi means sustainable fishing

An increasing number of barramundi caught by recreational fishers are now released after capture. That barra you catch may not be the Million Dollar Fish but should be handled carefully.

When releasing fish, NT Fisheries recommends:

  • Minimising the time out of the water so the fish can be returned to the water as quickly as possible.
  • Use fish-friendly knotless landing nets to minimise injuries and fin damage.
  • Get your camera or phone ready to take that image before you take the fish out of the water and begin handling it.
  • Wet down your measuring board before measuring a fish and never lay the fish on a hot, dry surface.
  • If holding a fish, support its weight with both hands and don’t suspend it vertically by its jaw.
  • Release the fish into bank side cover or snags which provide protection while the fish recovers.

It is the responsibility of all recreational fishers involved in the Million Dollar Fish competition to ensure that all fish released have the best chance of survival. This will ensure the sustainability of our fish for the future.