As the weather cools it is only natural that you start wanting to plan your fishing trips up North in the warmer weather.
Last year it was a surprise trip I had organised for Scott’s birthday to fish Melville Island.
It was an incredible experience with high moments, disappointments and of course, plenty of fishing. An island where the wild brumbies roam the beaches, rock bars meet the red cliffs, dense bush is filled with abandoned cars, the aroma of smoke from bush fires filled the air every afternoon and every man or woman has a dog.
Melville Island is located approximately 80 km north of Darwin in the Timor Sea. It is the 2nd largest island in Australia at 5786 square kilometres. It has two landing strips – Snake Bay and Garden Point.
It can take up to 4 hours to drive from one end to the other. Opposite the straight is Bathurst Island and together they are called the Tiwi Islands. Our destination was Garden Point.
There is no accommodation or hire boats available on the island for visitors. So if you are keen you can do a professionally run trip. There are two lodges available on the island for this – Melville Lodge and Clearwater Lodge. Otherwise you need to know somebody that knows somebody.
Lucky for us we knew somebody that was able to help out with the logistics of accommodation and a boat.
On arrival we were given a quick tour of Garden Point and then shown our accommodation. This was bliss; we were located right across the road from the beach. So of course it wasn’t long before we dumped our bags, rigged up a rod and hit the beach to spin up a barra or two. Scott was successful with a small barra falling victim to a popper.
It was hard to sleep that night with the ensuing eight days of fishing ahead of us.
Throughout the eight days we fished many of the river systems that streamed through the Tiwi Island Group. Fishing the run out tide we were mounting the species count up with large cod, barramundi, threadfin salmon, queenfish, mangrove jack and trevally to name a few. As you could imagine we were fishing a lot of snags or rock bars in the systems to target the fish. Using a mix of hard bodies and soft plastics we found the Squidgy Mongrel in either the 90mm or 110mm size rigged weedless was the most successful, colour didn’t matter.
As the tide dropped, we moved out to the front of the river systems and were fishing the flats. It reminded me so much of what I do bream fishing, looking for weed pockets or bits of structure on these flats. It proved successful with some good-sized threadfin salmon caught.
After having quite a few days in the river systems, we wanted to go and target a black jew. It took us a few spots to find them but when we did you couldn’t get a bait to the bottom without a salmon or jew fish hook up. I persevered with soft plastics but for some reason they were only interested in our squid baits.
It was certainly a trip I would recommend with 18 different species in 8 days. You could pick and choose which species you wanted to fish for. I think it is time to make a decision on this years fishing trip. Mmmm warm weather; lots of fishing would be the only pre-requisite.