Sunday Territorian 31 Jul 2016
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
46 FRONTIER FISHING & HUNTING SUNDAY JULY 31 2016 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 in New Zealand. So thats where they are headed. The fishing scene has changed a lot in just a few years, Justin said. When I bought the business from Braden in 2003, hardly anyone fished the Finniss River. Now it is a very busy river at times. There was no one fishing Dundee much then either, and now there are lots of tourists and caravans during the dry season. You would hardly see a boat at Marsh Creek in Chambers Bay. Now it is a busy spot during the run-off. The commercial gill nets have mostly gone and there are plenty of fish, and barramundi fishing quality is all about the wet seasons now. Big threadfin salmon have made a huge comeback since the nets were pulled out of Shady Camp. Where I am going in New Zealand they have striped marlin, yellowtail kingfish, snapper, trout and more. So I am looking forward to fishing there. I am going to have a break from guiding and enjoy fishing for myself. And if it doesnt work out over there, I can always come back to the Territory. I asked Justin what sort of lifestyle a fishing guide could expect. It is a great lifestyle, but you will never be rich from it, he said. It has pros and cons. The cons are when there are poor wet seasons and the fishing is tough. The pros are that you see unbelievable action when it all happens. Generally I start work at 5am for the city pickup, then there is a one or two-hour drive to the location. We fish until 3pm, then I drop the clients back at 5pm, then go home to clean the boat and car. I asked him how he planned his trips. I base my trips on what the tides are doing, he said. When tides are coming off new moons and full moons I go to billabongs, and then for neap tides I go to the Finniss River, and then on building tides I go to Bynoe Harbour. Justin said that in 20 years his boat had never broken down, but he has had to tow a few home. Look Justin up on his Obsession Fishing Safaris website, or on Facebook. Meanwhile, on the fishingterritory.com forums, the FFF Seadogs brag mat competitions Round 7 kicks off tomorrow for August. Round 7 is Billabong and Dam Barra, which means wind and tide are no excuse. have you got a catch to brag about? email it to frontier@news. com.au M ost keen fishos have considered what it might be like to work as a fishing guide. After all, what better in life than to turn a sporting pursuit into a living? If you like the idea, there has never been a better opportunity. Leading Territory guide Justin Jones is selling his business after almost 20 years fishing the Top End and the Kimberley. Not only is Justin good at catching fish, he is a good photographer. His pictures have helped promote NT fishing tourism and made Obsession Fishing Safaris a household name among fishos. Jonesy has also won multiple Barra Classic and Barra Nationals as a member of the Classic Warlocks team. Obsession was started by Darwin real estate identity Braden Menzies, who also earned a good reputation as a guide. Justin bought the business from Braden and took it to the next level. As well as day trips, Justin did mothership tours around the Tiwi Islands and to the Kimberley with legendary game boat skipper Mal Miles. Justin said his clients had taken more than 400 metre-long barra over almost 20 years of fishing. He has caught about 45 meteries himself. The new owner will have big shoes to fill, and Justin said he would be happy to train whoever takes over. Justin was born in Darwin, and said the Darwin fishing scene has changed a lot during his time as a professional guide. He remembers splashing around at Browns Creek as a toddler, before the crocodile population rebounded. While he still enjoys the Territory, he wants a change, and his wife Esther misses her home Hooked up Whether youre trolling for a big barra on the Daly, flicking a plastic into the lilies on a Kakadu billabong, or chasing macs on the blue water, weve got you covered matt Flynn Fishing Melita McKinnon with a beaut Finniss River barra caught on a yet-to-be-released Reidys Renegade lure ... partner Jason 'Back-Cast' Rogers said they landed about 15 barra T hat this years waterfowl hunting season is going to be challenging comes as no surprise to Top End hunters, but what will, at this stage, is that there wont be any water to hunt over. Last Wednesday I had need to be at a meeting with Fogg Dam Rangers to discuss weed control and ventured over to Harrison Dam for a quick look. What I saw was a revelation to me. The dam is so low I dont expect it to have any water when the season opens two months away on October 1. As I looked out a massive willy willy crossed from the Adelaide River floodplain into the dam, raising black soil dust 100m into the air until it ran into the tree line on the western side. A small stretch of water 80m wide and 300m long snaked along near the wall, but this wasnt deep enough for a duck to swim on it. If Harrison is this dry I dont hold any hope for Howard Swamp, Shoal Bay wetlands or Lambells Lagoon. Lyons Lagoon may have a splash in it, but it is hardly going to be big enough to hold 2500 hunters eager to taste some magpie goose on Saturday, October 1. I am a glass half full sort of bloke though. We are coming into a La Nina climate period and early wet season rains are predicted. I hope this means the heavens will open and they do so over our hunting reserves. Beatrice Lagoon had water, but it is completely choked with noxious weeds. NT Field and Game will do its best to kill that weed via aerial spraying next week. This is possible thanks to a $25,000 grant from the NT Government. The positive to come out of this situation will be really effective weed control. We have the funds and the conditions to kill and eliminate large infestations with herbicide and burning, hopefully, followed by flooding. If you love your hunting and want to see it improve into the future, join NT Field and Game for its working bees at Harrison Dam and Lambells Lagoon in our ongoing conservation efforts. You can make a difference. Come on down to the NT Field and Game range at Micket Creek Shooting Complex, Brandt Rd, Berrimah, for a practice shot every Friday from 4pm. The next competition is on Sunday, August 14 at 8am. Join Field and Game, www.fga.net.au Join SSAA, www.ssaa.org.au Join Australian Deer Association www.austdeer.asn.au Like NT Field and Game on Facebook. Email: email@example.com DRY-AS-A-BONE HARRISON DAM DOES NOT LOOK GOOD BART IRWIN A lack of water in Harrison Dam does not bode well for the waterfowl hunting season