Darwin Fishing Seasons

Build Up or Run Off ?

Darwin Fishing Seasons compared. Fishing the Barra Build Up (Oct-Dec) and the Barra Run Off (Feb-May) can be very different but equally satisfying experiences for adventurous anglers.

Barra Build Up Fishing (Oct - Dec)

Barramundi Fishing in The Build Up is Hard Work, but the rewards can be too. The temperature is high the humidity is rising and we have grown comfortable with the cooler months during the dry. Why are we out here?

Jumping Barra
Fighting Barramundi

Then the line straightens, the bite is strong and hard and boy this Barra is heavier than I have felt in a while. The fishing line straightens out to the surface and yes that 90cm to Metre + Barra that you haven't felt and seen for a while completes a tremendous, explosive, head shaking jump clear out of the water.
Yes that's why I'm here!

The Build Up is here and the fish are hungry, and along the coast and into the saltwater estuaries the Barra are on the move. The males are schooling more and bigger females are on the scene. Fantastic fishing locations like Shoal Bay, the Rock, Bynoe Harbour, Finniss River, Leaders Creek and Adelaide River Mouth especially the Wiltshire Creeks are great fishing locations for build-up Barra Fishing.
But be careful those afternoon storms can roll in, and I have seen many calm waters become very stormy white cap 2 Metre waves in a very short time. So watch the weather maps and be prepared to head home early if you have to.

On the Inland Scene in the Billabongs the fish are getting ravenous, they are also using up a lot more energy in the search for food, so they also start to school up.
I have witnessed schools of Barra in their hundreds rubbing and warming themselves up to larger Metre plus female Barra's in a mating like ritual at the top of Corroboree Billabong and Shady Camp Freshwater Lagoon.

Also I have witnessed this on the top of tide after the incoming Neap to mid spring tides at the Finniss River; and Bynoe Harbour. But during this courtship schooling and body side by side rubbing episodes will they bite? Shit No! Doesn't matter what you cast and or trawl through them. Be patient, fishing is practicing patience, they will eventually come on the bite. And not that long after the turn of the tide this group starts to break up and come on the bite. And what a WOW of a time you will have.

I as a professional Fishing Guide personally like the build-up fishing months and will again be completing Build Up Barra Fishing Safaris this year, please see attached adv.

Jumping Barra

Jumping Barra

Barra Run Off Fishing (Feb - May) 

 But is this as Good as Fishing for Barramundi, and King Salmon during the Run Off months of Feb to May? Well, many clients that have landed Metre Plus Barra during the Build Up think so. The issue really is "Get out and get fishing when you have the chance during both periods". I will admit I think the Run Off months are easier as the temperature and the humidity build up has been broken up more by the occasional tropical storms and cloud cover.

The water is flowing and the saltwater Barra especially at Shady Camp have had 4 months of spawning and feeding whilst the whole saltwater side of the Mary River has been closed for Barra Fishing from 1st Oct to 1st Feb each year to assist in regeneration of their population through spawning and are given a break from fishing.

Seeing the Fantastic Birdlife & Wildlife that inhabits these beautiful flooded wetlands is an awesome experience during these months especially at Shady Camp.

White Sea Eagle catching Barramundi
White Sea Eagle

The Birdlife includes Jabirus, Pelicans, Cranes, Whistling Ducks, Sea Eagles, Whistling Kites, Black Kites, Water-birds and many more.


Then you will turn the corner travelling to the next fishing area and be astounded when the opportunity arises to see Water Buffalo and or Feral Pigs exploring the floodplains and digging at the waters-edge of the billabong.

Viewing the awesome prehistoric Crocodiles is spell bounding, one minute they're there, the next they're gone. Viewing these creatures with their jaws open, bodies outstretched, soaking up the sun, or capturing the cool breeze as they lie on the mud banks, will have you automatically reaching for your cameras.

Hooking and landing huge Silver Saltwater Barramundi at the mouths of Sampan Creek and Tommycut Creek is an awesome feeling both for client and for me as the guide.


The big plated custom built guide boats like mine, that most guides have these days allows your Metre Plus Barra's to be placed in large 125cm live fish wet well in the middle of their boat. Allowing time for the fisherman and or woman and his mates to gain their cameras and take that Trophy Fish Photo of a Lifetime.
But if you haven't got the luxury of a large wet well, be responsible and take your photos and swim that Barra back in the water as soon as you can. These are our Breeders and we must look after them. So please do not weigh your fish by the gills or hold up your large female Barra by the mouth showing it off. This just stretches and rips the neck and throat muscles which swell and cuts off the circulation and makes the process of breathing for the fish extremely hard. Many fish die from it. So be proud of your catch and practice Catch and Release.

Giant Barramundi
Claire's 131cm Barramundi

I remember when Claire Matheous hooked her massive 131cm Barra at the mouth of Tommycut Creek. And it was Tony Lebrun's first day of me allowing him to guide fully as I had Tony in training for some weeks/months.
I remember telling Tony last guide I taught landed me a 101cm Barra on his first day.
Well Claire's line was struck, she yelped, this huge Barra could only just get half a head out of the water and we knew it was a monster. Rest is history. It just might be your turn in 2013.

fighting barramundi
Click here for more details
on an extended
Barramundi Run Off Safari

fighting barramundi
Author Allan Beale with another client
and a 129cm Barra

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mail : PO Box 215, Anna Bay NSW 2316
phone: 0488 222 695

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2018 Barra Run Off now available
(Feb to April) Don't miss this exciting time on the Barramundi Fishing Calendar as the massive run off of the wet season floods provides exceptional fishing.


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Barra Run Off Safaris

Increased Limit of 3 Barra per person per day for the Mary River, including Shady Camp, has been announced.
Booking seats now will avoid missing a place on a Barra Run Off Safari with Darwins Barra Base. Now four great purpose built boats allow more people to experience the fantastic barramundi fishing available during the February to May Barra Run Off season in the Northern Territory. Read more...

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