From sparkling Darwin Harbour and the Mary River wetlands to the Tiwi Islands and the Dundee Coast, the Darwin region is an angler's paradise.
Darwin sits on a peninsula and is surrounded by seas on three sides. On the western side is the huge Darwin Harbour, on its north side is the Timor Sea; and to its east is Shoal Bay. There are numerous boat ramps that service each of these three bodies of water, providing easy access to blue water. One of the advantages of so many access points is that you can always launch or retrieve out of the wind – there is always a lee shore.
The quality of bluewater fishing out of darwin is exciting. The annual spanish mackerel and longtail tuna run through the dry season gives anglers the chance to enjoy some wonderful light-to-medium tackle sport fishing. During the calmest months of October to December, heading out to troll baits for sailfish and marlin is a serious option. And you can bottom bounce for those favourite top end reef fish, the black jewfish and golden snapper, for practically the whole year.
Darwin has a great range of facilities for visiting anglers. Daily bluewater charters depart Cullen Bay Marina, and professional fishing guides can pick you up from your hotel for a one-day or extended barra fishing tour. There are also a number of boat hire outlets and tackle shops.
Darwin Harbour is a huge mass of water, many times bigger than Sydney Harbour, making it very easy to find your own space. It is also a vast network of prime barramundi habitat. There are three major arms attached to the main harbour and several other inlets as well. Barra, juvenile golden snapper and a variety of other estuary species can be caught in each of them.
Several sunken warships, bombed by the Japanese in air raids on Darwin in 1942, make great artificial reefs. Other shipwrecks include boats tragically sunk during Cyclone Tracy in 1974. In these areas, the harbour is blessed with excellent black jew fishing.
North-east of Darwin, Shoal Bay and the Howard River are also top barra locations with boat hire and secure parking available for a fee. Large barramundi are regularly caught at ‘the rock’ in shoal bay during the build-up. The area is also renowned for great mud crabbing.
Guided barra and/or reef fishing trips in the harbour are available, and there is secure parking at both Buffalo Creek and Leaders Creek boat ramps to the north.