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​The top six fish to catch in the Northern Territory

Posted on 03 July, 2018 in Barramundi, Mud Crab, Giant Trevally, Golden Snapper, Coral Trout, Mangrove Jack

From snapper to coral trout and mangrove jack to mud crabs, there are so many incredible fishing experiences on offer in the Northern Territory’s Top End. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite fish species to catch, so all you need to do is book your epic Top End fishing adventure!


Up here in the NT, barramundi is king. This fish is known as a great fighter with impressive aerial acrobatics. It's no wonder that landing a big barra is top of every mad-keen fisho’s bucket list. Because they can be found in fresh, brackish and salt water, there are more opportunities to land a barra than you can poke a fishing rod at. And if you find yourself in the Top End between October and February, landing yourself a barra could also land you some cold hard cash as part of the Million Dollar Fish Competition

Barramundi fishing in Arnhem Land

Mangrove Jack

If you’re hunting barra in the mangrove-lined creeks and reefs of the NT’s Top End coast, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter a mangrove jack while you’re at it. But Jack is no poor cousin – this guy is lightning fast, aggressive and strong, which makes for a great fight. Young mangrove jack tend to stick to fresh water and estuaries, while mature can be found out on the reefs. If you can't catch one on a lure then live bait is your next best option to entice one out from under the snags.

Paul and Klara fishing for Mangrove Jacks at Cobourg - IFISH photo credit

Mud Crab

Arm getting sore from pulling in big fish? Then why not chase a few mud crabs! As we are located in a Marine Parks crab pots are not allowed so we catch crabs the old fashion way; with a spear! At low tide you'll find crabs hiding out under the rocks and in the mangroves. It's great fun trying to catch a few crabs and it gives you a chance to enjoy the Cobourg Peninsula scenery too. While not a fish per se... it would be remiss of us to leave the mud crab off this list for one simple reason: they’re so damn delicious! We love simply to just steam them but if Chilli Mud Crab's more your thing we can cook them in a scorching-hot wok with a bit of coriander, ginger, garlic and chilli – you’ll be transported straight to the streets of South East Asia!

Fleshly caught seafood nibbles at Cobourg Coastal Camp

Coral Trout

Pretty as a picture, coral trout can be identified by their vibrant pink/orange scales dotted with tiny bright blue spots. But behind their pretty smiles lie a mouth full of sharp teeth, so watch your digits when you’re handling one of these guys. As their name suggests, this species tends to hang around coral reefs, and at Cobourg can get over 2 foot long! A highly regarded table fish averaging between $40-70 per kg at local markets. 

Coral tour fishing in Arnhem Land

Golden Snapper

You’ll be able to identify a Golden Snapper by its distinctive fingerprint-like mark just under the back dorsal fin (this is more prominent in smaller fish). Growing to around 10kg, Golden Snapper can be fished in estuaries and around rock formations and reefs close to shore. Because of their bottom-dwelling nature, these guys are best hunted with deep-diving lures and jigs, and can be caught year-round. They are one of the tastiest fish in the sea!

Golden Snapper fishing in Arnhem Land

Big Pelagics

If you’re looking for a good fight, then hit the blue water off Cobourg Peninsula with us to hunt down the big pelagic species such as giant trevally, queenfish, Spanish mackerel and long-tail tuna. With all the open space, these aggressive sports fish get pretty darn big, making for a great Facebook brag photo when you reel one in!

Hmmmm, if only you could fish for all these species in the one place… Well, you can! With its varied coastal landscape and more than 2000 square kilometres of Marine Park to explore, Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, home to the Cobourg Peninsula, is one of the best destinations in Australia. Cobourg Fishing Safaris offer flyin-fly out fishing charters from Darwin, with fishing tours based from their unique, safari-style fishing lodge; Cobourg Coastal Camp. Enquire or book with us today.