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Fly Fishing in the NT

Posted on 06 November, 2017 in Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in the Northern Territory with Jim Churchley

So, you’ve heard the Northern Territory is awesome for line fishing, and you probably know about the great crabbing experiences on offer up here, but did you know that Australia’s Top End is also great for fly fishing? We caught up with veteran local fly fisherman, Jim Churchley, to find out why the NT is one of the world’s top spots for this form of fishing.

How long have you been fly fishing for?

My earliest recollections are from around the age of 12 back in the UK using a split-cane flyrod with a wooden reel and a silk line. Now that I’m in my sixties, that makes it around 50 years of great enjoyment!

What is it about fly fishing do you enjoy so much?

There are so many facets to fly fishing, which means different people get enjoyment from different parts of the art form. Some people love perfecting and mastering casting, some become fly tying artists, and others enjoy the hunt the most. I put myself in the last category, and favour hunting fish in the shallows, sighting, casting, catching, then releasing unharmed.

What sets the NT aside from the rest as a fly fishing destination?

The NT has everything a fly fisher dreams of: great fish species, great locations, great weather – and it’s all relatively untouched. Blue water, estuaries, billabongs, flood plains – the NT has it all.

Have you ever done any fly fishing in the Cobourg Peninsula region?

Yes, I did a 10-day trip there once. It’s a great location for pelagic fish. I’ll always remember a 1.1m Queenfish caught on the outgoing tide. Around some of the reef outcrops some of the golden trevallys were scary in their size.

What fish species can fly fishermen expect to land in the NT?

If it is in the water and has fins, it can be caught on a fly. Barra and Saratoga are the NT’s iconic fish, but we are blessed with so many species.

What makes fly fishing such a special thing to do in the NT?

For me, it’s the ability to fish for a whole day and not see another person. Speak to anyone from Europe or North America and they cannot comprehend that. This year I spent three long weekends fishing with not another boat on the water. Where else in the world does that happen?!

Do you have any tips for tackle when fly fishing in the NT?

In general, any 7 to 9 weight outfit will fit the bill and handle 90% of the fish on offer. The most important thing is to fish and there are lots of people around to give guidance and tips to give you a head start.

Cobourg Fishing Safaris offer guided charters in the pristine Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, home of fishing paradise, Cobourg Peninsula. Based from our fishing camp with a difference – Cobourg Coastal Camp – you can enjoy all types of fishing experiences, including Jim’s favourite form; fly fishing. Enquire or book with us today.