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
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
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.
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.