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Nhulunbuy Landbased

By Bivoac Boyz

The Bivouac Boyz give us a rundown on some of their favourite areas for Nhulunbuy landbased fishing.

The area around Nhulunbuy is some of the last great unspoiled areas of the world. Nhulunbuy township was created on the Gove peninsula when a bauxite mine, and a deep water port, were established in the late 1960's. The mine is currently operated by Rio Tinto, which employs a lot of the town's population of approximately 3200. The aboriginal (Yolngu) people solely own the land around Nhulunbuy and to fish here you must apply for a permit from Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation. The best way to understand this is to do a Google search before you visit.

Up here there is really only two seasons that apply to an angler, the wet season and the dry (windy) season. The wet season is from around September until the end of April. We were lucky enough to move to this piece of paradise in September last year, which was right at the start of the good weather. In this article I will run through some of our favorite land based spots.

Wharf Boat Ramp

This is a great spot to fish at night. It isn't too often that you go there and don't at least see fish... sometimes catching them is a different story. The wharf is very well lit, which attracts a lot of bait and in turn tends to attract bigger fish that are chasing the bait.

Some of the main fish species encountered here are barramundi, mangrove jack, queenfish, trevally, sharks and even the occasional coral trout. The main target fish here though is the mighty barramundi. We have had our greatest success sight casting these fish as they work the schools of bait.

Our most successful lure has been the ZMan Slim SwimZ as we find that they match the size of the bait that the barramundi are normally chasing. Fishing here can be very frustrating as you can always see fish, however there are times when you can cast at them for hours and the fish show no interest in eating. We have been here some nights and seen ten people casting at a few barra, with every lure possible, and no-one even gets a bump. However it is a great spot to fish as it is very angler friendly, with lots of lights and plenty of rod holders.

Hot Water Pipe

The hot water pipe is a pipe that flows out of the mine, pumping warm water back to the ocean. Although fished a lot by locals, it seems to produce fish fairly regularly. Some of the fish we have caught here include barramundi, mangrove jack, barracuda, queenfish and trevally.

There are a lot of school size barramundi here. We tend to catch most of our fish in the first couple of casts and then I think, due to the amount of fishing pressure, the fish shut down. Our favourite lures here are ZMan MinnowZ and Slim SwimZ.

East Woody

East Woody is only 3km of bitumen road from town to the car park. Once there, it is a short 5-minute walk out to a small rocky island that has amazing views of Melville Bay and surrounding beaches. From here there are some amazing rock fishing spots that will regularly produce coral trout, queenfish, trevally and even the occasional barramundi.

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach is a 50km drive from Nhulunbuy and is only accessible by 4wd. The beach is the last in a group of four beaches along a well used, but maintained track. Turtle Beach is a very beautiful spot, nestled between two bauxite headlands and these headlands are a great spot for targeting mackerel, tuna, coral trout and trevally.

Our favorite way to fish these headlands is with an Okuma Pressure Point PP-S-762M 7'6" PE 2.0-4.0 spin rod and Azores Blue 5500 reel. You will find us casting Fish Inc. Flanker 115mm sinking stickbaits and Wing 120mm sinking stickbaits. These are great for long casts and a fast retrieval. Although you always catch fish here, it is one of those beautiful places where you don't really care if the fish don't bite.

Cape Arnhem

Cape Arnhem is a 50km trip from Nhulunbuy, travelling along amazing escarpments, over sand dunes and along pristine stretches of beaches. This area has amazing white sandy beaches, with equally amazing headlands. The fishing here is next level. To access this area you need to apply for a special permit with the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation and there is a ten car maximum limit.

Although day tripping is allowed, I would suggest camping for a few days as there is so many amazing fishing spots along this piece of coastline. The headlands along here are awesome for coral trout. Casting a Fish Inc. Flanker or ZMan MinnowZ over these areas is sure to produce a coral trout.

One of our favorite things to do in this area is to walk the beaches with a stickbait and sight cast some of the amazing trevally and queenfish that patrol close to the shore on an incoming tide.

This is truly an amazing part of Australia that is well worth making the effort to visit. Stay tuned for an upcoming article where I will discuss the bluewater and island options.

Cheers, Bivouac Boyz

Gear List:
ZMan 2.5" Slim SwimZ
ZMan 3" Slim SwimZ
ZMan 3" MinnowZ
ZMan 3.5" EZ ShrimpZ

TT Lures HeadlockZ HD jigheads

Fish Inc. Hooker 110mm Sinking Stickbait
Fish Inc. Flanker 115mm Sinking Stickbait

Okuma Cerros Spinning Rods
Okuma Pressure Point Spin Rods
Okuma Helios SX Spin Reels
Okuma Azores Blue Spin Reels

Platypus Platinum Braid
Platypus Hard Armour Leader