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Post Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:28 pm    Post subject: Nightcliff Jetty tips

Being boatless have had to try my luck landbased and after much trial & error & chatting to some helpful locals have finally figured out Nightcliff Jetty for some great wins leading up to Christmas/just after New Years.

Have posted some of this in another thread, but flesh it out a bit here.
There's lots of regulars down at the jetty, hopefully don't get too annoyed with me posting this but figured I'd share it for those looking for landbased action around Darwin.

I & others have landed off the jetty in the last month include:
Back tip reef shark (usually babies, average around 50-60cm, but have seen one that was over a metre wrangled with before it busted off)
Blue salmon
Coral trout
Had one young bloke bragging about a legal barra he got from under the jetty, might be a tall tale...

When to go:
I seem to have best luck an hour or two either side of high tide.
Check the solunar charts (available at tides4fishing), some might think they're BS but I've had the best results going around full moon or new moon (look for days with a "3-fish" rating) & pick the high tides.
It can get very crowded (I'm talking crossed lines, up to 8-10 lines off one side of the jetty) at these times, but on the whole I've found people generally respectful.

Live bait is key here, nothing else seems to work as well.
Get a cast net (use a 6-7 foot & throw off the steps under the jetty) & take a spare bucket to put them in. (See note about box jellyfish below)
Or you can get some sabiki rigs (with small hooks, 10-14's), although this can be hit & miss. You'll need a separate, smaller rod/reel for your sabikis.
Generally if there's no baitfish around, there's no big fish around.
I have had best luck when there's heaps of baitfish under the jetty, if there's none I tend to pack it in, but have occasionally had a surprise chucking the net in & getting a few baitfish even when none are visible.
If you have leftover baitfish - give 'em to the kids on the jetty, or take 'em home & freeze in a ziplock bag -obviously not as good as livies but will do in a pinch if you find yourself down there with no net/sabiki/bait.
No method of rigging them seems to work better than another, have had success with 'em hooked through top lip, back & tail, as long as they can wriggle around.
Don't fret if they die in the bucket, just hook 'em up & throw 'em out, the big fish will still eat them!

A decent rod/reel combo is essential here. I use a 5000 Shimano Stradic with 20lb braid, on a 6-8kg Nitro graphite rod and that's probably the lightest setup you'd want.
If you hook a decent fish on a smaller rod/reel it can be almost impossible to haul them up the side of the jetty
I've also converted to using 27lb wire trace after being bitten off several times in a row.
(You can buy the wire at tackle shop & make your own which is much more economical than buying premade)
I use size 6-8 circle hooks for the live bait on a running sinker line
(small sinker on braid line -> swivel -> 50-ish cm 20-40lb leader -> 20cm wire trace -> hook)
The extra leader between the braid & the wire probably isn't necessary but seems to give the livies some freedom to wriggle around

Stingers/Box jellyfish
Be very careful with cast nets & stingers at this time of year & no matter what, don't go in the water at Nightcliff
I pulled some tentacles up in my cast net at Nightcliff boatramp just before Xmas and stung my forearm, just from brushing across it.
Apart from hurting like hell, they were a bugger to get out of the net!
Thankfully I'd seen Ryan Moody's video here: http://www.ryanmoodyfishing.com/box-jel ... n-castnet/
Have seen huge swarms of 'em around boatramp lately & several under the jetty

There's often lots of kids down there fishing, which is great.
If you catch a stack of live bait they'll pester you for some, but I've found them equally willing to share theirs.
And some of them seem to have crazy luck, hauling in some really good fish.
They are generally good value & I had the best fishing experience ever when I hooked a decent queenie (easily 60-70cm) off the top of the jetty, near the steps on the far left corner.
There was no way I could reel it up the side (see note about rod/reel above) & sat there with it at the surface wondering how the hell I'd get it up when I hear someone shout "don't worry mate, I'll get it", before hearing a huge splash.
One of the kids who couldn't have been more than 12 had dived off the steps, swam about 5 metres out, grabbed my line & started swimming back to the steps with it, to some huge cheers (from me & a crowd of onlookers)!
Unfortunately the bastard fish took a dive under the steps just as he reached them & cut off on the barnacles, so we lost it, but I gave that kid huge kudos! I mean who does that?!
Diving in to croc/stinger/shark infested waters to grab someone else's fish! bl..dy legend.

As mentioned there's some regulars you'll meet down there, and again, some are dead set legends.
A bloke called Paul is there a lot and one day when he was reeling in fish after fish & we'd caught nothing, he gave us 2 of his salmon (one to each of my kids), which we took home, cooked up & ate.
Pure generosity to strangers, which was just great to see/experience & great for my kids.

So there you go, hopefully that doesn't upset the locals and might be useful for some folks thinking about throwing a line in off the jetty.


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:11 am    Post subject: Re: Nightcliff Jetty tips

Cheers for the info andybuck. I've personally spun mackies on raiders to 70cm off there too in the dry season.
I've also witnessed a bloke get some nice tuskies on crabs and small stripies off the rock wall. The area to the left of the ramp ( looking out over the ocean ) has similar structure to east point and can produce the occasional barra too.

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Post Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Nightcliff Jetty tips

On good neaps when the water is clearer I have seen large squid (50cm) swimming around under the jetty and surrounding rocks. I was there with my youngest boy William and we had just come from the markets and were throwing some left over crispy egg into the water off the jetty and the squid were smashing it! Very cool to watch.

Give a man a fish, You'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, You'll feed him for a lifetime!


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Nightcliff Jetty tips

I live just around the corner from the jetty, I don't fish it too much, i spend most of my time walking a long the bike path and through the mangroves casting small soft plastics. Definitely no shortage of fish, especially barra, if you spend the time working the area out. But good to see the Nightcliff jetty still producing fish after all these years!

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