Buffalo Creek secure parking

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Matt Flynn
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Buffalo Creek secure parking

Post by Matt Flynn » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:02 am

I wrote this two weeks ago for Darwin's Sunday paper, I post it here fyi.

Boat ramp crime has always been a problem around Darwin.
It is something that can really kill the fishing experience.
Darwin is by no means the only place where it happens, as boat ramps across Australia are targeted by vandals and thieves.
Darwin gets it pretty bad though, at times.
I remember returning to my car after a quick half hour fishing near Buffalo Creek boat ramp, in daylight, to find a door open and the glovebox contents spread far and wide.
Incidents at other ramps are often not so benign, with smashed glass, trailer tampering or theft, stolen gear, and sometimes even cars torched.
Before secure compounds were built, Leaders Creek and Buffalo Creek were arguably the worst spots for crime.
It took years of lobbying to get compounds in place.
Given the current million dollar investments in Million Dollar Fish, artificial reefs, new boat ramps and the like, I was surprised to hear that the small sum required to renew the Buffalo Creek secure facility contract might not be spent.
This is odd, as all the money in the world isn't going to make fishing fun if you are worried about coming back to a broken car or stolen trailer.
Ray Medlicott has been running the Buffalo Creek secure facility for 15 years.
He says private income from the business is not enough to sustain it.
"The clientele has been getting less and less in recent years," he said.
"I am not sure why it has declined.
"I think it is a money problem, people are tightening the purse strings and not fishing as much.
"The past four or five years is when numbers really decreased.
"They are now talking about not renewing the contract here and just leaving the gates open."
Ray came to the Top End 35 years ago, and like many was intending to stay for just a short stint.
He then worked as a tour guide at Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk).
Before he started the secure facility he was with Conservation Volunteers Australia, as regional manager.
"I've got two boys now, both NT born and bred," he said.
"The NT has been good to us."
Ray said Million Dollar Fish got things moving at the Shoal Bay compound, but only in its first year.
"I don't know if anyone has caught one of the tagged fish in Shoal Bay," he said.
"They seemed to have caught them everywhere else."
Ray said fishing was down a little this year.
"I think the lack of rain hasn't helped, there's not a lot of fish like previous years, but mud crabs are everywhere," he said.
"I am hearing that it is the best crabbing in years, which means the habitat is healthy.
"We aren't seeing as many of the red 'Kimberley crabs' around this year, the past two or three years had been really bad for them, with a third to a half of the catch being red crabs.
"But the lack of rain hurts. I went to King Ash Bay for a long weekend this year and it was sad trying to jag something down there.
"Another long weekend I went to the Daly and it was just as bad, but you must take fishing as fishing comes, it always changes."
Ray said that if the compound closed for good he might hook up the boat and head over to Broome to catch some Norwest snapper.
What's the biggest barra he has seen in his 15 years at Buffalo Creek?
"It was a fish I never got to measure, a true monster, caught in the creek by a bloke in a boat, it was easily the biggest barra I've seen," he said.
"This was four or five years ago. It would have cracked 130cm, it was so deep in the guts and long.
"To top it off, the bloke said he caught it in his throw net, you should have seen what was left of the throw net.
"He kept it fairly quiet at the time. I just happened to go down to the boat ramp and saw the fish, he said he had thrown the net out and it just exploded, he saw silver and jumped straight on top."
Ray said he enjoyed being at Buffalo Creek.
"It has been great, I've met some great people and had a lot of good laughs," he said.
"It will be a sad day if the compound closes. A lot of people can't believe it might close, I have had people using this place for the past 15 years who said they lobbied 15 years ago to put it here."
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Re: Buffalo Creek secure parking

Post by al57 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:47 am

having fished from that creek many a time while living there it will be a pity if they close that secure area ,even back in 2000 i had trouble with vandals out there .that enclosure has to be important for the local area to keep going .if it does close another suggestion would be to allocate keys at a yearly cost to the fishoes who are keen to fish that area so they can access the gate to lock up there gear .

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Re: Buffalo Creek secure parking

Post by slug » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:41 pm

Been using the Buff Ck ramp for 40+ years and the only issue I've ever had was a car door lock destroyed by low life trying to break in - must have been disturbed or just gave up, cos didn't gain entry. After that, I took to just leaving doors unlocked, and glove box open, with nothing of value left in the car. Maybe I'm lucky? - but never saw the cause to use the compound - mainly cos I guess I'm a creature of habit and never saw a reason to change (plus seemed a PITA to ring the bell on gate when launching early, and too impatient to frig around waiting for keys at the counter on my return).
I personally don't like the 'upgrade' they did down there a few years back - looks very pretty, but they effectively lost dozens of car/trailer parking spots from when it was "angle" parking into the scrub - and if you're not in the first 1/2 doz to launch, just about gotta catch a taxi from where u now gotta park to get back to the ramp!!
On a positive note, I fished Shoal Bay earlier in the week (1st trip there since June), and see that not only have they finally moved the marker poles out the front that have been 1/2km or so out for years now as a result of main chanel creep, but have now installed an additional x4 poles marking chanel way out to the North - red/green colored, lights on top - very flash. Gee, there must have been some grey nomads come to greif over the last 5 or so years trying to get in/out on dropping tide and following the old marker poles .....

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