Groote Eylandt Fishing Personality
Bomber is a high profile angler who has been living and fishing on Groote Eylandt for 15 years, but also fishes around Australia and around the world. Well known as a sailfish exponent and accomplished barra angler, Bomber turns his hand at whatever species are available at the time. And on Groote Eylandt, that’s a lot of species!
Bomber’s Top Groote Flats Fishing Tips
- Don’t come to the NT with inadequate gear! The fishing is tough here and your tackle will get tested by any number of species, the last thing you want is to travel all that way only to lose your dream fish due to tackle failure. Top shelf tackle isn’t essential, but decent quality, well maintained gear is.
- Red emperor can be taken in very shallow clear water by sight casting flies or lures to feeding fish. Look for sandy, broken bottom with deeper water of 6-7m or more adjacent and the occasional coral bommie. Or, look for channels between coral bommies in these shallow flats. Don’t fish hard against the coral where you would for coral trout, red emperor sit away from the coral and are usually pretty easy to see.
- Reds are usually solitary on the flats and are usually found on the eastern side of the island, which is influenced by gulf waters and boasts pristine coral reefs.
- Golden snapper (fingermark) are found on the western side of the island where the water isn’t crystal clear, but has a greenish tinge. Bomber consistently finds fish of 60cm plus in large schools in 3-4m of water on the northern, southern and especially the western side of Groote.
- Have a well sealed, good quality tackle tray full of replacement trebles and rings ready to go.
- If the fishing is tough it can sometimes pay to take some time out, have a beer and take a deep breath. Fish don’t eat all the time, so take the time to make sure your gear is fully up to scratch, add a smear of S-Factor to the lure, then start again.
Bomber’s Groote Flats Fishing Tackle
- Standard barra gear is adequate for most red emperor or golden snapper on the flats, provided it’s decent quality and well maintained. The by-catch includes large brassy trevally, barracuda and chinaman fish, so you need some stopping power.
- A Curado or Tranx reel on a short baitcasting rod, 30lb Fins Braid and 1.2m of 60lb fluorocarbon leader will do the job on the fingermark, which Bomber often targets on the way to or from the barra grounds.
- For the red emperor, a 4000-5000 size spin reel on a matching 7ft rod with plent of grunt, 30lb braid and 60lb fluorocarbon leader is perfect. Bomber uses a Stella reel, but reckons the Saragosa is a good, economical option.
Bomber’s Groote Flats Fishing Lures
- A soft plastic vibe (20g) is deadly on all species on the flats, but also on barra, jacks and threadfin. Bomber likes to buy his vibes from Fishing and Outdoor World in Darwin, who have them made to order. He finds these to be well made, cost effective and fitted with quality terminals. These lures can be cast long and the bail arm flipped over as soon as the lure hits the water. Manage the rod to ensure there is no belly in the line, counted down and then worked back with lifts of the rod followed by drops. Fish will usually take the lure on the drop. Vibes can also be fished vertically if the fish are under the boat
- The Barra Classic (120mm) 3m diving lure in “Guns n Roses” colour is a great all-round lure and works extremely well, especially on golden snapper. These can be worked quite quickly, twitched aggressively and allowed to float back to surface if needed to keep them from fouling up on structure.
- The Bomber 16A in Tiger Lily colour is one of the most productive lures on the golden snapper, but is harder to use than the Classic, so better for more experienced anglers. The angler needs to work the rod tip hard to get the Bomber twitching properly, but when done well it’s a very deadly lure.
Humminbird Minn Kota take care of Bombers electronics needs, covering his side-scan sonar and trolling motor.
Bomber uses Shimano tackle and mentioned multiple times the importance of reliable, quality gear.
JM Gillies distribute rugged gear suitable for top end fishing, including the Bomber and Classic lures and Fins Braid mentioned in this interview.
Club Marine are an important part of any boating anglers life.
Yeti Coolers are essential gear for the life in the top end, especially for the extended forays Bomber often undertakes.