Dundee Beach is the gateway to Fog Bay, south-west of the Northern Territory’s capital city of Darwin.
This fertile bay has numerous coastal rock patches, shallow reefs, offshore sailfish grounds, and the Finniss and “Little Finniss” Rivers
There is a range of fishing opportunities in a compact area.
In a single day a well-organised crew can catch sailfish, reef fish and barramundi, although it is better to spend a dedicated day or two chasing each.
The bay can be fished on bigger tides than the waters off Darwin, as Fog Bay is less impacted by tidal currents.
Well wide of the boat ramp, about 70km out, are grounds that hold large red emperor, huge mangrove jacks and nannygai.
Pelagic fish are found throughout the bay, with big spanish mackerel caught in close during the dry season.
To the south are the Finniss River and “Little Finniss River” and the Peron Islands.
To the north is the entrance to Bynoe Harbour.
For landbased fishermen, the coastal rocks produce large barramundi, blue salmon, goldspot cod, golden snapper, jacks, trevally and queenfish.
Sailfish are a major fishery in the bay, with multiple hookups possible, but the fishing quality changes each year, presumably with the local bait cycle.
Of interest is the presence of micro marlin in the bay, suggesting a spawning ground is not far away.
The local lodge has cabins and camping and retail.
The arms of Bynoe Harbour and the freshwater section of the Finniss River extend behind Fog Bay, with two public boat ramps servicing the Mackenzie and Milne Inlet arms, and a single ramp on the freshwater Finniss at Hardcastle Rd, with accommodation nearby at Sandpalms Resort.
The tidal range in this area reach 7m+ and there are numerous drying reefs and flats, so boating trips must be planned with care.
Detailed fishing maps of this area are in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.
How to fish Dundee Beach
Sailfish are caught all year but are often best shortly after the wet season and again into the Build-up, which are also periods with calmer weather as the mid-year dry season brings persistent south-easters.
The usual techniques work on sailfish, but rig for smaller fish as the sails are rarely huge.
That said, black marlin to 150kg are hooked in this region.
Spanish, grey and spotted mackerel are commonly caught in the bay, as well as longtail and mackerel tuna. Just look for the seabirds.
Landbased fishing is done at the top of the tide, with calm mornings required for success with barramundi.
Trolling the three coastal rock outcrops to the north of the ramp through to Bynoe Harbour also produces good sport, again at high tide.
During the wet season and just after the Finniss River produces good barramundi fishing, usually by trolling the deep rockbars.
The upper river is closed to boaters.
Mud crabs are usually easy to find.
The dry season brings the most comfortable weather temperature-wise but – as mentioned – has persistent south-east winds.
During these winds small boats can fish close to the shore on the shallow reefs and headlands.
Bigger tides are generally better for fishing in Fog Bay, but clearer water is had on neaps.
For this reason, the Finniss River often fishes best with lures on or just after neaps.
Big jewfish are caught on the shallow reef near the boat ramp, but most crews target the shoals further out for coral trout, tricky snapper and golden snapper.
Reef fish are caught on flat rubble on the wider grounds, so keep a sharp eye on your sounder.
One of the proven far-wide spots is the gas pipeline.
The Reel Women Classic competition is held out of Dundee Beach each year, as well as various billfish competitions.
Detailed fishing maps of the rockbars, jewfish reef and other local features are in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.
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Some external videos filmed in the Dundee Beach region are featured below.
Dundee Beach barramundi fishing
Dundee Beach fishing
Dundee Beach sailfish
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