Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Shady Camp

Any of our readers that are mad keen fisherman will know all about Shady Camp in the Territory. The boys were super excited about going, but we had heard the camping wasn't great. When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised the camping was pretty good, nice & spread out & a fair few trees. There are pit toilets (which badly needed a clean when we were there) & bins, the campground is run by parks & wildlife  and camping costs $3.30 per person. On our visit there were no envelopes to put your money for camping & we were told the ranger hadn't been seen for weeks, that explained the smelly toilets. So in the end we stayed for free for 3 nights. 

Shady Camp is on the Mary River & there is a causeway that splits the fresh & salt water. It is quite a sight & a very scenic area. When the tide is out the salt water side is almost empty & you can see how many rocks there are, the fresh water spills over the causeway, but when the tide comes up the water keeps rising & eventually is rushing back over into the freshwater side, it's is pretty cool. The fish love it, but so do the crocodiles. They are everywhere! We have never ever seen so many crocs in the wild. 

Fresh water side

Salt water side


When we arrived we went straight to the causeway for a look & we could literally see the Barra on the causeway. This significantly increased the camp set up time as we were all keen to start fishing. The afternoon was spent fishing, there were some Barra caught, but only little fellas. After a break in the heat of the afternoon, we went back down on dark for another crack. As it got dark we started to use the torches to keep an eye out for crocs just in case, we soon realised there were heaps. As you shone your torch on the salt water side it lit up like a Christmas tree, with red eyes everywhere. We counted at least 25. On the freshwater side there were another 4, holy crap. We were very very cautious. The boys got a few bites, but eventually there was just too much interest from the crocs so we called it a night.

Salt water side at low tide & dawn

We were still keen so got up early for a fish as well, as we walked down to the causeway we saw a guy carrying a pretty big Barra to his ute to put in the esky. He told us him & some other guys got 5 keepers for the night. The boys fished again & caught some more little Barra's, but couldn't hook that big one. The guy came back down for another fish & you could tell he was a pro, his technique was amazing & we were all trying to copy him & see what lures he was using, ha ha. He hooked up on a huge fish, but couldn't get it in & it spooled him, so he had to get a whole new reel out. Things then got quiet so back to camp for breakfast & we then went for a drive up to Point Stuart. 

As we drove along we came to a sign for Point Stuart & someone had written on it in pen that don't bother as you will come to a locked gate in 20km. We decided to push on anyway to have a look for ourselves, and yes it was correct, we got stopped by a locked gate about 3km from the Point. Very disappointed. Back to camp for some lunch & rest before we went for a fish again after dinner. Again the number of crocs was crazy, so we didn't fish for very long. 

The next day was dedicated to trying to get a keeper Barra. All the boys caught some little ones but no big ones. Mat got a 42cm fish & Adam had a huge bite from a big fish, but couldn't hook up. The boys went down again that night, but were again chased away by too many crocs, with 3 right on the causeway that wouldn't move away. 

Mat & I really liked Shady Camp & if we had on been there by ourselves probably would of stayed for a few more days. If you like fishing you will love it, if not you will probably get bored. There is no water at the campsite, you can get some from the causeway (carefully!) for washing if you did stay for a while, but you will need to bring lots of drinking water as it is very hot. 

So a decent sized Barra still eluded us. I have told Mat we aren't going home until we both catch a keeper Barra, so hopefully we can get two when we get back to WA near Wyndham. 

1 comment:

  1. Love your write up on Shady Camp, we too have just returned from there. Got small barra also, the big one still in there.Amazing the amount of croc eyes, we counted 29 one night. Loved the place though.