Heli-Fishing Down Under
_Interview with Paul Worsteling of _iFISH TV

Ready to take your angling adventures to the extreme? Try heli-fishing the outback of Austaralia…

What does a trip like this entail? The Waterman’s Journal staff asked Paul Worsteling, host of the Australia-based iFISH TV , about his recent trip with “Helifish” Tours, Adventures, and Charters.

Here’s what Paul had to say about his adventure…

Helifish operates out of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia, flying to remote wilderness areas in search of monster barramundi. The chopper takes up to three guests and lands in areas that are otherwise totally inaccessible by any other means. The average flight time is around forty minutes and you generally stop at four to six locations during the day to fish.

Below: Some of the incredible scenery viewed from above enroute to your helifishing destinations.

According to Paul, the chopper lands on beaches and clearings in the floodplains, giving you direct access to some of the most productive fishing waters in all of Australia. On top of the incredible fishing, the scenery is simply breathtaking and there are tons of wildlife sightings including saltwater crocodiles, buffalo, wild boar, and thousands of different bird species.

Below: Don't get too close - saltwater crocs like this one are some of the most ferocious animals on this planet.

In terms of the fishing, when the “runoff” is happening (this is when the floodplains empty back into the rivers after a wet season) it is possible to catch a barramundi every cast for hours on end… no joke.

The fish range in size from 30cm (2lbs) up to 1.4m (80lbs) and are all taken on hard body minnows (lures), soft plastics, and on fly. Most anglers use a sturdy baitcasting outfit, packed with 30lb braid. Generally, all fish are released on these excursions, however you are allowed to keep one fish per trip if you so desire.

Here’s some general info on barramundi:

• These fish can live in both fresh and saltwater, moving back and forth multiple times throughout their lifespan
• The saltwater fish have a chrome-silver coloration with yellow tails while the freshwater versions are golden-brown with black tails
• Barramundi go through a sex change at roughly 60cm (23.5 inches), changing from male to female
• They fight with incredible strength and acrobatics, leaping up to 2m (6.5 ft) in the air trying to regain their freedom
• A 1m (3.3 ft) barramundi is the pinnacle of most barramundi-angler’s fishing careers
• The world record barramundi is 44.6 kg (98.3lbs)

Below: Cristy Worsteling with a fine freshwater barramundi caught in the Australian outback // As you can see, the helicopter literally drops you off on location where the fish are biting.

Heli-fishing gives you the opportunity to fish in the “real” outback and experience fishing unlike anything else, with incredible scenery and alongside crocs and other wild animals.

Giving some final thoughts on the trip, Paul stated, “Just incredible… within ten minutes of landing on the beach at our first destination, I had already hooked and landed a 1.02m (3.35 ft) saltwater barramundi. Fish like this are what fishing dreams are made of!”

Continuing, Paul went on to relate, “At our second location we landed twenty small fish before I made a cast that resulted in my second 1.02 meter barramundi for the day. This fish was a rich golden-brown freshwater barramundi that did its best to bust me off in a run-off drain that was nor more than 10-feet wide. All of that aside, being able to take my 6-year-old son, Jet Reef, and my wife, Cristy, on such an epic adventure was a fishing highlight and experience of a lifetime for me.”

Below: No staging this one here - Paul Worsteling, the proud father, shows off this nice saltwater "barra" with the help of his son, Jet (Note: see above photo set for the contrasting colors between fresh and saltwater barramundi) // The Worsteling family portrait.

The Waterman’s Journal and Pelagic Gear are happy to support Paul and the crew of iFISH TV . Check out more of their adventures at the following social media links:


You can also visit www.helifish.com.au for more information on the "Helifish" operation.

Author : TWJ Staff

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