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Fishing Reports

09 July 2001 - Volume 5 Issue 5

After such a wild and windy June, the past week has been just superb, the stuff made in heaven. Clear sunny skies, light south-east winds, calm seas …….and the fish are almost jumping into the boats! Not quite but some great reports to hand all the same.

This is our prime tourist season up here, thousands of southern visitors descend on this tropical play ground to soak up the sun, explore the Great Barrier Reef, dive, swim, cruise and fish. The accommodation providers are smiling, the tour operators are ringing the cash register and everyone involved in this dynamic industry we call tourism is ready to party.

Its also the time of year when many make that 4WD trip of a life time to remote Cape York and all the skippers, from game fisherman to light tackle river guides are extremely busy.

The Heavy Tackle season is just around the corner, so if your goal is to land a grander on the Great Barrier Reef, or a prime barramundi in one of our world heritage rainforest rivers, make your plans early or you may be disappointed.

The Reef

Good reports for the reef fisherman last week. Apart from the very windy weather the reef fishing has been fantastic. The cool conditions has seen the bait fish / pilchards hard up against the shallow reefs in their millions. Where the food is, the predators will follow, and clients are having a ball landing quality "reds" of between 5 - 8 kg’s in very shallow 5-9 metres of water and in the middle of the day. These are usually night time targets, caught in deep waters away from the reefs. Coral trout have been a bit patchy but the quality is there. Another good surprise has been the numbers of mature mangrove jacks coming from the structure as well - fish of 10 to 12 kilos also caught from the shallows.

Out wider there are sailfish to 80 lb; one skipper dropped three monster sails in 90 seconds of absolute mayhem. Yellowfin tuna and northern blue fin are also about as are quality spanish (king) mackerel and a big barracuda of over six-foot that bottomed out the 25 kg scales! – this report from our friends onboard Billfish.

Blue Water / Game Fishing

Apart from the above a report from Kim Andersen of New Moon III who just returned from a seven day extended charter to remote Cape York. He travelled up the coast to Princess Charlotte Bay and landed over 80 barramundi from the rocks. On their way down they fished some rarely visited reefs and the angling was absolutely mind blowing. Coral trout, red emperor, sweetlip, various trevally, spanish mackerel and nannygai…..they were literally blown away by the number and quality of the catch. He has promised me a feed so I’ll have to invite him over for a few beers.

The small marlin have been a bit quite of late but the sheer quality of the other reef species has certainly made up for it in a big way. Big lone mackerel are about but it won’t be long before the arrival of the smaller doggies and spotted macks herald the start of this "winter" feast.

The Rivers

As is normal for this time of year, the barra have been a bit slow. The experienced guides however are still producing the occasional good catches on lures, Terry Holman reported landing twenty odd fish one day from a "southern river" system last week. There is no substitute for local knowledge and a day or two spent with one of these experts will make up for years of mucking around in strange waterways. Other targets at this time of year include flathead, estuary cod, trevally and the occasional jack from the salt, while sooty grunter and jungle perch are prime fresh water targets.

At the time of writing there were quality metre long queenfish at the mouth of the Russell Mulgrave river system. Casting surface poppers or fizzers lures can be very exciting and for the more dedicated ‘swoffers’ streamer or popper flies will entice some heart stopping action on these high leaping silver streaks.

Cape York – Seisia (from Gary Wright)

Cape York anglers, guides and visitors have in the past few days enjoyed some of the best boating and fishing weather this year. The underwater visibility around the offshore islands and reefs has been a good 30ft, which is about as good as it gets in the Torres Strait.

Good catches of bottom fish have been recorded from around the fringing coral platforms on most of the offshore islands. Big schools of tuna have begun to show up well offshore and with the continuing good weather most of these fish will be available to visitors and guides alike close to shore by the end of the week.

I have been fishing two American anglers this past week and they have enjoyed some excellent barramundi fishing. A lot of small barra have been active close to the mouths of the rivers, with some bigger fish taking big live baits from some of the well established snags and deep water locations on both the east and west coast. Very few big queenfish have been caught around the full moon but a lot of smaller fish have provided some great fly fishing action from the inshore sand bars.

A good run of blue salmon have kept anglers entertained in Jacky Jacky with the odd king salmon showing up amongst these schools. The usual winter run of pikey bream and grunter have been available from the mangrove creeks, with cod and the odd big fingermark taken on deep diving and sinking lures.

General Info

The Tableland Fish Stocking Society will host this year’s Barra Bash fishing contest on November 2,3 and 4th. If last years event is anything to go by, the fishing classic looks set to be hotly contested once again. More than 500 anglers contributed to a fantastic weekend last year which raised more than $7,000 for stocking barra fingerlings into Lake Tinaroo. For more info please contact TFSS on 4091 4004

New Product / Updates

One goal is to continually strive to add new fishing operations to our extensive database, with this in mind I will be travelling out to the Gulf of Carpentaria soon. The fabulous fishery available form Mornington Island will soon be another additions to our stable.

For those anglers wishing to take a quality souvenir back home, something special to remind them of the ones that did not get away, check out the newest addition to our Gift Shop, quality locally made gold fish jewellery.

We have also added many useful links to our Boat Stuff pages with links to boat manufacturers, chandlers, local marinas, boat safety and training sites, insurance suppliers as well as some appropriate statutory bodies.

I’m out to the reef tomorrow, fishing onboard Aqua-Cat. The skipper Peter Todd is one of the most knowledgeable skippers around so I hope to bring home a feed of trout – if I don’t I’m not allowed back into the house. I hope to produce a full report on this trip in the next few weeks so look out for it on the site.

See you on the water,
Les Marsh


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