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Fishing Reports

July 7, 2002 - Volume 6 Issue 4

Winter in the tropics – well we really don’t have one but we sure have had our share of wild windy weather of late. The Queen’s birthday long weekend saw a turn for the worst with 25/30 knot south easterlies confining all offshore boating to port. With overnight temperatures dropping to a very chilly 9 degrees – Brrrrr! No wonder even the river and estuary fishing has been slow.

The consolation though (if you can call it that) is that daytime temps. are in the high twenties, a sure recipe to bring thousands of southern tourists to the north. We are now in our peak tourist season and things are very busy indeed.

Rivers & Estuary

With the obvious drop in water temperature things have really quietened down. There is still plenty of activity with the usual winter species, bream, whiting, estuary cod, grunter & flathead etc doing the right thing. By scaling down your tackle, using live / fresh bait (there are plenty of prawns about) the kids can have a ball. Trevally and queenfish are patrolling the river mouths and although not in large schools yet, quality fish to almost a metre will put a serious bend in any outfit. Surface spinners and poppers the go here.

Its at this time of year that fishing with the right guide can play such an important part in angling success and catch rates – the good ones work darn hard to put you onto quality fish. Of course things don’t always go to plan but remember we are probably fishing at the most difficult time of the year. A lot of our prime targets love warm water – say no more!

The last long weekend saw yours truly head south to fish the Hinchinbrook Channel region. Well it wasn’t exactly a fishing trip, four families made the break and we stayed at the brand new Port Hinchinbrook Resort, just south of Caldwell. The spacious units are located right next to the marina and the facilities, safe launching, calm moorings, fuel access and available supplies etc made for a very easy exercise.

Terry Holman of Fish Hunter fame was our guide and we managed to get in a day and a half’s serious fishing in between family duties. We spent the best part of the second day "stranded" in one of the pristine creeks that flow into the channel – low tide makes it impossible to enter / exit the creek so your trapped in there until the next high tide. Not that we were complaining however – we landed 18 barra, six jacks, four cod, two blue salmon, one tarpon, a flathead and a partridge in a pear tree……….sorry, got carried away. All fishing was done using lures and considering the conditions, it was a marvellous effort. That guide thing again, most anglers were very forlorn looking as they returned to the ramp, but we had quality fishing due to Terry’s experience and local knowledge.

Rocky Headlands / Inshore Sport Fishing

We spent more time re scheduling trips than getting anglers out on the water – those bloody south easterlies – string wind warnings for days on end. When they ventured out however it was a mixed bag. Some days saw plenty of action of spanish mackerel to 20 kg’s, smaller doggie mackerel, metre long queenfish, nannygai and trout – the bad days were……well quiet!

You have to be prepared to wait out the rough stuff at this time of year and be ready to go as soon as the winds drop. The fish are there all right, just darn hard to get to em.

The Reef / Blue Water / Sport Fishing

More of the same I’m afraid. When the boats have been able to get out the fishing has been credible, macks, tuna, trevally, trout and reds all on the chew – but its not the place to be on a two metre chop on top of a three metre swell. If contemplating a trip "outside" be patient and flexible – most non fishing options / tours can be changed to suit and as soon as the weather drops its all go with good fishing.

The first reports of juvenile marlin are in, fish to 50ks have been sighted out wide and I’m sure there are plenty more out there – its just been to darn hard to target them as yet. Most game vessels have been fishing close to the reef structure and landing plenty of spanish (king) mackerel, trevally and tuna.

Doggie mackerel are at the entrance leads and an early morning assault is well rewarded.

Cape York – from Gary Wright at Seisia

High winds and heavy weather drove most guides, anglers and visitors into sheltered fishing this past week. Rough conditions muddied up most of the East Coast creeks, but despite the weather some quality fish were caught and released.

Big blue salmon were the most common catch, but some quality barra were caught and released on live mullet. The western rivers have maintained high catch and release figures on juvenile barra with most of these fish being taken on lures.

Some big queenfish were taken fly-casting at the mouth of the Jardine, along with bulk numbers of juvenile trevally. The first of the winter pods of mackerel tuna also turned up off the western end of the Torres Strait, but few were caught and most anglers were unable to tempt them on the smallest of metal jigs and spoons. Some good trevally were taken off the Seisia wharf this week, but visitors were bothered by bait-stealing wolf herring and large long tom.

Until next week…Good fishing

Gary Wright

PS: Look out for a comprehensive fly fishing article to be published on the web site soon – this article was written by Steve Starling, one of Australia’s best on the long wand, and his insights to tropical fly fishing will enlighten any reader.

Tournament Calendar / Heavy tackle

This has been updated for the upcoming heavy tackle marlin season. Please contact us ASAP if wishing to participate in any of these events.

The Cairns Professional Gamefishing Association will be hosting a brand new tournament – the Mediterranean Shipping Company Cairns Marlin Jackpot Tournament to be held from September 26-29th. CPGA president Captain Laurie Wright said the tournament was intended to become one of the Pacific’s leading gamefishing challenges. The tournament would offer team prizes, daily gamefish and other awards and section prizes for most tagged and heaviest fish, starting from a minimum 400kg.

Charter bookings are very heavy for this upcoming Heavy Tackle season with many skippers booked out for the prime October / November period. There is also a bit of "movement in the camp" with a few skippers swapping ships, vessels relocating south and other well known vessels undergoing major refit. Some very experienced crews have joined relatively new vessels opening up some exciting opportunities. After all it’s the skippers that put clients onto fish, not the name of the boat!

See you on the water,
Les Marsh


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