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Fishing Cairns Blog

December 7, 2010

TO FISH THE 'BACK OF BEYOND'
Keith Graham

It’s an incredible feeling to fish in places where few have ever wet a line before ! To experience sportfishing that sees a hit, or a follow, every time you cast your lure. Well, it’s not a dream and interestingly its not that far away either.

I’ve known Dennis, ( Brazakka),Wallace for 27 years and we’ve been best mates since day one! Our families have grown together and often shared those special occasions ! From ‘ Santa’ landing in the chopper with his sack of pressies for our kids to watching him plant macadamia nut trees and tagging dear to release into high fenced paddocks. One thing is for sure, he’s an adventurer. One of those guys who says he’s going to do something and actually goes out there and does it! He has influenced me in many positive ways and we have shared some incredible fishing experiences…the latest one was a ‘classic’ and what made it all the more special was that it involved my son Matthew.

Cape York Peninsular is approx. 1,000 kilometres to its most northerly point from Cairns and covers an area about the size of England. What a playground! Brazakka has been exploring its spectacular waterways for almost 40 years and chartered / flown all sorts of characters to experience their ‘ultimate’ fishing adventures, from politicians to tradies to newspaper moguls. No matter who he’s with his level of enthusiasm for this pristine, unique part of our planet is the same...and he’s one of the best salesmen this Far Northern region of Queensland has ever had.





Late November is a sticky / hot time of year up in these parts. On a positive note it is also one of the best fishing times to venture out to the reef or fish rivers and estuaries. Brazakka had only to ask once if Matt and I were interested in a couple of days ‘up north’ to chase all manner of ‘tropical rogues’. You can guess my answer! So, after an early Monday morning start we headed north hugging the coast. Passing Port Douglas we skimmed over Snapper Island…then on to Cape Trib. , past Cooktown and into the wild blue! Signs of mans presence faded into oblivion as we entered some of the most remote untouched bush scapes this continent has to offer….I like to call it ‘Paradise Found’, with the sincere hope that it remains as we have found it!

Dugongs tamely feed on shallow sea grass beds oblivious to the sound of the choppers blades. Wild boar roam in mobs and barely flinch at our presence, so too the flocks of magpie geese feeding in vast swamplands. We see crocs….big fellas absorbing the suns rays as if to ‘recharge their batteries’, and dingoes prowl menacingly chasing any easy feed that comes their way. Like an open zoo this magnificent region would rival any African wildlife park…but with added greenery and so many waterways.

Looking for rivers to fish we knew it was still a run in tide, not the best time to be casting lures. To top it off it was a fairly big run in so bait would be scattered, as would the predators that usually follow them. Taking the time to find just the right spot Brazakka gave us the ‘Cooks tour’, pointing out the deeper holes that held the bigger fish, and the resident croc that patrolled his patch. We landed near a wide mouthed river with a deep gutter at its entrance and made our way through the thick mangroves to find the junction of a feeder creek.

Masses of mudcrabs scurried around in the swirling current all of which would have been easy prey if we had a landing net. Juvenile sharks sat facing into the current…hundreds of them as if they had just been conceived and were taking their first swimming lesson. We cast our F1.11 and Stealth lures across the junction of the feeder creek as 1.5 kilo size queenies latched on in quick time. Good fights and quick releases kept us in the swim with these voracious feeders, then the trevally moved in to see what the disturbance was all about. Changing to Rebel Pop R poppers we had a strike or hook up every cast….not big fish but insatiable appetites. It was soon time to leave as the tide began to slow and Brazakka had ideas where he wanted us to be for the run out.







The Robertson 44 Chopper is a beauty! It seats four, or 3 plus a heap of gear, has a piston engine so is quick to wind down and start up and can literally land on a twenty cent piece. In minutes we were flying over 1,000 feet and heading further north. Several stops and about 30 assorted jacks, trevally, queenies and tarpon later we settled at a major river mouth to fish the run out tide. Again we battled our way through wall to wall mangroves and re-tied our 40 lbs. twisted leaders that had been badly chaffed . We use an ‘Egg Clip’ , ( cross lock pattern), on the end of this double thickness leader and find them to be the best we have used for reliablility. I tied on a Manns Stretch 10+ minnow, Matt and Brazakka opted for Barra Classic 125mm. 10 foot divers. The first twenty minutes was slow and produced a couple of smaller estuary cod and a few tarpon in the 1 to 1.5 kilo bracket.

As the tide dropped the action began to go ‘ballistic’ as fish fought to claim every lure cast across the river. When we hooked one mangrove jack another 3 or 4 would follow to try and steal the lure from the hooked fish! Dozens of double and triple hookups followed as we were beaten up by ‘jacks in packs’ and the odd barra up to 70 cms. Lure fishing couldn’t be better than this and I was amazed when I hooked a good sized barra, played him for five minutes…then as he was on his last run a 1.7 kilo jack stole the lure out of his mouth and I beached the jack. How crazy is that? ( Brazakka managed to video this happening too).

When the bite slowed we changed lures .Rapala suspending X-Raps worked well, as did suspending Bombers and F.1.11 slow sinkers. Just a cast…..crank the lures down then a S L O W ‘twitch’….’twitch’….then BANG we were on again. Soft plastics were our next line of defence and the Squidgy Slick Baits did a top job of keeping the lads interested. My favourite softie was the Squidgy Stealth Prawn with a slow sinking head……amazing how fish would come back and ‘Whack’ these plastics time and time again until they were hooked.

Every fish was carefully released to fight another day, and by our reckoning we had released over 75 assorted species in just 2 hours. It doesn’t get better than that!

I could go on about the fantastic fishing the rest of that first day…..or the incredible rocky headland fishing the next day that saw us do battle with the mighty king salmon but my words would be repetitive. Let’s just say it was the trip of a lifetime, and, it was right here in FNQ. In my opinion we have the GREATEST Sportfishing on the planet, right here on our doorstep.



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