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Fishing Reports

14 August 1999 - Volume 3 Issue 9

Unfortunately I didn't get time to soak a line in Darwin last week. We were too busy having a good time soaking up the near perfect 32 degree weather and keeping our fluid intake up to anacceptable level by drinking copious quantities of er ! water, beer and some wine.

Tropical North Queensland is experiencing the full on effects of the tourist season with most properties showing good occupancies generally above 85 %. Unfortunately the weather is not showing any sort of consistency at all. With calm sunny conditions one day and blowing at 25 knots the next. Its a pain for all the water based activities but with a little patience, and organising, visitors can still take in all that the region has to offer. The light rain every few days keeps the region looking so lush and green.

Blue Water

With the above weather scenario playing havoc with the smaller craft, anglers are advised to be prepared. Have everything ready to make that dash to the Great Barrier Reef on one days notice and you will be rewarded. The fish are chewing their heads off. Whether its the cool waters or the rough weather making the fish hungry, when the winds drop excellent catches of prime eating fish are abundant on most reef.

Light tackle is producing some good catches of sailfish and macks. One of my fellow guides, Justin Gibbins made a quick visit to Oyster reef on Wednesday. The conditions were perfect in the morning but blew up a bit for the trip home. One very credible capture was a magic 40 kg sailfish caught on a floating ganged pilchard bait meant for mackerel. It took almost 1 1/2 hours to subdue and was released after a few pics.Fishing with Kieran Livingston on board Justin's boat, the pair managed another mixed haul of sixty odd spotted, doggie and Spanish mackerel. A great Trip.


The southern rivers, Russell and Mulgrave systems, have been a bit effected by the heavy rainfall south of Cairns. On the clearing conditions however there has been plenty of action on medium queenfish and trevally. The sardine schools have returned and conditions can only improve once the unsettled weather clears as we come into spring. The Daintree to the north however, has not been as adversely effected and can be fished quite successfully in all but the wettest periods. The larger inter tidal zone making bait fishing quite productive for school Trevally, medium queenfish to 60 cm, heaps of small grunter, sickle fish and the occasional blue salmon showing up.

For the lure and fly tossers, the windy conditions had been a but disheartening, but early mornings have been quite calm with the wind picking up around 10 am. From the first few kilometres upstream from the boat ramp, to right down to the mouth is the place to try. Follow the tides through the system and reasonable catches of small barra, jacks, trevally and estuary cod making up most bags. If desperate for some fun, try chucking smallish lures right down near the mouth for juvenile trevally. Its nothing to land twenty of these little battlers in an hours fishing here. Scale down your expectations, and your line and rod sizes and have a chuckle at their aggressive lure slamming behaviour.


Trinity Inlet has again been a bit patchy this past ten days or so. On fine days a few small barra are about, there are still plenty of bream hanging around any structure and grunter, trevally and queenfish coming from the gutters. Plenty of prawns still about but the fish don't appear too hungry with all this dirty water and wind !

We are soon to come to the best fishing time for Tropical North Queensland. The weather will start to warm leading up to summer and the winds become more predictable. And the fish, well it just gets better and better leading up to those first few thunderstorm heralding the arrival of another wet season. (Have a look at our weather page for more information)

September to December is prime time Big Black Marling season where anglers chase that elusive 1,000 lb plus fish. The tournament season has also started but the last event was a bit slow due to the conditions and it being still very early into the bill season.

Time to clean your tackle, re spool your favourite barra outfit and change those rusted old hooks on your favourite lure.

Les Marsh

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