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Fishing Reports

18 November 2000 - Volume 4 Issue 10

On Safari To The Tip Of Australia - Cape York

The first thing that you notice when you fly over Cape York is the clarity of the water, as blue as the sky, as clear as any swimming pool and the white sandy beaches stretch for miles. In the background many islands dot the horizon, the opal coloured reefs rise to the surface and the sky was clear but heavy and I was building a thirst.

And so it was last week when I flew to the Cape in a little Beechcraft Barron. A twin engine six seater, counting pilot and co-pilot - yours truly, and due to our load had to stop at Lockhart River on the east coast to re fuel for the last 300 ks of the trip to land at Horn Island. During my journey the Bamaga airport was closed for extensions and upgrade, it should be open again before Christmas, and be able to take larger, faster craft - a boom for fisho's.

The Horn Island airport is small but impressively modern and is the main landing strip for the nearby Thursday Island. A short ferry ride across that dazzling blue sea and I was docked at the Island awaiting another ferry ride to my final destination, Seisia. As I said my thirst was building so I had to satisfy this need at the local pub.

Thursday Island was also a pleasant surprise; a quaint but attractive town nestled on a small seaside hill overlooking the Torres Straits and mainland. The locals were buzzing about playing pool; I had a well-earned beer or four. By the look of some of the magnificent houses overlooking this scene, there is some money up this way, where it comes from is news to me.

Seisia

We arrived at Seisia, a small aboriginal settlement on the Western side of the Cape, by brand new ferry service at approx. 4.00pm and were shown our comfortable cabin accommodation at the Seisia Resort and Campground.

Now I have been up this way before, fished the rich waters of the Jacky Jacky and near shore reefs and gutters years ago. This trip was primarily designed as a reconnaissance trip, to check out the new guiding operations, the accommodation options and to meet new managers and staff. A lot has happened since I was there last!

The Seisia jetty is still the best land based fishing platform on the entire continent and one only has to peer over the side and note the million or so sardines nervously skipping around the pylons to appreciate its reputation is proved time and time again. During my two and a half-day stay a never-ending stream of mackerel, queenfish and trevally came on deck.

The Seisia Resort & Campground still had a few happy campers, southern anglers ken to experience the red hot fishing post summer / wet season available up this way but the pending rainy season would soon see all 4WD touring come to a halt.

The location is perfect, right on the foreshore, plenty of shade trees and comfortable amenities make this a popular spot. There are air-conditioned huts, twin share accommodation with shared toilets and cooking facilities, "A" framed lodges sleeping up to six in air-conditioned comfort, private facilities including laundry and all serviced daily.

There is also a comfortable restaurant serving buffet style dinner and breakfast and a kiosk with general supplies, a nearby supermarket and petrol station.

And what about the fishing! Well I had meetings with most guides and it was great to not only have a good old chin wag about the magic fishing available, but to get a good handle on which market segment the various operators are best suited to was a main goal of my visit. A task, which I must say, was achieved with little fuss.

Fisherman come in all sizes, preferred angling styles, expectations and experience.

Whether you are a group of mates wishing to have a great fishing holiday (a bit of male bonding perhaps), a keen fly fisher wishing to add that special catch to the list, or a couple of mates / small family group wanting an angling trip of a life time - we can put you with the right skipper / guide best suited to your needs and advise your appropriate accommodation options.

We have also sourced a brand new motel situated at Bamaga, a short 10 minute ride on good sealed roads from Seisia and all guides will transfer clients to / from this property.

In only twenty minutes, a client can be fishing in either the gulf waters out from Seisia on the western side of the Cape - to fishing the huge Jacky Jacky estuary system on the opposite "eastern" side of Cape York.

The locals also assured me that the "tip" has a much milder climate than Cairns or ports further south. Being surrounded by relatively shallow water on three sides ensures a sea breeze and as the land formation is fairly flat, they do not have nearly as much rainfall either. The region can be fished in all but severe cyclonic conditions.

Weipa

This is truly a jewel in the Cape - being a remote mining town ensures that facilities for residents and visitors alike are all first class. The surrounds and streetscapes are lush green and well maintained. An oasis if you like.

The residential areas are located well away from the "commercial" zones and tourists and visitors are very well catered for. A relatively new shopping complex encompasses a modern Woolworth's supermarket stocking everything you could possibly need, an electrical store, tackle shop, coffee / takeaway, hairdresser, bakery and liquor outlet. A smaller complex across the car park has a post office, medical facilities and a newsagent.

These facilities are within easy walking distance of the accommodation options which include one of the nicest, well maintained, shady camp ground found anywhere, the brand new Heritage Resort Motel and the well established Albatross Hotel.

Once again facilities are available for all types of angling groups, couples, singles or families and we can assure you of a very pleasant stay.

The angling options out of Weipa are also mind blowing. Weipa is built on a peninsula jutting out to the western gulf formed by two massive river systems, is surrounded by a huge mangrove lined bay and has islands, tidal inlets, offshore reefs and the shipping channel with its famous markers to explore. It is the barramundi capital of Queensland and other angling opportunities are only limited by your imagination.

Seasonal conditions do play a part here but having so many options to chose from all within a relatively small travelling distance makes it a great to brilliant fishery in all but the worst of wet seasons.

Weipa has a daily air service form Cairns; the trip takes less than an hour in a modern F 28 jet able to carry 90 passengers in comfort. You could quite conceivably arrive in Cairns one morning and be fishing that afternoon!

Oh the Guides, I did check them out and even cast a lure for a few hours one afternoon with my mate Dave. I had very limited time up my sleeve and he was busy also. We managed to land five nice barra, pulled the hooks on another three and saw about fifty queenfish and G.T.'s swipe at the lure but not connect - must have been holding my mouth wrong. Not bad for two hours fishing before being chased off the water by a very un-seasonal storm that dumped almost six inches of rain on the region late that afternoon.

It was a great trip, one that I had been promising myself for a while now. It was all designed with you in mind, to be better able to assist with your inquiries and to be in the very best possible position to put you onto the right guide and accommodation option for that special trip.

Now what? Well, why dont you try the Cape yourself with one of our package tours to Weipa or Seisia.

See you on the water,
Les Marsh


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