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Garry Smith FishTalk Tune in to ABC Radio's Garry Smith at his FishTalk web site for more local fishing news.

June 19, 2006 - Volume 10 Issue 2

River & Estuary:

Well after one of the biggest “wet” seasons for years - April & May saw record rainfall for the Tropical North and remote Cape York regions - things are starting to settle down. As the fresh recedes and the rivers return to normal levels, the salt penetrates back into the tidal zones. Along with this comes the bait, mullet, sardines and prawns - and of course the predatory species.

We still have to contend with cool winter nights (by our standards) but the days are relatively warm in the late twenties.

This is the time for big queenies to enter the rivers & estuaries and these are great targets on light tackle, popper fishing being one of my favourites. Other targets include various trevally, estuary cod, grunter, flathead, bream and whiting. Barra and Jacks can still be caught but they don’t like the cold water and are certainly on the slow side during the cooler part of the year.

Blue water scene:

Now all we need is for those pesky south east winds to abate by about 10 knots and we can get amongst one of the north’s best light tackle sport fish - the hard running and very tasty, spanish mackerel. Fished either with trolled lures, dead baits, floaters or metal jigs, these speedsters are a stable catch at this time of year.

The reef proper has been fishing quite well, when the weather permits, and there are plenty of delicious coral trout, nannygai and emperors about.

Tip: have your boat ready, fuelled up and tackle stowed - get out there as soon as there is a break in the weather and you will be rewarded with quality fishing.

There are even a few small billies showing up so all looks right on queue for the Light Tackle season to crank up. This is just a prelude to things to come and it won’t be long until the big black marlin start heading our way.

Remember that come September the Heavy Tackle season will be on in earnest and the best boats and skippers will be in high demand. There are still a few vacancies for the Lizard Island tournament (the most prestigious event in the Southern Hemisphere) so if this is your bag better get in soon and lock in your charter.

Continuing on in this vein, I am very pleased to advise that I am now the sole booking agent for the fabulous MV Joe Joe - at 65 ft she is one of the biggest and best game boats in the local fleet - so check her out on the vessel profiles on our web site for the complete picture.

Cape York:

Guess what happens after a big wet in remote Cape York - the fish bite their bloody heads off!

So get up there for some of the best barra, jack, tuna and queenie fishing available anywhere. I was lucky enough to score a trip on the brand new Aurukun Wetlands Charters operating from Aurukun last month and had an absolute blast. Keith Graham from Bransford’s Tackle Shop was my fishing companion and we “killed a pig” as they say.

Now Keith is a much better scribe than I am, so go to the Trip Reports - Aurukun Wetlands, for his article on the trip. In one very memorable session we landed over 60 barra in approx. 2 hours fishing - and that was not counting the jacks, queenfish and cat fish eager to munch our lures. We ate mud crabs until we could not stuff ourselves anymore, we swam in a crystal clear stream / waterfall, watched sea eagles soar above the wetlands, had wild brumbies gallop across swamplands, caught barra on poppers, on gold bombers, on Leeds Hijackers, shad raps and anything else you decided to tie on - it was that good.

Anyway, we have some pretty special Cape York charter options so go to our Extended Charter pages on the site and check them out. By booking one of these fabulous trips you will not only treat yourselves to some of the best sport fishing on offer in Northern Australia, you will be helping to restore the economy of our region which suffered so badly with the double whammy of tropical cyclones Larry & Monica. Rest assured, we are all open for business as usual - every cloud has a silver lining as they say and the quality of the fishing on offer is ours!

See you on the water
Les Marsh

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