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Cairns Fishing Update

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Cairns Fishing Update

Postby Fishcairns » Sat Jun 14, 2003 10:29 pm


Its been a while since my last report and there is a lot to catch up on.

Firstly the weather, or should I say the change in seasons!

Well, “winter” has certainly arrived here in the tropics and if the last few weeks are anything to go by its going to be a wet and windy one. It all started at Easter and like many locals, we went camping over the long break. Now, everybody knows that it often rains during Easter; but those persistent 20-30 knot South East winds sure whipped up a bit of moisture. The twenty odd inches of rain that fell over the four day period was a welcome relief to the drought conditions being experienced but sure made a mess of the family fishing plans.

The rivers sure need a bit of a flush but what must be understood at this time of year is that the rain is cold. Not like the warm summer rains that actually bring fish on the bite, these winter falls have the exact opposite sending many of our prime targets into hibernation and lockjaw.

Every cloud has a silver lining etc, and here too the cooler weather has sure brought the winter species into the rivers and tidal estuaries. Target species are now the likes of trevally (school, GT’s and golden), queenfish, bream, whiting, sickle fish, estuary cod, tarpon and grunter.

River & Estuary:
As mentioned above the summer targets get a bit lethargic when the water temps drop so don’t waste your time trying to “flog a dead horse”. Switch to lighter gear and go after those species that are readily available. Fish the gutters and sand bar edges instead of the deep snags and reap the rewards. Don’t despair however, there are still plenty of barra & jacks about but conditions must be just right to encourage them to bite.

On warm sunny less windy days, target them either in the slow moving deep water at low tide or with carefully presented lures in the shallows. A sheltered bay out of the wind will see warmer water offering a more comfortable feeding spot for old bucket mouth. Yours truly landing six barra yesterday from an afternoon lure session.

There are heaps of large sardines in most of our local rivers offering easy pickings for anyone handy with a cast net, not much joy with prawns however. The failure of the past wet season meaning stocks are very low.

Even lake Tinaroo is not a complete write off with one of Jack Leighton’s clients landing a magnificent 65 lb barra late one afternoon but there was a lot of casts between strikes!

Blue water / Light Tackle:
The strong wind warnings have kept most of the fleet huddled up in the marinas. A real shame because the cooler winter conditions usually see prime targets like coral trout, red emperor and nannygai moving into shallower more accessible waters. If reef fishing / light tackle sport fishing is your bag you must be patient – wait until the winds drop between those high pressure systems and get out there before it all turns nasty again.

Another prime target during the cooler months are the various mackerel species that move north into our waters in numbers at this time of year. Doggie and spotted macks are hanging about the entrance leads and any offshore structure. Best fished early morning on an unweighted ganged pille rig – let the offering sink back on the current and constantly move it using rod tip action. The larger narrow barred or spanish mackerel can be caught from inshore islands to outside the reef proper. Using either ganged pilchards rigs drifted on the currents or trolling deep diving lures like Rapala CD18’s or any of the many bibless lures.

Cape York:
The further north you travel the warmer the weather becomes and the less influence those blasted South East winds have. But don’t expect miracles either, the lack of a good wet season has had an effect on angling quality with barra numbers especially down on previous seasons. But don’t despair, salmon are in plague proportions, queenfish jumping all over cast poppers and longtail tuna are breaking many anglers backs Ha ha!

This brief report from Dave Donald at Weipa:
Species Landed: Barramundi, mangrove jack, fingermark, queenfish, blue threadfin salmon, king threadfin salmon, golden trevally, tea leaf trevally, brassy trevally, black spot estuary cod, gold spot estuary cod, pikey bream, longtail tuna, barracuda, narrow barred spanish mackerel, broad barred spanish mackerel, doggie mackerel, coral trout, stripey, grunter, black jewfish, shark, catfish (23 species). Ho Hum!

Report: The week started with south east winds blowing as strong as I can ever remember but we managed to find some sheltered water up the rivers. The fishing proved excellent - an indication of just how versatile Weipa can be. We had some great sessions in the deeper holes landing heaps of big grunter and fingermark on live and cut baits, some of the grunter measuring well into the high 50cm's. Blue salmon were also biting well, their long, hard runs keeping everybody very busy when they came along. Although the strong wind kept the barra very quiet, a couple of big ones were landed. Some big jacks also came to boat, the largest a beauty at 53cm. As the winds abated, we headed down the coast finding plenty of tuna schools, landing longtails to 7 kilos. That was followed up by some great trolling for mackerel and big queenfish off the Red Cliffs. Ashley landed the fish of the trip, a huge fingermark going 5 kilos on a jigged soft plastic on the final morning (in the middle of a hot queenfish bite). You just couldn't get the smile off this young blokes face!

New Packages
Weipa Reef Fishing - we know that light tackle sport fishing may not be every ones "cup of tea" - that's why we have also sourced a fabulous Weipa Reef Fishing trip with Pearls Reef Charters.
Check it out and if this is more your bag - put a group together and get up north for some serious angling fun. From only $220 pp per day (plus airfare) includes all tackle & bait, light refreshments, lunch, transfers and twin share accommodation.

Weipa Sportfishing with Mantaray Charters - Well known Cairns skipper, Kim Andersen, has just commenced operating out of Weipa onboard the super new cat Mantaray, an extremely comfortable “floating fishing lodge”. She features full air-conditioning, spacious lounge bar in main cabin, a full size galley and covered upper deck dining and entertainment area with bar fridge and BBQ, spacious cabins with ensuites, and there's even a spa on deck.

Fishing is from 3 x Goodwin 5 metre fibreglass skiffs (custom built) powered by 40hp 4 stroke Yamaha outboard's.
 All Meals whilst on board, all drinks excluding alcohol.
 Professional guiding and advice on all fishing needs whilst on board.
 Tackle supplied on replace if lost/damaged basis.
 Mini tackle shop onboard for those special lures/flies you loose.
 Transfer to and from Weipa airport/Mantaray
 All linen and towels.
 Sole charters available, days may be amended
Fishing the Cape just got better!
See you on the water.
Regards, Les Marsh
The complete anglers guide to Australia's Great Barrier Reef and Tropical north Queensland - from marlin to barra - heavy tackle game, light tackle sport, lure & fly fishing - we cover the lot
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 10:50 pm
Location: Cairns, Australia

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