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Cairns Fishing Update

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Cairns Fishing Update

Postby Fishcairns » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:02 am


Many of my readers will know that I was a calm water fishing guide well before I started this web site thing and still love my fishing dearly. About four months ago my mate Terry Holman from "Fish Hunter" asked me to help him run his calm water business…..Terry has two boats, is probably the best and busiest guide in the Cairns region.

Thinking this would be great, hell I could get my fishing fix, get paid for doing so, meet heaps of interesting people (even get to take some of my readers / clients out on those trips that I’m enthusiastically selling)……….do it probably three / four days a week…..have plenty of time to keep up with the web enquiries and everyone is happy.

WRONG!…after a fairly lean couple of months following the SARS virus, tourism and International travel to Australia and Tropical North Queensland has come back very strongly. This past few weeks has seen me guide for eleven out of thirteen days (part time indeed!).

And the reasons for telling you all this – so that you’ll understand why I have been a bit slack in typing my fishing updates…..very sorry !

Cairns, Tropical North Queensland & remote Cape York are now right into our peak tourist season, its also time for some of the absolute best fishing of the year to be had up here. The weather is absolutely fabulous, mostly calm sunny days, day time temps. nudging the 30’s, cool nights for a great sleep and the fishing….just brilliant.

River & Estuary:

The increase in water temps. (its now approx. 26 C in the Daintree River) has seen the arrival and increased activity of the prime summer species. Quality barramundi are showing up in the tidal estuaries and on the bigger tides are moving back upstream to the weed beds. Mangrove jacks too are hungry and aggressively taking small lures and baits drifted to the snags. And while all this is happening there are still heaps of trevally, queenfish (although we did not get a run of big metre long queenies this season), grunter, bream, cod and barracuda to target.

We do need a big "wet" however, the rivers are badly weeded up (the salt water penetrating way upstream is killing off vegetation normally living in fresh water). Barra numbers too, right across the top of Australia, are down due to two failed wet seasons in a row. It’s a simple fact, the bigger the "wet" the greater the recruitment of all manner of critters in our tropical waterways. Lets hope we get a good one this year.

Blue water / Reef / Light Tackle:

What a brilliant run of fine weather we have had this past month. Those persistent SE winds we so often suffer during the "winter" months have eased and are now only an occasional inconvenience. The nearshore and offshore scene is firing.

Toddy from Aqua-Cat has reported great fishing out on the reef, coral trout, big & small mouth nannygai, sweetlip, emperors and spaniards are sure keeping his deck hands busy. Great to see a change after the past two months of very depressing wild and windy weather.

We are pleased to announce the arrival of a brand new inshore light tackle sport fishing venture. The Reef Runner, a 7.7 metre custom built Javelin fibreglass runabout, purpose built and fit out right here in Cairns for our friends at Fishing the Tropics has taken this inshore fishery to new levels of quality and comfort. They are absolutely braining them on some very special marks not that far off the coast, I mean quality big mouth nannygai to 20lb, big trevally (goldens, bludgers, big eye and G.T.’s), cobia, oceanic queenies, monster cod, mackerel, barracuda etc. These guys, the vessel is skippered by Justin Gibbons, offer share and sole charters and have the speed / comfort and flexibility to target many blue water options …….they even landed a 50lb marlin last week. Check out the full picture on the web site.

Cape York:

And speaking of new options, another reason for my inactivity on the key board, Kim Andersen of New Moon III fame has just commenced operating a five to seven day live aboard light tackle sportfishing charter out of Weipa (remote Cape York), Mantaray Sportfishing Holidays. Well Kim asked me to come up and check out the operation, an invitation that I had to think about for a millisecond before I said yes!

I flew up to Weipa on a Saturday morning, a comfortable one and a half hour flight in a Dash 8 run by Qantaslink, was met at the airport by Kim and by early afternoon we were steaming north up the western side of the cape. We were headed to some wild and remote rivers rarely fished by the masses and offering the promise of spectacular light baitcasting and spinning angling for barra, jacks, salmon, queenies, cod, tuna………check this out.

Well it went something like this:

Day 1 - 46 barra, 5 jacks, 1 salmon, 2 archer fish, 1 barracuda, 2 catfish

Day 2 - 51barra, 1salmon, 1 jack, 5 catfish, 1 barracuda, 1 saratoga, 26 sooty grunter, 19 archer fish

Day 3 - 10 queenfish, 3 wolf herring, 2 small couta, 69 longtail tuna, 4 monster barracuda, 2 monster spanish mackerel, 3 grey mackerel

Day 4 - 11 tuna (got sick of the 10 minute fight each time), 14 barracuda (all over 1 metre), 1 spaniard, 3 big eye trevally, 5 bat fish, 20 cod, 6 jacks, 1 coral trout, 1 emperor, 5 parrot fish, 4 hussars, 10 sweetlip

And so on, and so on, and so on...................bloody terrific I must say.

Not only was the fishing great, but the variety from tidal rivers, sweet water river, crystal clear fresh, beaches, nearshore reef, offshore reef, rocky headlands etc.

The mothership was fantastic, the food great...........hell its hard fishing back here.

I hope to do a full trip report once things settle down here again so watch for some great pics.

I know our other guides up at Seisia & Weipa are absolutely flat out too, and the fishing has been fabulous apart from that little hiccup with barra numbers being down. But the beauty of these remote places is that you don’t just focus on one species, there are heaps of piscatorial targets to put a serious bend in your rod and a smile on your dial.

NOTE – The prime "run off" period, early April to May (arguably the best time to go if barra are your bag) is already very heavily booked. Get in early if planing a trip north at this time of year.

Blue Water Game fishing:

We are also well into our peak Heavy Tackle black marlin fishing season. From mid September to mid December these monster fish gather off the Great Barrier Reef / Continental shelf to do their thing and most skippers are very heavily booked again. The big mothers are a little slow this year however, plenty of juveniles have been around for six weeks or so but the 500 – 1000 lb fish are just showing up now. The southern grounds have produced best this past week also but the skippers expect the normal run on the Ribbons will commence on the next moon.

Phew, that wasn’t so bad once I committed and started to type!

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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