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Cairns Fishing Update, General report
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  Posted: Jan 28 2004, 05:02 AM


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Posts: 9
Member No.: 9
Joined: 12-March 03

I trust you had a great festive season, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.

Its very much summer time here in Tropical Australia, sure is quite hot and humid. We are receiving average rainfall (summer is also the "wet" season here) but not enough to flood the rivers as yet. They are certainly higher than they have been for the past few months, which is appreciated, but as yet they have not had a really good flush. Its natures way of renewing life, many prime angler species as well as prawns etc. multiply in this time of plenty – these are the conditions that send our prime light tackle sportfish, the mighty barramundi, into heightened activity.

But please be patient, the annual closed season for the targeting of barra opens at midday on the 1st February……….get your gear ready NOW!

River & Estuary:

Even though the rivers are flowing a bit discoloured, there has not been enough rain as yet to force the salt water from the systems. Although not looking the best to the visiting angler (who wants to fish in coffee coloured water) the waters are really excellent for our prime summer targets. There are plenty of fingermark about and I reckon these are the best eating fish to come from our calm water estuaries. Fish the deep structured areas in our rivers & estuaries around the turn of the tide with fresh / live sardines and you will be rewarded. Jacks too just love these conditions and can be found along the mangrove edges. Large grunter are feeding on the flats at high tide and the ever present GT population will take prawn or fresh strip baits. A few medium sized queenies are also hanging around.

I can’t wait to get upstream and target sooty grunter, jungle perch, river trevally and juvenile barra on light popper gear.

Blue water / Reef / Light Tackle:

Summer time is usually the calmest period of the year, apart form dodging a few localised tropical storms and thunder-heads, conditions have been ideal to get amongst the reef dwellers. The warmer water means that you should concentrate your efforts on the deeper grounds and you will be rewarded with quality fish. Coral trout, red emperor, nannygai, tricky snapper and big spanish mackerel have all been caught.

And if sportfishing is more your bag, there are huge schools of tuna about along with sailfish, monster wahoo and mahi mahi. There should also be a few blue marlin on the wide grounds some 100ks off the coast.

Blue Water Game fishing:

Another very productive heavy tackle season has come and gone which this year extended into early January. I know that several quality blacks between 500 & 600 lb were tagged during the month, with anglers very excited about this late bonus. During the peak months of October & November the fishing was back to its absolute best. The winning boat at the annual Lizard Island Classic scored sixteen tags for the tournament with three monsters estimated to top the magic 1,000lb mark. Do you reckon the Japanese angler will be back next year……you bet ya!

Cape York:

Most operators have wound down for the traditional "wet" season, using this time of year to have a much needed break to escape the severe heat and humidity, service / repair their valuable equipment and come back south with the family for a well earned holiday. That’s not to say that the fishing "aint great" …………its just not practical trying to dodge the storms, plan a trip when the rivers might not be flooding, keep away from the monsoon or cyclones that occasional brew in the Coral Sea & Gulf waters. Locals and some well prepared southern visitors have experienced some magic fishing though but at this time of year you really need to DIY.

Bookings are already heavy for the prime "run off " season, if creek fishing for barra, jacks & salmon is your go you had better get in quick to secure a guide. Our live aboard options out of Weipa & Princess Charlotte Bay are filling fast. April & early May being preferred times.

As the warm food rich waters run from the flooded plains, any gutter, drain, creek junction or soak is prime feeding stations for these hungry predators. The dinner gong is ringing loud and clear……cast a lure nearby and it gets crunched. Spectacular fishing with soaring leaps from monster barra.

The MV Boomerang will again be running charters out of Princess Charlotte Bay. The mothership has just undergone another re fit and will commence operation on Sunday 28th March 04. A series of nine day reef closures have been introduced by the GBRMPA this year which will effectively cut the season short by a few weeks. Anglers punting on the quality reef / blue water fishing previously available during October & November will not be able to fish these waters in the future.

Send her down Hughie………..I just love the wet season.

See you on the water.

Regards, Les Marsh

The complete anglers guide to Australia's Great Barrier Reef & remote Cape York - whether your goal is to land a grander out from the shelf, or Oz's premier light tackle sportfish the mighty barramundi up the creek - from heavy tackle game for giant black marlin, light tackle sport for salils, king mackerel, G.T.'s and mahi mahi, lure & fly fishing rivers & estuaries - we cover the lot.
Let Fishing Cairns organise that fishing holiday of your dreams.
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