Settling into Weipa
  |  First Published: April 2011

G’day readers, this is my first report for Weipa after moving here a few months ago from Cooktown and what a lovely part of the world it is!

With the recent rains that most of the Cape has been encountering, all of the waterways surrounding Weipa have been quite dirty. The Mission and the Hay rivers have been fishing a little bit slower than before the wet, however plenty of fish are still being caught. There have been reports of good fingermark and barra being caught up around the creeks and drains in the Hay River and some quality jew landed on the western bank around the Mud Gutter.

The lead markers have been firing with big metre-plus queenfish, oversized brassy and giant trevally and good Spanish mackerel being taken on poppers and soft plastics. School-sized fingermark up to 60cm have been biting well on the various lumps and bumps heading across to Duyfken Point.

Before I moved to Weipa I didn’t realise how common Spanish mackerel are in Weipa’s waterways. These speedsters can be found on almost any structure, and the fish I have caught in my time here have ranged from 50cm rats up to around 15kg. Flicking poppers around the outer lead pylons is a good place to start.

Plagues of queenfish are marauding the schools of summer bait around the Mission River Bridge, and what they lack in average size they sure make up in numbers. With a run-in tide and a handful of slugs or plastics, these queenies are good fun on light tackle. When flicking around these schools, I recommend that you take note of what is on the sounder screen. On my last trip I noticed good fish holding on the bottom under the bait schools, and I dropped a 7” jerk shad to the bottom. It instantly got smashed by a nice 60cm fingermark on the first drop.

The tides have been OK to get up onto the flats to chase barra and threadfin in the many shallow flats on the Mission River. On a good day, it’s not unheard of to catch over 100 barra, but most of these fish are little rat-sized specimens, with only a handful of legal barra thrown in. You should be prepared for the fact that every now and then you’ll get smoked by a XOS female moving off the flats into the deeper water.

On one trip we sunk our hooks into six good fish in 15 minutes, only managing to land two fish of around 75cm. The other four fish would have topped 90cm. We pulled hooks on one, the leader wore through on another and two 1m fish rubbed us off on cathedral mangrove roots.

The next few months should see some good fishing conditions with the pelagics really firing up within reach of most small tinny-style boats. Remember that the annual Weipa Fishing comp is coming up, so stay tuned for comp details and reports.

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