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Warm water barra bite
  |  First Published: September 2011



The cool winter water is slowly warming with crystal clear visibility and fishing reports keeping both spearos and fishos interested.

Cooktown has been living up to its reputation as one of QLD’s windiest towns over the last month with only absolute die hard red fishers and commercial Trout boats braving the 25+ knot southeasterlies. In typical Cooktown form, the fishing has been a lot more rewarding and enjoyable than the weather with reports of great trout and Spanish mackerel coming in thick for the anglers slogging it out in the weather.

There has been some stand out red emperor and saddle-tail sea perch being caught in some of the less hit areas. On the odd occasions that Cooktown Barra Charters has been able to sneak offshore for a few hours in the early morning, he has been rewarded with some thumper fingermark from the numerous rocky headlands that surround Cooktown. Berkley Gulp 7” Jerk Shads have been slaying them with mango ripple being the most productive colour. The beauty of fishing these big Jerk Shads in the productive waters off Cooktown is that you never know what you are going to catch.

Shane from Cooktown Barra Charters said that in one brief 2hr long daylight plastics session he managed to land over 30 fish including fingermark to 4kg, saddle-tail sea perch to 5kg and trevally to 10kg. Not a bad effort on a little Daiwa Zillion/G.Loomis combo!

Annan River

The Annan river bridge has been getting a thorough workout from the many tourists that are trying their luck at catching a barra. Although this place gets a workout from anglers for a majority of the year, there are some fantastic fish caught off here every month. Both rivers in Cooktown only fish well for roughly an hour each side of the tide change.

If you are a tourist that is not fussy what you catch, go down to the old Annan road bridge 30min before the top of the tide with a bucket of live herring and cast them lightly weighted on a 2/0 octopus hook under the road bridge and hang on. On a typical day, your little herring should not last too long under the bridge before a queenfish, fingermark, trevally or jack devours it.

Down around the mouth of the Annan there have been some quality barras, fingermark, flathead and queenfish caught on live bait like pike and mud herring. Further upstream around Oakey creek, the still water lure fishos have been having a ball on the barramundi. Although they are not all monsters, catching 30 plus barras, a few jacks and some tarpon in a session will keep most anglers happy.

Endeavour River

The lower reaches of the Endeavour has been fishing well for grunter, flathead, bream and trevally on fresh cut baits and live prawns. Although these bread and butter species are rarely targeted by local lure fisherman, they make worthy opponents when using lighter gear and small soft plastics.

It is surprising locals don’t target Cooktown flathead, considering how good flatty fishing is in the area. I have seen more 90cm flathead caught in Cooktown then I have in any Southeast QLD system. For any tourists heading this way, do yourself a favour, grab a few packets of your favourite plastics and work the lower end of the Endeavour River for some thumper flathead. Without giving to many secrets away, the mouth of Leprosy creek is a very good place to start!

As usual for this time of year, anglers have been landing some amazing chrome barras from under the Wharf on live pike and big soft plastics. The barramundi here can often be a bit hit and miss and can be frustrating when you can see an 80cm barra sitting in 6ft of gin clear water yet they wont even look at your best offering! However at other times they turn on and all of a sudden the barra are taking mullet or herring fillet intended for a mangrove jack, go figure!

There have been some solid Spanish and school mackerel caught on small live herring off the Wharf with the odd queenfish, trevally and cobia thrown in for good measure. The wharf is a great spot to take the kids fishing however during the tourist months it can get a bit crowded so patience is necessary.

The Lure Shop now stocks a full range of bow and pig dog hunting supplies stocking breast plates, sticking knives and dog first aid kits. It now has the largest range of archery supplies anywhere on the Cape. For many anglers that come to Cape York, hunting is their second hobby so Cooktown now has a new hunting/fishing guide available to take clients on a private charter to target Barra, Sooty Grunter, Boars and Scrub Bulls.

For more information on this guiding operation or any other fishing charter in Cooktown and its surrounding areas why not give us a call at The Lure Shop and let us fill you in on what is biting and where the action is. The Lure Shop is located at 142 Charlotte Street, Cooktown and we can be contacted on (07) 4069 5396 or via email on --e-mail address hidden-- or --e-mail address hidden--

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