Trade Wind Trade Off
  |  First Published: October 2011

The trade winds have been blowing relentlessly making comfortable offshore trips in trailer boats rather nonexistent.

But the few days that the smaller boats have been able to sneak out have been producing solid red emperor, saddle tailed sea perch and big reef jacks.

While the windows of opportunity may have been slim, the red hot fishing action sure made up for it. The school sized Spanish have started showing up in plagues and the big 30kg+ winter fish have nearly all gone.

Commercial trout fishers have reported seeing some decent sailfish and small blacks just inside the Ribbons hassling schools of bait that are trying to seek shelter from the array of pelagic speedsters that target them during daylight hours. There have been some enormous giant trevally annoying the commercial guys out wide and by late October the Ribbons will be thick with 30kg+ GT preparing for spawning.

The next two months are the best time of year to try to land a 100lb GT. Load up the boat with some heavy spin tackle and some XOS stickbaits and be prepared to get your arms pulled out of their sockets!

Annan River

The mouth of the Annan River has been producing some thumper queenfish and grunter on live prawns and mud herring, however anglers have been few and far between with the sand blasting that you receive courtesy of 20 knots of southeasterly! The odd fingermark has also been landed at the bottom of the tide near the old prawn farm. Once again, live prawns are the bait of choice.

Tourists have been giving the Old Annan Bridge a fair workout, as it is an easy, croc safe platform to fish from. The making tide is the best time to fish here and anglers have been encountering mangrove jacks, barra, trevally, grunter and queenfish.

The downstream side of the end closest to Cooktown is an easy spot to get your live bait by throwing a cast net off the bridge. For the anglers who do not have access to a boat, the old road bridge is also a worthy spot to put a crab pot in, as the Annan is holding a lot of good-sized mud crabs at the moment.

Endeavour River

With the recent rise in water temps, the lure casters are raising a few more fish with quality barra and mangrove jack being landed regularly in the upper reaches of the river. There have also been a few school sized, just legal black jew turning up in the deep holes. These fish are commonly caught south and north of Cooktown however they are a rather unusual and interesting capture in the Endeavour and Annan rivers.

Live mullet around 30cm have also been producing solid fish with an oversize 140cm monster female caught and released by one of Cooktown’s local live bait gurus. The upper reaches of both the Endeavour and Annan rivers hold some giants however few are ever landed due to the sheer size of these 30kg+ monsters.

The Wharf has been producing barra on a daily basis for locals and visitors with live pike being the gun baits as usual. Fish to 90cm have also been taken on the run-out tide just before the full moon at night. Big soft plastics are the key, however you will have more chance of landing your catch when fishing from a boat. In a boat you can turn most fish before they bury you into the oyster-encrusted pylons or one of the resident grouper steal your prized catch.

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 and also has the largest range of archery supplies anywhere on the Cape. For many anglers who come to Cape York, fishing and hunting go hand in hand and as such, Cooktown now has a new hunting/fishing guide (Cooktown Adventure Camping) available to take clients on private charter to target barra, sooty grunter, boars and scrub bulls.

For more information on this guiding operation (or any other fishing charters) 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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