Watch Out Shark About
  |  First Published: February 2012

The fishing has been a bit quiet over the last month. Although this is not unusual for the fishing to become a bit tougher at this time of year, this season has been a bit harder.

The reef has been rather hit and miss. Anglers heading wide to the deeper water have been cleaning up on big trout and reds one day but not see a fish on another. The sharks are about the only fish that all anglers are finding on a regular basis.

Even the keen popper anglers have had to change their tactics as the GT have been a bit slack on their usual wider haunts, however the few anglers that chase them have been having good success on the closer grounds around Big Uncharted and the eastern face of Osterlund Reef. Although no massive fish have been landed, fish around 15-20kg are still commonly encountered by poppers and stickbaits, and the spearos have seen the odd fish around 40kg.

For recreational anglers that want to chase a feed of trout and reds, try fishing the 30m mark at this time of year as the cooler, deeper water seems to be holding the fish on a more regular basis. Once the sharks find you it is essential to move on otherwise you are just killing the fish unnecessary as you will not get any back to the boat in one piece.

Another good option for chasing trout and reds at this time of year is to have a few drifts over the mark and then move onto your next mark. This is common down south, however many lazy fishos think this is too much work and would rather whinge about the sharks and stay at the one hangout for hours on end. No matter how hard you try, a pack of hungry 7ft bronze whalers will not let any quality table fish come aboard regardless of how many fish they have already eaten!

The rivers and headlands have been fishing okay for the barra and jack chasers. With the opening of barra season the fish copped a fair hiding in the first few weeks, however experienced anglers have been coming up trumps and have been rewarded with quality headland fish up to 900mm long.

As I have said before, Cooktown has some awesome headland fishing that is easy to do in a 4m tinny. It is a pretty special place where you can catch legal barra, jack, trout and Spanish mackerel in the same bit of water. Don’t be surprised if a 800mm+ fingermark snaffles your lure and disappears through myriad rocky caves before you even know what has happened.

The coming months should see the fishing improve and February is a great time of year to chase the many pelagics that Cooktown has to offer. Sailfish have been raised within 20 minutes of the boat ramp and if you hook a small black marlin on a laser pro while trolling for Spanish around Osterlund Reef, you certainly won’t be the first angler to do it!

Before planning a trip to Cooktown, give Russell at The Lure Shop a call on (07) 4069 5396 for all of the info and gear that you could need for the local area as the Lure Shop is Cape York’s largest range of Fishing, Hunting and Boating equipment.

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