Dust off the creek fishing gear
  |  First Published: August 2012

Due to the strong southerlies that are going to blow for the next few months, it is time to dust off your creek gear and the punt and start chasing Cooktown’s renowned estuary species.

Don’t be afraid to venture south at this time of year as the Bloomfield River is a worthwhile system to target during the cooler months.

There has been a good run of threadfin salmon. A live mud herring or school size prawn fished in the gutters around the mouth of the Bloomfield is a shore fire way to see yourself mixing with these hard pulling freight trains. The live bait are best fished on a running sinker rig with the sinker size kept to an absolute minimum. An hour each side of the low tide is the best time to target these big salmon with this method.

A general rule of thumb when targeting big salmon is if there are no Wujal Wujal locals fishing at the mouth, it is a waste of time. An old indigenous fellow from the area told me that while you catch salmon all year round, anytime that you can see the vibrant yellow flowers from the coastal wattles, then the threadfin will be on the chew.

The further up the Bloomfield River system that you move, the more chances you will have of tangling with the Lutjanid species such as jack and fingermark. The deep holes near the gabion baskets that the local council installed a few years ago hold one of the best jack fisheries I have seen. Trolling deep diving, non-rattling timber lures, such as the 9cm Mojo baitfish made by MD Lures proves to be one of the best lures on the market for deep water trolling in northern estuaries.

There has been the occasional 80cm barra caught by land-based anglers that are working rattling lures, such as Bombers and B52s worked through the flowing water on the downstream section from the causeway.

For keen sweetwater anglers, there have been some fantastic size jungle perch caught in the turbid waters underneath the Bloomfield Falls. Small hardbodied lures under 45mm and 2” Berkley Gulps have been claiming most of the victims.

The baby-sized 30mm Gillies Bulldog Poppers in the clear colour have also been a great option for anglers that have been fishing the freshwater reaches of the Bloomfield, MacIver and Annan rivers. The clear and neutral colours have proved the best bet in most sessions; however, the few diehards that have put in the odd after dark session have found fish have taken every coloured popper under the sun.

You will pull the odd sooty out of these rivers but their size is generally not warrant targeting them. Most sooties that you encounter in these stretches of river will be less than 250mm long.

Although the wind has stopped most anglers from getting out on the reef on a regular basis, the commercial fishers have been getting some absolute stonker red emperor and saddle-tailed sea perch, with a few fish approaching the 900mm mark.

The local commercial trout fishers have been getting decent amounts of fish but regular moves are needed to keep the fish coming over the side. As usual, use as light a lead when fishing with bait or use a 1/2oz 4/0 jighead when fishing 7” jerkshads.

• For all information on what’s biting, please stop in to the Cooktown Lure Shop at 142 Charlotte Street, Cooktown for the run-down from the locals.

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