The transition between winter and spring can be a particularly lovely time of year travelling through Cape York. This time last year was as windy as it gets, so we are hoping this year is different.
Luckily the entire Queensland coast is dotted with headlands, bays and river systems to anchor in if that south-easterly trade wind blows up. September will often be the first month where pockets of calm weather will be experienced in amongst the trade winds.
Princess Charlotte and Lloyd bays offer anglers an enormous variety from reef fishing all the way through to jungle streams and everything in between. With the water a little clearer in September, small pelagics such as queenfish, trevally and blue salmon will be chasing little baitfish around.
Pockets of smaller barramundi can be found on an incoming tide around many of the shallow mangrove fringes adjacent to the mouth. Casting a shallow diving lure into tight mangrove country and retrieving with a twitch and a pause can be very effective. It’s one of the best methods to watch barra aggressively move out of cover and strike the lure right in front of you. It’s captivating stuff!
Great line fishing, spearfishing and trolling can be had around the numerous shoals, islands and reefs throughout far north Queensland. On the outside reefs you can find pieces of plate coral, boulder coral and brain coral with both green and painted crayfish hidden beneath. These tasty morsels can be extracted with a sling or a small gun from relatively shallow water and make a great addition to an outside trip when things get a little quiet.
This September I will be lucky enough to be working on some of the outer eastern islands of the Torres Strait. Although out of reach for most anglers, these reefs present a similar picture to those typical of Cape York’s pristine Barrier Reef. A morning session can very quickly yield a few mackerel, coral trout and crayfish for the dinner table.
The West coast of the Cape can be very productive this time of year, with the barramundi usually switching back on after their winter slumber. The protection from the trade winds will make it particularly fishy in September with the full range of Gulf species on offer.
Hopefully there will be plenty of Spanish mackerel on the reefs and shoals, fingermark and reds on the rocky ground out to about 30m, and estuary fish such as mangrove jack and threadfin salmon on the chew.
Plan your fishing around the windy weather and be prepared to take advantage of those picture perfect September mornings. Try and get your fishing done early in the day and avoid the blow, which will usually accompany an afternoon incoming tide.
School holidays will make the Cape a little more popular than normal so be careful when driving and be courteous when out and about on the water. When you notice people casting lures against the bank, please slow down and give them a wide berth. It really does affect the fishing up in these parts.Reads: 674