Dry conditions and great action
  |  First Published: December 2012

The weather has improved as the water temperature heats up. Even though conditions have so far been drier than previous years, warmer water means monsoonal rains are expected.

The reef fishing has been exceptional with quality red emperor, saddle-tailed sea perch and good-sized trout coming off the deeper reefs, on the edge of Osterlund Reef and at the back of Big Unchartered.

Large flesh baits of hussar and stripy sea perch have been proving the best bait for the larger fish. Baits of squid and pilchard have also been claiming their fair share of reef fish. Although plague schools of small grass emperor species have been making short work of smaller baits.

When fishing the deeper faces around Forrester Reef during the day don’t be surprised to catch some thumper-sized green jobfish. Trolling Halco Laser Pro’s in pilchard colour or king brown have been accounting for some excellent Spaniards and wahoo on the outside of the Ribbon Reefs.

Good numbers of yellowfin tuna can be caught on the outer reefs off Cooktown all year round, but the last month has been exceptional with good-sized fish to 40kg being caught regularly. For the small tinny brigade the headlands around South Bedford and Archers Point have been producing good golden snapper around 4kg with the odd bar cheek trout thrown in. Californian squid on a running ball sinker in 6-8m of water has proved to be a lethal combination. And a pre-dawn start is a must.

Please only take what you need as golden snapper are one of the slowest growing tropical fish species. Despite the early starts, these stealthy fish are well worth the effort when you catch your first XOS specimen nudging 10kg. Pound for pound, these are probably the hardest and most powerful pulling fish when they get to this size.

The Annan River has been fishing quite well around the mouth for the usual suspect including queenfish, trevally, jack, golden snapper and even the odd king threadfin. Although this spot looks like a picturesque swimming spot, for any tourists please remember to keep your wits and common sense as there has been a big croc hanging around for the past month and numerous crocs inhabit this area.

Moving further up the river, there have been good reports of pikey bream, mangrove jack and the odd grunter being caught from the old road bridge with live sardines and mullet fillets producing the better quality fish.

The Endeavour has also been fishing well, particularly around the wreck with the local guides producing plenty of fish for clients this month.

Please keep in mind that the barra closure is in place and try not to disturb the sporting of these fish. Smaller river systems such as the Annan and Endeavour really rely on good spawnings from the breeder fish each season to replenish numbers.

Until next month, stay safe on the water.

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