Offshore the go at Weipa
  |  First Published: February 2013

2012 is done and dusted and I must apologise for missing last month’s report.

I am not long back from a boat trip of epic proportions and I just couldn’t find the time to pen an article. I hope all had a safe and merry Christmas and also got to head out and prick some lips.

Mid-December saw my 6m centre console Cyclone loaded on the barge in Weipa and taken to Cairns. We then towed it to Cooktown and then over the next two weeks cruised all the way up and around Cape York Peninsula and home to Weipa; a trip of 1,400km.

I wont go into details now as there is a feature article on the way in the coming issues, however the trip took us to some unbelievable places and saw us experience some amazing fishing. The weather for the first week was pretty ordinary with no let up from the 20-30 knot southeasterly trade winds. The following week was better than we could have ever hoped with not a gust over 10 knots. This drop in the wind really opened up the fishing options and saw some awesome captures, from insane headland and coastline fishing to getting smoked by a dogtooth tuna over a 200ft drop off on a 30lb baitcasting outfit. We snorkelled in little mangrove inlets with live coral reef throughout, snorkelled and speared fish and crayfish for our dinner and at times ate black lip oysters off the rocks. The list goes on and on and to find out why we even had a baitcaster in the water on the outer reef keep an eye out in the coming issues.

Getting back into Weipa only days prior to Christmas saw us have a well earned relax, sneak in a quick crabbing trip to keep the tummy happy on Christmas day, but we generally try and stay off the water and out of the salt and sun.

Good weather over the festive period has seen plenty of Weipa locals and any of those lucky enough to be up visiting at this time of year get into some great fish. Most have headed offshore with the barra season still closed and glassy mornings, with the arvo storms being the norm.

Having done a few days fishing recently I found the bottom fish to be well and truly on the chew, the tuskers gave us a great time in closer around Dyfken Point while on the wider country with a bit of moving around and finding the right country, large mouth nannygai were the reward with some decent fish over 5kg in less than 50ft of water. The pelagics were noticeably quiet along the north and south coastlines, however the water has been quite green and a move out wider to some clearer water would see the surface action increase.

Coming up

One word sums up February and that’s barra. Every year throughout northern Australia the excitement builds as the opening of the barra season comes into sight and this year will be no different.

A lack of serious rain so far has made for a different feel to the wet season so far and the coming weeks will decide when and where you will need to be to get into that first barra for the year. Big amounts of rainfall will generally scatter the fish as they head up river into the little creeks, tributaries and billabong that a month ago were mostly dry. They will congregate in good numbers in some areas but generally you will have to put in the hard yards and cover some ground to find them in good size and numbers.

If we somehow manage to not score good rain, this changes things.

The mouths of the rivers will be the go, along with the shallow flats, snags and rock bars as they were in the early build up a few months ago. This will make for some top fishing at the time but a poor wet season could spell trouble for the barra population in coming years so fingers crossed the monsoon gets its act together and a cracking late wet is on the way.

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