The Bureau of Meteorology hit the nail on the head when they stated that the Cooktown region would have a smaller than usual wet season this year.
Both the Endeavour and Annan rivers were running clear and only small falls have been recorded. Hopefully this will change in the coming months as the systems rely on these monsoonal rains each year for a flush out and clean.
One positive to come out of this is the red hot inshore pelagic action as all of the speedsters, like Spanish mac, queenfish, golden trevally and unfortunately barracuda, have been hanging around all inshore headlands chasing the summer bait. There have been a few decent sized jacks being caught around the wharf, which is typical for this time of year as they can often been seen schooled up like sardines during the January and February months.
Another northern species that can also be schooled up in large number is the barramundi. Cooktown is not famous for a world class barra fishery; however the big meter-plus girls stacked up under the local wharf can often make a few eyes bulge. These big females use the wharf for cover during their spawning activities and it is critical that they are left alone to do their thing, as with all small river systems like the Endeavour, they are the future of the species.
There have been some monster female barra hooked up river while on charter, with most fish eating hooked jack and golden snapper (much to the disgust of the client who’s dinner was just eaten). Some of these fish are well over 120cm and during peak spawning time, it makes you wonder what they are doing 20km upstream?
Fishing further down the Endeavour has provided anglers with some great jack and golden snapper fishing. Cooktown Barra Charters have been reporting most fish falling to very lightly weighted sardines fished back into the snags at the top of the tide and into the start of the run-in. Fish of both species around the 45-55cm size are common at the moment and make a great feed for any anglers wanting to take home a feed.
Anglers fishing plastics on the beacons towards the mouth have been getting some decent golden trevally and mid-sized queenies, however there are plagues of rat size saddle-tailed sea perch. Their machine gun rat-at-tat bites will usually chew the tail from your 5” jerk shad in seconds so the fishing can be costly. While most of these fish are rats, occasionally you will be rewarded with a table sized fish in the mid 40cm and, like most Lutjanids, they are delicious on the plate.
There have been quite a few chances for boats to head to the wider grounds to chase reefies. All of the usual spots like Big Unchartered, Forrester and Snake reefs have been producing good trout, red emperor, long-nosed emperor and saddle-tailed sea perch in good numbers and sizes. There have been some monster Spaniards taken on live fusiliers fished in mid water and a number of big reef jack have also fallen to the mid water livie during the day.
The number of big jacks caught on a mid water live bait during the middle of the day astounds me. You can be fishing with fresh cut baits, jigs and plastics for an hour catching a number of species, throw over a 300mm live hussar or fusilier and if there is a big bruiser reef jack around, he will be on that live bait within minutes. I guess it just highlights their aggressive and pugnacious natures and how they cannot resist a cheap shot and an easy feed!
Until next month, stay safe on the water.
There are plenty of species on offer this month, like this Queensland grouper.Reads: 537