Cape York cops it
  |  First Published: March 2013

After my last report complaining about the lack of rainfall for the last few months around Far North Queensland, the entire Cape York region well and truly copped it with a serious deluge from tropical cyclone Oswald making every system on the East Coast of Australia well and truly swollen.

As usual, Cooktown came off relatively unscathed however my thoughts are with the thousands of people that were seriously affected by major flooding in regions further south.

In regards to the fishing around the Cooktown region, the last month has been a bit slow for the reef species as there is an incredible amount of freshwater pushing out from the major rivers, making inshore fishing difficult to say the least.

When the weather was kinder and the wind abating below 15 knots, there were a few better quality fish including golden snapper and saddle-tail sea perch reported from the rubble patches just south of Cooktown towards the Archers Point area. Live sardines have been the gun baits when fished pre-dawn however finding the sardine schools in the dirty water can be a challenge.

Care must be taken when navigating the log and debris rich flood waters after rain as there have been more than a few blokes hitting debris with snapped skegs and broken gear boxes not uncommon.

The positive outcome for all of this rain is the run-off barra fishing. While NT is the first thing many people think off when someone mentions barra run-off fishing, good run-off fishing is available in nearly every system in Queensland where barra are found. The actual volume of water depends on where the rain has fallen and the basic layout of the land however with some basic exploring, there are countless options to catch these greedy, gorging barra during these months.

The fish make the most of the nutrient-rich water running freely from the higher country and often eat more consistently than any other time of year. The fish know that the cooler weather is only a few months away and proceed to eat everything and anything that swims past their mouths at this time of year.

Barra are by no means picky and will readily accept an array of food items and will also include, mice, frogs, small birds, a variety of insects and of course any water-dwelling animal like yabbies, cherabin, small fish and even tadpoles.

The upper reaches of the Endeavour have a few drains that will run for a few weeks after heavy rain and also the odd lagoon that is landlocked for approximately nine months of the year. These hold a variety of small fish and short sharp and erratic twitches of non rattling timber lures, such as Richo’s Little Terror, Twin River Lures 75mm Sard and Koolabung Razorback Prawn will nearly always raise a strike this month.

Fish to be expected include tarpon and barra however at the top of the tide when there is a bit cleaner, pelagics such as queenies and trevally can be caught.

Until next month, stay safe on the water and get luring!


A decent barra taken on the author’s 110mm Prawn in gold/pearl white.

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