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Good things come to those who wade
  |  First Published: May 2013



Relatively settled conditions in the far north should see May really fire for any number of species this year. With only dismal Cyclone Tim to talk about in the far north, this season has remained charmingly forgettable.

As the first dusting of white settles over the Snowy Mountains in the south, we in the far north are just starting to really ease into winter. Usually in a pair of thongs, singlet, shorts and with an ice-cold beer not too far away. May until September is where it’s at, if you really value getting to remote parts of the Cape York coast.

Most of the dry season tracks should be opened up unless we get some serious late rain. Keen anglers will have been beating tracks to their favourite spots in March and April, plus graders will have smoothed over the main Cape York road. So access to world class fishing is within 4WD reach of most Queenslanders and even southerners who like to escape the ‘real winters’ right about now.

Many flyfishers are from our southern states and, by design, often come from humble beginnings trout fishing in the colder climates. But increasingly we see in the north that die-hard lure and bait anglers can be talked into handling a fly rod and best part of all, is they are likely to catch something.

Many southerners come north armed with a fly-rod but terrified to use it for its intended purpose. Scared senseless by crocs and stingers and everything else which scares people up this way, most people will be sitting tight in the safety of their boat. At the same time, many anglers in the far north speed off in a boat away from some of the best fishing on offer.

Wading the shallow flats, beaches, bays and shorelines can be done on foot in a huge range of locations. Anglers do need to be croc wise, but clean water verging on deeper sandy gutters is a scenario unfolding in literally thousands of spots around hundreds of kilometres of coastline. On top of this, there are too many pristine islands to mention scattered up the east coast of Cape York. My motto to wading is usually ‘if you can’t see, don’t go’ and although I have acted contrary on numerous occasions, it seems like pretty sage advice!

Some of the species anglers can encounter wading and walking the shorelines with a fly rod in hand will include your speedsters like trevally, milkfish and mackerel. There will be jumpers such as queenfish, barramundi, tarpon and giant herring. Then there are your powerhouses such as permit, emperors, morwong and cod ready to snavel your flies in a vast array of habitats.

Southern anglers will be happy to hear you can still catch plenty of whiting, flathead and bream up in the far north, so pack your little flies and be prepared to really mix it up when spending time fly fishing in the Cape. I only usually carry one fly rod amongst my travelling kit and depending on what is snapped, broken, busted or working at the time, it usually comes in the form of an 8wt rod with an intermediate sink line or floating line depending on the circumstance.

Living in areas where wind and terrain often makes flyfishing somewhere between difficult and impossible, it pays not to take yourself too seriously and be prepared to use a spinning or overhead outfit when conditions dictate. Flyfishing isn’t everyone’s game, but there is no end to the amount and variety of species on offer to all anglers willing to get out and walk a stretch of sand or rock in pristine Cape York this May.

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