Inshore options for Cooktown anglers
  |  First Published: September 2013

It has been windy as usual with not too much offshore action to report for the entire Eastern Cape York area.

While this is typical for about 9 months of the year in the Cooktown area, the last month has been howling. A few cooler months has ensured that people can still get their line burning pelagic fix from chasing Spaniards and queenfish from the local Endeavour Wharf and along the rock wall down towards the river mouth. As usual, high-speed metals like Bumpa Bars and River2Sea slugs should see you connected to some action. Don’t be surprised if you get cleaned up occasionally if using lighter spin gear as it wouldn’t be the first and most definitely won’t be the last time. The first time I took my wife Holly spinning for Spaniards there on 15lb spin gear she hooked 1.2m of GT right at her feet from the rocks and spooled her little 2500 Daiwa spin reel in less than 45 seconds.

Cooktown Barra Charters has been running a few charters for clients who want to chase trevally in the river and has been absolutely nailing the big golden trevally in the Endeavour. His clients have been tested and sometimes rewarded with goldens up to 8kg on light spin gear and has been keeping all punters happy.

He has reported good captures of jack and golden snapper around the Marton Stonewall with most fish falling to slightly weighted live prawns fished on a running sinker. The bigger jacks have been finding live sardines around 80mm long too hard to resist.

There has also been a good run of decent grunter in both the Endeavour and Annan systems with some fish pushing 650mm long. While Cooktown is not a renowned hot spot for chasing grunter compared with somewhere like Lucinda, Weipa or Karumba, a few die hard locals seem to include a few good sized fish in the esky on regular occasions. Fishing around Leprosy Creek with live prawns or yabbies will point you in the right direction.

All local systems from Bloomfield to Starkey have been fishing well for jacks. While most of the river fish in the Cooktown region are smaller than their Southern Qld canal relatives, the sheer volume of FNQ jack stocks is mind-blowing. A session of 20+ jacks is not uncommon when fishing in certain areas and although many fish will be around 300mm long, you will usually get a few fish in the 350-450 mm range for the table if you’re that way inclined.

The next few months will see water temperatures rise and no doubt the barra fishing will pick up. There are still a few reports of quality trips being had in the waterways north of Cooktown for big barra, so pack the swag or camper and set up camp in one of Cooktown’s many caravan parks as a home base to explore the many diverse fishing options from jungle perch to black marlin!

Until next month, stay safe on the water and be sure to check out the range of handmade timber lures I make. Check us out and hit the like button on Facebook by searching Twin River Lures.

This feisty 75cm barra took a liking to a sardine.

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