By the beginning of December, Cooktown is normally nearing the end of its world-renowned heavy tackle season from the famous black marlin. This season has seen some fantastic fish caught and released with a few fish over the magical 'grander' mark and plenty of other big girls in the 600-900lb range.
Captain Brad Craft on Castille was all business as usual and managed to put his clients onto 3 massive fish estimated at 900, 950 and 1000lb in one day! This added to his unbelievable tally of 8 blacks over 800lb in five days fishing! Simply world class fishing (and skipper) on Cooktown's doorstep!
All of the usual toothy culprits such as Spaniards, wahoo, cuda are thick at the moment on the outer reefs and good numbers of mahi mahi, dogtooth tuna and yellowfin are there for the few anglers that target them. Why more locals with bigger boats do not chase these line burners is beyond me? Ribbon no. 3 and 4 are riddled with them at certain times of the years.
Good numbers of saddle-tailed sea perch, reef jacks and red emperor are hanging around in all of their usual rubble haunts, however be prepared to loose a few fish before they make it to the surface as the warmer 29ºC+ water temps ensure the grey suits are in plague numbers.
Further inshore around the headlands, quality table fish like bar cheek trout, tuskfish and school-sized saddle-tailed sea perch are keeping eskies looking respectable.
Big golden snapper will also be around, but only keep one or two for a feed as any fish over 75cm is over 50 years old.
There will be plenty of light tackle pelagic action around Cape Bedford over the coming month with longtails, mac tuna, Spaniards and queenfish the main culprits. They will all be feeding on the thick schools of summer bait and are a great option on 15lb spin gear. They also help kill the afternoon hours before heading out to the red hangs.
The rivers have been producing plenty of jacks and golden snapper around the 45cm mark, which are prime eating sized fish. As per usual, lightly weighted live sardines, around 6cm, are often too hard to resist. A by-catch of queenfish, grunter, trevally, barra and even the odd threadfin salmon can be expected.
The Annan River has been producing some great jacks and golden snapper on lure in the upper reaches. Heading upstream from the main road bridge is a great way to spend a few hours flicking lures. Take note of tides as it can get shallow and if you call in to The Lure Shop, Russell has a mud map of the rivers to keep you out of trouble.
Take note that DEHP has issued a warning as there has been a big salty seen on numerous occasions in the freshwater reaches of the Little Annan River. This is a popular swimming spot for both locals and tourists alike but take notice of the warning signs as getting taken by a crocodile is a sure fire way to ruin your holiday! The water hole at Trevathan Falls is about the only safe, croc-less spot to swim so go there instead if you want a dip.
Until next month stay safe on the water.
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