Predators step it up
  |  First Published: March 2014

With good rain falling over the last month from tropical cyclone Dylan, all of the local rivers have seen an explosion of prawns and the predators have stepped it up a level.

School-sized queenfish and giant trevally can been seen smashing the jelly prawns that are seeking refuge around the weed beds and drains in both the Endeavour and Annan rivers. A great spot to target some bigger prawns for either bait or eating is on the flats out the front of the Bowls Club at low tide. This is best done from a boat as there has been a 12ft croc hanging around on the flats at low tide.

The increased pelagic action has kept a few punters busy. Using small 3" Gulp Swimming Mullets in pumpkin seed colour has been a sure fire way to get stuck into them. A bycatch of flathead, jack, pikey bream and golden snapper (fingermark) is ensuring that a mixed bag of Cooktown’s bread and butter species is keeping food on the table.

Further upstream there have been some great sized barra getting caught on big live mullet and milkfish. Baits around 400mm long are not unheard of when chasing the big fish and a few fish were caught and released last year that were well over the 120cm mark.

The local guides have been getting some great inshore action on Spanish mackerel around Dawson Reef. While this reef may be bit hard by the tinny brigade during good weather due to its close proximity to the shore, there are always plenty of school sized Spanish here up to around 8kg. Don't be surprised if you see a 15kg+ fish nail your offering boatside. When the water is clear, these inshore reefs are a great option for a dive as the coral is spectacular and you can usually get your bag of trout and a cray or 2 for your efforts.

The Annan has been firing for jacks for the lure flickers, with plenty of school-sized fish up to around 40cm hanging around on most decent snags. Small lures around 8cm long have been having the most success, with the usual fluoros nailing the fish. The upper reaches of the Annan have a distinctive water colour most of the year and I like lures with either pink, chartreuse, black or pearl white on them as they stand out in that system like dog’s balls.

The crabs are in decent numbers around the mouths of most local systems and feeder creeks with the recent flush out. Be prepared to lose a few pots (or at the very least your floats) to the local crocodile population.

The month ahead will see the trade winds start increasing so get out on the bluewater while you still can. The bonus of the trade winds arriving usually means that Lakefield N.P. opening is in the near future.

Before planning a trip up to Cape York, be sure to call into the brand new Lure Shop for all of your supplies. It is the biggest shop north of Cairns and has a range of fishing and outdoor gear that rivals any big city store. Be sure to pick up a few of my handmade timber Twin River Lures in-store before you head north.

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