Still hot fishing at the pointy end
  |  First Published: June 2015

June marks the arrival of the cooler winter months in Cape York. By cooler, we generally regard anything below 20 degrees as fresh to frightening! It is the perfect month for southerners to visit the Cape and vehicles will be hitting the Peninsula Development Road en-masse during the June-July school break.

Although some the year’s best barramundi fishing may be slowly fading with the onset of cooler weather, a selection of the west coast’s bigger systems should still be cracking on.

Predictability of tidal movement and settled upstream conditions can make for some great mid-year barra fishing, and deeper diving lures will really come into their own.Bumping bibbed plastic and timber lures as well as jigs and soft plastics through deeper gutters and snag piles can produce larger fish. The second half of a gentle run-out tide and then the first hour or 2 of the run-in will be the pick of the tides to fish these areas.

Memories of a difficult start to a day’s fishing in June are matched equally by memories of a hot bite turning the whole day around. Finding fish is becoming an easier process amongst deeper structure, with modern sounders and side scanners giving barramundi anglers a super-clear picture of their quarry.

A great game plan to incorporate in June is locating fish at a depth range of 2-6m, using the sounder and a selection of trolled lures to locate fish. After a successful pass, try gently anchoring or using an electric motor to hold position. Often, barra will succumb to lures presented at just the right angle and depth. Don’t be disappointed if you are getting them on the troll, but not by casting. Experiment with your holding position and imagine those lazy barra with their nose into the current down in the depths.

We get crisp, misty June mornings on many Cape York rivers, where the first hour or 2 of sun clears up the lower atmosphere and warms things up by around 10.00am. Just after sunrise is a fantastic time to be on the water and angers will be rewarded with rolling tarpon, supercharged queenfish, and mangrove jacks keen for a morning feed.

The bird life can be incredible when you are first on the water, both in the rivers and offshore, and will give anglers clues as to where bait is holding. Herons, nightjars, egrets and pelicans all provide hints in the rivers and bay areas, focusing their efforts on drains and shallow banks. Before speeding past next time, ask yourself what that concentration of birds is doing and what clues they are providing you.

Offshore in June, the gulls, terns, boobies and frigate birds will be going off just wide of the coastline, in their endless pursuit of the perfectly huddled baitball. Often you will find the gulls and terms sporadic early in the morning, out on reconnaissance missions. Trolling a wide pattern around these areas can help track down Spanish and grey mackerel, cobia, and other speedsters, all while checking the sounder for hidden clues deeper down.

A few good spin reels loaded with soft plastics, metal slices and the increasingly popular micro jigs are a surefire way to capitalise on sounded fish or tuna busting up when on the troll. Try not to be too greedy when you have 2 or 3 troll lines already out. Just get 1 angler to be ready with a handy spin rod when the moment’s right.

Remember, it is difficult to cast long and in front of a boat moving forward then winding back flat out for tuna busting up in front. Be patient and wait for the fish to erupt perpendicular to or behind the boat, so your retrieve is more likely to get pounced upon.

June is a fantastic month to visit Cape York and this will be reflected in the amount of visitors to the area, and charter clients filling the select number of fantastic operations the area boasts. Remember to flick me an email if you ever want information on where to go and who to go with for some of the greatest fishing on Earth.

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