Upstream sections supercharge
  |  First Published: May 2016

All in all, a mediocre kind of wet season is now behind us. And sadly, a mass coral bleaching has been one of the defining factors of the past few months. This is such a huge moment in the life of the world’s greatest organism. Hopefully the reef can recover.

May is a hugely productive month in the far north, especially in the more sheltered bays and rivers of the west coast. Being that little farther north, Cape York generally remains a little warmer for longer. Fishing for barramundi in particular is a real pleasure right throughout May.

Most of the larger river systems have quite a substantial upstream section, which begins at the limit of tidal influence and continues on through heavily timbered freshwater sections. It is these places that are accessed in the dry season by campers and travellers. Some of the most isolated and undisturbed places in Australia exist in these wet and watery riverbeds.

Let’s take a look at some of the fish and ways to catch them up in the tangled timber. Bends and tiny offshoots of the main river will often have steep banks and a shallow section with lily pads close by. These spots can be dynamite, especially when a little structure in the form of a sunken log or fallen tree sits out in the current.

Barramundi and saratoga in particular love these locations and the first accurate lure to touch down will usually be the lucky one. Occasionally, barramundi will show up to a likely looking snag from the surrounding areas. Fighting one out of the sticks, simply brings more fish into the same area.

At times, the fish will be a little cagey, requiring either a change in presentation or a period of calm before they switch back to feeding mode. Quietly leaving a productive looking spot before returning an hour later can be worthwhile, especially if you rolled some quality fish on the first few presentations.

Some of the lively little predators living in these upstream sections include pikey bream, mangrove jack and archer fish. All these culprits will usually charge out on the first sign of something worth eating and make up their mind to pounce in a split second. Repeated presentations are usually a waste of time, unless switching to bait.

May is a great time of year to be fishing colour changes and spots where converging currents and bodies of water meet. Even the tiniest of drains can attract fish at this time of year. Almost all fresh water streams and backwaters will flow a slightly different colour and clarity than another. Anchoring adjacent to these spots and firing casts just upstream from the intersection can be a productive method.

Pelagics will be moving into most of the shallow bays and gulf areas of Cape York by May. A smorgasbord of tiny baitfish will be pushing into the mouth areas of most major river systems giving queenfish and various trevally species a chance to pack on weight quickly. Whatever type of fishing rings your bell, May will hold something for you.

• For information on remote charter operations for tailored fishing adventures, please email Tim on --e-mail address hidden--

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