Trade winds blowing in the tourists
  |  First Published: May 2016

As predicted for this time of year in Cooktown, the nights have cooled, the rains have dissipated (not that there was much) and the trade winds are in full swing. The day temperatures have also dropped a couple of degrees. These seasonal changes mark the start of our southern cousins touring north in droves to explore our beautiful lands and waterways.

It’s a great time to come to the Cape. The grass is still green and the rivers are running. There is still a good chance of having rain in May and June, but this only keeps the dust and heat down, making camping much more pleasurable.

The Endeavour River will begin to clear up as we move later into the months of May and June. The barra will be scattered through the entire estuary system by now. This means a little more work to find the fish, and then hopefully timing it well for them to bite, as they can get a little sluggish as the water cools. However, the barra will be there and you will get them if you put in the effort.

Jacks can still be caught in cooler water too. The best method will be to anchor by a snag and berley small cut up fish bits into it. This will bring the jacks and other species on the bite. Simply float a bait into the snag with a hook set into it and you’ll get a good strike in no time.

The Annan River clears a little quicker than the Endeavour. During the months of May and June, big queenies and trevally move through the Annan River with the movement of the tides. It is not unusual to see the old Annan River Bridge lined up with people chasing these fish as they move through. If you are in a boat, try to troll surface lures simply for the show. Watching a big queen or trevally smash the surface for your lure is awesome. Try fishing the North and South arms of the river near the mouth for barra and jacks. The Annan is definitely worth sinking a few crab pots into while you’re out chasing fish too. This river is probably the most consistent at producing mud crabs all year round in our region.

The Bloomfield River has similar features to the Annan, only it is a smaller system. Use the fishing methods I mentioned above to catch fish in this river. If the other rivers mentioned have too much boat traffic and aren’t fishing well, then it is an easy day trip to Bloomfield River from Cooktown. The road is scenic and sealed for the trip down and back. You could even time it well for a stop in at the Lions Den for dinner on the way back home to Cooktown. If there is a hot bite on while at Bloomfield River, try some of the excellent camping options available there so you can continue fishing in that area over a few days.

Elim Beach camp is another great option at this time of year when the trade winds are blowing. The camp and bay is generally protected from the winds, which means you can still fish on the lee side of Cape Bedford for reef fish or the mangroves for the estuary species. If the trade winds taper off for a bit while you’re at Elim Beach then it is an easy trip by boat further north to access the McIvor estuary system. The McIvor River is a little more remote, which means it gets less impact from people and the fishing can be amazing. Take care to time your tides to ensure you can get in and out of the McIvor River system and allow enough time to get back into the bay at Elim Beach too. Send me a message if you would like more specific detail on fishing this area.

• If you’d like any current information while you’re visiting Cooktown’s region or more information about a particular place in the neighbourhood to fish, then simply ‘like’ my Facebook page titled ‘Stacky’s Fishing Adventures’ or send me a message.

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