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Mack attack on the Cape
  |  First Published: July 2016



A nice late May kick to this year’s wet period has seen some decent falls over much of Cape York, especially areas of the mid-west coast and central Cape York. This might give an extra kick to the food web and base flow, igniting some of the Cape’s fish-filled creeks and rivers.

Decent weather on the east coast will mainly involve high-pressure systems located centrally over the middle of the continent. Some cool mornings and brilliant days will make this a great time for travellers and boating enthusiasts in the far north.

Spanish mackerel will be savaging their way through copious amounts of baitfish during the cooler months, and numbers will be building up over the next few months on shoals and shallow reef country up the eastern coast of the Cape.

It tends to be the contour lines and mixed rubble patches on the west coast where some large numbers are pulled by pros year after year. Once onto a patch of fish, they tend to concentrate their efforts in the one area, completing long loops anywhere between 3-6 knots with wogs and garfish set-ups.

On the east coast, those trolling for mackerel tend to fish a little further back in the wake and for some reason, shorter tows will make the spread more inviting to mackerel on the west coast. It is ridiculous how close to the stern fish can be teased up on occasion. It’s a crazy sight to see lit up Spaniards at the back of boat, piling onto anything with flash or fins!

Some smaller black marlin and sailfish will be forming some of the catch for those chasing them on both the east and west coast. This will increase over coming months, culminating in some great fishing as we transition from winter into spring.

July tends to be a month where the fish really spread and thin out in the estuaries. Those with good knowledge will still find fish with ease, but others will have to work a lot harder to find the fish that are there. Local knowledge and experience are invaluable in tracking down fish when the water temperature drops off.

Fishing plastics, jigs and vibes over rockbars and sunken timber is a great way to entice fish, which are feeding a little lower in the water column. Today’s range of sounders and plotters, which include wide angle and side scan technology, paint a very clear picture of structure for anglers. The technology is now good enough to distinguish and identify individual fish.

Where once upon a time many anglers gave the game away over the few cooler months of the year, others are now catching trophy fish with the aid of technology. Often these fish are released to fight another day, closing a bright and sustainable loop around the recreational fishing sector of the Cape.

Those who are fishing baits for grunter, golden snapper and black jewfish at this time of year will do well on some of the rubble and gravel grounds just wide of some of the creek and river mouths. Bite times can best be guessed around a change of tide, and some anglers will swear that certain bite times based on the Almanac will yield best results.

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