Reefs continue to fire up in cooktown
  |  First Published: April 2017

The wet season has well and truly arrived in Cooktown. We have had continuous days of heavy downpours causing flooding in the area and surrounding communities.

On days when the rain does ease up, there’s still morning and afternoon storms anglers must contend with, or days so hot and humid it still feels like Christmas time up north. Anglers keen enough to battle the elements have been rewarded with some nice hauls. Those preferring the calmer days have still been blessed with the odd flat sunny day and a good feed.

The reefs continue to fire up in the Cooktown region. There are plenty of opportunities to get out onto the reefs throughout the wet season. Reports of quality coral trout catches have been coming in thick. It has also been worth getting out on the rubble to find the big reds once you have had your fill of trout.

Spanish mackerel continue to put gear to the test with consistent reports of 15kg+ fish being caught. Trolling for mackerel has been the preferred method for luring big mackerel away from transient bait schools. Lately Bibless Minnows have been prevailing over the Qantas coloured divers with respect to hook-up rates.

The local spearfishers have had plenty of success when finding the clear water. By spearing neap tides and venturing further away from the fresh you can expect better visibility during the wet season. There have been reports of some cracking crays being caught along with the usual reef species.

The big flushes will do wonders for the fishing up here in coming months but for now the amount of fresh hasn’t stopped the fish from biting. With some heavy flow in the rivers and the salinity levels dropping upstream, your best option is to target the river mouths. There have been copious amounts of bait congregating around the local river mouths trying to get to the saltier water. With the freshwater sitting on the surface, try fishing the deeper holes and drop offs. All estuaries have drains that flood out fresh water at this time of year, and usually there is a lot of disorientated bait flushing out too. Well-placed baits or lures around these areas should produce some quality fish.

For the crabbers out there, the big rains mean that crabs are on the move in search of some saltier water. For those anglers willing to battle the rain, placement of pots closer to the mouths will often result in some nice bucks in your esky. Be warned that with high flowing water the crab pots are often on the move as well. Choose your tides wisely. Keep your eyes peeled as there have been some big crocs sighted. Always be croc-wise in croc country, particularly around local estuaries and creeks.

When the seasonal winds do spring up, people will be restricted to the estuaries or exploring creeks further inland. Lakefield National Park remained close during March and its re-opening will depend on how much more rain we see over the next month or two. Keep an eye on Cook Shires website for the latest in road conditions in Cape York.

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