Perfect time of year to head to the cape
  |  First Published: May 2017

As predicted for this time of year in Cooktown, the nights have finally started to cool and the trade winds are in full swing. The day temperatures have dropped a couple of degrees as well. These seasonal changes mark the start of our southern cousins coming north in droves to tour and explore our beautiful lands and the waterways that surround us.

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

The seemingly relentless ‘Cooktown breeze’ has only allowed a few opportunities to get out on the reefs over the last month. However, the reports are that some quality size fish are being caught. Very big large mouth nannygai catches are coming in at this stage and will continue to be caught throughout the month. You have to get out away from reef structures and get lucky by finding a ‘wonky hole’ on a flat sea floor if you want to catch these big red monsters. A good way to do this is to study the bottom closely with a quality sounder while trying to troll up some big pelagics.

Spanish mackerel continue to be caught consistently if you are willing to put in the time on the troll. Other quality size fish being caught this month, and that will continue to be caught next month, are reef jacks and spangled emperor found on the reef edges and coral trout from the bommies.

The Endeavour River will begin clearing up as we move later into May and June. Barra will be scattered throughout the entire estuary system by now. This means a little more work to find the fish and then timing it well for them to bite because they can get a little sluggish as the water cools.

Jacks can still be caught in cooler water. The best method will be anchoring by a snag and making a berley of small cut up fish bits. 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 May and June big queenfish and trevally move throughout the Annan River with the movement of the tides. Queenfish have been chasing the bait right up into the estuaries and large specimens are being caught. Trevally can be caught in prolific numbers using the same method as chasing queenies. Down towards the mouth of the Annan River is a well-known spot to find these sporty crusaders. 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.

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