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Beachin’ about the cold weather
  |  First Published: July 2017



Below you will find several excellent fishing options for both land-based and trailer boat anglers for the Cairns Net Free Zone.

There’s some important things to consider before undertaking these trails. Firstly, crocodiles inhabit all these areas and care should be taken when in close proximity to all waterways including beaches and headlands. Second, many of these fishing spots are most productive during the warmer months. Cairns can be very hot and humid, so take plenty of water and cover up, mosquito repellent is also important. Finally, take care of the area you are fishing and the fish you catch. Only take what you need not what you can catch.

The Cairns NFZ is blessed with some amazing stretches of clean sandy beaches. While popular with tourists for swimming and taking in the FNQ sun, they are also exceptional fishing spots, especially for land-based anglers. In fact, land-based anglers are blessed with a myriad of beach options in the NFZ, with the main ones being Machans, Holloways, and Trinity Beach. All can be fished in a single session and are all easily accessible straight from their own main beach esplanades.

Like the headland trail, its best to fish these areas over the rising tide, and bigger tides and calmer weather with little swell is best. When starting your beach fishing trail, it’s best to start at the southern end of the NFZ at Machans Beach. Machans has many fishable attributes, especially with its close proximity to the Barron River mouth. Fishing around the mouth with live and fresh baits (which can also be cast netted in this area at low tide) can produce some monster barramundi and salmon.

The creek mouth is not the only spot to wet a line, as anywhere along the open beach will produce fish. Finding a shady spot and setting a few rods out to sea with a range of live and fresh baits, both on the bottom and near the surface, will eventually produce a bite. Early morning and late afternoon are always best in this spot.

The next stop on the beach fishing trail is Holloways Beach, and like Machans is also fed by a creek, Thomatis Creek. As such, the same fishing techniques apply and this is also a hot spot for salmon and barramundi. When fishing both these beaches, standard estuary gear will do the job. In terms of techniques, these beaches are very much highways for both bait and fish, and eventually they will both come through, and when they do, it can get red-hot very quickly.

The lures, bait fishing options and retrieves used on the headland trail will work perfectly in the open beach environment with depth of water being the biggest factor to consider. Big long casts are excellent to cover lots of ground, but when you find the fish, it can be a case of trying a mix of hardbody, soft plastic and vibe style lures to get the bite.

The next beach on the NFZ beach fishing trail is Trinity Beach. Trinity Beach, unlike the others, is not fed by any creek systems, but still has many fishable attributes. Its rocky headland borders create a deep water wind-protected gutter, especially at the southern end of the beach. This spot is the perfect place to snare a few whiting, and if you are after something bigger, put on a big live bait.

The Cairns NFZ beaches are one of the best spots to fish, and with so many spots on offer they are a must do when visiting the area. They are perfect for wetting a live bait, taking a stroll and flicking a lure, or just sitting back and letting the kids wet a line.

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