July is a special time in Cooktown and Cape York. The rain has eased up and the cooler days are a welcomed relief from the heat. For the next few months most people head bush whenever they get the chance. Some may head into the rainforests to chase jungle perch. Others may head for the beaches and fish the creek mouths for saltwater species. Whatever the adventure, it is a magical time of year to get out and explore the countryside.
The Cooktown trade winds are in full swing. This is why most locals head bush or up river at this time of year. However, watch the weather reports closely, because on occasions the winds drop out below 10 knots. If you’re in the area, make the most of it because it may be a while before it happens again. The winds dropped out a few weeks ago and it aligned perfectly for the weekend. Keep in mind that your boating and fishing gear is sitting around unused a little longer at this time of year. Therefore, make the most of the windy weather and service your gear. Do the lot, fishing gear, trailers, boats and motors, because it’s better than having problems later when the winds have dropped and you want to go out fishing.
The temperature cooling down signals the Cooktown winds, and a waiting game for the reef anglers. Anglers who have been lucky enough to get out in the limited time frame of good weather have reaped the rewards. Anglers have been finding quite good catches including coral trout, nannygai and assorted species making up a decent feed.
The mackerel will be about soon, so make sure you are ready. As the water surface temperature falls, the mackerel will move up in the water and be much more accessible to shallow and topwater presentations. Around structure they will be accompanied by trevally and cobia. No matter their size, they will really test you out on any tackle. Live bait or fresh dead bait fished around these areas could turn up anything, and if you manage to come across some live squid, be ready to connect to a monster fish!
The Endeavour will be very clear for the first few kilometres. I would try chasing surface predators on the incoming tide when it’s nearly full. Trolling a popper or shiny shallow diver is probably the most effective method, and you can catch queenies, trevally and even mackerel doing this.
Upriver is best for barra, and my suggestion is to go deep where they may be lazily hiding around snags. If they’re feeding, get up on the flats where it is warmer, you can have a bit more fun with them.
Mangrove jacks are still the mainstay of catches and have been all year. The deeper water is also showing up some golden snapper, and jigging soft vibes around these areas is a great way to cover more ground to find where the fish are congregating.
Mud crabs are definitely running in numbers now, with reports of good catches in the most of our estuary systems like the Endeavour and the Annan rivers
The bottom section of Lakefield National Park (LNP) is now open and has already had a flood of tourists and locals through there. The top end of the park should be open now as well, if not very close to opening. Already there have been reports of plenty of rat barra caught in the park. Some fish of size have been succumbing to live bait over flicking lures. A live cherabin floated into snags has been has been finding some decent fish.Reads: 398