Topsy turvy tropics
  |  First Published: June 2003

EASTER was a disaster weekend for most of us, as Mother Nature let loose with strong wind and rain. There was no hiding from the elements as 12 inches of rain quickly ended any fishing and camping plans. To watch friends blow boat motors and be totally washed out from the rain in the process only added salt to the wounds! I apologise to those who ventured to Cape Kimberley and chose to spend the long weekend there because of my article in the April edition.

But things can only get better, and in between all the crap there have been some great catches taken in the region. One Melbourne chap caught a 10kg longtail tuna with a local guide for a Douglas Shire DPI feature article. This fine fish was taken on a 10wt fly outfit and took the best part of an hour to subdue.

There have also been some impressive grunter taken across the flats on live baits on the early morning rising tides before the wind begins to howl. Grunter 50-60cm long are valued fish in these neck of the woods, and they should stick around this month – so be sure to do your work before any wind gets the chance to threaten the coastline! Fresh strip baits, prawns and live sardines should do the trick, and the flats on the edge closer to the ocean will produce the goods.

I was fortunate to recently trek with the new game boat in town called the Power Play. Even though we didn't snare any sailfish on that trip, the crew’s log book quoted 10 beakies within a week just before I joined them, on the lead up to the full moon. The paddock just south of Pixie Reef is holding these premature (for this time of year) babies up to around 100lb. This has been an early season here, and it’s just been a matter of shaking trolled garfish in the big dog’s backyard before he bites. By the time you read this the action should be really ripe.

June can be a lucky dip prize in any of the fishing stakes, and basically hinges on the weather. When conditions do tow the line the fishing can be sensational, particularly leading up to any moon. At these times it’s hard to decide which way to turn! Here is a quick rundown of what you could bump into.


On the early morning tides you can expect trevally, queenfish and swallowtail dart to become staple catches on lure and fly. Bait fisherman are using fresh prawns to make the most of the local flathead and whiting, which love the really shallow waters. You don't need to cast far, and can expect trevally as a bycatch.


Definitely fish the deeper holes with some structure for fingermark, and preferably use live sardines. Always sniff around the entrances using live bait on a clear incoming tide for trevally, queenfish and barracuda. The structure further in will definitely hold bream, small moses perch and the odd surprise such as flathead, sicklefish and grunter when using prawns or pilchards.

If you have crab pots, now is the time on the bigger tides to drop one in amongst the mangroves. I'm no expert on crabbing, but my sources tell me fish heads tend to work best. Hug the deeper mangrove banks for the best results.


Definitely troll around on the calmer days, particularly around our bays, fringing reefs, headlands and islands. Strap on a gold 190D Laser Pro Lure and/or a 4” white skirt and I reckon you’ll be on the money for a Spanish mackerel. Other bonuses which should be here in the droves include golden trevally, wolf herring (good mackerel bait), possibly school mackerel, queenfish and the good old trevally.


Reef reports have been good lately, especially for 3-5kg coral trout. It looks as though bad exchange rates in the Asian markets, combined with bad weather, has prevented the pros from fishing as hard for these prized fish.

You can expect bonus catches to become more regular in June, including mangrove jack on the deeper reefs, cobia on the surface, big golden trevally and red emperor. On top of this include your usual trevallies, mackerel, sweetlip, moses perch, stripeys and cod, and everything is set for a good reef session – if the weather behaves.


It’s official and it’s on the calendar – light game. The guys have been nailing great yellowfin tuna and sailfish lately, so things look bright in this department. The best is yet to come though, with everyone expecting small marlin plus an increased size and quantity of mackerel. Game fishing is the Grand Prix of fishing, and if you get the chance to charter a day with Port Douglas’ ever-growing fleet of quarter horses, do it. You won’t be disappointed!

Good luck this month. I'm not prepared to stick my neck on the chopping block this time around, but be sure to watch the weather man and when things seem reasonable just lunge at the opportunity. I can smell a good month coming on !

1) Melbourne lad Anthony Flint goes the big one on fly with Fish 1 Charters.

2) Grant Fleet with an impressive coral trout taken recently on a local reef.

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