Hot and calm
  |  First Published: December 2009

Anglers have continued to enjoy great catches of mangrove jacks in the estuaries, along with golden trevally and the odd GT. If you happen to catch a barra, please handle it carefully and release it quickly to give it a chance to spawn during the closed season.

Summer has brought some good weather windows, allowing anglers to fish the mangrove bays. This has been great for lure casters who have been catching quality jacks in areas that are normally inaccessible due to southeasterly trade winds.

We’ve had some unusual captures lately, with a large cobia caught up past the stone wall at Marton. It’s not uncommon to land one at the Wharf but it’s surprising to land one 7nm up the river. Another surprise catch was a blue-spot trout off the wreck in the river.


The excellent run of Spanish mackerel has continued. The average size of the fish varies; one day it will be 12kg and it will be 20kg+. These fish have been falling to floated pillies, trolled baits, spoons, diving lures and even dropper rigs meant for bottom fish.

The first tuna have arrived, with a smattering of northern blues and mac tuna. January usually brings calm conditions, so get out there and keep an eye out for schooling birds. Also watch your sounder as the tuna may be subsurface following a bait school.

Out at the Ribbon Reefs you have a chance to chase a range of XOS fish. Recently we’ve had reports of great sessions on dolphinfish, green jobfish. large trout, and some unstoppable monsters. Just remember to watch the weather as the summer northerlies can spring up quickly.


On calm nights it can be productive to chase fingermark around the shallow reefs, such as those around Cape Bedford, with fresh or live squid.

Rising sea surface temps are making many bottom fish head for the deeper bommies, where you can encounter large coral trout and good sized spangled emperor.

There are still some red emperor around on the deeper rubble, with the average size being 6-8kg. To find the reds, watch your sounder for a bit of rubble or rise on the bottom out on the wider ground, then anchor up and fish it. Large-mouth nannygai are commonly caught in the same areas.


Glass calm mornings with stormy afternoons – this is why we suffer the trade winds during the year to enjoy the build-up to the wet. When fishing dawn sessions and heading home for an early lunch, even the smaller tinnies can enjoy fishing a bit wider.

In the heat of mid-summer, many anglers like to spearfish the shallow reefs for crays and trout. Just remember to wear a stinger suit.

The barra season will open on February 1, and hopefully we’ll have had some rain by then so we can enjoy fishing for run-off barra. Some good sessions can be had in the swollen, fast-running coastal streams at this time.

A good fresh will push the muddies out to the river mouths and possibly even further out, and rain should also bring the grunter out to play.

For the latest info on what’s biting, feel free to call us at The Lure Shop on (07) 4069 5396 or drop in and see us at our premises on Charlotte Street, Cooktown.

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