Offshore off the hook!
  |  First Published: November 2009

Hitting the inshore wrecks before sunrise with soft plastics and metal vibes has seen quality fingermark, large-mouth nannygai and cobia come aboard. During the mid morning session bar-cheeked trout are being caught with grassies and spangled emperor a welcome by-catch.

We have also had a great run of Spanish mackerel in far northern waters over the last month. These speedsters have been hammering live baits and trolled lures around Cape Bedford and most reef edges. Oversized Spaniards are also in good numbers with a few fish breaking the 25kg mark, falling victim to deep diving Halco Laser Pros, Rapala X-Raps and slow trolled garfish.

The bottom fishing has been firing with regular reports of large-mouth nannygai and red emperor to 10kg. With the recent run of spawning coral trout, catches in excess of 40 fish on charter boats have not been uncommon. Please remember to only take what you need as these fish are taking every bait that gets placed over the side of the boat.

For the land-based anglers the Wharf has been fishing well over the last month. Schools of trevally, mangrove jack and queenfish have been the main captures and are falling to live pike and herring. Spanish mackerel and large barracuda have been creating havoc for anglers who are slow to bring their catches in, resulting in many disappointed faces and half eaten fish.

The previous weeks have seen large barramundi in excess of 1m holding in structure under the wharf. These fish have been flighty but barra up to 80cm are still a common catch taking live pike fished on the bottom of midday low tides.

Anglers need to be prepared to take on some speedsters at the Wharf with a large Spanish mackerel leaving anglers with looks of despair as their line disappears to sea with burnt thumbs and deflated egos as the bottom of their spools appear and then the crack as the line breaks letting every one know it was another lost fish.


Early mornings will bring big bait schools in close during the calm weather with all of the pelagics firing up making for easy targets on poppers and chrome slugs. Big GT, Spanish mackerel and queenfish will be the prime candidates. The coming month will see good opportunities for pre dawn sessions targeting sweetlip, fingermark and nannygai before the heat and northerlies kick in.

Land-based anglers will have the benefit of the large FAD in Cooktown called the Cooktown Wharf. Pre wet season build up will see large schools of mangrove jack congregating under the structure of the wharf prior to the monsoonal rains. These fish can be targeted on live or fresh cut baits such as mullet, pilchards and squid.

It is best to target these fish with smaller hooks and lighter line to aid in the reduction of hooking out of season barramundi. If you should land a barra please release the fish carefully as these breeders are the future of our sportfishing industry.

New Marton boat ramp

Locals and visitors now have access to the newly opened boat ramp at Marton. The multi lane ramp has rock walls either side making for easy launching during the faster currents. Access to the ramp from Cooktown is straight ahead by following the signs to the airport.

On approach to Marton, turn right into Starkey Street and travel about 3km down a well-graded gravel road. After hitting the bitumen again, turn left into Slaughteryard Road and you will see the ramp access about 60m set back from the road.

The new ramp is a very welcome addition to the local tinny brigade. Due to the position of the ramp upstream of the Marton Stone Wall, smaller boats now have smooth water access to the upper reaches of the Endeavour River.

Smaller boats now no longer have to navigate a body of water known locally as the Mad Mile, a stretch of river in between the existing Cooktown Ramp and the Marton Stone Wall that is often extremely affected by the prevailing southeasterly winds.

If you’re planning a trip to the region, feel free to give me a call at The Lure Shop on (07) 4069 5396 for info on what’s biting. Alternatively, you are welcome to drop in and see us at our premises on Charlotte Street in Cooktown.



Nick Stock with a plastic caught cobia, which have been fishing well over the last month.


Ian Ramsey caught this saddle-tail sea perch on a new rod he built himself fitted with 6kg line.

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