Finally got out for a land based flick today after a long time not fishing. High tide was at around 9:30am and conditions were beautiful with a light westerly breeze, water was slightly mirky from run off but still very fishable. I arrived at my spot to notice some freshwater run off with some smaller bait fish in a frenzy and some larger fish clearly feeding on them. I suspected a few jacks and some tarpon with the odd lazy barra lurking. Casting had to be pin point accurate or no hits and I decided to try out a couple of leads lures for the first time (why the first time? I don’t know!). I clipped on a leads hijacker and was rewarded 3rd cast with a nice little jack. Good start!

land based mangrove jack Cairns

Soon after the action died down when I snagged my lure and went around the bank to retrieve it with a stick. Luckily I got it back but the bite shut down as they all saw me. Still I got to see tarpon launching themselves out of the water and onto the bank, then back into the water in a typical tarpon frenzy.

I stuck it out for a bit longer, trying some smaller lures and a trick darter megabass lure did the trick, nailing a small but energetic tarpon. You have to love a fired up tarpon jumping all over the shop.


The action died down again and I picked the pattern. A small break to allow the fish to settle back into feeding and a change of lure was the trick. Knowing tarpon have a small fetish for chrome or silver lures I dug a small leads jack lure in the hologram bony bream type finish out of the tackle box. First cast I was onto a better tarpon. 2/2 tarpon hook ups is unusual but I’ll take it!


I waited a few minutes and let the fish calm a little, then decided to mix up my retrieve and see if there were any small barra lurking. I cast out right up into the action bank side and paused the lure until the ripples disappeared, then ever so slowly crept the lure back slightly changing the speed of the retrieve at the start of the wind. Around 1/3 of the way back the lure was nailed with a solid take and the drag screamed before a nice little barra launched himself into the air several times. I played him out as he was well hooked and slid him up onto the bank before lip gripping him. He went 57cm and was released along with all of the other fish.


Soon after the action died down and I was out of new lures to try. I should have taken another lighter rod and some plastics, but it’s been a long time since I caught a fish on a hardbody lure so I only took them. Also very impressed with this new gloomis NRX 804S XMR, casts small and large lures so well and holds onto fish nicely with it’s taper, most of all it could easily handle a metre plus barra.


Last month turned out to be a good month, no barra yet but I did get boofed a couple of times one morning fishing before sunset.

Managed to get out to the reef twice, once on a charter and once an invite from some locals Steve, Mark and Jamie (many thanks to Christine for the invite).

The charter was fairly quiet most of the day, then one mark turned up a couple of coral trout within 10 minutes of each other for me. The larger one, which looks tiny in the photo fought really well all the way to the boat. Dad came along and managed a just legal small mouth nannygai and dropped a few good fish, but learned a lot in the process :)


The other trip out was on a local boat. Although we did very well off the first mark, the weather played havoc and the all nighter turned into a bit of a mission making it hard to stay on marks. The guys were onto the fish fast with some nice small mouth, a couple of cracking Maori Sea Bream, a green job fish, tomato cod, 2 stinking trevally, 2 baby jacks. I did manage a nice 70cm large mouth nannygai off some rubble while drifting which after catching 6 large spangled emperor in succession followed by a tiny cod, it was great to see. Gave the little jig stick a solid work out.


There were a few land based sessions throughout Feb, most resulting in bust ups, lost fish or nothing. Caught that resident shovel nose again lol. A bit of tilapia culling, a baby salmon on a lure on the beaches and really not much. Tony caught this Sand bass, a rare catch, but so cute.



photo 1

photo 2

I’ve been buying a bit of gear lately too, which isn’t really a surprise, and I’ll do a post about that separately. But the above reef trips gave me a good chance to test a light jig rod I have and it’s outdone itself so far. Even though it only had a 4000XG sized Shimano Vanquish LE on it, where it really needs a 6-8000 sized Shimano, it still knocked over the two trout, spangleys and the nanny making for some good fun angling on light gear.

I really want to start doing some light jigging now, with madai, inchiku and slow jigging techniques. Also some micro jigging would be fun during the day. Looks like I need a boat now haha!!


Well as you may have noticed not a lot of fishing or updating has been going on and I apologise. But happy new year anyway! December was mostly spent moving house and really didn’t fish much.

I have been getting out and about occasionally but really haven’t been doing very well at all. Some of our usual spots have become very hard to fish and not many fish being caught sadly.

A couple of days before barra season opened I dropped a very large barramundi right at my feet after a hell of a fight off one of the beaches. Even though it got away, I was still happy as it jumped and played up but would have had to go back. Still would have been nice to say I’d caught a metery and get a photo. Next time!

So here was January’s catches regardless! Some blue salmon we ate, a beast catfish, and the resident (pesky) shovel nose from Holloways Beach.











It’s staying overcast and raining on and off, the creeks water levels are increasing and the jungle perch are biting.

Normally a very shy species with almost superpower abilities to detect threat, when the creeks rise and the water becomes full of debris it’s time to go fishing.

The other advantage of targeting them in the rain is less chance of spooking fish and less people at the usual local spots around Cairns.

So if you’re sitting at home on a rainy day wondering what to do, go hit up some of the local creeks and catch some of these beautiful fish. I find smaller minnows work better than plastics in tiny creeks.

Went down for an hour today and caught two, only took a photo of one as it was raining to heavily for the camera. But they are easily one of my favourite fish. First spot I missed three good fish first cast using a new soft plastic I haven’t tried before, won’t make that mistake next time and switched to a small Zip Bait hardbody. As usual, one cast and they were all over me, so I kept moving.



Still a legal salmon virgin, I have to admit I’m slightly jealous of a certain fish magnet that can pull fish out of a stagnant puddle. You know those guys, you don’t get a bite and they kill the pig. It’s ok, as the luck usually turns, but after 12+ months soon you learn there must be something else at play. What’s the secret Tony?

I’ve been fishing with the same bait, the same rig, in the same spot. Nada. Then ask Tony (half fish, half man) to put a live bait down exactly where I was and BAM, pulls out a jack. Never, and I mean never, have I met a bigger freak in my entire life. Tony I hate you.

So instead of smashing the barra when nobody else can get a bite, lately it’s been salmon on the beaches. Another example, 5 minutes and 3 salmon. Tony 3 Ben 0, I had not even rigged up and he’s caught 3 salmon plus a 3 tooth jew. Still a salmon virgin, but I don’t think I will be for long!

If it wasn’t raining I could take some photos of all the salmon Tony has been catching, below is one of many. Somehow my foul hooked baby striped grunter and sea snake don’t count! HAHA!