sunset Cairns Australia

Beautiful weather with little wind and swell. The fishing started slow until a decent 7kg big mouth Nannygai stumbled on my little jig stick & 4000 combo. Also finally caught my first legal red emperor, JUST at only a tad over 55cm. We all got sharked off this mark and emperor were on the sharks minds. One midnight night trout. A few maori sea bream and spangled emperor. The last stop of the morning saw a few jobfish. Only the bottom baits were hit mostly and not too much action on the reds front.

group reef fish catch

Red Emperor

First legal Red Emperor

Big Mouth Nannygai

7kg Big Mouth Nannygai

Cairns sunrise

Sunrise Monday morning.


Conditions looked pretty good and as Friday afternoon came around the wind dropped and things were all lining up. Getting out to the reef took no time at all and was comfortable in small swell. The fishing was very slow with a few trevally and mangrove jacks, a couple of job fish. Half way through the night a storm whipped up and it was un-fishable. Conditions in the morning were perfect but nothing biting except sharks and hussar, however Steve managed a spangled emperor to save the day.

Cairns reef fishing


With Barra off the target list, jacks in the Trinity Inlet was the decision, short and sharp one hour either side of high casting lures into timber, then home.

First cast I dropped a small barra on a plastic. We persisted and motored the electric around quietly and just as I’d stated ‘probably not the best spot for jacks around here’ Ryan hooks a decent jack on the ever faithful gold bomber. I sure ate my words haha!

early morning mangrove jack trinity inlet Cairns

Fishing on, the only thing biting was sandflies and they were going mental. We hit a familiar snag, the horse shoe and Ryan was stitched up almost instantly by none other than another jack. Not to worry, a net and almost snapped rod later up came half the snag with the jack attached. 2/2, not bad, not bad and 10/10 style points for the hat. This jack fell to a lightly twitched gold Lucky Craft pointer.

mangrove jack North QLD style

We checked another couple of spots then headed home.


Hit up Wonga Beach Barra Farm ponds for an hour, 3 barra, loads of dropped fish. Huge plastics were the stand out and twitched and paused surface lures. The barra actually went pretty hard for ponds, might have something to do with the saltwater pumped in from the Daintree River complete with natural baitfish and prawns.

ryans nice barra

bens barra


Hit the reef North of Cairns, South of Port Douglas on a calm day. Most of these fish were caught in a one hour frenzy at the top of the tide. We dropped some big reds and double hook ups. In hindsight single dropper loops would have been smarter. I vowed to hit the gym after this, of course that didn’t happen. The best reef fishing I’ve experienced!

Big thanks to Wiley the red dropper.

reef fishing Cairns