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


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.