01
Feb

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

23
Nov

Couple of angry jacks taken by Tony on live mullet within 5 minutes of each other in an otherwise uneventful Trinity Inlet land based session.

jack

mangrove-jack

18
Oct

Have not been fishing much lately, but soon an all out barra mission for the last week of open season will begin.

Caught this pair of jacks just after the high tide had turned at a Barron River location. They were definitely on the bite with lots of smaller jacks around and I saw a nice larger model free swimming around when I got there.

jack2

jack

08
Aug

The stuff you catch when there is nothing else happening…

golden

trev

fugu

barra

jack-lil

31
Jul

A plan was hatched to fish the last of the run out tide today in the lower reaches of the Barron River, then to head home. The wind was shifting direction a bit from SW to SE and it picked up to the usual gusts of late pretty early on. We decided to start fishing not far from the ramp and just flick prawns into the shallows and drift towards the mouth with the tide. Didn’t take long and I was connected to a fish that had me confused as it was pulling like a little GT then a jack and it turned out to be a small grunter. Finally I have caught one on a lure!

grunter

We drifted on and apart from some very small taps nothing was doing. We stopped at the airport lights bridge and jigged some vibes (an a piece of carpet) before getting bored and continuing the drift downstream. The wind started to pick up so I turned the electric for Redden Creek and we went to hit some snags. I haven’t been up this creek in nearly a year and a half and there really aren’t the snags there I had remembered. We spotted a small croc swimming just near the boat and he was camera shy, every time I got the camera out then turned it on, he went under.

There was a likely snag just off a nice back eddy out of the current and full of sticks that I kept doing drifts past and just as I went to adjust the electric something hit my plastic but he wasn’t very big and couldn’t make it far before I had him winched in. A nice healthy little jack that swallowed the lure, I didn’t measure him but he would have been around 35cm, maybe a touch bigger.

lil-jack

We then went down to the seaside mouth of Redden Creek as I was looking for some bigger snags and didn’t find any decent ones, so we motored back out and had a flick around the mouth of the creek and what little snags we could find.

I ran the electric motor over to a distant snag that looked good and planned to drift back across the others. We all deployed our weedless plastics deep into the snag, I drifted mine right into the snag, down nice and deep when I felt a sharp pull and solid energetic weight. This fish was not mucking about and it ended up being a tug of war for a moment with neither wanting to give in. For a split second I was thinking it was a barra because of the sheer power, but then it bricked me good, but I could feel leader on the snag and I was confident of getting him out. Out of the corner of my eye I heard Ryan yell, “Got ya” as this poor archerfish became airborne straight into the boat at head height. Ryan had a good hit and thought it had come back and gave it all he had, which was too much for a little archer. Around this time I asked Ryan to help out with the electric as I’d drifted onto the snag and was struggling to concentrate on two things at once. Almost the moment we got off the snag the fish swam out into the open and up popped a very nice jack. Once again I didn’t measure him but he’d have been about 46-47cm and quite a nice fish, he certainly wanted that lure!

jack-closeup
jack-side
jacky

We called it a day shortly after and got out the wind but it was a nice way to spend the morning and finally get out for a fish!

17
Jul

Ben from Perth, Tony and myself hit the Trinity Inlet armed with a bucket full of prawns we cast-netted at a local creek. We spent the first couple of hours commenting on how bored we were and just looking at the nothingness. It was too quiet. Then Ben caught a good sized flathead, a rare catch at this spot. All the way from Perth for a flathead, how disappointing, but at least it was a good fish!

flatty-mat

flatty

Next up was Tony the tarpon magnet, proving once again nobody can match his superior tarpon angling skills. A very healthy fish this tarpon was and certainly was lively.

tarpon

Next up was my turn with a little estuary gold spot cod and Ben was on again with a 34cm fingermark that we forgot to photo. It was Ben’s first fingermark so he was pleased to see on emerge from the depths. The fishing was still very slow with bite windows producing 2 fish at a time. I also caught a sand crab that was a jenny, so back she went.

cod-40

The ten more minutes call was made and suddenly we were in again, this time Tony with a 40cm mangrove jack.

jack-tony

Ben came back with a keeper fingermark that he will no doubt enjoy eating. A beautiful fish too.

fingermark-40

fingermark-hold

I caught a baby cod which was the last fish of the night.

cod-30

So with a bit of perseverance and many, many ten more minute calls, five more, even two more we managed enough fish to give Ben a small sample of what the Trinity Inlet has on offer. Hopefully next time some larger fish come out to play and give us some fair game around the pylons.

24
May

Yesterday’s plan didn’t quite go as planned and our trip to Kings Point was stopped short near False Cape due to the swell. So we opted to hit up a very tidal small creek on the way home. The tide had turned from high and there was bait everywhere, large schools of small and medium mullet, and lots of gar and longtoms. We ventured up the creek and drifted back out casting all the likely snags along the way.

I had an ok hit on my plastic swimbait along a nice stretch of outside bend, but it just grabbed the tail. Then Ryan changed over to a little crab imitation and I told him to cast at this snag that was in a prime location on this outside bend offering a great ambush spot. Ryan landed a perfect cast and was instantly hit and bricked, he kept the pressure while I did a bit of maneuvering with the electric and out popped a nice bright red mangrove jack. Ryan’s first on a lure so he was pretty pleased and a good way to open your jack account.

jacky

The bait started thinning out and the cover on the banks wasn’t as good so we decided to move back down to the mouth. A decent drain was feeding more water into this section along with some decent bait and I mentioned to Ryan that this was looking good for a barra. We cast the last stretch of the creek down to the mouth and then around the mouth. There was a small snag sitting right in the open offering a prime ambush spot for a smart barra and I said there HAS to be a barra on this snag. I cast out just ahead of it and slowly worked the lure back giving it a small rip to let anything on the stick know bait was coming. Slow rolling across the snag a barra hit the plastic in clear view missing the hook not once or twice but four times! Unbelievable, four goes at it and can’t find the hook.

We got out of there after this as the water was getting too low and tried another couple of spots before calling it a day. So still turned out to be a fun day out exploring a new creek and great to see Ryan get a jack on a lure.

creek

14
May

Ryan & I hit the Trinity Inlet with plans of fishing deep on a strange neap tide with no run from 5am until 12 noon. Just near the boat ramp I made the call to start casting some snags and we entered a small creek. Getting used to the electric was taking some effort and before we knew it a pro crabber sped past, way too fast for this small creek, so I shook my head at him and got out of there fast. We made the call to just keep casting at the edges along the main waterway as there were a few mullet around.

I’d just been telling Ryan which snags to target and how long it has been since I caught a decent jack since I mainly target barra these days. Then I put a decent cast in along side a nice looking snag and started a slow constant roll retrieve on a big paddle tailed plastic (Jackall 5.5″ Ammonite Shad) when suddenly a few winds in the lure was jammed. I knew it was a jack by the way it hit and was very fast in turning him away from home and ‘guiding’ him my way a bit. However the fish felt a little too big to be a jack and I started to think it might be a really fired up barra. It soon became a tug of war and I patiently played him out thinking large barra, but it took another sizzling powerful run falling just short of cover. Each run became shorter and eventually I noticed the size of the fish in the water. I was quite disappointed (still thinking barra) until I noticed a broad silver gold mangrove jack. Happy would be an understatement and I’m surprised I turned him on light gear and got him out of the snag as he was quite a brute of a jack.

jack-front

mangrove-jack

jack-rod

We continued along the same stretch and the mullet started thinning out, water temperature rose to 25 degrees and Ryan had a couple of follows from jacks on his fav little hardbody. Around the corner we noticed a very nice drop off from 2m out into 7-8m of water with a good set of snags at one end. We changed to weighted weedless plastics and Ryan caught a Toadfish (opsanus tau) which didn’t even warrant a photo – he was U-G-L-Y ! Ryan dropped a decent fish that put out a screaming run to nothing right beside the boat which was a shame because it was a good fish and I think we both would have liked to know what it was. I dropped two fish that felt fairly small like little estuary cod.

As we headed up past the snags on the electric, to come back and drift the snags we both noticed a commotion on a timber snag and saw some fins. Then the same fish flapped around on the surface again as if it was pinned somehow. Ryan made the call to go and check it out as the fins did look red. So we drifted over and sure enough, here’s a decent sized jack that had clearly won it’s freedom from another angler, only to become trapped in a snag with full leader and about 20 metres of braid attached to him. He was in good condition, so I netted him and Ryan took care of the lines and he came home in the esky for Ryan’s dinner. What a fluke of a find. The jack had a good set of shoulders and was in very good condition.

jack-ryan

mangrove-jack-ryan

So all plans of fishing deep were abandoned and we made our way up another typical Trinity Inlet creek. I was fishing another unweighted Jackall Ammonite Shad rigged weedless and Ryan threw on a 3″ gulp shrimp. While we were rigging up I was focusing on the electric and as my back was turned I felt a solid hit and turned to see a small barra swim off with the tail of my plastic. Bugger, dropped him. We continued on and I caught a little jack deep in a snag and put the brakes on fairly hard and pulled him out on the baitcast set up and Ryan caught a little archer fish.

archer-fish

lil-jack

So what was expected to be a slow day took a nice turn and the weather was amazing. Looks like we’ll be heading back Thursday for a quick hit and run session.

07
May

What started as a frustrating morning in the salty mangroves turned out to be a fun day catching the world’s smallest barra and jacks in the brackish waters of the Barron River.

We arrived bright and early to a local creek to find a lack of bait and not much action. After what felt like 50 casts of the castnet, we scrounged up enough bait to at least get some lines out. First action of the day was a great take on a little mullet I had out, then a small jump as a barra spat the mullet back out. It was just before the run started to slow and I had called it for a bite window not less than 60 seconds before.

Before long the tide turned, started to run out and all the bait was gone. Ryan was persisting as I’d just been giving him a few tips on how to cast a net and while he practiced he hauled in a decent nets worth of herring. Then before long he was onto some decent prawns, exactly what I’d hoped to see.

So I got back on the net and we filled the bucket and headed to the Barron River to drop some live prawns down into likely snags for a barra or two. Not less than 10 minutes in I’d pulled two little barra of one snag and they were good fun and better than sitting around a sandfly ridden creek you couldn’t have bought a bite in.

barra-5

barra-4

Ryan got in on the action third fish with a cute little jack, then possibly the worlds smallest barra (which he clearly didn’t want a photo of) then the worlds smallest jack right at the end. It’s just luck of the draw as to what size you’ll find around these snags but they are usually just frustratingly shy of legal, sometimes a larger barra is lurking. One thing is for sure though, barramundi go nuts for a live prawn, some of these little guys can really hit hard and fight better than some bigger models I’ve caught.

ryan-jack

barra-3

baby-mangrove-jack

Did not take too long and all the prawns were gone, mostly due to wise jack attacks that leave nothing but a tail, the hit and run experts. In all we caught about 7 barra and 2 jacks. Next time we are going late afternoon and into the night to see what larger fish turn up.

barra-2

barramundi

24
Apr

Had another live bait session a few nights ago in the Trinity Inlet. Live bait collection was easy, but no prawns. When we arrived I spotted some surface action and and called it for grunter chasing prawns. I was wrong and they turned out to be 60-70cm barra just cruising on the surface clearly visible in the clear high tide water. They wait for bait to get pushed off the flats by the tide and sit in ambush. Tony decided to try and cast net one and instantly they shut down. Needless to say, next time we will be throwing lures and plastics at them from a distance rather than the cast net. Barramundi are so in tune with their surroundings they really remind me of jungle perch. Doesn’t take much, but a sniff of danger and they shut down and move on (unless there is a stupid feeding frenzy going down).

grunt

After collecting bait from the flats we tried some deeper water that looked very promising and also threw some dead baits and yabbies out into the channel. One of my baits was snavelled and upon striking I could tell it wasn’t much of a fish and up came a cute little barred grunter. Not too long after I was bricked on the drop by a decent fish, not much chance to stop it. We both hooked some GT on live herring. I caught a small jack and Tony got a 60cm barra which he kept for his stomach.

trevor

TREVV

trev-tony

jackk

I also managed to get owned by something very large from out in the channel, presumably a large fingermark on light gear. I had no chance around oyster encrusted pylons but in hindsight I could have played it much better but I panicked when I felt the weight of the fish and just couldn’t turn if from heading straight at the wharf. I lost a similar fish last year that ran from deep water back straight under the wharf as if it knew what it was doing. These are the fish that keep us coming back for more. Suckers for punishment.

We returned the next night and Tony caught a 55 barra on live herring and a small queeny on a shrimp plastic. I caught a cute small jack. There were thousands of herring on the drop off the flats and we spooked the barra again off the bite and up into the mangroves. Doesn’t take much for them to work out what’s going on at this spot at night in relatively clear water.

queenfish

abse

jacky

castnet

Tony better start taking some photos of his barra I reckon, or at least allow a quick photo before release. Would be good to add them into these posts.