10
Sep

Hit the Inlet to see what lies beneath. Slow night with one random keeper fingermark on a small live prawn.

fingermark

A few other random fish, including this unknown (anybody know what it is?). The token tarpon and a couple of small pikey bream that fell in love with the ever irresistible live prawn.

unknown

tampon

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.

19
Mar

Live bait, lures and soft plastics. A fair few bust offs, at least 6. We kept moving until we found where the barra were feeding. I was lucky to get one of my lures back after a huge hit and run from a very large barra. Leader knot failed because some idiot forgot to retie it from the other night.

Live bait did the trick, herring or mullet and somehow Tony caught nearly all the fish (freak). Also got a very good buck mud crab in one of the pots! Watching mullet get slammed off the surface and getting drilled by unstoppable barra near pylons was the highlight!

image-16
60cm flathead

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36cm mangrove jack

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40cm GT

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44cm cod

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51cm tarpon

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65cm barramundi

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63cm barramundi

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crab

03
Jul

Got to fish a spot that you can very rarely access if at all. Out the front is a notorious fingermark hole and it’s very deep. I’ve never caught a fingermark so I was pretty excited at the prospect of landing one. We fished two rods each, one medium/heavy overhead straight down between pylons and a light 2500 baitrunner out into the Cairns Inlet channel.

First live prawn out was nailed by something that swam straight at the wharf and I couldn’t barely keep up, then it turned and went under the wharf, my line got caught on a barnacle and then it busted me on the pylons on the far side. Good start but frustrating.

With not much doing apart from Tony (the tarpon magnet) nailing tarpon after tarpon, a small fingermark and I caught a big puffer and my first fingermark (woo), I decided to throw my live prawn out into a different spot where the current was moving differently. I was rewarded with a solid fish taking powerful runs and taking my light set up to it’s limits, a bit of patience and smart thinking landed a 50cm fingermark into the lifting net and I was stoked. Mission accomplished. Just a shame I forgot my camera, so these crap pics will have to do.

03
Jul

Have been landbased fishing quite a lot lately with a good mate Tony (barra eyes) who is back from working away. Tony is a soft plastic and live bait lover, to Tony nothing beats an unweighted live prawn and who can argue with that (when it comes to bait fishing anyway), his favourite soft plastic is a 2 inch gulp shrimp.

This is a silver grunter I caught flicking soft plastics around Kamerunga Bridge one rainy morning. These fish are easily one of the strongest fighting fish you can catch for their size and they could pull a GT, Sooty or Jack backwards. Good sign of water quality, but really not much about this morning.

Later that day we hit spot N armed with loads of live prawns that we castnetted earlier. Unsure if it was the fact the prawns seemed very lethargic, but we ended up catching more fish on tiny gulp shrimp, with an exciting bite window that saw 4-5 few fish landed in minutes. There were GT, tarpon and barra all hitting bait on the surface. Later after the plastics and bait shut down and I got nailed by a big barra that I couldn’t turn (nowhere near, simply no chance) and lost my Gold Lucky Craft Staysee 100DD hardbody to a pylon. For about 20 minutes I was getting follows and bumps but no solid hookups, all it took was a slight change in hardbody and action to reignite them.

Here are some of the fish caught, not everything got a photo, but some of the tarpon were good size and made for some exciting runs as they were really hitting hard. Tony got a couple of barra in the 50’s as usual and I caught a horse bream that wasn’t very long, but was the fattest bream I’ve ever seen (the picture does no justice to this fish).

 

14
Jun

We went back to the Russell to toss some lures around snags with Mark. Getting colder and less action but still got a few.

Early morning Mangrove Jack

 

Sooty grunter.

 

Unusual catch, good fighter called for a much larger fish. Spikey bugger.

Football shaped Sooty, this guy was so fat Mark couldn’t believe the weight of him. Good fight too on 1kg outfit.

Sooty Grunter with a weight problem

Baby Mangrove Jack

Good tarpon on very light gear

Horse Tarpon

Decent sized Crocodile, not scared by us.

10
Jun

Mark (mdlures) and myself hit the Russell for the first time in search of a few fish to catch and release on Friday. We were both shocked by the excellent water quality and natural beauty of the area.

Not actually knowing where we were going, we followed the nearest tinny off the main highway and ended up at a boat ramp. Only problem being, we were not even on the Russell, but up the Mulgrave. So we journeyed down to the mouth over some very shallow ground and up the Russell, checking out all we could along the way. The Russell and Mulgrave are a twin river sharing the same mouth.

Most of the morning was spent looking around and being genuinely shocked at the brilliant waterway before us, as well as wondering why we were so stupid to have never fished it before.

Lots of photos were taken, and we felt more like sightseers than fishermen (apart from one little GT caught by Mark). The fish were not playing the game and it didn’t matter. Even the guides were having a rough time. We saw a ton of fish: jacks, barra, grunter, bream, bony bream, scat, jungle perch, something HUGE that looked like a jack on some serious steroids, fat tilapia, tarpon, schools of different types of mullet, and some we just didn’t know…

After exploring a stunning creek with crystal clear water, we ventured upstream. Taking in a new vista at every turn, we could have been in any tropical country, Mark was thinking PNG, I was thinking East Malaysia. True paradise.

The tide was racing out and the current strong. After getting far enough upstream (a fair way!) we drifted back down using the electric to hold on some areas for no more than a few casts, or to retrieve snagged lures, or fish.

Wasn’t long and I was onto a little Jungle Perch sitting in a front eddy off a snag.

Not far around the corner and Mark let out a good “Yep” and his rod was buckling HARD. Keeping its head up out of the sticks and finally under control, Mark excitedly started yelling, “Look at the colours on this Sooty” and sure enough it was a healthy Gold Spot Sooty Grunter. The colours of this fish in the water were totally different and what a pretty fish.

Taking a photo and releasing it we found ourselves sitting up against a bank in a very strong back eddy. We took turns at holding the boat under some branches while the other cast upstream into the eddy. It was a hot bite indeed with three and four hits per retrieve. As soon as the lure hit the water you got a hit, usually followed by one or two mid retrieve, then always a last on just before the boat, all in the space of 3-7 metres. “Yep, OH, Yep, OH, Yep ON” was heard a fair bit. While we caught a few, we certainly lost a fair few as well and tarpon were usually the culprits with their bony mouths and blistering turns of speed. After 10 of the hottest minutes of fishing the bite was over and we headed downstream.

Casting anything and everything, we tried both sides of the bank. Mostly searching for eddys that would hold fish. Coming across a section of river bank with slightly less current Mark suggested we make a move to the other bank where all the fish had been coming from, two casts later and I was hit HARD. Struggling to keep the fish up without breaking the leader, the fight was fast and dogged. I called it for a big trevally (GT) but I was wrong and eventually up popped a flash of red. “Yes” a nice sized freshwater Mangrove Jack!

Not more than 10 minutes later “Yep”, Mark was on. Another magnificent freshwater jack. We motored over to the other side for a picture and a fish near a nice looking stream running the clearest water you’ve ever seen into the river. As we got near I cast my lure over landing it within an inch of the bank near the undercut bank and slowly but firmly twitched the lure back hoping for a double. As I pulled the lure from the water another good sized Jack took one last swipe just missing the hooks. Bummer, nearly had a photo to remember. Mark’s jack was a nice fish as you can see in the pictures.

The next reach I caught another Jungle Perch.

As the sun started falling on the tree-line we decided we’d better get the f out of dodge as we had a lot of ground to cover and not much time until dark. The ride back was one to remember and ensured our regular fishing trip soon became yet another MD “fishing odyssey”. You see, Mark and I have a knack for making a normal fishing trip into something a little more grueling and adventurous. Beaching the boat nearly on dark in a river system that had shown up at least 4 crocs, including one total beast, getting into the water and pushing the tinny out was all we needed, but we survived (again). One of these days we’ll get a regular trip in, but in the meantime, it’s good to be able to tell the story and adds to the adventure.

You can see the look on Mark’s face as we venture up the last section of river in 1-2ft of water. Not the best way to end a trip, won’t happen next time though!

19
Apr

After some pretty awesome fishing dreams, where I was smashing them on lures and watching the follows, I decided I just had to go throw a lure this morning.

Went down to a local spot expecting to see nothing but muddy water and almost un-fishable conditions. To my surprise the water wasn’t that bad and as I tied my leader knot I noticed some commotion over under a tree near a drain. There was fresh water running off into a very small back eddy with lots of fry gathered in tight against the edges. As I got closer I noticed fish busting them up and fry spraying everywhere every couple of minutes or so. I couldn’t get my lure on or in there fast enough.

Casting under a tree with only about 30-45cm of clearance under the branches proved challenging and the first cast fell short of the bank and about 3/4 of where I wanted it to be. Lure of choice was a small Lucky Craft bevy shad, a floating one with upgraded hooks so it suspends and slowly rises. What I like about this lure is it gets down to depth with one solid jerk, stays there and have tons of action fished slow. Second cast and I nailed it, straight under the tree and right up against the bank, one quick pull of the lure to get it down and a slow roll back and BAM, RIP, RIP, RIIIIIP, I have a quick wrestle with a good fish before I see a very decent sized bright red jack come up to the surface before he pulls again and sets himself free. Damn I thought as I adjusted my drag to something firmer to help set the hooks and keep it under my control. I hate loosing fish, especially a good jack! Slowly the shakes you get from a big lure hit disappeared, but the adrenaline had me going.

Bust ups were frequent and still happening, I dropped a few tarpon as they jumped and set themselves free. Just missed a really good hit from a 50ish barra that I saw chase the lure down, crash-tackling it and missing the hooks. I was starting to get over it, every good cast (1 in 3 I reckon) was getting hit but not connecting properly and they weren’t just nudges.

I persevered, trying all the lures that looked ok to me. Due to the short distance I was casting, I could only really use smaller lures with lots of action, otherwise I’d only get 2-3 good rips and that’s it. The bevy shad what the lure best suited and unless it had gold on it, it wouldn’t get hit. Going back to the first lure, the bevy shad with gold on it, I started getting hits again.

I started trying different actions and starting giving it quick rips with small pauses, this started the tarpon back up and I caught a good sized one, bigger than the other pictured. Another two casts and I was on again. I gave this one to an nice old guy that asked if he could have it for his cat. That’s the one pictured below, the other was about 1/3 bigger but didn’t really fight as well, this one went ballistic.

While I was there another guy that only uses live prawns came down. I call him the silent assassin, he caught 5 barra, biggest about 50cm. He ALWAYS gets at least one, just floating a live prawn into likely spots. The old guy knows him well and it was good chatting to them both as some of the people up here are great and just another thing that makes this a special part of the world.

Also, looks like Cairns just lost another good land based spot. Tony, if you are reading, they are doing something to Mazdabator bridge and I doubt we’ll be able to fish it again. Buggers, I can’t wait till next year and getting a nice tinny.

Tarpon on a Bevy Shad Lucky Craft Lure