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Luring Cooktown

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rivoli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2021 at 7:57am
Have a great day Martin 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2021 at 1:06pm
Yesterday Mickey Rat and I went up to Lakefield. We left earlier then usual to check out a couple of spots first. These spots are on the Kennedy River ( not to be confused with the North Kennedy River) and our goal was to see if there would have been enough of a flood to re stock this river. Ok here comes a bit of info that took me years to find out. The Kennedy River starts and ends in swamps. It has no opening to the sea. The only way it gets stocked is when the nearby Normandy River fooods enough to join up with it. This last wet season saw Lakefield get a lot of rain over a long period, but it doesn’t seemed to have flooded the Kennedy and Normandy Rivers enough to join them or to join them enough for any or much RE stocking. ( the North Kennedy River enters into Princess Charlotte Bay). So now we know to avoid these fishing spots. Yes they still have some fish in them but not as much as it normally has. At the end of last season, campsites 1,2 and 3 at Kennedy Bend on the Kennedy River were completely dry, campsite 4 has less then metre of water in front of it.

So. Y the time we got to one of the spots on the Normandy River it was after 10 o’clock. Previous years of fishing this area had taught me that the fish are relatively inactive until this time of day due to the water needing to heat up. The only reason why we don’t leave Cooktown, only 90 minutes from the first fishing area, after 8 am is because most of the times you have to get to the spot and walk away from the car park trying to beat others along the river bank. Judging by the traffic on the roads up there yesterday, it is going to be a very busy season this year.

We started along the river bank fishing and after about 20 I yelled to Mickey Rat that I had a “ flash” of a small barra behind my lure. His reply was that he had already landed a small barra..... gee he kept that quiet. I’m always excited at my first barra of the day. So at our first area we both had other fish following ( flashing) the lures and Mickey Rat had dropped a couple of small fish.

We worked our way further downstream looking for suitable water. Much of it was pretty shallow but in the deeper pockets we had more signs of active fish until I landed a small barra of around 30 cm. I yelled this out t Mickey Rat who then informed me that he had also previously caught another small barra AND a couple of archer fish.

A while later after Mickey Rat had caught more fish of various types and I was still limited to the one small fish, we came across a nice deep pocket of water. I had brief hook ups on a couple of small barra then landed a nice 70 cm barra. Mickey Rat landed a couple of fish that were most probably legal ( legal size is 58 cm in Queensland) but he opted to let them go. We kept my 70 cm only for the day. We called it quits soon afterwards and head back to the car. It’s amazing how far you walk without knowing it when you are fishing.

Our overall catch for the day was me with 2 barra and Mickey Rat with 5 barra, 3 archer fish and a small catfish. I got my small barra on a Gilhop lure made by Gil Hopper ( snagged this lure later and lost it) and the 70 cm fish on a Fugly Martin’s Minnow. I had flashes and brief hook ups while using a mad Dog Dynamite, a Bass Attack Manboobs, a Fugly “ not a Martin’s Minnow ( Chris knows what that means)” and a HJK minnow. Mickey Rat caught all of his fish on a small Kuttafurra lure that I loaned him and a DJR made by Steiny.

Photos to come once I kick start the lap top - easier for me to upload.
Martin-

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2021 at 1:36pm
In the first photo is the small barra caught on the Gilhop lure.
next photo is the 70 cm fish on the Fugly Martin's Minnow.





Next 2 photos are of the deep pocket that I got my big fish from and where we saw a lot of action - follows, brief hook ups. Mickey Rat also dropped a good sized tarpon at his feet.





I got done by a "wait a while" bush, this bush also ripped a good hole in the leg of my shorts - mongrel stuff



next photos are 2 of barra on Steiny's DJR lure and a barra on the Kuttafurra lure




Martin-

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scotch&dry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2021 at 8:41pm
tis but a scratch Marty get worse than that before you die , dont forget all them trebles i get impalled on lol

Ed.McC
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2021 at 8:45pm
Ha ha ha yep Ed, worse will and have happened.

Going again tomorrow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2021 at 7:17pm
Well today wasn’t as productive in Lakefield NP for Avocado Mick and myself. I tried a location that had never produced for me in the past but was told to hit it before the tourists flood the area.

Well we got to the little waterfall and was confronted by barra scales everywhere and some big fish as well. Seems like others had snuck into this area before the roads officially opened. Mick got 2 small barra on a stickbait made by his newest bestest buddy HJK. I scored  little fella on a Mark A lure. We both received many follows and bumps, Mick sticking with his stickbait and me trying about 6 various makers. Each lure received at least a follow but they were very shy. All the fish that we saw were small specimens except for I big fish that was waiting by a rock just under the water. But he was not interested in our offerings.

We tried various places further along this big water hole for only just a few more follows and bumps. We tried back at the waterfall on our way back out for only just one follow of a barra lucky to be 15 cm long.

I think the only time I’ll fish this place again will be either sunrise or from a boat as it’s suited more for trolling then casting from the bank. At least Mick got to see some new water.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2021 at 7:30pm

Could only load one photo of Mick




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rivoli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2021 at 8:22pm
Queensland is definitely going to cop a hiding this winter, every second person I know is either in the territory or qld  yabbying fishing and just generally chilling out. All looking for a feed of Barra or red claw. Doing quite well a lot of them too. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2021 at 7:21pm
Originally posted by Rivoli Rivoli wrote:

Queensland is definitely going to cop a hiding this winter, every second person I know is either in the territory or qld  yabbying fishing and just generally chilling out. All looking for a feed of Barra or red claw. Doing quite well a lot of them too. 

Yes and in Cooktown we have the belated 250 year anniversary of Cook’s landing celebrations. Apparently there’s still some spots available in caravan parks but all other tourist accommodation is totally booked out.

My niece stated that she has camped at Lakefield a few times but never fished it. Said with a bit ink and a nudge in the ribs. Might have to go again tomorrow.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2021 at 10:37am
(just had to correct some autocorrects that my phone made in my last post - have no idea where some of these words came from LOL.)

Well I took my niece to Lakefield yesterday and she had a great time. We didn't get much in the way of fish but she hadn't walked the bank before and one of the highlights was seeing a few baby freshwater crocs only about 30 cm long.

We left Cooktown at about 7 am as the day bite doesn't really kick off until the sun warms the water up a bit. There is an early morning bite that happens in these rivers at about sunrise with the fish taking advantage of the changing light conditions. Campers at our chosen spot said that there was a lot of activity on the surface for about an hour after sunrise. 

We were fishing by 9 am and nothing happened for the first couple of hours - apart from a small barra flashing my lure a couple of times. I picked this day to take Tiffany there because of the winds. Believe it or not, but past fishing trips for barra fishing mates and I have found a correlation in the wind direction and the barra bite. A southerly wind bringing up cooler weather puts the fish down, in Lakefield at least anyway. Easterlies and westerlies are not to bad, but northerlies normally see the barra being very active. The northerlies in Lakefield in winter are not common at all, in fact quite rare.

The wind predictions from my phone app for yesterday said southerly winds for Lakefield until about 9 oçlock where they were turn easterly. The predictions were out by a couple of hours and despite going fishless in areas that I normally pull fish from, my first barra was hooked and landed at about midday on a Mark A lure that fish went about 45- 50 cm. Tiffany had a brief hook up using a Kuttafurra mousy looking wake bait soon afterwards.

I switched over lures a few times then settled on a Fugly Martin's Minnow. In 5 minutes I had two, what I believed were solid hook ups on two legal sized fish, one which was way over the required 58 cm - only to have them throw the lure just a few metres from me. 

A move further downstream Tiffany had a great hook up on what was easily a 70 cm barra on the same Kuttafurra wake bait, only to have it rub the line again a stick in the water and break her off. Tears didn't flow because I managed to keep my composure LOL, and I think Tiffany was too stunned at the power of the fish.

A little further down and lost lost another 2 good fish by them throwing the Martin's Minnow. Well it was more like them letting the lure go after holding it in their mouths while I fought them in for about 20 metres - now I really did feeling like loosing my composure CryCry.

We were going to try to make it down to a particular hole that is a side creek where it enters the river. This hole normally holds a few good fish. (When Avocado Mick first came across it about a year ago, he kept his captures of 3 barra all over 70 cm quite until we caught up to him. By that time the fish were wary and only flashed our lures). But checking the time, and how long it would take us to get there, bashing through thick scrub all the way, we decided to turn back.

We had another go where Tiffany lost her good fish and my Kuttafurra and this time I hooked a barra of about 60 cm on the same Martin's Minnow. But this time the fish wasn't just holding the lure it was properly hooked - until it threw the lure of a series of jumps Angry. And then Tiffany snagged the green herring lure made by Richard Lee that she was using.

I tied onto Tiffany's line a Fugly "not a Martin's Minnow" and I went over to another Kuttafurra model. As it was starting to get late we didn't spend much time fishing but we did try a log jam in a creek mouth. I scored another  barra of about 45 - 50 cm. Now this is something different. I had the photos taken and unhooked the fish. I then speared head first into the water. Tiffany said she didn't see it swim off. So we waited until some stirred up sentiment cleared and here was the fish up to it's dorsal fin stuck head first in the sandy bottom. I got a stick and dug the fish out, it then shot forwards and amost totally beached itself at my feet and I flicked it back in with the stick. As Tiffany said "no wonder you caught that one, it was a dumb fish".

Further along the way back to the car and an archer fish fell to the "not a Martin's Minnow". Our total scores for the day - me 2 small barra and a small catfish, Tiffany an archer fish and a slightly bigger catfish. Not much but a fun , if not frustrating day.

photos to follow shortly - got to hang out the washing.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2021 at 10:59am
small barra and catfish on a Mark A Lure





small barra on a Kuttafurra



Tiffany's small catfish on a gold Bomber and archer fish on the "not a Martin's Minnow". This lure has a very good action , slightly different to the Martin's Minnow and it will smash the fish.







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seaweed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2021 at 4:40pm
As per usual a great read Marty, love your stuff. Your mate, Seaweed.
"Always Merry and Bright"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2021 at 5:12pm
Yesterday and the previous day Mickey Rat and I tried around the Bloomfield area. The first day saw us launch his boat in a little creek that fed into a larger creek. Despite looking very very fishy - nothing much came of it. I scored a little mud cod (a type of gudgeon that lives in brackish to fresh water - very similar to a sleepy cod) and a small trevally.  I got these on a Fugly Martin's Minnow, once again I tried various other lures for no success. We had a little bit of interest from other fish but not much.








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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2021 at 5:22pm
OK another go at finishing this post. I run an Optus dongle and that drops out up here and my sister's Telstra wi fi drops out.

hopefully I can upload the photo of this tiny trevally-


Yesterday we launched into the Bloomfield River. It was calm enough to poke out through the river mouth for a fish but no interest. We then tried throughout the river for again no interest. It's very frustrating to be in such a great looking and very fishy waterway to have it prove fruitless. Michael talked to a couple of locals who fished with bait and they only landed an undersized mangrove jack and a small trevally so it was pretty dead for them too.

Tomorrow we are going to try Lakefield NP again and hopefully that will prove productive.




Martin-

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p.j. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2021 at 8:13pm
You cant get them every time Martin Stern Smile
But looks like you have nice weather fore the trips tho Big smile
Keep trying, so we can see some more off the great country, and hopefully the Fish Big smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2021 at 5:14pm
Yesterday's trip to Lakefield was once again interesting - as well as frustrating.

Our predicted winds offshore from Cooktown were in excess of 30 kph. I check the offshore winds as Cooktown is surrounded by many big hills and mountains. Plus the shape of the coast and direction of winds can mean very different conditions depending upon where you are in town. The winds at Lakefield were predicted at 13 kph from the east. With the thick bush you may not feel any wind at all and it was pretty humid fishing with my glasses steaming up. Lakefield is on the other side of the Iron Range and receives a lot of protection from winds from the east and especially the south. On the way back home once we got out of the protection of the Iron Range we got into a drizzling rain that turned heavier the closer we got to Cooktown.

The area we went to presented us with a new challenge. The banks were steep with a layer of dried soil / sand on top of wet slippery clay. So you would be negotiating a steep section of bank, your feet break through the top dry stuff, and you are slipping down the bank. Best thing to do is to fall onto the bank to make more contact with the bank to arrest your fall. By the end of the day I looked like a pig that wallowed in the mud. There were areas that you just would not go incase you slipped into deep water. This is all to do with seepage from the high ground water level. Normally this seepage is only about  30 to 50 cm above the river water level but due to a lot of rain in Lakefield at the last wet season, this ground water level now is up to a couple of metres high.

Mickey Rat and I started fishing at about 9 am. Once again things were very slow to start off with. The sun had not had much time to heat up the water at that stage.  But I did notice that most of the "signs" of fish came from deep with in the snags and after the water had run off shallow sand banks. Of course you still have to try the deeper holes as well and we still had flashes, follows and short strikes here as well. I was using a yellow Kuttafurra lure which I snagged a couple of times before loosing it on a snag that would not let it go. I had just earlier remarked to Michael that I didn't like using that lure here as the yellow colour disappeared from sight quickly in the brown coloured water. I like to see where the lure is as it make it easier to manoeuvre it through snags. It also makes it easier to see if any fish is following or has flashed your lure.

As I was tying on another leader to my line after loosing the above Kuttafurra lure, I noticed a cute freshwater crocodile about 80 cm long just 2 metres from me. freshies are cute, but saltwater crocs are damn ugly no matter what their size. This little fella just stayed there for about 3 minutes watching me watching him, until I stood up to see how close I could get to him without him moving.

Now yesterday was frustrating to both Michael and I as we went through some lures. I counted 5 of mine did not return and Michael lost a few as well. But I can't remember  what one of these lures were. My count down of MIA lures goes - Kuttafurra, Bass Attack, HJK experimental thick minnow (40 cm approx and 56 cm barra and a catfish caught on it - cast like a bullet), a Raghubir (sudanraghu2210) made lure (caught a just legal 58 cm barramundi), and I can't remember what the 5th lure was. I'll leave it up to Michael as to whether or not he wants to tell what he lost. Our high lure loses is a sign that we had to fish in very tight to cover, or try to make the hard casts to get to cover. I lost the Raghubir minnow to a big barramundi that took it under the log I was standing on and would not come back out - eventually the line parted. 

I got back to the car before Michael and tried a little bit in the opposite direction. I was using a Bass Attack lure that kept on getting follows, flashes and short strike but no hook up. I tried other lures but this particular fish was only interested in that one lure. I eventually gave up when I heard Michael back at the car. I had found 2 plastic blow molded lures near the car, but one was severely damaged.  The damaged one was a Tropical Rogue sold at Bransfords Tackle in Cairns. Terry Leadbetter from Leads Lures used to make these from timber for him so I have been told. Now I had originally thought that a crocodile had done the damage on this lure, but I could not find any teeth marks on it, or a depression that could have come from a huge blunt tooth so I am now unsure if it was done by a crocodile or a fish.

As stated above I got 3 barra and a catfish. Michael got a catfish, a barra of about 30 cm and a nice 71 cm barra. His big fish was on a gold Bomber. Now I have this thing against gold Bombers. My brother in law would always use them for barra no matter what, even when I was outfishing him using timber lures. So it became a contest between us, me with my timber lures and him with his gold Bombers. The only time he would not use them was in the saltwater chasing the pelagic species because as he said in his own words "those fish would break them". So he would use the Halco made Scorpions, and then the contest would be my timber lures against his Halco lures Confused.

Photos to come in another post in case the internet drops out and I loose all of this post.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horrorhead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2021 at 5:31pm
My freshwater croc


the fish on the thick experimental HJK minnow. This lure casts like a bullet and I almost lost it quite a few times by overshooting the snag and it landing high up in trees on the other side of the river.







Raghubir's minnow and barramundi including a close up of the lure






Michaels barra





The destroyed Tropical Rogue lure


Martin-

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