Hey guys - a bit of a late post but better late then never I suppose!
I headed up to Weipa on a charter in late October 2014 with my old man. We had done a few trips up to NT on live-aboards previously and had a ball so thought we would try something a little bit different this time and head to FNQ or more precisely - Weipa.
I'll tell you what I didn't realise how small the town was until i got there!! Its tiny!!
I wont mention the charter we used due to site rules but feel free to PM me for the name, the bloke is an absolute legend, is far far cheaper then anything I have done in NT and I got a heap more fish than I ever have in NT.
Anyway - so I was there for 4 days fishing. Its catch and release only for Barra at that time of year but it didn't bother us and we spent 3 of the 4 days up the rivers chasing barra with some by-catch of big cod, jacks, threadfin salmon, sharks, fingermark, black jew etc etc. The other day we went offshore and got a heap of big mackerel, bigger fingermark, queenies, cobia, tuna and the list goes on!
Weipa fishing was incredible. Its crazy how remote you are. we barely saw any other boats the whole time. There are massive bull sharks just zooming around the boat, you'd be driving along and you would see 5 ft sharks free jumping out of the water - as in their entire body completely out! there were a heap of crocs, pigs, manta rays, box jelly fish -- the place is just wild!
We spent the mornings and arvo's casting lures for barra, but it was just too freaking hot in the middle of the day so for about 3 hours during the hottest part of the day we would tie up to some mangroves and live bait. It makes it sooooo much easier being able to use a cast net to get poddys! they have it so easy haha
Anyway - here are some pics for you guys! I note a few of them are Raider records so i will be whacking them in for consideration shortly!
This little guy came flying out of the shallows and smashed my gold bomber that was nearly as long as he was! My first Archer fish ever and I note that no record exists in the Raider records so I might as well claim it! I didn't measure but I would estimate pretty confidently that it would have been about 27cm.
This Barra was my best of the trip - measured in at 78cm. It took a couple of days for me to get my casting accurate - this makes a huge difference in terms of how many fish you will get and in hindsight I wish I had of practiced more before I went. I definitely will next time. Apparently the barra were pretty shut down for the time of year when we were there but we still managed quite a few. All the barra seemed to come on gold coloured lures - gold bombers especially - regardless of whether we were fishing clean or dirty water. Its fantastic watching your lure twitch past a snag a meter or so under the water and then all of a sudden this big silver flash emerges and inhales your lure!
Another one of the same fish with my old man.
We got a heap of these cod on livies. We didn't keep any for the plate but apparently they are absolutely delicious so next time we definitely will! I'll tell you what they pull like absolute steam trains at this size and we lost a heap in the snags! Really good fun!
My dad loves fishing but he isnt a fisherman per se. He likes going on charters and catching fish but doesn't really know alot about it. So whilst I wasn't too keen to spend much time catching blue salmon, he had an absolute ball! They were pretty thick, especially around bridge pylons, and you just had to drift a soft plastic down deep and jig it a few times before you got a fish like this. this was one of the bigger ones and they do go pretty hard on very light gear...
At one stage we were fishing a tiny little drain off a flat that we could see alot of bait getting boofed by some smaller barra. the water was really filthy and visibility would have only been about 1cm! I took off the gold bomber and opted for a Elton John coloured lure that would stand out a bit more. We worked the drain for a few smaller barra at about 45cm when everything went quiet for a while. I think I figured out why! Perfect cast at the mouth of the drain, a few twitched in to the deeper water and then this little guy came from no where and took the lure!
hahaha is that a raider record??! They don't really fight at all and he was pretty quiet when we got him in the boat to remove the trebles from his jaw, but it was definitely a privilege to hold a wild croc from FNQ!
At pretty much every snag in the system we would pepper the snag with hard bodies for barra. If nothing presented it self we would switch to lightly weighted jerk shads and fish the deeper water surrounding the snag. Often it was a big fallen tree that went pretty deep. We would always be confronted with hordes of fingermark. Nothing huge, probably 50-60% bigger then your average Sydney bream. And again on light tackle they pull pretty hard at this size, just like a solid bream - but you need to remember the snags are super super thick so you need to turn them straight away or you lose them! I lost count how many Fingeries we caught, we kept a fair few for dinner each day and they are delicious. This would be one of the smaller ones that I would estimate at 35cm (i was a little lazy on the photos!
It was caught on a lightly weighted 5in jerk shad in nuke chicken. It doesn't look like there is a raider record for this species so I'm gonna claim it haha!
One day when we were out the front spinning up Queenies on small metals my dad hooked this golden trev. I was pretty surprised that he hooked a golden trev spinning metals on the surface and it went heaps harder then any of the queenies we got. It was probably about 50cm - my dad is a dope at holding the fish for pics so his gigantic fingers make the fish look pretty small! Id love to get into some bigger versions of these golden trevs they seemed a heap of fun!
This is my first Spanish mackerel and the biggest we got for the trip - 23lbs and approx 115cm. Taken trolling pilchard coloured laser pros (id guess the 18cm versions) around bait schools. Was a heap of fun a got completely airborne a number of times (probably sharks around) and had me running around the boat and dropping the rod tip deep in the water to clear the hull and motor. I definitely want to target these more next time as we only chased them for one morning.
I note this takes out 3rd place in the records and will submit soon.
Another first for me and another what I would call fish of a life time was this 52cm Triple Tail. Never thought I would catch one of these in my life! We were heading down the river at WOT heading to another location and about 80m to our left was a big floating tree stump, roots and all. The guide noticed a dark shape a the front of the snag - he immediately stopped and goes 'I rekon thats a triple tail'! Sure enough as we got our rods ready and motored over to the snag there was a big triple tail sitting out the front of the snag facing the current and just smashing the bait fish as they got pushed past. The snag was literally swarming with bait and was the only structure on an otherwise barren flat.
We pulled up to the side of the snag and had to get pretty close because the wind was strong. The fish didn't spook which was lucky! My dads first cast missed the mark and ended up getting retrieved well outside the strike zone. I fired off my gold bomber - perfect! I started retrieving it across the front of the snag. As soon as the triple tail saw it he just absolutely steam rolled the lure! Came screaming out from the snag and smashed it! Surprisingly it didn't pull all that hard and it was in the net pretty quickly. From what I had heard these fish are meant to be ultimate sports-fish but I found it to be a little lackluster! anyway, I was happy to tick it off the list and I probably will never get the chance to catch one again in my life!
Again there is no raider record for this species so I will submit my claim shortly!
In the late arvos we would chuck out some more livies among the mangroves for barra. My mate that had been up a couple of months earlier had got a few barra over 1m using this method. All we seemed to get were little bull sharks and shovel nose sharks.
Last but not least I got this threadfin salmon on a gold bomber at around midday one afternoon.
Came in at 87cm and was absolutely delicious for dinner that night!
Sorry if the pics are only average quality - they were all taken on an iphone! Looks like I could have done a better job on resizing the images as well - sorry guys!
And a few scenery pics for you as well. I cant wait to head up again this year!