Hi all, just got back from a week in Port Douglas, I had senate approval for a fishing tour so I took up a rod and some gear. I heard the fish get pretty big up there so I took up my big gun: 4- 8lb rod, 6kg braid and 4kg leader.
I booked a 4hr estuary tour and the day before we were in Cairns stimulating the local economy, I stopped into a tackle shop to get some lures, $150 later I walk out armed with a variety of plastics and HB surface and diving lures. That night I prepared my tackle and was itching to try some of these lures so I took a short walk to 4 Mile Beach, I chucked around a couple of HBs for a while with no success, I wasn't too hopeful anyway as the water is very shallow for a long way out and I have never seen anyone fishing from the beach before, I thought I may as well try a plastic so I put on a Berkley 6" Shad white colour and had a couple of casts, still nothing, I decide on a last cast, almost fully retrieved and bang! the drag starts screaming and there's an almighty splashing out in the water (no moon so I could not see anything) the fish gained about 50m of line while I gain none then ping I'm broken off - smoking number 1.
Next day I arrive at the marina, meet our guide and fellow fishers, and set off, our guide took one look at my rod and smirked, first stop the inlet where I flicked around plastics while the family of 4 fished with baits (they were novices and the guide did a great job baiting for them and showing them the basics). Soon they had caught and released over 20 fish of all varieties from Cod to Wrasse to Catfish, nothing huge but they had a ball, the Dad even managed to entangle and land this turtle which was released unharmed. Apart from a couple of taps I got nothing.
We then moved into the mangrove lined estuary, tied up to a tree by a side channel, the family baited up and cast into the main channel while I cast into the bank using a 65mm River to Sea Bubble Pop, I usually use the 45mm version but I bought this as a concession to the bigger fish I hoped to catch.
About the 3rd cast, the guide was telling me April was the best month for using surface lures here, I was working the popper parallel to the bank and all eyes in the boat were on it when smack the surface exploded, several expletives were expressed by members of the crew as my rod bent double and zzzzzzzzz went the drag, I raced to the front of the boat in an effort to keep him out of the mangroves but I wasn’t gaining any line and he
was heading bank side, so I tightened up the drag a bit and snap he was gone along with leader and new popper – smoking number 2.
The guide reckoned it was a Mangrove Jack and a biggie at that, I had no reason to disagree, I have never before experienced such a powerful fish. Just after this the youngest boy on board caught a GT which pulled so hard his father had to help reel it in, this was when the guide told me with a grin that all his rods on board have 20kg braid with 50kg leaders and the drag done up so tight a freight train couldn’t strip line off!
We moved again and the family continued to catch all sorts of fish again nothing huge but enough to keep them engaged. I flicked pencils, poppers and some diving HBs for about an hour with no luck, then I threw a Sammy 65 under a Mangrove and as soon as it hit the water it was smashed, again the drag screamed, again I struggled valiantly and again ping I was snapped off, the 3rd fish now in possession of my lure – smoking number 3.
Things went quiet for me again and soon after we had to finish, a great tour with a great guide. The next day we did a Crocodile tour of the same waterway and the water was alive with surface feeding fish which wasn’t the case the day before, I was salivating! Our stay in Port Douglas was fantastic great weather, great food and service, and great accommodation, I would recommend it, but if you go there and intend fishing take my advice and scale up I know I will next time.