Wild Western Cape
  |  First Published: September 2016

The western cape of Queensland is an amazing wilderness, and much of it is untouched by man. Now it is my new playground! Due to Dad having a job as a fishing guide up here, we as a family have decided to move here permanently.

Already I am finding the fishing here to be exceptionally better than Hervey Bay, and this is the quiet time of the year up here, so I’m pumped for summer to arrive! The pelagic action up here is endless, with big queenies, tuna, mackerel and trevally busting up on nervous bait balls all day long, sun, rain or hail, and unlike Hervey Bay, the fish don’t seem to be very picky about what lure or fly you throw at them.

I never used to be a fan of bait fishing, but the reef here is full of big predators like golden snapper, coral trout and black-spot tuskies, which I have found are quite fun to tackle on a 100lb hand line with a crab or live mullet as bait. These fish, the tuskies especially, can really pull their weight in a fight and it takes a lot of skill to land them, as they head straight to the bottom for cover and easily cut the line on the brutally jagged structure. The only downside to this style of fishing is that we lose a lot of good-sized fish due to the extraordinarily high population of vicious bull sharks that patrol these waters.

Other species that can be caught on the reef patches around Weipa include fish like black jew, nannygai, sweetlip, cod, tripletail, cobia and giant trevally, the list just goes on and on.

Fly fishing is a real challenge and it is very rewarding to catch a fish on fly no matter what size it is, and I have already caught several tuna and cobia in a couple of trips. A friend of mine, Scotty Gorman, recently came on a trip with us out in the boat and caught his first longtail tuna on fly, as well as a 14kg cobia, all on his 10 weight in just 15 minutes!

Another mate, Evan Ikin, also caught a nice cobia around the same size and nearly got spooled by a big Spaniard on his spin rod in the background casting at the same bait ball.

On the flats is really where this place shines for fly fishers, with trophies like tuskies, blue bastards, big trevally and the legendary permit to be caught in the sandy shallows.

One thing about living somewhere like Weipa is that everyone wants to come and visit you for a holiday, which is not a bad thing, just as long as you’re alright with having someone different in your boat every weekend. So far my Dad’s cousin Brett Marsh has come for a visit, where he had an excellent week catching big queenfish and walking some swamps in search of big boars while camping up the Pennefather River. One day we headed out from Evans Landing (the main boat ramp up here) and only five minutes away from where we launched, we were already hooked up to some stonker queenfish in a mixed school of queenies and tuna.

Even land-based fishing is in a class of its own up here, and I have some great success on species such as threadfin salmon and barra on a range of Storm soft plastics and Rapala stickbaits and minnows, simply flicking around snags and in drains. If you try this, however, be very cautious and stay at least a few meters away from the waters edge, as there are some big angry crocs in this part of the world.

Even If you’re not exactly a great angler, there is great camping, four wheel driving, sightseeing and pig hunting to be enjoyed in this spectacular place.

Good luck to all anglers over the coming spring and, as always, think like a fish!

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