Welcome everyone to Newsport’s inaugural Fishing Report!
This is the first of many weekly fishing reports designed to give locals and visitors alike an insight into what’s biting in and around Port Douglas. With Port’s constant flow of tourists and a large contingent of die-hard fishing locals in the Shire, Port is a town with a rich fishing history. A lot of those people, locals and visitors alike, love fishing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s mothershipping in the Coral Sea on the fishing adventure of a lifetime or it’s a yearly trip to dangle a few pillies on the reef, Port Douglas is well-equipped to cater to every fisho.
It appears that we at Newsport weren’t the first to notice this either. Douglas Shire Council is making a concerted effort to push recreational fishing in the Shire and personally I think it’s fantastic. In recent years fishing has been shown to improve mental health and cognitive function as well as treat trauma and PTSD to name just a few benefits, not to mention the fact that it’s just bloody great fun. Anything that gets more people outdoors and fishing is a good thing in my book, especially kids. Congratulations must go to Council and especially Phil Laycock for launching the Fishing For the Future initiative. With public submissions for the draft action plan closing today we’re going to be hearing a lot more about this over the next couple of years as it shapes and defines the way we fish in Douglas Shire. If you haven’t had a look yet, it’s worth browsing through but for those of you who don’t want to read all that stuff, we’re going to catch up occasionally with Council to find out exactly what’s happening on that front. We’ll have more on this soon.
As most of us would know (and any game fisher right around the world), the big black marlin season is about to start in FNQ. Amanda Haines and the team at Zulu Gamefishing Charters have been flat out gearing up to move their operation offshore for the build up months. This is a crazy time of year for Zulu as they spend most of their time at sea chasing 1000lb blacks along the shelf between Cairns and Lizard Island. Amanda is going to keep us updated with reports from out wide (phone signal depending!) and let us know of any big girls they encounter over the next few months. Over to you Amanda…
Hi guys, we’re excited to deliver you offshore reports from our stable of sports-fishing vessels based here in Port Douglas. What better time to kick this off as we throw ropes and head into the giant black marlin season which runs from September into early December annually. Fishing off the shelf between Port Douglas and north along the Ribbon Reefs up to and around Lizard Island we’re primarily targeting black marlin, dogtooth tuna, yellowfin and other large pelagic species. I look forward to sharing our experiences with you as the season progresses but for the time being, tight lines!
While the Fish Report is still very much in its infancy, we have some big plans. With Amanda reporting from out wide and Jake from Exceed covering sportfishing we’ve got a good foundation. Eventually we’d like to add to that with some extra contributors as well. Maybe a barra specialist? What about a mackerel-whisperer? Perhaps a land-based guru??? If you’ve got any ideas – or you reckon you’ve got the local fishing on a string – drop me a line and let me know. For now though, it’s over to Jake. Hope you catch a few this week.
Sportfishing with Jake Wyatt
Just wanted to start by saying a massive thanks to Jereme and the team from Newsport for coming up with this concept and putting together a great weekly fishing report. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Jake Wyatt and I am the Captain and owner of Exceed Sportfishing in Port Douglas.
Being a small personal operation and on the water every week, this gives me the perfect opportunity to speak with fellow operators and give you the up-to-date fishing news that’s been happening on the water. Now as I’m sure you’re all aware, the last couple of months has been absolutely out of control for wind, and with no end in sight for the next couple of weeks it looks like we will be contained to the estuary.
There was a brief break in the weather last week which enabled us to get out to the reef and with the spawning die to happen very soon, the fish were hungry. The coral trout were snapping their heads off and were of a great size also.
We also happened to come across a few species we don’t see too often, including the purple rock cod. These are prime eating fish with lovely white flakey flesh.
The coastal areas also produced some cracking trout in the shallows but it didn’t take long before the tax man arrived and when you’re in only 10 metres of water, it makes you upset!
When the wind kicked in later in the week we took our program back into the Estuary and let’s just say it was all action stations. Multiple mangrove jacks were smashing baits as well as some great queenfish off the surface. Another species we don’t see too often is the fingermark especially good sized ones and we managed to pull a few from some deeper holes. Just because it’s windy doesn’t mean there isn’t some great fish to be caught.
Now with school holidays in full swing, we have many days booked in and hopefully the fish will be hungry again. October is usually the start of the break in the wind so this blow can’t go on for too much longer (fingers crossed!). Over the next few months there will be some great fish to chase out on the reef and beyond.
As you read this article, giant black marlin will be cruising up and down the reef edges so as soon as the wind breaks the boats will be out chasing these magnificent beasts, and we will be one of them! There is nothing better to see on the water than when one of these big girls jumps right next to the boat. And then to see them released to swim away happily and ready to fight another day, it’s a great feeling.
Once again I just want to thank the Newsport team for making this happen, and hopefully down the track, with everyone’s support we can really get his report up and running and start promoting Port Douglas as a great fishing destination.
There is also a great team led by Phil Laycock which has done some amazing work in promoting Port as a sustainable fishing destination for years to come.
With these two new programs in place, I believe it can only push the Port Douglas fishing scene in the right direction and get the recognition we need as a sustainable fishing travel destination.
Til next time tight lines and may the weather gods be kind!