FNQ Safari Day 8 – Reef fishing

On day 8 of the trip we went fishing. With Cooktown’s reputation for fish, including coral trout and marlin, we asked for recommendations from Nick, the skipper of our boat cruise on Sunday evening. He gave us a couple of names and phone numbers, one of whom was Cody. Cody had fished for coral trout professionally for about 10 years and had grown up along the Daintree coast so we were told he knows where to go and how to catch fish. As novice fishers we thought it would be best to go with a local like that to give us the best chance of catching something, anything!

We booked a fishing trip with Cody sight unseen, over the phone, expecting some largish boat with a galley and toilet and cabin much like the one we’d had for the sunset tour the day before. And we expected morning tea with scones and jam – and lunch! It was not to be however. It was fishing, pure fishing. And the boat was just big enough for Cody, Sigi, John (another tourist) and me.

We reset our expectations as Cody drove up to the wharf in his boat, stepped off, and introduced himself. The boat was fit for purpose and hey it was a little bit of adventure wasn’t it? The wind had died off overnight so Cody checked whether we were brave enough to risk the waves out towards the reef. We could go fishing in the river he said but another boat had already headed off that way so he didn’t like our chances of finding a good fishing spot up river. If we could make it out to the reef without being too affected by the waves he recommended we go that way. We thought, oh well, we don’t get airsick so we should be able to handle a few waves and so off we went out past the river mouth and a couple of miles off shore to the south east. The south east trade wind was still blowing, albeit not very strongly, and the boat was rocking and rolling on the swell. We focussed on the horizon and pretended it was just a little turbulence from some thermals. And it worked. No nausea! There were a few big splashes along the way as we thumped down off the crest of the waves and Sigi was unlucky enough to be on the side where the water splashed. The rain jacket came in handy.

Out at the reef no sooner had Cody baited the lines and Sigi had thrown hers in but she had a nibble and hauled in a great little coral trout. This was looking promising!

Then John hauled one in but it was too small so back it went. Then Sigi caught another one. She was starting to like this fishing lark.

I was beginning to feel a bit left out with nothing biting on my hook. But suddenly Cody hooked a fish and handed the rod to me. And it was a big one!

For the next 2-3 minutes I wrestled with that 13kg monster, hauling it in part way, then letting it swim a bit, then hauling it in some more.

Cody tried to hook it with the gaffer hook but missed and it headed around the other side of the boat and we changed sides and the fight continued. Back and forth we went until the fish started to tire (I was exhausted by this stage) and I was finally able to haul it close enough to the boat for Cody to hook it and bring it aboard.

Wow! The heart was racing after that.

Cody said it was a Cobia or Black King Fish. What a majestic creature.

After that highlight we settled into catching a few coral trout and had about 6 good sized fish by the time we headed back into port.

Cody filleted them at the wharf and we took our share back to the B&B for Katrina to cook up for Ray and herself. That’s my kind of fishing.

We’d certainly engage Cody for another trip. If you are up that way try to call him. 0427 695 980

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