the catch at cairns

Catch at Cairns – A Fish to BBQ at Wanggulay

What’s the catch at Cairns, we hear you say. How can our superb location possibly be so affordable, and so incredibly quiet and peaceful outside of peak season? And our beloved Wanggulay holiday rental. Why is it a fraction of what you might expect to spend at other top-end locations? We’ll let you into a secret. There is no catch at Cairns, or Wanggulay for that matter, except what’s swimming in the ocean, reservoirs, rivers and lakes.

We are a bit of a bargain actually. Because of that we have bookings all year round. We earn more money than expensive resorts that may stand empty week after week which enables us to deliver the very best. The only catch at Cairns is the rich harvest of fresh and seawater fish waiting for you to catch. And deliciously barbecue at our exclusive, private holiday home on the fringe of Cairns we call Wanggulay. Why not stay on, and revel in our part of paradise? Who knows, you might decide to book our place when next in Cairns.

the catch at cairns

Chargrilled Baramundi: Kurman Communications: CC 2.0

The Catch at Cairns – Cast Your Hook and Relax

Cairns and its environs are a perfect place to cast your hook and relax. First, we have a warm tropical climate and we are far from being over-fished.  Secondly, our generous monsoon season keeps our rivers and dams full. So, make your choice. Dangle your hook in fresh or salt water as you prefer.  We can’t promise you a record catch while you are staying at Wanggulay on the forested fringe of Cairns. But we may be able to suggest the best fishing places depending on the season.

Cairns and its environs are an ideal place to discover the immense fishing potential of Far North Queensland. The vast Coral Sea offshore and the lakes, rivers and reservoirs inland abound with marlin and barramundi barracuda deliciously grilled over an open fire using a recipe we may share. There are many more tasty species besides for you to relish and enjoy. Many visitors say we are as close to an angler’s paradise as anywhere on earth.

the catch at cairns

Marlin Caught off Cairns: Kris Hamilton: Public Domain

A Broad Take On the Catch at Cairns That’s Available

Shall we dive in, so to speak and see what’s for supper tonight? We will, but first we have some Cairns fishing basics to share with you …

  • We are a regional city in the ‘wet tropics’ of Far North Queensland, Australia. Therefore we have a wet season from November to April (our summer). We have regular monsoons that fill our rivers and create spectacular waterfalls and cataracts. Our drier season is from May to October (officially winter).  The water temperature in our Coral Sea seldom drops below 23 Celsius (73 Fahrenheit).
  • You will have better luck catching certain fish at particular times of the year.  Barramundi (Asian Sea Bass) come inshore in summer when the water is warmer, while Marlin spawn  from September to December when they are easier to hook. Trevally, Kingfish and Queenfish are regular visitors to river mouths during dry winters. They may even swim inland a short distance.
  • Cairns is an easy-going place to fish because a virtual wilderness surrounds us. And we have a generous number of fresh- and saltwater fishing spots. Being a popular angling destination guarantees abundant tackle shops. These range from ‘moms and pops’ offering personal advice, through to warehouses with every imaginable hook. line and sinker.
  • Locals and visitors do not need fishing licenses, except for privately-stocked ponds and ‘closed waters‘ reserved for conservation. We ask you not to return Carp, Tilapia and Gambusia because they are invasive species. Here’s a list of Coral Reef legal sizes and take limits.

Barramundi can grow to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) and weigh 60 kilograms (130 pounds), but that would be an exceptional size, seldom seen except in aquariums …

the catch at cairns

Large Barramundi with Barcoo Grunter in Background: Nick Thorne: CC 2.5

The Catch at Cairns: River Fishing Trevally and Queenfish

Cairns has great sand bars, weed holes and riverbeds  to cook these delicious fish. The best spots are the Daintree River 110 kilometres north of our luxury family accommodation,  and Mulgrave and Russel Rivers south of us. Use 4 t0 10 kilogram tackle (9 to 20 pound) to land a good one. We have healthy populations of blue salmon, bream, estuary cod, flathead, and whiting king waiting to challenge your angling skills. Rest assured these fish are good fighters.

Rich Estuary Fishing in Trinity Inlet off Admiralty Island

Let’s pause for a moment at a remarkable spot offshore from Cairns. This was where the Mulgrave River once entered the Coral Sea before volcanic activity shifted its course. Sediments accumulated over volcanic rocks during this event. These gave birth to the mudflats, mangroves, and the muddy Admiralty Island  these great fish love.

The Trinity Inlet does more than shelter inbound berthing for the Port of Cairns, the region’s sole tanker berth, and a Royal Australian Navy base. It also hosts renewable resources of barramundi, flathead, fingermark,  grunter, mangrove jack, trevally, and salmon in 90 kilometres of waterways where you may freely fish. Although subject to quota to preserve the rich resource.

the catch at cairns

Flying Fish Point: Archmage01: CC 2.0

Beach Fishing Off Golden Sands for Families with Children

The catch at Cairns beaches may not be the richest in the warm Coral Sea, but this is a super way to introduce kids to the open air joys of angling. Take Flying Fish Point for example, where fishing off the beach may land a plump barramundi, or a fighting red mangrove jack. Other popular spots are Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob, Port Douglas, and along the Captain Cook Highway between. All have good facilities, with a likelihood of landing queenfish, trevally, whiting, and mackeral too.

Cairns beach fishing is a great recreational activity for everyone in the family. Because our beaches offer golden sands for suntans, rock pools to explore, and safe swimming with lifeguards. And places to build sandcastles while the barbecue sizzles under your fresh catch of Far North Queensland line fish. And for those that prefer it, we have some quiet, private naturist beaches too. The catch at Cairns you get is what you fancy, on the day.

the catch at cairns

Sweetlip Emperor Fish: Jean-Lou Justine: CC 4.0

‘Bottom Bouncing’ the Catch at Cairns off the Great Barrier Reef

Our Great Barrier Reef is rich in sea-bottom-feeding fish, with some real whoppers lurking there including red emperor, coral trout and nannygai saddletail snappers lurking in the depths. The gorgeous sweetlip emperor fish in the photo grows up to 90 centimetres long (35 inches) from head to tail. Fry the fillets in extra virgin oil. Then spoil them with a half tomato finely sliced, a tablespoon chopped pine nuts, two teaspoons oregano leaves, and the juice of a lemon freshly squeezed.

Bottom fishing, or bouncing is a matter of trawling a 30 to 45 kilogram (60 t0 100 pound) hand line to attract predatory, carnivorous fish rifling through the larder in the sand and coral formations below. This gives you the best possible chance of snagging one, since they are already in a feeding frenzy. You may like us to recommend an experienced charter for your fishing holiday when you arrive. You can’t do this easily from a distance, because the right choice depends on the climate and the season on the day.

the catch at cairns

Boats Ready to Deliver The Catch at Cairns: Neal Jennings: CC 2.0

Deep Sea Fishing – The Catch at Cairns for Serious Anglers

The Great Barrier Reef, and the continental shelf nearby us are both great places to hunt for our local denizens of the deep. Our black marlin are always ready to put up a fight and may win. Our numerous smaller barracuda, dorado, sailfish, wahoo, and spanish mackerel make tasty eating.  It’s no wonder there always seem to be fishing charters leaving Cairns harbour. You could enjoy great views of them from the Cairns Esplanade where the seafood restaurants are excellent.

The preferred times for deep-sea angling in Far North Queensland are from November through to March. Charters travel a way out to sea, and so the rates for basic services are $395 per person assuming  a party of at least five. You could pay up to $1,950 to deep sea fish under the guidance of a an expert. If you want just the two of you on board, then budget up to $5,000 for an experience you could remember for a lifetime. And perhaps have a magnificent trophy for your den too.

The Finest Catch for Serious Holidaymakers at Cairns

When you have done your day of fishing – and we sincerely hope have landed a great catch – thoughts turn to a pleasant evening dining on the tasty proceeds. We have several restaurants in town that will prepare and cook it for you with pleasure. However you may prefer to do the same at our holiday rental some angling parties have called ‘the best catch of all’.

We have super outdoor barbecue facilities, and a five star kitchen with all the appliances you expect to find at home. Our freestanding, very private accommodation nestles cheek and jowl with pristine, indigenous rain forest. And there’s a river a short walk away where you may find no one else besides yourselves. So do come on in and enjoy. Enjoy the finest holiday rental in Cairns. We can’t promise that you will land the catch of your lifetime. But we do promise to do our very best to make you feel welcome as our very valued, very special guest.

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