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Cairns Sooty Grunter

1 Jul 2013 12:06 PM - Chris returns from the far North after a week of chasing sooty grunter.
A tully river sooty.
Chris checks out some prime real estate
Luck Craft Sammy was a real winner!
A Sammy munchin' sooty.

Just back from a great 5 day break in FNQ. While the aim was to amble around over our break Bec and I quickly settled on a nice camp site in the Tully River Gorge and spent our mornings and evenings chasing sooty grunter and jungle perch on surface lures.

'Walk the dog' lures such as Lucky Craft Sammy and Rebel Frog-Rs along with fizzers and poppers all worked well in low light while Jackall TN60s accounted for plenty of fish in brighter conditions. Trying to get long casts to the far bank meant heavier lures than we would have thought normal so keep this in mind if you're heading up that way.

We both used relatively light 6'6" multi piece travel rods loaded with 6lb braid and this seemed to handle the conditions nicely with only a couple of fish getting the better of us. For leaders we went with the super tough, hard to see Icon Fluorocarbon in 10lb joined to the braid with a double uni knot and this held up nicely even when rasped across rocks under serious load.

Water levels were pretty high and the river was really pumping through the middle of the day when extra water is let out to give the local rafting companies better water flow. With this in mind we stuck to the calmer early morning and late afternoon periods and focussed on pocket water.

The camp ground at the Tully Gorge was a great spot to set up the Britz camper for our stay and offered plenty of the comforts of home even while being immersed in the tropical jungle of Queensland's North.

Over the course of the week we caught plenty of good sized sooty grunter and a handful of beautiful jungle perch all of which put up a great account of themselves on the light gear used.

This is a great trip to get you out of your southern winter blues. It's easily accessible (no need for 4wd) and relatively cheap. While local knowledge would certainly increase your catch rate you can wing it and still do rather well.

Take anything in your kit that you'd normally throw at trout, bream or estuary perch and use the same techniques that work down south. Just remember to be flexible. While we've had great fishing in past trips right through the middle of the day we did find that early and late got us our best results this time around.

You'll see in the pics we did do a little bit of wading and you need to be careful and aware of the dangers of this. This IS croc country and these animals can be found in the region that we fished. But given how cold the water was and how far up steam we were we felt safe enough to wade out and fish. I wouldn't be keen to try this in the warmer months. Mind you it didn't take long after dark for us to get the heebie geebies and look for safer, higher and drier ground.

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