Trinity Inlet has enjoyed Net-Free status now for around three years. With the nets out of the picture the local anglers have seen a boom in fish stocks and local catches. It was within a remarkably short amount of time that fishing in the Inlet started to significantly improve. And while the locals rejoiced it was also the visitors to Far North Queensland that benefitted from this decision.

One of the big attractions of Trinity Inlet is that it is on Cairns’ doorstep. So for a lot of visitors staying in the city, it’s a short walk to the Marlin Marina where they’ll board their vessel. There are several operators that run full and half day trips around the inlets estimated 90+ kilometres of waterways. A number of people on these charters are first time fishers, and they are rewarded with the pleasant day on the water, amongst beautiful surroundings, catching some stunning fish which are cleaned and prepared for them to take home.

Prime summer species include barramundi, mangrove jack and fingermark, while GT’s, queenfish, flathead, estuary cod, bream and grunter are more prolific during the cooler months. These fishing times also coincide with fish breeding cycles and this fact should be considered by conservation minded anglers. Take only what you need for a decent feed. Visit fishingcairns.com.au for a comprehensive overview of the system in the locations section.

A prime attraction for the Inlet for a number of anglers is it is close and protected, it’s a great option when conditions make it hard to fish on the reef. Most guides start the session in search of live bait, this act in itself can produce some surprises at times, as a picture in this article attests. Once the live well is full the skipper’s head off to their favourite locations. All bait and quality tackle is provided, making for an enjoyable day on the water.

If joining a charter is not your thing, there are a number of other options to wet a line while in Cairns. There are plenty of shore based options, including the northern wall of the Marlin Marina and the number of fishing platforms including the one at the Tingalpa St boat ramp. And if you’ve got all your own gear you can hire a boat and explore the Inlet on your own.

If you do decide to get out on your own, it might be a good idea not to go the day you’re also flying home. I was out on the Inlet myself a few months ago when I came around the corner and found a hire boat high and dry on a sandbar. The four occupants were terrified of Crocodiles, they were at least half a metre out of the water and the tide was still dropping. I went over to assist in whatever way could and they told me they had a flight in four hours time, I suspect they had to book another nights accommodation.

I’m yet to catch a barra over a metre in the Inlet, but one fisho who works for a local tackle store boasts of catching them regularly. And while as a lure fisherman I prefer fishing the river systems, I am spending more time exploring the Inlet and learning its secrets. The Inlet itself is well worth exploring for reasons other than fishing, there is a small population of crocodiles, you can catch a mud crab, and there is plenty of birdlife to keep you interested. But the net ban has been the single best thing to happen to the Inlet, Trinity Inlet has sprung back to be a healthy vibrant system for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

See ya soon, Brett Parks

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