Submerged trees are always a great location to stop and have a fish. The large prey will be looking for bait fish seeking shelter in the branches. Try a large variety of fishing styles until you find what works best in that location. Try casting your line right up into the shallows and slowly retrieving your bait. Place a float line out the back of the boat while you bottom fish or cast some lures. Fishing is an active sport and the more effort you put in the more results you will get in return.

Fishing can also be very relaxing and a great way to spend a day off with the family sitting at the beach enjoying the sun and the water or just throwing in a line and enjoying a nice beer with some friends and then you hook a nice size Barramundi, it starts jumping out of the water and putting on a performance, all of a sudden the relaxing day at the beach has become a little more hectic. So a nice relaxing day at the beach can still turn out to be a great days fishing. That is the excitement that surrounds fishing, knowing that at any moment anything could happen to make a good days fishing into a great days fishing.

Land Based

Land Based fishing in Cairns has a lot to offer. There are many fishing spots that are easily accessed by car.The Barron River is a good location for land based fishing because about 70% of the saltwater reaches of the river are accessible by car or a short walk.. In the upper reaches of all the river systems in the Cairns region you can catch Mangrove Jack, Barramundi, Bream and small Trevally just to name a few.

The lower parts of the estuary you have a lot more tidal flow and larger numbers of species can be found. Along with the species of fish upstream you can also catch Cod, Flathead, Grunter, Salmon, Jewfish, Whiting and not to forget the tasty Mud Crab.The best way to fish the Barron River is to catch live bait that can range from Mullet, Sardines, Prawns, Herring and Yabbies.

Live Bait

To catch Prawns and Bait fish you will need a Cast Net and maybe a few pointers if it is your first time. The guys at Barron River Tackle should be able to help you out with some advice. Low tide is the best time to catch prawn and Bait fish as they are forced out of the shelter of the mangroves as the tide recedes and the mud becomes exposed.

Herring and Sardines are very good bait but it is very hard to keep them alive. Before you even get them out of the Cast Net most of them are dying or died.

Mullet are a very hardy fish and can be subjected to harsher conditions and still pull through ok. Because Mullet are a strong and hardy fish the Mullet will stay active on the end of your line for a lot longer period of time giving you a better chance of attracting a large hungry predator. Yabbies need to be caught with a yabbie pump. The yabbies are found at low tide just off the sand bars on the mudflats. You need to have a bit of a keen eye to spot the active yabbie holes but with a little practice and persistence you will become an expert. This job is great for the kids because it is safe, fun and easy job that will keep them entertained for hours. The yabbies make a small mound with a little hole in the Centre. You have to place the yabbie pump vertically over the hole and as you draw the pump handle up you will push the pump body into the mud. Lift the pump out of the mud and the pump body will have the mud and hopefully a yabbie trapped inside. To eject the mud you will need to push down on the handle, once the mud has been ejected onto the ground beside the hole you will need to move the mud around to expose the yabbie/s if it is not on top. If there is no yabbie you should repeat the process in the same hole once or twice then move to the next yabbie hole. Yabbies can be kept in a bucket. There is also a yabbie belt where you can have a yabbie holder clipped into your belt for easy access for when the fish are on the bite.

You need to catch the yabbies on low tide so the best place to fish with the yabbies is on an incoming tide over the very mud flats that you caught your bait. The larger fish will be patrolling the mudflats for any stray yabbies or active yabbie holes that the yabbie could be sucked out of.


Fishing from a boat is a great way to get to the remote locations that can’t be accessed by car or by foot. Fishing from a boat gives you more room for casting lures because you’re not limited by your surroundings such as trees or rock like land based fisherman.

You can also troll from a boat, which allows you to cover a lot of ground and become familiar with the river system. If there has been a flood or it has been more than a month since you have been in the river, the estuary could have some major changers such as fallen trees and new or relocated sand bars. All of these things can make a big difference to a days fishing if you take the time to explore the river system.Another bonus to boat fishing is that when you hook a fish most often you are retrieving the fish away from the snag or danger Zone. Land based you are retrieving the fish into the danger zone, which can be exciting and rewarding when you finally get the fish on the bank or it could be very disappointing when you loose the fish to sharp rocks or  tree branches.

Boats do have their disadvantages too; limited space, motor braking down and maintenance. A boat requires a lot of maintenance and can become very expensive if you only use it once a month or less. A cheaper alternative is to use a Hire Boat. You don’t have the problem of maintenance or wear and tear.With a boat you can fish in a number of different locations in the river system in a short period of time to locate where the fish are active on that particular day.


Crabs are great eating and are fun to catch. The most common crabs that are eaten in the Cairns region are Mud Crab and Sand Crab. Mud Crab is the most popular out of the two. Mud Crabs taste great and if caught at the right time of the month will have a lot of flesh. Mud Crabs are found predominantly in rivers that are lined with mangroves but have been found in the upper reaches of tidal rivers. Mud Crabs are also found along beaches and weed beds that are near river mouths. Sand Crabs are common along beaches and anywhere that you find sand along the coastline. Crabs are mostly caught with Crab Pots (Link). Crab pots area easy to use and require little skill. You place your bait into the centre of the pot and secure it to the bottom (my vary with some pots). This is so the crab doesn’t grab the bait from the entrance and walk away with a free meal. You will need a long rope with a Float at the top. The float needs your name and address written on it and the pot will also need a tag with your name and address on it. The legal limit of pots you are allowed to use is 4 per person.

Now comes the most difficult part of crabbing, where to place the crab pot. It is recommended not to place your crab pot in the current. Your pot will drift if the current is strong. Crabs are found near the banks of rivers so when placing your pot don’t put it in the deepest part of the river you can find.You will notice that if you are in an area with a large numbers of crabs you with find that they are stealing your bait of the hook. If you are lucky enough you can retrieve the line and catch the crab but that is very rare, most of the time the crab will let go of the line before you can retrieve the line.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is the organization that monitors the fishing industry. Allowed catch sizes. Anyone who has spent some time out in a boat will tell you that they have been pulled up by the DPI and had everything checked out from fish to safety gear. So remember before going fishing make sure you know the rules for that area and beware of Crocodiles.

Don’t forget about the closures – barramundi can not be kept between the first of November till the first of February on the east coast and the gulf starts one month earlier, heavy fines are in place for those that don’t abide by these closures.