North Queensland Freshwater Specialist
Brett operates “The Uncanny Angler”, a unique Cairns based guided fishing experience that involves drifting skinny, clear, crocodile infested waters and casting lures at two northern sweetwater sportfish – Jungle Perch and Sooty Grunter. He also operates a booking service to connect visiting anglers with all kinds of fishing experiences through his FNQ networks.
Brett’s Sooty Grunter And JP Tips
- It’s critical to cast super accurately. Unlike lots of other fishing styles, it doesn’t work to cast past the fish and work the lure back to them. It’s critical to drop the lure right on their nose. These species feed a lot on falling insects etc, so you need to cast super close to the bank. If you’re not getting hung up from time to time you’re probably not casting tight enough to the structure.
- The dry season is when the river levels are low and the water is gin clear. The river varies from reasonably fast flowing, shallow rapids to deep holes on corners. There’s tons of structure in the form of logs, rocks, weed beds and the river meanders.
- Look for back eddies or patches of slower water next to fast flowing areas. On hot days during the warmer months, cast into the shade, especially for jungle perch.
- Both of these species tends to be relatively spooky, so once you’ve pulled one from a hole, move on to the next hole – don’t worry, there is structure everywhere in this system.
- Brett particularly likes periods when the water level has risen and is falling again but has had time to clear. Outside of those times casting accuracy becomes particularly important as a reaction bite is the only thing that will work.
Brett’s Tackle For Skinny Northern Sweetwater
- 6’6” 4-6kg spin rods (Brett uses Black Savage), 2500 size Shimano Nasci reels loaded with 12-15lb braided line and 12lb mono leader is a good combination that allows anglers to pull lures out of trees after a stray cast and can handle the odd barra or jack that turns up from time too.
- Brett recommends learning to cast and reel with opposite hands. This allows the angler to work the lure the instant it hits the water. A second or two delay is enough that you’ll hook a lot more fish.
- It’s not a bad idea to use a small, lightweight clip on the type with no moving parts. These are strong and enable quick lure changes as you’re drifting downstream firing out casts.
Brett’s Sooty Grunter And Jungle Perch Lures
- The Rapala Shad Rap SR5 is a great hard body lure that catches a lot of sooties and jp’s, especially in slightly deeper water. Colour doesn’t matter too much, but Brett leans towards greenish colours. He works this lure with a steady retrieve, but uses the rod to impact a subtle speed variation sometimes. This lure has slightly light trebles for this of work and Brett usually replaces at least the rear treble with a heavier duty hook.
- Lively Lures Micro Mullet in hot pink has a very aggressive vibration and has been deadly under lots of different conditions. The buoyancy of them allows the angler to work them up to a snag and then pause to let it float up before re-commencing the retrieve.
- For surface fishing the River 2 Sea 65mm Bubblepop is deadly, especially in rapid, shallow water. Cast it very long to get it away from the boat, then retrieve with a “tap, tap, pause” style retrieve. This is often best during the low light periods, with diving lures being better during bright sunlight, but there are occasions when the surface offering will work all day long.
- The Samaki Vibelicious in 70mm sizes are a wildcard entry into Brett’s tackle box. It can be cast long and then worked with hops and pauses. Don’t allow it to have slack line between hops, keep it just above the bottom and work it pretty quickly.