Top times at the Tip

AS I write this, the SE breeze is rustling the coconut palm fronds outside my window and the azure waters of the Torres Strait are glistening in the late afternoon sun. Together with Aku Valta and Chris Beldon from Rapala, I’ve just spent the past eight hours fishing these magic waters at the very tip of Australia.

We’re staying at a comfortable and well appointed lodge on Albany Island, which lies a short distance from the mainland east of Bamaga. This relatively new lodge is the base for CY Fishing Charters, the only guided fishing operation on the eastern side of the tip.

I’ve fished Cape York several times over the years, but always down the western side of the cape, never on this side. Today was a real eye opener. We fished a series of coral reefs, cays, headlands, bays and bommies, all featuring surprisingly clear blue water. The fishing was relatively quiet by Cape York standards – but it was still pretty good! We caught Spanish mackerel to 11kgs, some solid coral trout and trevally from midget sizes to serious unstoppables – mainly by casting poppers and trolling X-Raps, including the new X-Rap 10, a dynamite mid-sized lure ideal for a whole range of southern and northern sportfish.

A highlight for me was catching a very nice coral trout from a pure white sand cay on a Storm Chug Bug. The clear water meant I saw the trout smash the popper only 20 or so metres from the beach. Cool stuff.

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Chris Beldon landing a coral trout that chomped a Storm Chug Bug close to shore.

The lodge itself, run by Hamish and Pat, with Dan helping out with guiding duties and Greg cooking up a storm in the kitchen, is a cracker. Really comfortable and laidback in a fantastic sheltered position on a half-moon crescent of palm fringed beach on the western side of Albany Island, known as Papaju by the local Torres Strait Islanders. We arrived on the island late Tuesday arvo and were greeted with black lip oysters done Kilpatrick style, BBQed king prawns and battered mackerel as appetisers. Dinner an hour or so later was chicken breast stuffed with olive paste. I’m a pretty good eater but I couldn’t finish my dinner – too many oysters … When I finish banging out this report I’m planning on watching the sun sink over the tip of Australia while enjoying a cold beer with the boys and discussing the how many fish we aim to catch tomorrow.

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Chris and a toothy Spanish mack spun up on a Rapala Clackin’ Minnow.

Stay tuned for a full report on this trip in an upcoming edition of Fishing World magazine. In the meantime, check out for more details on this unique tropical sportfishing lodge.

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Sunset in paradise – what will tomorrow bring?…

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