Trip Report: Albany Island, Cape York

IT’S a slightly surreal feeling to catch solid queenies on jigs and poppers just a few hundred metres from the location where Captain James Cook took “possession” of Australia. But yesterday that’s exactly what I was doing.

We were fishing a tidal rip off Possession Island, a few miles to the west of the very tip of Cape York. A large white monument marks the location where Cook laid claim to
this land on August 22, 1770.


I’m up here fishing with the guys from Mako Eyewear. We’re shooting a video and testing out some new sunglass lenses. We’re staying at Albany Island, home base for CY Fishing Charters, a slick guided fishing operation headed up by the amiable Hamish Macmillan, a highly experienced Cape York guide and skipper.


Filming for Mako Eyewear.

The fishing so far has been consistent, with good reef action involving coral trout, nannygai, cod and fingermark. Yesterday’s queenie session off Possession Island was as good as I’ve ever experienced with clouds of terns signalling swarms of 80-90cm queenies feeding on tiny baitfish. We’d move between the flocks of birds, casting poppers and metals to the slashing fish. I had a ball with my micro jigging gear, landing a swag of quality fish by dropping 45 gram jigs below the bait balls.


While queenfish are an ideal target for the micro jig tackle, I found out the hard way that various other reef denizens have no respect for light gear – I got comprehensively busted up on several occasions by what I presume where big GTs before I learnt my lesson and swapped over to 50lb jig gear. Unfortunately even that heavy tackle wasn’t heavy enough … there are some really big and mean fish up here!

Occasionally, however, we enjoyed success. Mako’s marketing man, Dom Wiseman, a tackle industry veteran with plenty of big fish experience under his belt, dropped a two ounce Elevator Rig loaded up with a 7″ Plazo softie 70 feet down over a deep coral reef and loaded up on something that worked him over big time. Long story short, Dom hauled up a cracker Chinaman, a brutally powerful member of the Lutjanid family. These fish are notorious for carrying ciguatera, so he was a release option only. Awesome fight though – these fish are insane!


Chinaman are brutally powerful fish as Dom Wiseman found out!

Apart from the sporting action with queenfish, medium sized GTs and that mental Chinaman, plus tussles with various sharks, both big and small, we’ve managed some very nice hauls of tasty reef fish, including “red fish” in the form of fingermark and small-mouth nannygai. We’ve landed some quality coral trout as well. You’ll be glad to know that all these fish have been transformed into several fantastic meals, including a stand-out feed of beer battered nannygai prepared by CY’s resident chef Simon Dyer. This was seriously the best fish and chips I’ve ever had …

We’ve done a quick filming session this morning, talking about what makes a good pair of fishing sunnies with Mako’s Ian Hoole and Tom Powell. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have no idea of the technical complexities involved with quality polarised sunnies like those produced by Mako. It’s actually pretty interesting stuff and I’ve learnt a lot. Keep an eye out for the Mako vid when it’s released online early next year – it’s got some great fishing action and useful info on what sort of lenses work best for various fishing conditions.



But just now Chef Simon is doing something interesting involving mud crabs for lunch and after that there’s talk about having a another crack at those big GTs … Stay tuned to find out if we manage to boat one of these beasts!


Chef Simon Dyer with a nice muddie destined for the pot.

Meantime, find out more about CY Fishing Charters at and check out the Mako range of sunglasses, including prescription models,


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