If you like using the ‘wand’ then Cooktown offers a huge variety of fish and environments to catch them in.
Fish the upper reaches of the Endeavour, Annan and McIvor rivers with a nice 3-5 weight outfit for species such as jungle perch and sooty grunter. Enjoy a cooling swim in a ‘croc-free’ environment where you can lie back and enjoy the flora and fauna of the area. The fish here may not grow huge but on the relative tackle and the sheer beauty of the places you’ll be visiting, you’ll have a ball. Once you start coming down into the lower reaches things change dramatically. It may be time to put away the 5 weight and get out the 7-9 weight. All of a sudden the number of species you can target increase. Barra and jacks around the snags (fly placement is the key factor here). Fish the deeper holes for queenies, trevally and tarpon which I reckon are made for the fly rodder. Then try manoeuvring around the flats by electric motor and sight-fishing for species such as Barra, giant herring, milkfish, permit, queenfish, trevally and the elusive bonefish.
Leave the relative shelter of the estuary and cruise out to the nearby headlands, wrecks and reefs when the weather permits. Take your small rods but pack something bigger too (9 weights+). This is where you’re likely to encounter Spanish mackerel, longtail tuna, big queenfish and trevally.
There can’t be many destinations in the world where there is such a varied selection of species and different environments all within a few miles of each other.
Just a reminder that Cooktown is Australia’s nearest town to the Great Barrier Reef and some of the worlds best marlin grounds