Weipa’s reputation as a barramundi hotspot is well known, but its waters produce produce many other species, including sailfish and small black marlin.
There is coastal sight fishing for the now infamous “blue bastards”, plenty of spanish mackerel, and tropical reef fish are easy enough to find on the shallow reefs.
Visiting anglers can catch more than 20 species in a week of fishing if both river and offshore areas are visited.
The reason the fishing is so good is twofold.
The main waterways – the Embley and Hey to the south, Mission and Pine to the north – are closed to commercial netting.
Secondly, the estuaries are vast expanses of flats and mangroves fed annually by a wet season monsoon.
This ensures a healthy bait cycle, which supports plenty of barramundi, mangrove jacks, golden snapper, threadfin salmon, cod, jewfish, queenfish, grunter, pikey bream and more.
Rock patches along the Albatross Bay foreshores and offshore provide habitat for barramundi, mangrove jacks, golden snapper, cod and coral trout, as well as queenfish and trevally.
The shipping channel at the mouth of the Embley River can provide excellent fishing, particularly around Urquhart Point and near the lead posts that extend seawards for 10km.
Bait schools often shelter in the dredged channel, attracting mackerel, tuna, trevally, queenfish and cobia.
Circling and diving birds are good indicators of pelagic activity offshore.
Look out also for manta rays – they often are accompanied by mammoth cobia and golden trevally.
Cast tuna slices or lures trolled around the edge of the bait schools will bring results.
Good reef fishing can be found off Westminster, Pera Head and Duyfken Point.
Use livebait on the drop-offs in about 8m to 15m of water for best results.
Big jewfish are quite common off Weipa.
FADs have been located offshore for those who chase billfish, mackerel, dolphin fish and tripletail.
A highly detailed fishing map of Weipa is available in the North Australian FISH FINDER book.
Most Weipa visitors head straight for the estuary flats, fishing the low-tide gutters for barramundi, salmon and queenfish.
Weipa has open public access via 600km of road via Cairns. Much of the route is now sealed.
Fishing gear for Queensland's tropical watersMuch tropical estuary and river fishing involves casting and trolling lures around snags, where a lure desnagger soon pays for itself. The simplest type is dropped on a cord ... see eBay link here.
Or for a true blue Aussie lure desnagger, try this one ... eBay link here.
When targeting barramundi and other large tropical estuary fish a baitcaster combo is the best option. The small overhead reels on these combos allow thumb control when casting, making lure placement easy. However practise is required to cast these reels and they do not cast tiny lures easily. A baitcaster combo loaded with 10kg braid will handle most barramundi and threadfin salmon, with 15kg line better for large dam fish among timber and when trolling big rivers. See a suitable baitcaster listing on eBay here. The listed rod-reel combo can be used for trolling and casting.
Single-handed baitcaster rods are an option for day-long casting sessions, these combos are missing the rod butt's lower section. DO NOT buy a low-quality baitcaster reel as they can be awful to use - if on a tight budget buy a spinning reel instead.
A 6kg spin outfit (eggbeater type reel) is fine for much tropical Queensland estuary and freshwater fishing. Lighter outfits aren't recommended as you may hook big fish in tropical waters. A 6-10kg rod-reel combo is needed for barramundi and threadfin salmon and this can also be used to cast lures to pelagic fish such as mackerel and tuna. A 3kg spin outfit is ideal for whiting, bream and flathead. See eBay listing here.
For boat fishing, a short, powerful rod with overhead or spinning reel loaded with 15kg braided line is ideal for general reef fishing in water to around 25m deep, and can also be used to troll for pelagic fish. See eBay listing here.
Heavier outfits are recommended for deeper water, always using braided line as its thin diameter is less affected by currents.
Soft plastic grubs and shads are good all-round lures for a range of tropical Queensland saltwater and freshwater estuary species. See eBay listing here.
Jig heads are needed for unrigged soft plastic lures. See eBay listing here.
Bibbed hardbody minnows by quality brands such as Reidys and Classic are generally used for barramundi fishing. Barramundi are strong fish that tear apart the split rings and hooks on cheaply made lures, so buy wisely. Tropical tackle shops are well stocked with these lures.
Squid jigs are useful in tropical Queensland waters. See eBay listing here.
Snapper leads are generally used on a paternoster rig for boat fishing. Heavy leads are needed in deep water because of ocean currents.
For most other fishing, ball sinkers are used, as part of a running sinker rig. Listing on eBay here.
Hooks in mixed sizes (suggest 1# or #2 for whiting, 6# or #8 for garfish, 4/0 for flathead, 11/0 for barramundi, jewfish and reef fish. Listing on eBay here.
Ganged hooks (joined chains of hooks) are used when fishing pilchard or sauri baits for mackerel. Listing on eBay here.
Lastly, Queensland tropical waters have saltwater crocodiles, stonefish, box jellyfish, irukandji jellyfish and ever-present sharks. These can all show up where you don't expect them, including in the shallows around boat ramps and beaches next to tourist resorts. Don't take risks.
BOATS FOR SALE in Brisbane - current eBay listings here.
Email corrections, additions, pictures or video here.
Some external videos about Weipa fishing are featured below.
Weipa 9-Mile Reef
Seisia to Weipa trip
Never get caught without a replacement rod tip again