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Thanks to Clive for the story and photos below.
I have been coming up to Cape York for 15 years having fished out of both Cooktown and Weipa over that time. Weipa is by far my preferred destination, not least because of the convenience of Weipa Houseboats. My first couple of trips to Weipa were land-based and consisted of staying in the camping grounds, hiring a tinny and pottering around the rivers - some success, but nothing to write home about. Then a mate of mine introduced me to Kevin Collins - a very keen fisho out of Airlie Beach who used to run charters out of Weipa on Weipa Houseboats. I was hooked. Not only was Kev an excellent guide, but the experience taught me the advantages of having a mobile base camp that could get you to great fishing spots, with the convenience of well-equipped tenders that you could use to chase the bigger stuff offshore, or use to poke about in tiny creeks off the river systems both north and south of Weipa. I did a couple of trips with Kev then decided to have a go at it myself. Pulling together a bunch of mates we did our first trip about ten years ago and have never looked back. The houseboats and tenders are well-maintained and every year Steve and Lisa improve something on them. Their customer service is second to none and they are always ready to give helpful advice about fishing spots, lures, target species, etc. This year's trip was awesome - four of us on Tillymay with Jon and I being the "old timers" and Rob and Bruce being the "newbies". Rob is a keen fisho, but Bruce hadn't touched a rod in years, so of course he caught the biggest barra during the trip! We started our trip by heading down to Redcliffs for a few days, targeting barra off the northern end of the beach at dawn and dusk and pulling in some smaller specimens between 45 - 60cm, mainly on Yo-Zuri surface lures across the shallow reef on the north side of the rocks. Queenies, trevally, pike and smaller barracuda were by-product catches which added to the fun on light baitcaster tackle.

One thing we did notice was a slide from a large croc next to the rocks one evening. There'd been no sign of him that morning but he'd obviously wandered up the beach at some point during the day and, from the size of his paw prints, he was a big bugger! We never saw him though, but it did serve to make us extra wary when beaching the boat and sloshing about in the wash when we were beach and rock fishing.
Late mornings we would head out around 3km offshore from Redcliffs down to Pera chasing tuna and macks. They were reasonably plentiful and most were caught on the troll as there were few bait balls around. Sharks as usual were a problem and we lost quite a few of them to some big bull sharks looking for an easy meal. I also managed to catch a nice 12kg barracuda over the reefs off Pera - he gave me a run for my money on one of my lighter rigs but I eventually got him to the boat only to have him lose his tail to a bull shark as I was bringing him in. One other bit of shark excitement was that we hung a tuna frame off the back of the houseboat and had some fun with two big (12') hammerheads. Aggressive little buggers and yet another reason to keep your toes out of the water...! After three days down south the fish went off the bite so we headed up to the Pine/Nomenade and anchored up on the Weipa Houseboats mooring near Crawford Creek. At the bottom of the tide we went poking around a few creeks and that was when Bruce caught his 70cm barra on an old Rapala lure of mine that had definitely seen better days. I also managed to bury a treble in my leg whilst extracting a lure from a snag and surgeon Jono kindly ripped it out with pliers after the traditional fishing line extraction technique failed to work four times... Always good to have someone on board who is capable of undertaking such minor surgical procedures! (As it turned out Jono had to extract another treble from my other calf when Rob managed to hook me. This time he could push the barb out through my skin and Rob cut it off with pliers - I'm still not sure which technique I prefer - neither is pleasant!).
  The rivers and creeks fished well for two days with plenty of legal barra, fingermark, jacks, bream, queenies and trevally falling to our lures, with the odd shark and catfish picking up a prawn chucked out the back of the tender. Our last day proved tough as the fish definitely went off the chew, but we still managed to land some nice barra, trevally and queenfish after some hard work and persistence. So, altogether another great trip and some very happy crew. I think Jono and I did enough to convince Rob and Bruce to come back another year. In the meantime I've booked our trip for next year and am counting down the days already. As always, our thanks to Lisa and Steve for making it so easy and for providing such great customer service and facilities."
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