Fishing & Spearfishing Cape York Australia

Cape York is one of Australia’s most iconic and breathtaking destinations, renowned for its stunning natural beauty and abundance of incredible fishing and spearfishing opportunities.

Cape York has something to offer everyone, whether you’re an experienced angler or a thrill-seeking spearfisherman.

Its countless rivers, creeks, lakes, and bays offer some genuinely unique fishing experiences. From the crystal-clear waters of Lakefield National Park to the rugged landscape and untouched wilderness of Moreton Island, you’ll find endless opportunities for reeling in your next big catch.

Whether you’re looking for a serene afternoon spent fly fishing or a heart-pounding spearfishing adventure in the middle of the open ocean, Cape York is the perfect destination for any fishing or spearfishing enthusiast.

So why not pack your gear and head to this fantastic corner of Australia today? You’re sure to have an unforgettable experience!

Listen to more spearfishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

Best Time to Fish in Cape York Australia

The best time to catch fish depends on the type of fish you want to catch. If you want to catch a Barramundi, the best time to fish is when the weather starts to warm up, mostly during September and October.

To catch Coral trout, you’ll want to head out to the reefs when the water is clear and at its warmest, typically in winter through spring. They do not have big scales and are easy to prepare and shoot.

This is what Lauren Fisher, a spearfishing woman out of Australia and an expert in this field, said, “Like you just can’t go past the coral trout as an eating fish; you can eat the skin of it. You like its flesh, with every part of that fish you can use. And it’s effortless to eat it as well.”

“It doesn’t have the big scales that you have to cut through either. It’s not too much effort at the end of the day when you’re so exhausted that all you want to do is have a shower and chill out for a bit, and they’re super easy to shoot.”

For other species like snapper or mangrove jack, you’ll want to hit the flats during high tide and look for areas with lots of baitfish.

Whether you’re fishing from a boat, the shore, or kayak, there’s always an ideal time to wet a line somewhere in Cape York, Australia.

spearfishing cape york
Source: Canva Pro

What Type of Fish Can Be Found in Cape York, Australia?

With its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, Cape York is a fishing and spearfishing haven for anglers.

Whether you’re an experienced fisherman looking to land that trophy catch or a beginner hoping to get your feet wet, there’s something for everyone in the beautiful fishing grounds off Cape York.

Common fish species include:

  • Barramundi
  • Mangrove jack
  • Giant trevally
  • Coral trout
  • Spanish Mackeral
  • Queenfish
  • Stripped tuna
  • Longtail tuna
  • Striped mackeral

Tips for Fishing in Cape York Australia

Fishing in Cape York, Australia, can be a fantastic experience, especially if you know where to go. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:

Do Your Research

There are many different types of fish in Cape York, so it’s important to know what you’re hoping to catch before you head out. This way, you can make sure you’re using the right bait and equipment.

“I think my goal is just to catch or spear all the species in the different states and or in that different ecosystem and to figure out how they live, catch them, and get them onto the dinner table,” Lauren Fisher said. 

Find the Right Spot

Not all bodies of water are created equal when it comes to fishing. Pay attention to things like the depth of the water, the current, and any obstructions in the area. All of these factors can affect your catch.

Don’t Forget the Safety

Cape York can be dangerous if you’re not prepared, especially if you’re going spearfishing. You may encounter crocodiles while in the water, so it’s essential to take all necessary precautions.

Make sure you have a good guide and follow their safety instructions.

Have the Right Gear

If you’re going to be successful at fishing in Cape York, you need to make sure you have the right gear. This includes a good quality rod and reel, appropriate bait and lures, and comfortable clothing.

Have a Dive Buddy

If you’re planning on spearfishing, it’s a good idea to have a dive buddy with you. Not only does this help keep you safe and make your trip more enjoyable, but it also ensures that you’ll get the most out of your time in the water. 

According to Lauren Fisher, “I have caught one billfish on a mate’s boat. He took me out. I was like, man, that’s epic. And he’s like, yeah, come. And I was like, yeah, sure. And so he took me out, I think. We caught one that day which it’s one of the most memorable fish that I’ve caught online. I just didn’t even imagine catching that kind of fish.”

With a little bit of preparation and some expert guidance, you can experience the best that Cape York offers.

Spearfishing in Cape York Australia

Spearfishing in cape york, Australia, is a popular activity for many divers and anglers. Cape York, in northern Queensland, is widely known as the best destination on the east coast for spearfishing, with plenty of fish to be found in its warm waters all year round.

Cape York offers some of Australia’s most varied and beautiful underwater environments, from crystal-clear water and pristine reefs to mangrove-fringed river mouths.

This means that there is a huge variety of fish species in the area, including many popular target species such as snapper, coral trout, and red emperor.

The shallow waters around Cape York are also home to some impressive sportfish, with black marlin, sailfish, and wahoo common in the area. 

According to Lauren Fisher, “You get the biggest variety of fish; you’ve got a little bit of reef here and there where you can get your red emperor and your NGA in your coral trout and your tusk fish to then going out, even wider to getting your marlin and your sailfish. Like it is just an insane ecosystem out there. And a lot of it is shallow water. I think that’s why people do we spearfish along those reefs when they are clear as well.”

Spearfishing is a great way to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures, offering an adrenaline-filled experience unlike any other!

Best Spots for Fishing in Cape York Australia

Cape York is blessed with an abundance of fish species, and there are plenty of great spots to try your luck at spearfishing.

Here are just a few of the best places to go spearfishing in Cape York:

  • Horn Island
  • Weipa 
  • Torres Strait
  • Thursday Island
  • Bamaga
  • Seisia
  • Cape Tribulation
  • Daintree River
  • Cairns
  • Cooktown

What to Bring When Fishing in Cape York Australia 

When heading out for a day of spearfishing in Cape York, there are a few essential items you will need to bring with you. Firstly, you will need a good-quality spearfishing gun.

It is also essential to invest in a good wetsuit, as this will help keep you warm in the water and protect you from the sun.

Other essential items include a spearfishing float, a dive flag, and a knife. You will also need to ensure you have enough food and water for the day and any other supplies you might need, such as sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit.

How to Get Started Spearfishing in Cape York Australia

If you’re new to spearfishing, joining a spearfishing charter is the best way to get started. These charters are run by experienced guides who will teach you everything you need to know about spearfishing, from how to use your gun to where to find the best fish.

Another great way to start spearfishing is to join a local spearfishing club. These clubs often organize trips and events where you can learn from more experienced spearfishers and meet other like-minded people.

Safety When Spearfishing in Cape York Australia

Spearfishing is a great way to enjoy the underwater world, but it is important always to put safety first. First and foremost, you should never spearfish alone.

It is always best to go out with a buddy who can help you if anything goes wrong.

Crocodiles are also a real danger in many parts of Cape York, so it is important to always check for signs before entering the water. If you see any crocodiles, do not enter the water.

It is best to avoid spearfishing in areas with large numbers of swimmers or other boats. Always use a dive flag when spearfishing, and keep an eye on it at all times.


Cape York is a mecca for spearfishing, with many fish species and some of Australia’s most beautiful underwater environments. Whether you’re just getting started or an experienced spearfisher, there are plenty of great spots to explore along this stunning coastline.

Remember always to put safety first, and you’re sure to have incredible experience spearfishing in Cape York.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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