Few places on the planet woo fishermen like Cairns does.
Constant sunshine, tropical reefs, clear creeks – literally hundreds of perfect places to drop a line.
Here, we explore five of the best.
1. Kings Point
If it’s giant, bragging-rights-style fish you’re after, Kings Point, situated around 15 kilometres south of Cairns Inlet, is for you.
Nestled between the mainland and famous Fitzroy Island, Kings Point is a deep-water trench (40-foot drop) where you’re almost guaranteed to land golden snapper (AKA fingermark) and black jewfish – especially in summer when squid arrive.
Head out at night with a lantern to grab squid for live lures, or look for crayfish around the inlet and the island itself.
Just be mindful that golden snapper are vulnerable to overfishing – the minimum size is 35 centimetres and the possession limit is five.
Take care, too, as the open water here can be rough!
2. Freshwater Creek
Despite its reputation for offering some of the world’s best ocean and reef fishing, Cairns is also home to some great inland spots, like Freshwater Creek, off the Barron River.
At the top of the creek lies Crystal Cascades, a beautiful waterfall that washes fat barramundi, mangrove jack and the rare jungle perch into the waters below.
Only 15 mins from the city centre, you can head to Freshwater after work, and kayak on super clear water, feeling like you’re miles away from the city.
Just be aware that you’re limited to one jungle perch, due to their slow-growing nature.
From the land, head upstream from Lower Freshwater Road to fish, but be mindful – this is croc country, and mozzies abound!
3. Port Douglas
For a spot that’s picturesque and offers amazing land-based fishing and ocean catch fresh from the Great Barrier Reef, you can’t go past Port Douglas.
In fact, Port, 60 clicks north of Cairns, is considered one of Australia’s best game and sports fishing spots.
Head to Sugar Wharf, popular with land fishers, or the Anzac Park rock wall (by Dickson Inlet) for mangrove jack, golden snapper, and north Queensland’s famed barra.
Of course, it’s hard to stay on dry land in Port Douglas. You’ll need a boat to access Dickson, but if there’s one thing Port Douglas is famous for, it is fishing charters.
Book one to access the best spots for trevally and coral trout – which can get up to 20 kilos and are available all year round!
4. Trinity Inlet
Just a few minutes from the heart of Cairns, the unique, mangrove-lined estuary that serves the city abounds with wildlife, including native birds, crocodiles and – most excitingly for anglers – over 40 species of fish.
With 90 kilometres of calm waters, there’s plenty of reason to take your boat to try your luck at this prime fishing destination.
Target trophy golden snapper, gunter, mangrove jacks and barramundi when it’s warm, and look out for trevally during the cooler dry season.
Don’t worry if you haven’t got a boat!
As well as experienced charters that can take you out to the best spots, land-based anglers can try the pier near the mouth of the inlet or the basin at the northern-most boat ramp, where you can often find bream and barra.
If the kids want to bring their rods, head to the dedicated fishing spot off the Inlet’s Waterfront Boardwalk.
5. Fitzroy Island
Lying in azure waters just off Cape Grafton, tropical Fitzroy Island is paradise just 45 minutes from Cairns on the ferry.
Sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, it’s not only a spectacular World Heritage site but also the jumping-off point for some of the best fishing charters in the tropics.
Year-round, the waters surrounding the island provide abundant fishing for all levels.
Head here between July and September to fish the iconic and world-famous black marlin, which gets to more than 40 kilos!
Fitzroy Island is also home to the Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament, attracting anglers from all over the country.
Note – Fitzroy is a national park, subject to strict regulations – check zoning, bag and size limits before you fish.
There are far more Cairns fishing spots than any one angler could tackle (see what we did there?) in one lifetime, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?
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