North Queensland 2 Day Adventure Part 1

Story by Scott Whitfield

For me personally I have always been fascinated by Jungle Perch and Sooty Grunter and they've been high on my bucket list of fish I have always wanted to catch. The enigmatic nature of these fish combined with the scenery and locations you catch them in, it would be hard to find a more rewarding trip destination. 

I got talking with good mate Marty Kennedy about these awesome fish and he said that he had been talking to a mate of his, Michael, who lived in Townsville and mentioned a little creek that he had found while riding his motor bike through some fire trails. This little creek happened to be loaded with Sooty Grunter and Jungle Perch.  The thought of catching Sooty Grunter and Jungle Perch is one thing but adding on top of that the adventure side of riding motor bikes for an hour through fire trails to get to a remote creek were fish don't get to see lures that often, words can not describe my excitement.

"The enigmatic nature of these fish combined with the scenery and locations you catch them in,
it would be hard to find a more rewarding trip destination."

We rode for quite some time as we headed deeper and deeper off the beaten track. Each gate leading us further and further into a land seemingly forgotten and almost as it was before we arrived in this land. Wide open space slowly gace way to dense forest and a winding creek with gin clear water flowed alongside. Once we had reached our destination, we followed a stream full of river rock and crystal clear water and started walking up stream. Within no time we came across our first real pool of water. I excitedly lobbed a cast to the edge of the pool and it wasn't long before my surface lure was ambushed by a little Sooty. Sooties are aggressive little fish and will respond to surface lures and plastics. They're built like a Sherman tank so sturdy gear is required once they reach the larger sizes. In any case, it was one down, one to go.


We pressed on upstream, with Michael leading the way and the next minute he started back pedalling quickly, I realised what was going and that there was a big black snake blocking our path. You might recognise Marty from his NRL career, but he also has a strong passion for reptiles and owns the biggest reptile breeding business in Australia, so when Marty sees a snake it is second nature for him to want to catch it and have a look at it. Within no time Marty had hold of the snake and it was interesting to learn the history behind the Red Bellied Black snake in North Queensland and how the were almost extinct after the cane toad was introduced to Australia. Unfortunately, Red Bellied Black Snakes love living near water and their diet consists in part of frogs and subsequently the cane toad. (Please remember that Marty is a professional snake handler,  so please don't go picking up random snakes when you come across them).

After our brief history lesson, we released the snake and begun the search for Jungle Perch.   

Scott Whitfield

(SGW Fishing)