Estuary Spinning for Queenfish
Estuary - Spinning & Vibing


Casting lures in the creeks and rivers along both the east and west coast of Cape York is the stuff of legend. Remote and rarely fished waterways can be accessed by our fully customised dories, equipped with Garmin side and structure scan synced with Garmin 'Force' electric motors.


Spinning or lure casting is done with light overhead and spin outfits. Nothing improves someone's casting ability quicker than aiming at mangroves in the morning, finding out that mangrove jack or barramundi are sitting tight in cover, sometimes needing pin-point accuracy to make them dash out and chase a lure. This challenge inspires fishermen - it can be very addictive!

There is a large bounty of fish living in coastal estuaries, but they aren't always simple to catch. The old adage of no-run-no-fun can be particularly true. There are three major factors which affect the fishing: tide, time of day, and the transition of fish around the estuary. 

It is amazing when a seemingly desolate fishing situation can suddenly come alive. A change of tide or some hidden peak-bite period can suddenly concentrate the fish or switch on a feeding response. Earlier and later in the day tend to work best in the estuaries, but no single factor works in isolation. 


The use of smaller vibes in the coastal creeks and rivers has become very popular in recent years. Deeper fish can be targeted with relative ease and the side/structure scan on depth sounders provides our guides with greater confidence that the fish are around. A fish on most people's bucket list - the mighty barramundi - is a sucker for a vibe twitched near its face!

Vibing can be a great way of covering a large area of bottom in a methodical pattern. Fanning casts out and then hopping the quick-sinking vibes back to the boat allows anglers to quickly find where the fish are holding.

Missed hook-ups are common when vibing, but so are repeated hook-ups. Reflexes improve quickly with this style of fishing as any bump, hit or swipe of the vibe can be turned into a hook-up by astute anglers.


Expect Barramundi, Queenfish, Blue Salmon, Mangrove Jack, Tarpon, Juvenile GTs, Cod, Fingermark, Black Jewfish and Threadfin Salmon as our target species while casting lures and vibes in the estuaries.

Tips & Tricks

  • The estuaries are a great place to experiment. Active fishers who are willing to change lures and techniques to suit fishing conditions are well rewarded.
  • A mixture of casting and trolling can be useful in the creeks and rivers. Try not to be stuck in a narrow frame of mind regarding fishing success. If you find actively feeding fish, make the most of it before moving on.  
  • Using vibes in an estuary environment can be both rewarding and frustrating. It is a quick learning curve and best to watch a skilled practitioner first. Understanding sink, slack line, rod-tip quiver and bite conversions are paramount to success.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself and soak up the remote and unspoilt environment. Tension-free fishos almost always catch the most fish.


We fish estuaries at the following locations:

  • Jackson & Skardon Rivers
  • Archer River & Love River
  • Lloyd Bay
  • Princess Charlotte Bay


FNSF-NOMAD use top of the line Shimano rods, reels and terminal tackle. We provide the following setup for estuary spinning:

Reel: Shimano Saragosa SRG5000 SWA XG Spin
Rod: Shimano Grappler PE4 6' Spinning
Line: 50lb braid; 60-80lb fluorocarbon leader

Reel: Shimano Calcutta CT400D Baitcaster
Rod: Shimano Curado 6' 6" Baitcast
Line: 50lb braid; 60-80lb fluorocarbon leader


Our guides are experienced in using a wide variety of lures daily and recommend the following when it comes to estuary spinning:

  • Gillies Baitfish (25g/40g)
  • Halco Twisty (40g/55g) 
  • Nomad Riptide 105
  • Gold Bombers
  • Leads Hijackers

These lures are available to purchase as part of our discounted pre-purchase lure packs in your own personal lure wrap, and can also be puchased on board.

Giant Trevally Caught Estuary Spinning Shimano Saragosa Reel Mangrove Jack Caught on the Archer River