Australia’s largest Island National Park and situated on the far north coast of Queensland, Hinchinbrook Island is an impressive backdrop to one of Australia’s best saltwater fly fishing destinations.
Home to an array of species, its best known for having good numbers of Indo-Pacific permit which frequent the mangrove flats between the Island and Carwell on the mainland. Over 1000m in height Hinchinbrook also provides these waters with shelter and protection from easterly winds and provides a myriad of creek habitats which are also home to Australia’s most iconic species – the Barramundi.
Queenfish and Golden Trevally can also be targeted with Giant Trevally, Threadfin, Grunter and Mangrove Jack also available on fly with a range of excellent and experienced guides available.
Located halfway between Townsville and Cairns, it’s a great destination in its own right or perfect stop-over as a part of a coastal road trip in tropical north Queensland.
There is a range of local accommodation options in Cardwell from self-contained villas, units and holiday park options or for larger groups, the Australian Fly Fishing Lodge can accommodate up to six anglers, only minutes from the launching facilities where you can be met each day.
The lodge has great views over Hinchinbrook Island and channel, from the upper level which has two bedrooms each with a queen and single bed, while the master also has the same configuration with en-suite facilities. All the rooms are well ventilated with large windows for those who like the fresh sea-breezes at night, and equipped with ceiling fans and air-conditioning. Guests also have access to a laundry which is free of charge and handy throughout a week-long stay.
The main floor of the building has a huge open dining and living area with comfortable couches and chairs. There, you can read your favourite book or magazine whilst enjoying the beautiful scenery or tie some flies for the day ahead. The kitchen facilities have all the modern culinary appliances, coffee machine and necessities.
Dining is self-catering with the use of the kitchen and barbeque. Alternatively, there are various restaurants and pubs to choose from just a short drive or within walking distance from the lodge. If you wish to have your dinners catered for, this can also be arranged.
There are a number of very experienced local fly fishing guides at Hinchinbrook who all run and operate professional operations, fishing from American style skiffs accommodating two anglers each. Complete with whisper-quiet 4-stroke engines, polling platforms, casting deck and bow mount electrics, you will be fly fishing in comfort each day.
Launching points are scattered across the region, meaning no long runs in the skiff to get to the fishing grounds each day. Departing your accommodation at about 7 am, you will be on the water and fishing within about 35 minutes. Tidal ranges and weather dictate what species you might target for the day but all species are available all year round and minimal days are lost right throughout the season because there is always somewhere and something to fish for.
Hinchinbrook Island is a maze of estuary systems, mudflats and mangrove creeks running over a length of fifty kilometres and a width of ten kilometres, which are all prime fly fishing waters. The endless stretches of shallow mangrove-lined edges provide great habitat to sight-fish for the mighty Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Threadfin Salmon, Blue Salmon, Grunter and a long list of tropical species, including the Indo Pacific Permit and Queenfish.
The staple fish inside the mangrove system is Barramundi, often there is a chance to sight cast to these fish laid up in the mangroves and almost always targeting them in shallow water, generally less than a couple of feet deep. While targeting Barramundi you will stumble across many other species, Mangrove Jack, Fingermark, Flathead, Javelin Fish, Threadfin Salmon and Giant Trevally of all sizes, just to name a few. All these fish will take flies with great enthusiasm and present no less of a challenge in hooking and fighting stakes.
Moving onto the sand flats of the Hinchinbrook area, Permit is the number one target for most anglers. The habitat inside the channel is regarded as one of the finest locations in the country to target both species, T. Anak and the T. Blocchi. More guided Permit captures come from these waters than anywhere else in the country and each year both international and domestic anglers flock to Hinchinbrook to try their luck at landing ‘The Prince of the Flats’ on fly.
Permit aren’t the only fish out on the flats, with Golden, Giant and Diamond Trevally, Queenfish, Giant Herring, Cobia, Triple Tail and some of the mangrove dwellers also turning up at times.
Your fishing day will last between eight and ten hours. After the day’s fishing, anglers can sit and relax on the patio of your private fly fishing lodge or local accommodation enjoying a refreshing cold beer and local seafood which is readily available in Cardwell.
As per all Fly Odyssey bookings, we will provide you with a comprehensive and detailed pre-trip fly fishing guide prior to departure.
Cardwell is situated a short 2½ hours’ drive via the highway south of Cairns or north of Townsville, accessible from all major cities including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Hire cars are available from both Cairns and Townsville which is usually the preferred mode of transport once in the region.
Fly Odyssey specialises in multi-destination itineraries along the Queensland coast, with an excellent knowledge of travel times, flight schedules and additional fly fishing and holiday options to make the most of your time away.
Let us do the groundwork for you.
Our tailored fly fishing and accommodation itineraries are designed with you in mind to suit your preferences. They are also quoted in your local currency with very favourable exchange rates.
Fly Odyssey has access to the best guiding and lodging rates, suitable tides and updated availability to this destination which can vary throughout the season.
This includes flight bookings, transit accommodation, transfers and a host of non-angling activities and experiences.
We specialise in family, couples and group stays to the region, and our long involvement with our partners on the ground will ensure you are well looked after both on and off the water.
This includes extended coastal stays north to Cairns and Port Douglas, or Gladstone and Hervey Bay in the south.
Please enquire for the latest rates and availability, including information on any applicable special offers.
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Creating and sharing memorable travel experiences with our clients and friends provides us with genuine satisfaction. All of our trips are bespoke, tailored to your needs, and we always love hearing all about the adventure on your return.
Our knowledge of travel logistics saves you time, and our highly experienced team is here to ensure it’s spent on the water and not at the desk or on a long flight connection that you didn’t require. Since 2006 we have developed a valued client-base that has travelled to all corners of the globe.
We are a fully-accredited travel agency, where all of our flights, accommodation and associated travel bookings are made in-house, which means that you pay less. We have access to a huge range of specials, deals, great volume pricing and excellent currency exchange rates which allows us to pass these benefits directly onto you.
On the fishing front, our extensive expertise and experience around prime seasons, species, moon-phases, tides and personalised customer service is centred around one principal – preparation. This includes detailed gear and equipment lists, the fly patterns, transfer details, up-to-date fishing reports and some of the finer aspects that can often be overlooked.
We travel extensively and understand that your free-time is important. Just as we all understand from experience, that the key to a successful trip is pre-trip preparation.
Our highly experienced team has fly fished the world for the last 25 years, and we understand the considerations and gear needed to turn a good fly fishing trip into a great one.
Fly fishing and travel is our passion. It’s all we do.
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