Fishing Ribbons Reefs for Coral trout

EP. 12 Snorkelling and fishing the Ribbons Reefs.

The final stages of our Princess Charlotte Bay trip saw us fishing and snorkelling the ribbons reefs and surrounding areas.

Fishing the Ribbons is like stepping back in time for me as I spent many years here on the marlin boats.

After dropping off my mate Evatt in Cooktown, Karen and I headed out again for some couple time.

But not without any hitches!

The terminals were very dirty on the genset and nearly sent us home until I managed to fix it.

Sadly I checked them when the genset initially failed but never pulled it apart properly.

So we were halfway home before I troubleshooted the issue properly.

Hence we were fishing the lower Ribbons instead of the top Ribbons.

Sadly some big northerly’s sent us home with the blue boat taking on water.

Turns out the impeller off the end of the bilge pump had come away from the shaft, and I had to grind back the whole floor to access it.

Which we couldn’t do at sea.

Fishing the Ribbons.

The Ribbon Reefs are an underwater mountain range now covered in coral.

The fish life is spectacular and for the snorkelers the coral is sensational in many areas.

Fishing the Ribbons has been a enjoyable pastime of mine for many years.

Both in the marlin boat days and since.

We even popped over the shelf in Mood Swings and found a bait school with some big marlin on it.

One of them even raised up on the second pass. But we were definitely not equipped for tackling thousand pounders haha.

Our video Fishing the Ribbons will hopefully give you a taste of being there…




The usual suspects.

It's not unusual fishing the Ribbons to tackle a big coral trout or cod.

We had a great session in the morning with several eating size trout plus some definitely over eating size.

Ciguatera is a debilitating toxin you can get if you eat too many sizable shallow reef fish.

I've had ciguatera and it wasn't fun so we let all the big ones go.

Or sometimes they let themselves go like one last year at Mourilyan Harbour.

Fat Coral Trout

This fat coral trout is one of the usual suspects fishing the ribbons. Just don't eat them this big.

Best eating size coral trout

Plenty of trout this size - the best size for eating if you want to avoid ciguatera.

Spectacular Flowery Cod

Spectacular Flowery Cod. I once poisoned two Townsville Detectives on the eve of their holidays after gifting them one of these fish for dinner. Moral of the story - if you don't want to miss your holidays don't eat them. Ciguatera alert!

Fishing the Ribbons

Fishing the Spectacular Ribbons Reefs off Cape Tribulation. Lena Reef is at the bottom of the Ribbons and doesn't dissappoint.

Two Isles Great Barrier Reef

Some stunning islands to explore - like Two Isles pictured here.


Too much coral to anchor

Can you have too much coral? The answer is yes if you're looking for a good anchorage.

Gear and Tackle Used Fishing the Ribbons

To find out what gear we used on this trip, check out our gear and tackle cheat sheet


get the free pdf


I hope you enjoyed our video Fishing the Ribbons.

If you've missed the beginning on the trip you can watch the whole adventure >> here.

We are planning our next trip in Mood Swings plus we shorter trips in the "blue boat" so stay tuned.

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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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