Creek Calm Catches
  |  First Published: December 2010

Wind and lousy conditions over the past month have kept most of the Gladstone boating fishers to the rivers and estuaries. The recent rains have muddied up most of the deeper reaches of most creeks and I have found that encourages cat fish but little else.

The open beaches, like Lillies and Tannum, have also been a little uncomfortable with onshore winds making conditions difficult for casting. However, the creek just around the corner from Lillies Beach is a little more protected and has given up good grunter and bream of late.

You can get to this creek while driving along the beach and from Trees Inlet from the harbour. However, you must watch the tide because there are sand banks galore as soon as you go under the causeway bridge and several boating fishers have waited out the flooding tide here.

The small creek is also a great place to collect bait including yabbies, crabs and worms. If you find yourself sitting out a tide, you won’t get bored. On the flood, the creek is quite a good whiting field with several elbow slappers caught recently.

The Harbour

Gladstone is blessed with a fabulous harbour with dozens of islands, all of which provide innumerable fishing opportunities. Of course, Gladstone is also a busy deep water port that caters for thousands of large ships and they can’t manoeuvre around fishing vessels. My advice is to stay clear of the main shipping channels and give the bigger ships and all working vessels, like tugs and barges, the right of way.

The protection offered by Gladstone Islands means that you can fish them in most weathers. Mind you, the channel can get really sloppy in a strong southeasterly. I found my boat surfing its way through the channel on a previous trip to Facing, so the channel deserves respect. Nevertheless, sitting with you feet at the gunwale, on the leeward side of an island really is magical.

The western side of Quoin Island offers great protection from most winds but it is fairly shallow so you need to work the tides. You can get some grunter along the mangrove edges where the structure offers plenty of good hiding spots. If you work the berley you may entice the fish out.

The sand bank and bars offer up some whiting when the water movement is not so fierce. On the northern face, in the area known as The Gut, you can pick up some estuary cod. You will need to sound out the holes along this area.

Port Curtis Ferry service drops off and picks up from this location, so be aware of where you are and because the pick up spots on Quoin are so limited, you are the one that might have to move.

The large island north east of Quoin is Compigne. There is some rock and reef structure on the northern tip of Compigne and you can often collect some tuskers. The banks of Curtis are within easy reach so it is worth flicking for some jacks.

Some fingers of creeks reach into Curtis so it is possible to target the mouth of these small water courses. There are some deep holes around Compigne particularly close to the edge and these are home to some good cod.

Turtle Island is a favourite of mine, not only because it looks so majestic but offers a lot of fishing opportunities. It is west of Quoin and south east of Compigne. On the northern tip a large sand bar reaches from Turtle almost to Compigne. It is a navigational trap but great for whiting fishing. The depth ranges to about 5m but the sloping sand is perfect to work yabbies. There have also been some good flathead pulled to the boat from here.

On the southern tip of Turtle is a large finger of rocks. This edge is clearly marked but it is a great place to anchor the boat and flick to the rocky structure. Obviously you have to be prepared for a bit of tackle loss but when the tide moves this rock wall creates a little haven for fish to get out of the flow and the tidal turbulence. Bream work this area but it is not uncommon to hook up to grunter, flathead or even tuskers. An unweighted floating bait, like an oily pillie may even entice a sweetlip to the surface.

The eastern edge of Turtle is beach and rock and not a good spot for boating but the western edge is deeper and heavily mangroved. I have heard of jacks being caught here but grunter, bream and Moses perch are more common.

The north western tip offers lots of structure and offers good opportunity for grunter and cod.

Tide Island is about 4km to the west of Turtle and house the largest cod in the harbour. The deepest holes (about 15-18m) are located on the western side about midway. Pillies will do the trick but the tide fairly whistles through this area so getting down and staying down is a little tricky.

Of course, when you start your island hopping around Gladstone Harbour, it is worthwhile trolling a pillie or a spoon because mackerel have been known to provide quite a fight.

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