With the school holidays in full swing and the kids needing something to keep them occupied, here are a few spots to take them fishing where they will catch a fish.
Kids normally don’t need to get the biggest fish in the world as long as they get bites and the occasional fish to make their day. Starting at the northern end of our coast in through Byfield National Park is Five Rocks and Nine Mile Beach. It is 4WD only due to the soft sand and small creek crossings. The rocks are mainly for experienced fishers but the corners next to the rocks hold big whiting, flathead, trevally and queenfish. The bonus of fishing these beaches is the ability to get beachworms or pippis at your feet. The Five Rocks and Nine Mile beaches have a stack of gutters running out to deep water where salmon and dart come in regularly.
Into Corio Bay there are a few spots that you don’t need a boat to get crabs or a decent feed of fish. Corbetts and Kellys landings can be accessed with a standard car providing you take it easy. There is quite a variety of fish to be caught ranging from barramundi (now closed season) to black jew, bream, king salmon, mangrove jack and fingermark. Most people who fish these spots take the crab pots and throw them in from the bank. Kellys and Corbetts are both popular camping spots for locals. In warm weather keep an eye out right down at the water because it is croc country and there have been regular sightings of crocodiles in Waterpark Creek. With all the changes in Corio Bay Corbetts is the best boat ramp to access Waterpark and Corio’s many smaller creeks.
Fishing Creek, Sandy Point and Farnborough Beach all start at the southern side of Corio. You can access these by family car along the resort to Sandy Point road or by 4WDing along Farnborough Beach from the Bangalee entrance. Fishing Creek has a fairly mediocre boat launching are that should only be used by very experienced beach users. This great little waterway has the advantage of being very kid friendly. Top swimming spot with plenty of fish to be caught at the same time. Mostly it is whiting and flathead from the beach with the chance of a barra or salmon cruising the shallows. Yabbies and baitfish are plentiful in Fishing Creek and as you head around Sandy Point back to Farnborough Beach, there are lots of gutters where you can get worms too. Farnborough is one of our surf beaches and as such has a few good surf gutters where salmon, dart and whiting frequent.
Between Todd Avenue and Bangalee is Barwells Creek (the only access by foot no vehicles allowed south of the Bangalee beach access). We get most of our live mullet and yabbies to take up the beach here. On the incoming tide I have seen some great whiting and salmon caught at the right time.
Bluff Rocks, a couple of hundred metres from Yeppoon’s main street, is another spot where whiting salmon and dart are landed all the time. Even mackerel can come in here on the high tide when there is no wind. It fishes best afternoon or early morning with yabbies, beachworms or pillies. Ross Creek, in the middle of Yeppoon, is good value for families with car parks at nearly all fishable locations. On the weekends there are lots of families walking over the sand flats with cast nets and yabby pumps gathering bait to fish the run in tide down from the council chambers or the car parks near the bridge and boat ramp. Flathead, bream, whiting, salmon, mangrove jack and muddies are the popular targets over summer.
Rosslyn Bay Harbour is a very fishy spot where lots of quality fish are caught all around the wall outside and often inside. All the activity slows the catches down a bit although schooling blue salmon and herrings aren’t fazed. All the headlands right down to Zilzie can fish very well and are easily accessible to anybody with the desire. Mackerel and tuna can turn up any time when the bay is clean.
The Causeway is the safest spot of the lot for kids with play areas, swimming and parking directly next to the best fishing spots near the bridge. Don’t be surprised with anything you catch here because it is a fish magnet. The best time to catch a special fish like jack, barra and trevally is a run-through tide over 3.6m. Bread and butter species like bream, whiting, grunter and flathead can be caught any time. Bait is caught right at your feet or bought from the store across the road.
Coorooman Creek, Keppel Sands, Joskaleigh and Long Beach are locations where lots of fish are taken from the shore and just like all of the beaches on the coast there is a decent population of whiting and flathead all year. Coorooman Creek has almost any species you could ask for in sub tropical waters and being closed to professionals it fishes well for the bigger stuff at times. Crabs, salmon, barra, whiting, bream, fingermark and grunter are all Coorooman regulars. Bait can be caught nearly everywhere along the creek.
I probably sound like a broken record by mentioning the rain again but it has had a major effect on the fishing in the local region. The Fitzroy has not stopped running heavily with fresh for the whole year. This has moved a lot of the species usually found along the full length of the salt section right down to the mouth and even into other systems.
Now for the positives, the fresh has meant that prawns and crabs are feeding big time and growing at a decent rate. Salmon have been one of the fish thriving in the conditions and the numbers of large blue salmon caught lately is higher than in normal years. They have gone against the trend and moved from the beaches into the river mouth after the abundant food supply. The best areas to search in the lower end of the area at present are around Port Alma, Connors Creek and The Narrows. Blues like disturbed waters rather than the calmer spots. They look for froth and current edges near creek junctions and structures. Blues have been taking mullet strips, squid, pilchards and frozen prawns readily, which seems a bit surprising given the amount of live prawn they have been getting into. Dead baits are best fished down the bottom and live baits go well deep under a float.
Another species reaping the benefits of the conditions is grunter. While the population is mainly down around the delta area instead of further up the river, the catches recently have been outstanding. Some of the catches at Connors rock bar have ranked up with the better years on record. Cockle beds, gravel patches, undulating bottom and mud holes are where you will find grunter when they are on. The full and new moon periods are the chosen times for the guys who target the larger fish. Grunter don’t mind live or dead baits so it makes for an easy day’s fishing using frozen prawns instead of burning time chasing live baits. Grunter hunters use a variety of rigs from a paternoster to a running sinker above a swivelled trace or straight onto the hook. It doesn’t make much difference so keep it simple and even add a glow bead to attract the attention of the fish in the murky waters.
Offshore fishing is okay at the moment with plenty of the reefies and pelagics taken in the recent weeks. Coral trout, red emperor, redthroats, scarlets, hussar and parrot are all doing well mainly at the wider reefs. Trout though are regular as ever in very close to the Keppels. Mackerel, cobia, mahi mahi, trevally and wahoo are also featuring in summer captures, again mainly out wide.
The fishing looks to be in fairly good shape this month so get out there with the family and enjoy it, and have a great New Year.Reads: 6600