Rewards for the brave
  |  First Published: May 2011

The volatile weather has prevailed with few windows of opportunity for reef trips, but those who did brave the conditions and ventured out wide brought in some good reds. However, closer reefs were not always so profitable.

The reef areas around North West Island have been smoking hot this last month and should continue to pump out the action in May. North West Island is some 75km (40nm) northeast from Gladstone and is the largest coral cay in the area. A larger boat is required to get to this location though.

North West Island is a very popular camping, boating and fishing location. Curtis Ferry Services Gladstone provides beach drop-off and pick-up and can transport up to 70 visitors, including boats, to the island. North West is a National Park so the normal restrictions are in place including limitations on restrictions. Refer to zoning maps for details. This area has been the site of some big fish reports and is frequented by big boat fishos.

With the continual rain in the Gladstone area and the dam at Awoonga exceeding capacity, Pikes Crossing has been pumping out some good barra hits. The run-off from the dam over the last couple of months has been allowing some impoundment barra to escape over the wall.

Apparently the barra are schooling near the wall, which of course is a not boating zone. Water was still being released from the dam wall at the end of March so many barra are still finding their way over the spillway.

Unfortunately some haven’t survived the journey so dead barramundi have been found along the sides of the creek. But those fish that have escaped successfully have been found all the way from Pikes into Boyne River. There have been reports of some good captures and with the continuation of the wet spell, these catches are likely to continue for this month as well.

The marina and the bund walls are still giving up good catches, which is obvious by the number of families who are turning this hot bite into a social outing. The marina area near the barge parking spots is fairly active in spite of the boating traffic. Grunter, fingermark and even sweetlip have been caught around the structure here.

Bream and tarwhine are being caught from the rock bund walls that line the marina. Families have been picnicking here and throwing the small rods in for the kids. A couple of small prawns and bream are easy catches in this area.

The beaches of Facing and Curtis are providing good catches of whiting at the moment. The area up near Black Head on Curtis Island has been worth a visit with some thumper whiting coming in. Hits have been so furious that my mate, Graham was forced to put a second hook onto his rig. This proved to be very lucrative as he was being hammered by double hooks-ups, time and again.

The beaches in the harbour side of Facing have provided whiting but while the quality isn’t quite up there with Curtis, the quantity has made up for it. This level of whiting activity hasn’t been around Curtis or Facing for some time. I certainly hope it continues into this month as well.

Flathead have also been consistent catches with the Lighthouse area of Facing providing some of the better catches and the incoming tide being the best time. The flathead have been caught in areas close to structure like the oyster encrusted around the Oaks beach.

There have been some good Venus tuskfish being pulled to boats from Seal Rocks, particularly at the deeper holes near the rocks. The current here is quite strong, so anchor with care as many of the rocks hide themselves just below the surface.

Beaches of Colosseum Creek are given up good catches of whiting, bream and fingermark. Sweetlip are coming from the small clump of coral and the entrance to the harbour. This creek is a versatile waterway that you should explore. It is a safe and deep waterway with sandy beaches, mangroves and myriad of reaches each with their own special feature.

Sole are handy catches deeper into the creek. Salmon can also be found along the gravel bed reaches, which are often further into the creek. Grunter can be found along most of the mangrove edges.

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