Boyne barra getting better
  |  First Published: April 2012

All the talk around Gladstone is still about the Boyne River. Barra are still being caught from land and boat, and by all accounts there have been some solid specimens on the end of anglers’ hooks.

Most barra caught are coming from trolled lures. They don’t seem to be too fussy as I have heard of hits on hardbodies and soft plastics with equal ferocity. Their condition seems to be improving as well with no sign of lesions. Not that I would eat them anyway.

I wouldn’t eat barra from the dam either. Barra are one of the most exciting fish to catch but the muddy taste is pretty hard to remove. Put them back and let some one else have a go at catching them.

Gladstone Harbour

The state of Gladstone Harbour is still a major concern. I get tired of hearing ridiculous claims/explanations from one group or another – all who seem to be interested in pushing their own agenda and/or dodging compensation bullets.

I believe a whole combination of events will eventually be found to be the cause, including natural and industrial. You can’t dredge the harbour and dump the mess just off Facing Island without having some impact on fish stock. Equally, I am sure that the heavy rains also impacted the health of Gladstone marine life. It always has in the past.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to have a definitive and undisputed response from DERM or DPI about the current harbour condition, but quite frankly every report just seems to call for more reports. The most recent report from DPI is available on their website (if you can find it) or you can find a link on www.fishgladstone.com . Essentially it states that while damaged fish are still being caught, the condition is improving.

DERM have issued another report giving the Government’s response to the latest Fish Sampling Report. You can find this on the DERM website but there is also a link on www.fishgladstone.com as well.

Thank goodness Gladstone has more than just the harbour for fishing.


Reports of thumper bream and good fingermark have come from the rock walls near the dual bridges on the Calliope River.

This is a great spot to anchor up as the rocky structure reaches well into the river. I like to bounce the bait along the rocks. You do lose a bit of tackle this way, but unless you keep close to the structure, you won’t catch the fish. Moses perch are also being caught here.

This is a popular location for land-based anglers as the river is within easy reach on a small 4WD. The track can be a bit of a challenge for the smaller conventional vehicles – although I have seen plenty of them try.

However, just after the rain, forget it. All I have caught there after heavy showers is catfish. Luckily the Calliope River, even the deeper reaches, doesn’t take long to come clean.

Colosseum Creek is doing all right at the moment with good (clean) crabs coming to the pots in the mangrove edged tributaries. I hear Fisheries have been doing spot inspections in the estuaries recently, so make certain all your gear is up to scratch.

The beaches of Colosseum are giving up nice whiting, not very big but heaps of them. Just drift the boat along the length of the beach and you should do well.


The shoals have been fairly quiet of late, but the weather hasn’t been that flash either. It seems only the bigger boats have ventured out. The catch reports indicate that quality is outstripping quantity.

The guys who are venturing further are doing better. Even the reef areas around Masthead seem to be producing the goods, including red throat and tuskers. It is worth keeping a jig handy as some football-sized squid will often follow a wounded fish to the surface.

Squid almost never refuse a well thrown jig. If calamari is your food of choice, you can’t do better than the fresh stuff on the plate.

Some decent size coral trout are being picked up on the bigger structures. The schools are smaller than they have been with only a couple being caught in the one location. A good skipper will move on well before you catch more than you need.

This month

Hopefully this month the salmon will start moving into the Narrows. I have to admit that they are not as regular as they once used to be, but I have a feeling that April is going to be the month they turn around.

Salmon love gravelly bottoms so the areas around Targinnie Creek, Black Swan and Middle Creek are the spots to anchor up.

Grunter will be worthy targets around the Toolooa Bends and South Trees inlets. Grunter like moving waters so look for tidal flows with plenty of action beside calm water made for ambushing. Don’t be surprised if there are jacks around as well as they like similar conditions.

As the weather becomes more stable and the summer storms start to abate, conditions will make the reef much more attractive. I’m going to make a trip to Rock Cod Shoals as the fish there must have grown heaps by now.

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