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Harbour haven for bait
  |  First Published: May 2012



There is a fair bit of action in the harbour at the moment with prawns and bait fish everywhere.

Harbour

The old QAL jetty off Barney Point is holding plenty of fish at the moment. Big bream and sweetlip are holding up near the old pylons, and even whiting are being caught there.

Fish the lee of these pylons and use the drift to get your bait into the gobs of waiting fish. It is a tough place for lures, as the current will move you quickly out of the strike zone.

The old jetty is en-route to Trees Inlet, giving you another option to your trip.

estuaries

It’s worth exploring the small Targinnie Creek at this time of the year. Whiting and silver bream congregate at the small sand bank at its entrance. Small peeled prawns seem to be the preferred bait, although I have had success on squid tentacles.

The creek opens up with a good 3-5m depth for the first 2km. Tributaries branch out along the whole length of the creek, so it is definitely worth exploring. Get there early in the morning and head home before the midday heat when the fishing usually slows down. Keep the insect repellent close, as sand flies have been known to frequent the creek.

I have caught some small sharks in the channel between Targinnie and Worthington Island, particularly in the deeper holes. It is worth a drift through this channel as quite a few creeks flow into it. Pick the days when the tide falls late in the afternoon. It should flush out the smaller creeks.

Threadfin salmon should start moving into these creeks with mullet flesh a productive bait. Poppers have also been known to entice salmon to the surface. Keep the bait light and work it close to the mangrove. I have had luck at the small islet at the mouth of Middle Creek on an early morning rising tide.

The rock wall on the southern tip of Turtle Island in the harbour is a good spot to anchor up. Sit on the western side of the island on an incoming tide, berley up and cast into the rocks. Large bream and flathead have been known to sit near the eddy created as the waters head either into or out of the harbour. The rock wall sets up quite a bit of turbulence action on the harbour side that in turn stirs up food and all sorts of goodies.

BASS SHOALS

The Bass Shoals are south-southwest of Rundle. The shoals are smaller and sparser than the larger Rock Cod Shoals. It features large bommies and plenty of rock. Because the shoals are close to the coast, they can sometimes be affected by swell.

It is quite possible to spot migrating whales frolicking in these waters. Like most shoals, early morning or late afternoon on a rising tide seem to fish better. When the tide ebbs, the fishing often slows down.

Sweetlip, cod, jew as well as large bream all feature on the catch list. We use the sounder to find the structure, anchor upstream, berley into the structure and drift our baits into the berley trail.

FV Bindaree Wreck

The Bindaree is a well-known Gladstone wreck and being just over 10km northeast from the North Entrance, is within easy reach by most boats. This wreck is an 18m wooden trawler that sank in heavy seas in 1992, so in terms of wrecks it is relatively new and still contains good structures.

Sitting in about 28m, it is best fished on the anchor and during still water on a neap tide. A few boats are usually anchored around the wreck so it is easy to find. Drift slowly back, tie off and cast towards structure. Balloons can be used to carry baits over and above the wreck.

It reportedly gives up cobia, trout, parrotfish, and jew, and is quite often frequented by dive clubs. I wouldn’t make a special trip to Bindaree as conditions don’t always suit fishing at this location. It is a good secondary location when homeward bound or en route elsewhere. If there are more than six boats around the wreck, I’d give it a miss. It is not that large and sometimes it can be difficult to coax the fish out.

Both my sons were with me on a recent trip. After fishing the Rock Cod Shoals in the morning we joined four other boats and shared the wreck for the afternoon. Substantial numbers of hump-headed batfish were being caught but they are pretty ordinary on the plate. On this particular day, batfish were in plaque proportions even schooling up on the surface over the shoals.

Something grabbed hold of Scott’s squid and was pulling line from his reel indicating something bigger than batfish. It was an impressive tussle and he finally brought a nice trevally to the boat. He posed for a photograph and released it to fight another day. They are nice sport fish but make ordinary table fare. We hope to catch it again next time!

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