Catch Calliope jack
  |  First Published: November 2012

There has been great fishing in the river systems over the past month in Gladstone.

With water temps rising steadily, reaching above 23ºC, one of the great fighting fish of these waterways, mangrove jack, have shown up in decent numbers. Pretty much anyone who is willing to put in a bit of time and research, regardless of fishing experience are hooking up to a few.

Boyne River

The lead up to the closed season, the Boyne River barra had definitely livened up and became a lot more active, more so in the middle and upper reaches around Benaraby and Pikes Crossing.

The Boyne can be fished from the bank at the Benaraby Bridge or the railway bridge a short distance upstream. Boats can launch from the bank near these bridges. These are great areas to scout when the closed season is lifted.

Calliope River Jack

Anglers who enjoy getting around the Gladstone waterways targeting barra will now have to start focusing their efforts to other species for the next three months.

Mangrove jack thrive on the warmer weather, especially when there is an afternoon storm looming it just seems to send them into overdrive. It wasn’t until late autumn that I discovered a healthy population in the upper Calliope River.

The river has overhanging tree branches lining the bank and the tidal flow rarely affects these areas, so the jack can sit in its snag all day waiting for ambush opportunities. However as winter set in the they went off the bite. Now spring has is here and things are heating up, these aggressive feeders are back on the chew.

One of my recent trips on the Calliope was a dawn session. I reached my spot on first light and patrolled the banks and cast lures under overhanging growth and sunken logs. In a short amount of time, I had three mangrove jack and one tarpon. Lure of choice in this area was a white Rapala X-rap XR8/XR10.

Caution should be taken when travelling the upper parts of Calliope River as there are numerous gravel bars, larger rocks and shallow passages.

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