Sweet local knowledge
  |  First Published: July 2013

It was 5 years ago when my dear friend Eric opened the door for me on fishing the Burrum surrounds and joining the fishing community in Burrum Heads. I had no rods, tackle, bait, not even a fishing hat. Today? I just hope my wife doesn’t sell my fishing gear for what I told her I paid for it… It would go cheap!

The bedrock of fishing in our region is the Burrum Heads Amateur Fishing Club and as they draw a close to their annual season a new club champion crowned; a story I will bring you after the club celebrates their decades of fellowship and passion for fishing. It has been an honour to share some of their great stories, knowledge and skills.

It has to be said we anglers have really great understanding from our partners, even if we burn ‘brownie points’ in the bargain. Some of the best tips come from the ladies in our community who have fished the region for many years like Shirley Shorten, Leanne Henderson, Julie Cairns, Dawn Hobson, Annette Akers and Helen Crook. These ladies have a lot of knowledge and I have been blessed with sharing their stories and learning from experiences. Boys, make no mistake, the ladies know their stuff and have shown us blokes up on many occasions.

River Action

We have continued to experience very good quality live bait such as herring and yabbies. To alter a common phrase ‘One cast CAN change it all’… With one cast and my good mate, Ron, has discovered a new species of herring and it’s called tree-hangious-herring-tantrumous. This ‘new species’ discovery made it very hard to fish due to the respectful need for controlled laughter, but triggered one great recovery. We landed flathead, tailor, bream, grunter and snapper.

Large mullet at play, pike, sickle fish, juvenile mackerel and quality muddies have been featured through the Burrum catchment delivering diverse options for angles.

TIP: Bait jigs have been productive near the local boat ramps for herring and pike, which are in good size and make a good source of bait.


Despite great offshore conditions, the action has been mixed across the offshore hot spots. As the early end of the month saw good tidal runs producing very good quality and large numbers on the hook across a broad range of species. As the end of month played out we had the neap tides and very patient action as 40-55cm trevally were of mice proportion, but very good sport even at that size.

While targeting snapper and grunter, we landed some great hussar, undersized reds, scarlet and spangled emperor. With expectations of a broader range of species there was a lot of hook-ups and a lot of tackle lost from what we suspect as being Spaniards and sharks on river herring and live stripies and slimies.

TIP: Jig live bait when off shore. Use as live bait or as fillets.

The Fishing Ahead

The cooler months are here and will continue to produce great offshore and river action with local traders being well supplied with bait, tackle and all the fishing essentials to help all members of the family to have a great time.

With some of the best all-round fishing on the east coast right here, we are certain that Burrum Heads will provide you with some great fishing tales while you catch up on some well-earned R&R and with winter here, watch the winter whiting, they will certainly entertain.

TIP: Locals love a chat so ask for some local knowledge and remember the ladies are good for some hints.

Litigious Question

Readers may wish to direct comments to the editor Stephen Booth on this. We anglers have been engaged in rigorous debate, over a few coldies of course; if you use a bait net you MUST have a licence to net sea food (such as prawns) for human consumption, otherwise you are ONLY allowed to use a bait net to catch sea food for the purpose of bait. So what of the interpretation when it is called a cast net? [A cast net is a permitted piece of equipment for gathering prawns for bait or for food – Ed]

This question has been raised over last month, as we have been busy on quality prawns. Numbering 16 to the dozen while jostling for position amidst 80 plus boats on any given day has raised concerns that the legal interpretation of netting prawns could land recreational angler in some real trouble. If anyone has comments on this we would love to hear from you.

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