Kayaking the lower Pumicestone Passage
  |  First Published: March 2017

The Pumicestone Passage is a 35km stretch of water that links Deception Bay (Brisbane) in the south with Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. The Bribie Island Bridge signals the beginning of the waterway and some great areas to get out there with your kayak and catch a few fish.

The area I want to focus on has three main access points. These are around the bridge itself, Toorbul and Donnybrook. All provide excellent places to launch and retrieve your kayak and also offer plenty of safe areas, away from the main boat traffic, for less experienced kayakers.

Bribie Island Bridge

The exit to Bribie Island is well signposted off the Bruce Highway. There are two areas either side of the bridge that are ideal for launching. At Spinnaker Sound you can put your kayak in either from the beach at the end of Kal Ma Kuta Drive or from the area at the boat ramp. On the other side of the bridge, Marine Parade has boat launching facilities and this area again offers excellent access to the waterway.

The only limitations fishing from your kayak here are the amount of current and boat traffic. The foreshore on both sides of the passage has excellent bread and butter species fishing and keeps you out of harm’s way. Peppering the sand flats and mangrove fringes with hardbody lures and soft plastics around the top of the tide produces good numbers of whiting, bream and flathead. It also can produce the odd snapper and flounder. The bridge itself is a massive piece of structure and can be fished around the tide changes. Big plastics and vibes fished deep around the pylons can produce mulloway, estuary cod and some big flathead at times.

Ningi Creek and the Bribie Canals are also only a short paddle away and these areas again lend themselves to casting small lures and plastics around.

Toorbul and Donnybrook

Taking the Pumicestone Road turnoff from the Bruce Highway takes you to both Toorbul and Donnybrook (the Donnybrook turnoff is just before you get to Toorbul). Both areas have large foreshore frontage, but limited parking. Anywhere along the foreshore provides excellent launching of a kayak at high tide. There are limitations at low tide with a quite a bit of the shoreline exposed, making for a muddy trek back to your car. Both areas have good boat launching facilities, so they can be used at low tide, but be mindful of other watercraft.

I love fishing this part of the waterway. The stealth of a kayak opens up all sorts of opportunities and areas for you to fish. From Toorbul you can head south and fish the flats around Parrot Island with surface lures, hardbody lures or soft plastics. Plenty of bream, whiting and flathead love to sit in all of the undulations that the flats offer and a kayak gets you up on these flats to target them.

Opposite Parrot Island is White Patch; this is a deeper section of the waterway fringed by sand banks and multiple channels. Drifting this area using soft plastics will more than likely get you a nice feed of fish.

Heading north you have Elimbah Creek. The great part about fishing the mouth of the creek is how the bottom structure is constantly changing. It can be sand at one point, then weed and then rock and shell all within one hundred metres. These changes are easily seen when you’re in a kayak and each medium offers its own fishing opportunity. It is not unusual to catch multiple species in the space of one hundred metres.

Donnybrook offers similar fishing options with the shallow areas around Little Goat Island and the area opposite the caravan park providing consistent fishing all year round.

Take care

As pristine as these areas are (it is nothing to be entertained by dugong, turtles and dolphins while you are on the water), they are also quite shallow, which means wind and tide can play a big factor. I always suggest using the tide to your advantage and time your trips to have the tide assist in taking you in the directions you want to go. Always be conscious that wind and shallow water can quickly turn a good day into a bad one.

Plan your trip and this area of the Pumicestone Passage is a kayak angler’s playground.

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