Creeks and Rivers the Way to Go
  |  First Published: December 2007

Strong winds, which unfortunately seem to coincide with the weekend, have kept most fishing to the creeks and rivers. Luckily Gladstone has quite a few good creeks from which to choose. The great part about estuary fishing in Gladstone is that all options are essentially different and give the opportunity to target different species.

On the Reef.

Some sweetlip are being caught on the Rock Cod Shoals but it has been some time since these reports have been enthusiastic. This is not a great situation. I dare to suggest this is the result of one area suffering as a consequence of the permanent closure of the popular and nearby Polmaise Reef, which recently became a green zone.

I am not a great advocate of permanent closure of any area believing that rotational or seasonal closures would be far more positive and eco-friendly.

In the Harbour

Colosseum Inlet has been firing of late with reports of large specimens of Venus tusk fish being pulled from the coral clump at the mouth of Tannum Creek. The recent strong winds from the north have made this inlet a little uncomfortable but protection can be sought from the many tributaries and small islands once inside.

Whiting have been caught in solid numbers along the beaches in the inlet along Hummock Island. I have put this location in my “Must Camp” log for future reference.

Huge morwong are hitting baits around Rat Island. These have been pulled up from the coral shelves between Rat Island and Curtis Island. Morwong are supposedly good on the plate if the fillets are soaked in milk before being lightly barbecued.

Boyne River

This is a scenic river to walk along the shore or drift down in a small tinny. With the mouth of the river being close to the harbour, the river is influenced by tidal flow and salinity. Under the Boyne Bridge around the pylons you can get hold of some nice cod. Silver bream can be hunted along the rocky ledges on the edges of the river here. It is easy fishing for anglers on foot.

A little further down river, as the rocky edge is replaced by dense mangroves, quality grunter feature on the catch list. Just near the boat ramp of the caravan park, silver and black bream will hit hard bodied lures with ferocity. This is a great spot to be on a rising tide later in the afternoon as the sun dapples the water around the trees hanging into and over the water.

Further past this point the mangrove edges become denser. This location is ideal for a small tinny. Here you can dig in close and pepper the edges with hard bodied lures or soft plastics. The occasional mangrove jack has blistered the surface here and stopped many a heart during the fight.

Black Swan Creek

This is one of Gladstone’s versatile little creeks that many boating fishers would zoom past on the way to or from the Narrows. It is really a little inconsequential back water that runs south of Black Swan Island. Frequented regularly by commercial crabbers, one thing this creek has a lot of is mud. The small tributaries and drains generally empty at low tide.

The area immediately south of Black Swan Island is a good night anchor for boats preparing to enter the Narrows. However it also a good place to pepper the mangrove edges for bumper bream. I like to target the larger drains that have mangrove structure within. These always produce good stock.

Black Swan Creek shallows quite quickly when you move about 1km past the hut but if you set up a berley trail on a flooding tide you can coax small sharks to the boat. They are always fun to fight.

Targinie Creek

Targinie is only about 3nm north of the more known Graham Creek, of which I have written about previously. Surprisingly Targinie Creek is more extensive than it appears at the mouth and there are quite a few deep holes worth exploring. A small sand bar along the northern edge of the mouth is worthwhile hitting on an outgoing tide.

Here, I like to set the boat up just on the turn of the tide, placing the stern towards the mouth of the creek. I motor past the sand bar along the northern edge and drift back on the anchor so that I can flick onto the sand. Whiting, flathead and bream and the occasional queenfish are all good catches here.

This creek also holds its fair share of river jew which are not very big, don’t offer much sport when hooked but are really tasty on the plate. You can catch river jew by the dozen.

Further down Targinie creek three half decent tributaries branch out into the island. There is a 5–8m hole right at the mouth of the southern most branch and you can pull some good cod from here. The other two are considerably shallower but still worth trying. We have caught a lot of river jew and some monster flathead from this location.

The creek is well lined with mangroves and drains but the occasional sand bar reaches out into the middle. It is worth having a go on these sand bars. On one trip we caught a dozen or so very respectable whiting within a few minutes. They were obviously working this sand bar.

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