Give me a day off where the sun’s on and the winds are off and nine-times out of ten I’ll be found at the boat ramp at the crack of dawn gearing up for a full day offshore.
Saltwater fishing, whether it’s chasing pelagics around the shallows, or out wide bashing for reefie’s, either way a day at sea is my ideal method for getting excited and relaxed at the same time.
The only drawback of this sort of offshore fishing, is that it’s not particularly family friendly. Even though I’m lucky enough to have a wife and kids who don’t mind wetting a line every now and then, the offshore rock and roll combined with the long days at sea can, at times, result in a somewhat less than happy family.
So when it comes time to plan a more family-friendly fishing trip, it’s usually a case of leaving the boat at home, and proceeding on foot.
Recently I spent a couple of nights away with my two boys Ben and Bailey at a Hillier family favourite, the sleepy fishing community of Taylors Beach.
Although both the boys were born on the Sunshine Coast, it’s been up north in Ingham where they’ve done most of their growing up. And with Taylors Beach just over half an hour’s drive from home it’s been a regular setting for numerous Hillier boys trips over the years.
I’ve been bringing Ben and Bailey here since they were toddlers, and although they’ve grown and grown, I’m pleased to say that this place certainly hasn’t.
Taylors has a fair bit going for it – it’s quiet, clean and unspoiled. You’ll get yourself a good feed of crabs or fish almost every time and you don’t need a boat or a four-wheel-drive, most of the best stuff you can reach on foot.
As far as fishing goes, a walk along the beach and tidal flats that make up the coastline and you’re always a chance of bagging a few grunter, whiting or flathead for dinner.
Of course if you’ve got a tinnie then the potential’s even greater with the entire Hinchinbrook Channel to explore, with a plentiful barra and jack population, which is particularly active during summer.
And for bigger boats there are always the offshore grounds, home to everything from mackerel to coral trout.
But with kids in tow this time around I decided that on this trip we’d keep the feet dry and see what trouble we could get into on foot.
The creeks here are just riddled with mud crabs, to the point that I’ve even heard of blokes coming down after a bit of rain and bagging up to half a dozen legal crabs in one pot.
And thanks to the huge tides that come through here setting the pots is as simple as waiting for low tide, taking an early morning walk along the flats and picking your spot.
Everyone’s got their own secret bait for mud crabs, I’m far less fussy - a frame of whatever fish we caught last week, though the fresher the better.
While waiting for high-tide to come and go, the boys and I had a flick along some of the banks, then when they started to lose interest we headed back to camp at the caravan park for a swim, game of footy, and other non-fishing related activities to keep the boys amused.
Frank and Leesa Demarco run the Taylors Beach Holiday Park. They’re a great couple that really pride themselves on the friendliness and cleanliness of their park.
There are camping and caravan sites, self-contained cabins, but the boys favourite are Frank’s deluxe tropical tents. These are permanent canvas setups with a wooden floor, bunks, TV and all the rest. The nearest thing to camping without actually roughing it.
One last thing worth mentioning is that it’s a pet friendly park so your best mate doesn’t have to stay at home.
As for my two-pups, well after suffering a few humiliating defeats on the footy field I decided that the tide had just about run out and it was time to go check the pots.
Though not the half-dozen big bucks I’d heard about, we’d certainly done well for a morning’s not-so-hard work.
After sending the Jennies on their way, four legal-males was more than enough to do us for lunch.
If you’d like to give this a go yourself, make sure you’re up on the size and take limits, have your pots correctly labelled and if you’re setting them in a spot that’s going to be fully out of the water at low tide, check your pots early. Leaving your catch out in the hot sun is unsightly, cruel and the fisheries boys won’t be too impressed if you leave your pots high and dry with crabs in them.
One thing I can’t recommend highly enough is getting in contact with Frank if you’re up this way.
Not only can he hook you up with a bed or bunk for the night, he also runs the bait and tackle, so should be your first port of call before heading out to wet a line, or a pot for that matter.
Contact Taylors Beach Holiday Park on (07) 4777 8560.Reads: 1020