IN RECENT times many fishers have asked me where to catch a fish from the land around Gladstone. This is not an easy ask; many of Gladstone’s shore-based spots are not as good anymore thanks to a rising population and industrial pressure, and in many places access has been cut off. As industry now occupies all the decent waterfront, the local government should consider providing more quality access to make up for what we’ve lost – and I don’t mean grassy parks and fishing platforms (one smallish one only in the whole of Gladstone) where you need a surf rod and 2oz sinker to reach the water!
But there are still some good options in the region, and I’ve written many articles over the years on various land-based spots in and around Gladstone. Many of my past articles are listed on the Fishing Monthly website, and one of the more general ones (QFM January 2000) is titled ‘Gladstone from the Bank’. In this article I covered quite a range of spots, from Wild Cattle Creek in the south to northern Gladstone Harbour. The map on this page will give you a visual of these places and how to get to them. Always bear in mind that time, tide and bait are critical to bagging a feed, and time spent getting fresh or live bait, along with fishing the early morning/evening, will increase your chances of success. Don’t forget to pack insect repellent if you’re going out for an early or late fish.
Some older and not so mobile folk have asked me where they can catch a local barra from an easy-to-access bankside spot – the sort of place where you can park the car and be able to get into a casting position in, say, a wheelchair. I recently wrote an article on Spinnaker Park (QFM December 2002) which has great access from the bank to the water, along with easy access from your car to your chosen spot. But as for getting a barra from there, well… good luck!
So I’ve decided to write another review on Lake Callemondah. The last article I did on the lake was in QFM January 2001, called ‘Gladstone City Barra’. In that piece I described a hot bit of action experienced by a few clever anglers who fished below the barrage immediately after good rain, which caused the fresh water to flow over the wall into the tidal lagoon below. Land-based lure-chuckers out there should keep an eye out for a quick-fire 50–100mm of rain, or even more. When this happens, don’t muck about. Get down there within the next week or, better still, within a day or two. The land-locked barramundi hang around briefly before realising that it’s part of their life cycle to now venture to the saltwater to complete their lifecycle.
The folk who got the fish after the last good rain caught them in good numbers, and these sub-legal fish were tagged and returned to fight another day. Remember that these are stocked barra that were released into the dam behind K-Mart by the local stocking group, so go easy on these fish if you find them on the chew. They should be around 60cm now and some of them may be sporting a tag, so don’t forget to report on them.
During the last hot bite an interesting thing happened to the folk who were fishing for these barra. A couple of monster salty barra had forged upstream with the scent of the fresh in their nostrils, and were duly nailed by the fisherman. One salty was over a metre long! You will easily recognise these fish because they’re much bigger than the others and sport a gold tail.
Salties taste great, but I’m not sure how the released barra would taste. It probably depends on how long they’ve been in the salt. For my taste they’d need to be in the salt for a while, but there are plenty of people who say that the Lake Awonga barra are quite OK to eat.
Now, just a bit on time and tide for Lake Callemondah. The lagoon does get quite empty on low tide, and even from the last half and down it’s a bit skinny. If you can snag a top of the tide around dawn or dusk this is perfect, but any time when the tide is up and the fresh is cascading over the causeway will do just fine.
You can access the bottom side of the lagoon from the mangrove boardwalk. This boardwalk starts from the carpark off Blain Drive just past the city dump turn-off. You can access the causeway itself from the city dump turn-off as well – just don’t turn into the dump! Go straight ahead and you’ll drive straight into the carpark at the foot of the causeway.
The rain can really provide a good opportunity to experience some hot barra action in Gladstone from the bank. But even without rain, you have a reasonable chance of jagging freshwater barra from the shore of the lake when the water temperature is up. The Council has done this area up a treat, so take a picnic and bring the kids, and have some fun.Reads: 9092