What’s biting at Surat
  |  First Published: April 2004

I’VE MADE the move from the coastal town of Rainbow Beach to the south-western town of Surat, 80km south of Roma. Surat is located on the Balonne River and is a very popular destination for freshwater fishing enthusiasts.

At the start of this year Surat and most of the surrounding area received lots of much needed rainfall. I had to drive through quite a bit of water that covered the road to even get here. This rainfall provided an excellent flow through the river and I saw the water level flowing swiftly about 1m below the bridge when I arrived. At the time of writing it is still flowing over the weir. This process will have given the river a thorough flushing and, so I’m led to believe, should result in improved fishing in the future.

Surat has an active fishing club that seeks to maintain fish stocks and provide amenities for visiting anglers. There are plenty of camping opportunities along the river and next to the bridge there are toilets, BBQ facilities, shade and a large grassed area that’s ideal for family picnics. For those who don’t want to camp there’s a motel and a caravan park in the town. Surat hosts a very popular ‘Surat Secret Weight Family Fishing Comp’ which will be held on June 5-6 this year. Anyone interested can contact Robyn on (07) 4626 5173 during business hours. I would love to see some Rainbow Beach people make the trip out for this competition!

The river is currently very muddy and full of debris such as floating sticks and logs, but fish are still being taken. I’ve watched many people fishing from the banks just below the bridge and have seen several nice yellowbelly taken on worms and small crayfish, but the majority of the fish caught have been carp. Carp are a noxious pest and should never be returned to the water. They do provide some sport however, and can grow quite large. I recently took my kids down to the river specifically to catch some carp. I had read that corn kernels loaded on a hook make good carp bait, and I can confirm that this is true. In a short period we caught two carp on corn at about 2pm, which is hardly the ideal time to go fishing. Unfortunately, my son wasn’t impressed when I told him we wouldn’t be having them for tea and he couldn’t understand why I wanted to catch them. Next time we’ll have to try for yellowbelly!

The surrounding countryside has plenty of waterholes that provide good fishing. Les White, the local gardener, is a very keen fishermen and he kindly took me around the district showing me lots of good fishing locations and some areas where I can locate crayfish for bait. In future articles I’ll provide more detailed information about some of these locations.

1) Sam Leach with a carp caught on corn kernels.

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