Pining for the Pine
  |  First Published: November 2003

LOCATED in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, the Pine River is a great place where I’ve spent many a day fishing. It has given me a great deal of fun and enjoyment and has also played a vital role in my development as angler.

While the Pine River is regularly visited by many weekend and social anglers, the location still can produce fishing of the quality to satisfy the most hardened sportfishing angler. So whichever end of the spectrum you’re at, come with me as we look at some of the angling options and locations available to you if you want to spend some time on the ebbing and flowing waters of the Pine River.


These hotspots, numbered 1 to 10, are marked on the map on this page.

1. Deep Water Bend

This spot is without a doubt the most fished location on the Pine River system. Located within the Brisbane City Council gazetted Tinchi Tamba Wetlands, the area has ample facilities for anglers wanting to fish from the shore. A very rocky and snag-strewn stretch of the river, it’s home to the regular bread-and-butter species such as bream and, to a lesser degree, flathead and whiting.

This area is best fished by targeting the structured and rocky shoreline; you don’t have to make long casts towards the middle of the river to consistently catch fish. The disadvantage of fishing that close to cover, however, is that you’re likely to lose more tackle – but that’s a small price to pay for catching more and better quality fish.

Some of the other species that appear in catches during the cooler months include luderick, tailor and jewfish, and on those balmy summer days you can do battle with the highly prized mangrove jack.

2. Highway Bridge

This is great location for anglers who want to chase bream on lures, with the endless supply of pylons perfect for floating small soft plastics past. The area also fishes well for jew at night, and has been known to produce the occasional jack from the base of the concrete pylons of the bridge. Located just upriver from the bridge is a hole of considerable size, which regularly produces flathead for those anglers fortunate enough to locate the feature with their sounder.

3. Sunken Ships

The southern side of the river upstream from the highway bridge is littered with sunken barges and wrecks. The most prominent of them is the Sorena-del-mar, a vessel that was used by the gravel-dredging operators that formerly worked the river. It came to rest on the bottom of the river in the early 1990s, and now lies parallel to the southern shore, with the wreck denoted by a red marker buoy. While one of the fishiest places to target it’s also one of the toughest.

Home to many a thumper bream, large jack and unstoppable cod, this location is best fished with heavy tackle, lightening reflexes and an acceptance of getting regularly dusted up. Like much of the Pine River it can fish fantastically one day and poorly the next, but if you fish the best tides and the optimum moon phases you’ll go a long way to maximizing your chances of success.

4. Flats area

Moving into the southern arm of the system you’ll find one of the most consistent flathead locations on the river. The area can be a bit difficult to locate on a high tide, with the flooded ground hard to distinguish from the rest of the river. A visit to the area on a low and falling tide will enable you to pinpoint the precise location of the fish-holding structure, with a return trip on a high tide hopefully seeing you catch a few lizards.

5. Bob Bell Park

Located just a stone’s throw away from the Westfield Shopping Centre at Strathpine, Bob Bell Park is a secluded little spot on the south arm of the river. With a single lane boat ramp and ample protection from the elements, the area is a perfect location from which to launch car-toppers and canoes.

This location is quintessential mangrove water, with considerable timber and undercut banks making the area ideal for chasing bream and other snag-oriented species. The river is littered with shallow sandy stretches leading up to and beyond the park, so exercise caution when you’re travelling along the river. As with many rivers and streams, the outside of the bends have deep sections and are perfect places to target flathead during winter and jacks in summer.

6. Timbered bank

A great place to escape howling south-easterly winds, this timbered section of the north arm of the river is an ideal area to fish when there’s minimal boat traffic.

Regularly subjected to the wash of passing anglers and water skiers, the region contains timbered and fallen sections of bank which hold reasonable numbers of fish at times. Bream are regular inhabitants and I’ve also found surprisingly good-sized flathead lying adjacent to fallen trees and other such structure. This area is best fished on the last of the run-in and the first stages of the run-out tide, and it fishes best when there are good concentrations of bait present.

7. Rock bar

Subjected to a fair amount of current and found adjacent to reasonable flats areas and fallen timber, this rock bar located on the eastern side of the river as you head upstream is an easy place to fish and is regularly productive. Located near one of the most favoured spots for cast netting prawns, this spot is best fished with these tasty crustaceans and is an excellent place to chase bream.

Anglers wanting to use lures can troll over the rock bar, but it’s best fished by anchoring up and casting at the feature, or doing likewise while drifting through the area with the tide. As well as bream, this area delivers trevally, cod, jew and jacks during their periods of increased activity.

8. Mangrove bank

This is a great stretch of the river which is best fished by drifting along the shore and casting lightly-weighted baits or lures tight into the bank and shoreline. While this technique is one of the best ways to seek out the bream and flathead waiting in ambush, it can also be highly effective for catching other species such as whiting – and, unfortunately, the dreaded catfish of the Pine.

9. Rock bar

While the rock bar is one of the smelliest places to fish on the river, this location has produced some of the best fishing over many years. With deep water and a consistent current flowing past, this area is home to monster-sized estuary cod, unstoppable mangrove jack, and jewfish that are more associated with a ocean river mouth. However, while this area is capable of producing some great fishing you need to invest time and patience to be consistently successful.

The use of light tackle is out of place here because the fish are unforgiving and the rocks are always close during a fight.

10. Rock Wall

Located a little further upriver and not far from the paper mill at Petrie there’s a rock wall of considerable proportions. The terrain here is not as tough as the rock bar you pass to get to it, but it can fish just as well for the same species. For those anglers more inclined towards the luring side of fishing, this location is perhaps best fished by trolling along the feature.

While the fishing here can at times be sensational it can be equally as quiet; I’ve spent many a moonlit night patiently waiting for a jack to devour my painstakingly presented live bait. Be patient and be prepared.


The 10 locations I’ve discussed are quite diverse and are available to both land-based and boating anglers. For those confined to the shore the optimal places to fish are Deep Water Bend (1), Highway Bridge (2), Bob Bell Park (5), and the John Oxley Reserve (7), and they’re all easy to find in the street directory.

If you have the luxury of a boat there are a few locations to launch from. The single lane concrete ramp at Deep Water Bend (1) is the most used. It can get busy and is also limited in the amount of suitable shoreline to pull your boat up onto when launching and retrieving. Further up the river and into the southern arm there’s a gravel ramp that’s accessed by taking the Bald Hills turn-off on the highway and following Bald Hills Road down to the water. This location can also be found in the street directory. There’s another ramp located in the southern arm, with a single lane concrete ramp present at Bob Bell Park (5).

Moving into the northern arm there’s really only one ramp available, located in the park adjacent to the bridge on Gympie Road which crosses the river between Lawton and Petrie. Depending on the size of your boat and the height of tide it can really only be used when the tide is in.

As you can see, there are plenty of options available for those wanting to fish the Pine. So whether you want to spend a couple of days on the water or just a couple of hours, you could do a lot worse than fishing the Pine. It’s a great place and I recommend that you check it out.


1) The Pine River is a great location for luring bream.

2) Upstream from the highway bridge.

3) Balmy summer days are great for doing battle with the highly prized mangrove jack.

4) Deep Water Bend has ample facilities for shore-based anglers.

5) In the southern arm of the system you’ll find one of the most consistent flathead locations on the river.

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