The Christmas rush
  |  First Published: December 2003

IT’S TIME to dust off the fishing gear ready for that much-earned Christmas holiday. Having worked in the fishing tackle trade for some years and experienced the Christmas rush on many occasions, I’ve put together a couple of tips to make it easier for you to prepare for your holiday.

Firstly, if you’re digging out old tackle that hasn’t been used since your last holidays, check it now. If you have to get rod guides repaired or reels serviced, your local tackle shop will be happier to see it sooner rather than later when all the last minute jobs are thrown their way.

Also check your hooks, as odds are they have fallen victim to rust and corrosion. It pays to visit the local tackle shop where you’re holidaying as they should be able to give you advice on what size and type of hook you should be using in that area.

It also pays to check the line on your reel. If you bought it last Christmas as a combo the line will have plenty of memory and be very springy and hard to cast. By replacing your line, getting your reel serviced and having your rod guides checked all you’ll have to worry about is the gear you have to pack for the family.


The following are a few places to try if you’re heading to Bundaberg for the holidays. If you have the family with you there are a number of safe land-based fishing locations.

Elliott Heads

This location is probably the easiest way to get the family to the water. With clean water and miles of sand flats it’s easy to keep an eye on the kids while soaking a bait or flicking a lure. Fresh prawns or yabbies fished on some light 6lb line should see you into a few whiting, bream and flathead, mainly on the incoming tide.

If you want to throw a lure, I recommend that you bring some Prawnstars and 3” Slider grubs and walk and cast into the channels and holes. This should see you pick up flathead, trevally, queenfish and even the odd estuary cod.

At Elliott Heads there’s a shop, a caravan park and a lifesaver patrolled beach, so it’s a great place to visit with family and still be in with a chance to get into some fish.

Coonarr Beach

You’ll need a four-wheel-drive to get to Coonarr Beach because all the tracks are sand. This is one of my favourite beaches because it’s great for the kids – the water is rarely rough as the big bay shape keeps it out of the southerlies. There are plenty of shady trees to set up a picnic or even a camp but there’s no fresh water or any shops so you’ll have to bring everything with you.

The beach offers plenty of fishing options. There are gutters all along it and also a couple of creek mouths that have provided plenty of good fish for me over the years. Once again, light line and fresh bait is the go for whiting and bream and all along this beach you will also find dart. Walking and casting lures will get you into all sorts of fish, from big trevally to mackerel. Around the mouths of Coonarr Creek and One Mile Creek on the incoming tide I’ve had fun fishing poppers for trevally, queenfish and tarpon. You can pump yabbies at the creeks on low tide but you’ll need to bring your insect repellent. I use Bushman’s spray on myself and Skintastic on the kids.

Woodgate Beach

I love Woodgate. Its safe, clean beaches, shady trees and great playgrounds, picnic parks and paved walking tracks make this location great for the whole family. Woodgate has all the facilities needed for a day trip or camping trip, including a very nice restaurant overlooking the beach.

Theodolite Creek on the northern end of the beach and Burrum Heads on the southern end give you plenty of options for a fish. There’s not much water in Theodolite Creek at low tide, especially on the big Christmas tides, so pump your yabbies at low and then fish the run-in. Be careful not to strand yourself as the tide does come in fast.

Woodgate has some great whiting fishing, both off the beach and in the creek. Fishing with light line, small sinkers and sharp hooks makes a lot of difference to your catch at the end of the day. If you wet a line along the beach, look for small gutters as these produce the most fish. Use yabbies pumped from the creek for the best results.

I hope this inspires you to visit Bundaberg during the holidays, as the fishing is great for both mad keen anglers and family fishos. If you want more info on Bundaberg you can contact our tourism board on (07) 4152 2333. For information on fishing in the area contact Salty’s tackle shop on (07) 4153 4747.

1) [Landscape photo of mate with mangrove jack – to come]

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