Best of Both Worlds
  |  First Published: March 2009

This is the perfect time of year to throw the tent in the boat and head to one of the many beautiful beaches of Central Queensland. I like areas like Sea Hill that give you the opportunity to safely beach the boat or at the very least keep it secure.

At Sea Hill there is plenty of beaches on which to camp during the smaller tides of the month. From here you can easily access Hummocky Island for quality reef fishing and if estuary fishing is more your go, Pacific Creek is just around the corner. It’s the best of both worlds, I reckon.

In the Estuaries

On the only occasion I had to get out this month, Macca and I went out for a half-day trip down the Calliope River. We dropped a few crab pots and flicked some old prawns for some bream while the crabs were supposed to be crawling into the pots. We set up eight pots, some around the power station reaches and the rest along the Beecher and Devil Elbows reaches. Using the juiciest fish frames – red throat, coral trout, jew and red emperor frames – from previous reef trips for bait. If I was a crab, I would have thought they were scrumptious.

We then headed past Devils and fished the edges of the further reaches of the river. There are some deep holes around 15m along this reach of the river but there are also some gravel beds and sand banks that will stop you in your tracks if you are not careful. Still, it is a scenic section of the river so there are worse places to spend the morning with a mate.

Unfortunately for us, nothing but a dozen small grunter hit our lines and only a couple of those were keepers. The crabs had obviously decided to sleep in because every pot was empty. The frames had been picked apart, obviously by the smaller fish.

I prefer to leave the pots over night because crabs are always more active in the dark. However, we just didn’t have that opportunity, so all we got for our trouble was a muddy boat.

There have been reports of good catches from the Boyne reaches of Trees Inlet. But I still think the best locations this month will be the Ramsays Crossing and any location in The Narrows.

On the Reef

The consistent winds have kept reef trips to a minimum. There have been several reports of good catches of snapper around Rundle Island. The southern gutters around Rundle are also housing cobia and cod.

Masthead is always a reliable primary and secondary location when coming back from reef areas further out, such as North West. The reef around the island is comprehensive and varied. There are many locations that will offer up good reef species.

Close into the western side of the island, small clumps of bommies are relatively shallow and house all reef species. The northern side is less protected and generally deeper. This is not my most favoured location as it tends to chop up quickly here and can sometimes be uncomfortable.

Sable Chief Rocks on the southern side of Facing Island can be hit and miss. Sometimes you can work the rock and coral areas all day with little to show but at other times big monsters hit your baits consistently. Mark Davis did the hard yards and brought a 17kg cod to his boat while working his Halco Crazy deep lure just off Sable Chief.

The Dam

Tracey Noe hooked onto a beaut barra while fishing Awoonga with her new pink ugly stick. It weighed in at a massive 19kg and took up 112cm on the brag mat. It was her biggest fish ever caught and she is justly proud of it. Apparently this fish put her in front of husband Ray in their friendly competition.

In the Harbour

I have received some reports of good estuary cod being caught from Seal Rocks. These rocks are an easy 30 minute run from Aukland Creek. You stay in the main fishing channel for most of the way, so if you plan to head there, keep your eyes peeled for frays on the surface. Schools of tuna frequent this area.

The channel markers and leads are also worth flicking around particularly on the lee side. As far as fishing goes, the difference between the two is of little consequence but, for the record, markers line the actual shipping channels and leads are for lining up the channels in the distance.

Gladstone harbour and islands have dozens of leads and if you are a Gladstone boat fisher you would know where they are. If you don’t you are headed for peril. The harbour is also renowned for its current flow so come prepared with a decent anchor.

Leads are safer to fish around than markers because markers keep large carriers and cargo ships on course and they often kick up considerable bow waves. If you decide to fish around channel markers, keep a lookout for ships and keep out of their way. In the confines of a channel they can’t take evasive action at all, and it’s best to fish the shallow side of markers and stay alert.

Leads are a different kettle of fish. They can be out of the way of all large water traffic, and not be in the channel at all if they are purely alignment leads. They can often be more substantial structures because they have to support big white markers and powerful lighting systems, and they can have several legs supporting them. These make great fish attractors.

For all the risk, these structures are worth exploring.

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