Best Facing Forward
  |  First Published: May 2009

The Boyne Tannum HookUp competition is being held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. It is sad that this will be our last public holiday long weekend for the year. None the less, winter in Gladstone is glorious.

On the Reef

What winter reef trips lack in quantity this month they make up in quality. Red emperor are welcome catches on most trips and there is no reason why that won’t continue this month. The deeper holes of the reef areas prove to be the better option in Gladstone during winter.

Quality catches have been recorded from North West, Masthead, 12 Mile and even closer at Rock Cod Shoals. I expect that to continue during June.

My records indicate that the southern sections of Rock Cod shoals will be where the bigger fish are found during June. For some reason the deeper sections of these shoals are more productive during the colder months. I don’t know why.

Venus tuskfish are common catches in the deeper holes but you should also get redthroat and grassy sweetlip.

Cape Capricorn is still giving up nannygai, especially around Cape Capricorn wreck. This area is only relatively small so keep your sounder zoomed to the bottom to find the wreck. Good luck at anchoring up. I prefer to drift here.

12 Mile Reef is also fishing quite well. Mackerel are being caught and so too are big red emperors. Mick Small was fishing here with his mates. They were targeting mackerel but were rather pleased that a huge 11.5kg red decided it preferred the lure.

In the Harbour

Grassy sweetlips are being caught from Sable Chief Rocks but you need to be wary of southeasterly breezes as strong gusts can send you into the rocks. It is a popular location for trolling for mackerel.

Bream are hitting lines on the western rocks of Turtle Island. Peeled prawns are used to entice the fussy pickers but you need to use small hooks. There are few small species to get rid of before you bring bream of decent size to the boat.

Grunter can be caught here as well.

In the Estuaries

Recently, Macca and I headed to the waters of Colosseum. This is one of Gladstone’s most spectacular waterways with an estuary system that would take a lifetime to explore – and I am sure there are many who set out to try.

We headed out from Boyne Island ramp at Dennis Park. The Boyne-Tannum Hook Up committee is responsible for providing the pontoon at this boat ramp and they are deservedly proud of this facility. It is simply excellent and makes launching and retrieving a boat much more enjoyable.

I am a bit wary of the Boyne Channel as it is well over due for a dredging. It is a shame that so much buck-passing occurs every time this topic is raised. Everyone ducks and weaves but no one is prepared to bite the bullet and actually do something, meanwhile, boaters who use this channel are the ones who miss out. This channel has been responsible for many scrapped hulls and broken props. Entry and exit at high tide is generally quite easy but you really need to be aware of the water under the boat, even if you follow the channel. But at low tide it is a completely different story.

From Boyne Island the trip to Colosseum is about a 5nm run following the beaches of Tannum Sands. The Colosseum entry is a huge sandbank and you need to cross a small bar. The bar is marked on most plotters and it quite safe in all but extreme conditions.

Once inside the creek, you are in deep protected waters sometimes over 20m in depth. The mangrove edges are steep so digging in close to the banks is possible. Because of the aspect, Colosseum is open to northerly winds but there are more than enough protected estuaries once inside.

Colosseum is renowned for whiting along any of the white beaches. These are great locations if you want to target whiting and there have been a lot of recent reports of good catches from those who drift just off the beach as well as those who drive the boat onto the beach and walk.

There are a few small settlements along the banks, most notably on Wild Cattle Island and the banks of Boyne Island.

Facing Island

I was able to head over to Facing Island with a few mates recently. Whiting was a little sparse but on a beautiful island like Facing, who cares!

We fished all our favourite locations but we caught most of our fish from the mangrove edges of the harbour side. We worked this area on the worst possible tide – the water was receding as fast as we could walk out. Not the best time to fish but we were getting a few half decent whiting. However, Kelly was able to pick up a coral cod. It was not a trophy fish by any means but it was a surprise catch here on such a terrible tide.

Hurstie managed to grab hold of quite a respectable flathead caught on prawns from Farmers Point on high tide. This is always a reliable location to fish especially on a rising tide.

We caught whiting from Castle Rock, The Caves and at the top of The Oaks but they were not in great numbers.

Boyne Tannum HookUp

This year’s Boyne Tannum HookUp competition is going to be massive with over $220,000 worth of prizes and cash up for grabs. The major prize is a Haines Hunter 600R complete with 150hp Yamaha four-stroke with a drive away valued at over $70,000! There are 10 prize Quinnies all set up ready to drive away comprising of six senior boats and four junior boats.

Check out www.boynetannumhookup.com.au for all the details but be quick. Senior tickets are still only $70 so it is well worth having a fish, an opportunity to explore Gladstone waters and the chance to win a big prize.

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