Life’s a Beach
  |  First Published: August 2009

There is still plenty of action in the Gladstone waters this month. The reef is starting to wake up although it’s still a few months before the real summer action fires up. However, anglers who are prepared to explore can still find good fish.

The wider reefs are producing good catches but the closer reefs of Cape Capricorn, Rock Cod Shoals and 12 Mile are proving equally as plentiful for far less fuel.

Beaches of Gladstone

September is a great month to be on the beach in Gladstone, which has some of the best and varied beaches of Central Queensland.

Many of Gladstone’s beaches are within easy walking distance for locals and visiting tourists. The beaches are easily accessible and if you have little fishers who get bored quickly, they’re not far from the car park.

In Gladstone you might even be the only person on one of the spectacular, local beaches, which is a luxury not many places can boast these days.

Some of the more secluded beaches are reachable only by boat, while others require a 4WD and a bit of planning where one day is just not enough.

Barney Point

Within two minutes drive from the city heart is Barney Point Beach. While this beach is in sight of most of Gladstone’s big industrial sites, it is generally in pristine condition. It’s also a great location for kids; if they get bored of the beach there is a safe playground within walking distance.

A stinger net is set up here during the summer stinger season, though September isn’t warm enough for me to even think about swimming.

Barney Point fishes well for whiting and the best locations can be found on either end of the beach where small rocky outcrops provide structure. You won’t find gutters of any consequence along this beach, but the flats are great locations for small tackle fishing. Bream are also a good by-catch at Barney Point.

Canoe Point

Canoe Point at Tannum Sands is a popular tourist beach, so anglers must compete with swimmers in the summer peak period. However there is hardly anyone swimming in September, so it’s a good time to throw a line in.

The beach is extensive. The sands are constantly shifting so the profile is different on each excursion.

Rocks are also often exposed at this location. The rocks are great spots to cast out to the deeper water, then as the tide comes in you can move back and throw onto the rocks. Good quality dart, whiting and bream are frequent catches here.

Pancake Creek.

A boat is required to access this beach. Leaving from Gladstone, Pancake is a good couple of hours but if you drive down to Turkey Beach, it’s a quick 30-minute run.

Pancake is one of those places where you hope the weather blows up so you get stuck. It’s just a spectacular place to camp and fish, with variation in depth, structure and temperature.

The best locations are simply straight off the beach, but if you wish to be more adventurous you can climb over the rocks, where there is a chance of hooking up a morwong or grunter.

The second beach is the best for camping as it contains its own small water supply. Just behind the palm trees is a small well marked by a lump of wood that has a stainless steel container attached to it. To get fresh water, lower the container into the stainless steel sleeve and pull up sand filtered crystal clear water. The refill rate is slow, so don’t expect to fill up a jerry can in a hurry, but it supplies great drinking water.

Small oysters on the rocks around any of the beaches provide good bait. Here you can jump off to the reef at Middle and Outer rocks, which are no more than 5-miles north of Pancake. All the usual reef fish can be found here and if you are happy to troll for a while, you will grab hold of mackerel.

Sea Hill

The beaches of Sea Hill are on the northern end of Curtis Island and are also available to boating fishers only. Sea Hill is an easy run up through the Narrows.

This area opens up plenty of options for estuary fishing but also provides crystal white beaches. Camping must be planned because some high tides cover the beaches entirely. The neep tides are the best times to camp in this area.

The beach area directly under the Sea Hill lighthouse is a great location to chase whiting. Because this area is not as frequently fished as other areas of Gladstone, whiting are more prevalent. You can see large schools hunting the sand bars directly off the beach. The whiting are quite fussy so fresh bait is a necessity or you won’t be in the race.

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