Island fun at Facing
  |  First Published: November 2009

There have been some good catches in the estuaries along the Toolooa Bends and South Trees. Mangrove jack will start appearing during December and as the water continues to warm the bite will become more active, so keep a tight hold on the rod.

The yabbies in the sandy banks around the Lilies are pretty active at the moment so if you can grab a small bucket load, you will hook onto some good whiting in the small beaches.

The gravel banks around the Boyne River under the bridge in Benaraby are giving up small salmon. It is also a great picnic location as the running water keeps even the most wandering attention.

On the Reef

There are reports of good hits by some solid jew and cod around Cape Capricorn at the moment. Some of my mates have been trying out long silver jigs with success and on the jew and cod.

There are several large gutters at Cape Capricorn and by following the Capricorn Channel you will have a decent plotter.

Rundle Island is usually productive at this time of year. On either side of the island there are different depths and profiles, one of which will usually generate a bite. But if the fishing proves slow, you can duck into Yellow Patch for a swim.

The Oaks

Early in November, I took a group of 12 kids from one of the schools in Gladstone over to The Oaks on Facing Island for a wilderness camp. We took plenty of shade but the sand around the campsite was already warming up.

I fronted up again for a Facing weekend with mates and while the whiting were less than cooperative, it was a pleasant weekend for us old grizzlies.

I lined up for another weekend camping at The Oaks later in November with my family including my three young granddaughters. This was their first camping weekend and it was quite a hit. In the middle of the day, the sand around the camp grounds was boiling and on little feet, quite treacherous.

Facing is my favourite island and The Oaks is one of my favourite camping locations but in the heat of summer you need to be prepared.

Fishing in Facing was ordinary in November but it has the potential to fire up around December. The area around The Oaks is a busy location for swimmers and boating but it’s also a prime fishing location early morning and late in the afternoon.

My group of school kids got onto some good whiting just off the beach. Because we were the only campers during the middle of the week we didn’t have to compete with anyone and the fish were much more cooperative.

It was a different story on the weekend with my family. The Oaks was busy with boats coming and going so fishing was ordinary. Bev, my wife, did manage to get an almost legal bone tuskfish and a small bream. Unfortunately my grand daughters, who are all under five, didn’t catch a fish but they joined in the excitement when their Nan caught one, which proved just as good.

Camping and fishing with little ones has its own rewards, if done properly. The girls camped in their own tents, which were placed very close to our tents so that all doors faced into the centre. We could talk to the girls and they got used to sleeping in their own tent.

Because of the fire ban on the island, we had to cook our damper on a camp oven on top of a small butane stove. I have cooked this way many times before and, while you have to flip the damper, it is a failsafe method. However, I wasn’t half as excited as my grand daughters who all created a damper that would win Master Chef if excitement was the criteria.

Damper is so easy to make. We use a 2:1 ratio with two parts flour and one part of any liquid you want including soft drink like Coke of Fanta. Whack in some choc chips and bingo – you have an instant success story.

Fishing with little ones is another matter. Naturally, little children get bored easily so you need a sand spear to keep the reel off the sand. They can then keep the line in the water while they paddle on the edge. You can buy spears almost anywhere but a 25mm length of PVC can produce plenty of spears for only a few cents.

The beach just in front of The Oaks camping ground has a very steep drop-off at high tide and while this makes it perfect for fishing, it is a dangerous location at this time for little fishers. Low tide is better as it shallows out well and is perfect for little wading expeditions.

Merry Christmas to all QFM readers. Many thanks to all for your emails, pictures and reports during 2009. I hope Santa recognises and rewards all your hard work during the past year.

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