Snapper to Kauri
  |  First Published: May 2009

There are many excellent fishing spots throughout South East Queensland and they could be right on your doorstep waiting to be discovered by you. In this issue we will take a tour of the area from Snapper Creek up to Kauri Creek.

As you leave Snapper Creek the area directly in front of you on the opposite side of Tin Can Inlet is Smooger Point, on the downstream side of this there is a small bay popular with yachties as a mooring area. In behind the yachts and up close to the mangroves are good yabby banks whiting, bream and flathead. It is also worth a try for sand crabs, and drifting in the deeper sections around the boats can produce squid.

Downstream from the yachts, approximately in line with the entrance to Carlo, you will find that there are sections of broken bottom. A sounder is obviously a great help in this area but as you approach eddies are usually seen, which are an indicator for bottom structure. Parrott, sweetlip and cod can be caught here, and live baits are a good option especially after dark.

Moving further downstream and again on the eastern shore we have Carlo Creek, which is small but has extensive sand flats. This creek can be easily reached via Rainbow Beach; take the Rainbow beach road and as you enter Rainbow take the first street on the left and follow it to the end. If you don't have your own boat then hire boats are available.

You will find a good ramp and parking facilities at the creek. Most of the bread-and-butter species can be found in the area including bream, whiting and jacks in the upper sections. It is also not a bad spot to gather live bait.

Continuing on downstream towards Fraser Island are extensive sand flats on either side of Tin Can Inlet, which are all worth a drift for whiting. On your port side, about half way between Carlo and Teebar Creek, you will note a substantial drain running off the flats, it is usually noticed better at low tide. This drain can be either be fished by anchoring in the drain itself or fish the eddies at the front, but watch the tide and don't get stuck.

The next main creek is Teebar. This is found on the western side of the inlet, and the entrance is marked by a yellow navigational pole. Keeping to the left (downstream) side of the yellow pole, follow the red port markers into the creek. Once in the creek there are no other navigational aids so if it’s your first time go easy as you will come to an abrupt stop sooner than later.

Teebar Creek is a popular overnight stop for the houseboats so it can be a very busy area, however it can still produce good catches from time to time.

Travelling along the eastern side of the channel you will pass two blue mooring buoys, once past these navigate diagonally across the creek towards the sandy beach, which is easily visible across the creek. Just before the beach you will notice a coffee rock shelf known as Bird Rock that is probably the deepest water in the creek. It is a top spot for live baiters with jack and barra being the prime targets. And add to this the possibility of cod, pike and sweetlip, and you might be surprised just what can be caught here.

From Bird Rock the creek turns to the south and after a couple of hundred meters it turns back towards the north, which creates a good area to lay a few crab pots. Just off to the left is a small creek that is accessible on a run up tide. This is also a good bait gathering area inside and at the mouth of the creek. If there is not too much traffic then this is a great spot to try for jacks.

Continuing upstream, the creek follows around to the right and will cross a broad shallow sand flat. This is not really accessible early in the tide unless you have a minimal draft boat, but even then you might have to walk it for a while.

Upstream the channel follows the southwestern bank, which is always worth a troll. As you head upstream the depth can vary quite a bit so take it easy. After negotiating up the creek, for about 1-2km, you will come to the first major structure; a deep hole situated on a tight bend with plenty of snags and a coffee rock wall as a backdrop. This is again prime jack country with barra a possibility. This area is probably best fished through the tide, by going in early and coming out late.

Travelling further upstream is a second bend that is full of snags and the coffee rock wall is replaced by a clay and rock wall. The water around the wall has good depth and structure with eroded trees fallen throughout – prefect jack country. Half a kilometre or so further upstream is a couple of deep holes against the mangroves that are worth a try with live bait or lures.

The whole length of Teebar Creek hold crabs so laying a few pots on the way in is always worth the effort.

Warning: The full extent of Teebar Creek is within the boundaries of Camp Kerr, better known as the Wide Bay Army Training and Firing range, so don't plan on going for a bush walk as you may well get a surprise.

Once back out in Tin Can Inlet directly across from Teebar and slightly downstream is an area called Teebar Ledge. This can be located by motoring across the inlet to the other side in the direction of Pannikin Island, as you approach the sand flats at low speed you can easily see the rock formation of the ledge, which extends upstream and downstream along the edge of the sand.

This area is very similar to Searys Ledge, in its structure and water depth and holds similar species. Searys Ledge is an extensive coffee rock structure with water about 8-9m off the front. It is a high tidal flow area so working the tides is essential. It generally holds a lot of bait and can produce anything from cod, sweetlip, and squire to tuna and GT, so be prepared. If you are targeting jewfish this ledge is also a great spot.

When the tide is up and if you don't want to continue downstream in the main channel you can motor between Pannikin Island and Bullock Point. At Bullock Point you will find the jettys that the Fraser Island barges tie up to, here is another spot for jacks, particularly after dark.

Past Bullock Point is Pelican Bay; a big open shallow bay popular with overnighters in boats. It is flanked to the east by Inskip Point, the well-known camping spot, so at peak times this area can be a good place to avoid. Whiting, bream, flathead and crabs all available in this area.

Leaving Pelican Bay will bring you back out in the main channel. Travelling to the right (downstream) you will soon be out in the open with the Wide Bay Bar to your right, and the start of the Great Sandy Straits to the north.

Water depth out here can vary from 1-2m to 28m. The marker here is the green marker, better known locally as ‘Big Mick’. This area can produce almost anything on its day, from Spanish mackerel, spotty mackerel, cod, sharks, and cobia right down to diver whiting.

Trolling and drift casting are two methods that will produce the goods. When the bait schools are abundant you will find that they are often ‘pushed’ in along the shoreline of Fraser. Drifting and casting slugs and drop bears can, and have, produced Spaniards.

Scattered schools of mac tuna are regularly seen in this area, with small chrome slugs and small minnow lures being the pick. However, don't discount bigger tuna in the form of longtails mingling with their smaller cousins. They are not easily approached so you have to be patient and drift onto the schools. With a bit of luck you might get a couple of casts in before they ‘sound’ and pop up a couple of hundred meters away – frustrating to say the least!

Heading up the Straits until opposite the sand bluff on Fraser you will find to the west, or roughly opposite the Bluff, the entrance to Kauri Creek. Marked by for reds or port markers, this area is regarded by most as one of the best creeks in the Straits. However, its full potential has been cut short with a Green Zone extending upstream from the boat ramp. Access to this ramp is via the Tinnanbar Road that runs off the Maryborough Road.

On entering Kauri Creek, the flats on both sides are Go Slow Zones to protect the dugongs and turtles. The creek itself has speed limitations so be aware it is all sign posted and they do patrol it!

Along the opposite bank to the reds is the Ballast Bank. As the name implies, it has a broken bottom that can yield almost anything from squire, sweetlip, parrot and cod.

Once in the creek on your port side (left) is Little Kauri Creek, Y Creek and Little Stony Creek, and all of which are worth exploring. As well as the bread-and-butter species, jacks, barra and salmon have all been caught here using bait in the form of yabbies, herring and mullet, which are all readily available through out the system.

Kauri Creek gets some serious pressure from both professional and amateurs alike, but it can still produce the goods. Time effort and a little thought is all that’s needed.

The Green Zone has unfortunately eliminated some the best structure to fish. Although there are a few rock bars and patches of snags in the lower sections, I believe the best has gone. Nevertheless, on the positive side the fish and crabs upstream will filter through to the lower sections eventually. So we should really think of the Green Zone as a ‘nursery’ for fish, bait and crabs and in the long run it should be better for the whole system.

That ends the tour and hopefully gives you a starting point to get out there and have a fish.

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