Product Reviews

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Local Boat Ramps

Information on the quality and location of local Boat Ramp facilities. Includes photographs, maps and some video content.

Family orientated

Promoting family fishing.

Fish for the future promotes catch and release fishing.

Great Fishing Locations

Popular fishing spots including GPS locations, sounder shots and maps.

Regular fishing reports

Regular fishing reports from our fishing trips.

Product Reviews

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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Live Bait Rig

The following rigging technique came to me curtsy of Dion Forman. The idea is to create a way to rig live bait that has a very effective hook-up rate, as well as have the ability to avoid bite offs from Mackerel.

The technique involves rigging two hooks in unison, without ganging them. Gang hooks lack the flexibility to allow a live fish to swim freely. In this rig, the back hook is placed in the back of the fish just below the dorsal fin, and the front hook either in the front of the eye socket, or through the nose. The bait can swim freely, and the second ‘stinger’ hook is hardly noticeable.

In Dion’s original version of this rig, heavy mono was used between the two hooks. My theory is that mono, no matter how heavy, will be bitten in seconds with the sharp teeth of a Mackerel. So in my version, I experimented with a short length of multi-strand wire. Multi-strand is still quite flexible and, if kept as light as possible, is barely any different to mono.

To begin, you will need to following equipment.
  • Two hooks (I use Gamatsu Live Bait hooks in a 6/0 size)
  • Short length of multi-stand wire (60lb in this case)
  • Crimps
  • Small Crimping tool
  • Some heat-shrink electrical stuff (I like the finish the red colour gives)

This rig has been responsible for catching fish like fingermark and coral trout, as well as mackerel and sharks. The wire seems to have no effect on finicky fish, and the wire has proven to hold on the mackerel (even without wire off the front hook). In my short experience using this rig, I would have to say that the hook-up rate is easily double that of a single hook in nose. I have fished side-by-side with someone using a single hook, and watched them miss fish after fish, while I hooked up almost every time.

This final hook should look a little like this.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Fish from last Saturday

Report for 23/02/2008

Fished for the last time in my Quintrex. Just a quick run out as I had to be back for my boys swimming lesson.

Fishing a wreck wide of Rattlesnake Island Ward and I managed 2 Fingermark around 2kg each, 3 small GT about 2kg and a nice Queenfish that went 5kg cleaned. It went just over 1m in length. More were chasing him up, but they didn't want to jump on Ward's fly.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Boat For Sale

Its official, my boat is up for sale. I plan to step up into a Cruise Craft Outsider 575. Details for my boat are as follows.

Quintrex 475 Topender

8th month 2003 60hp Yamaha 4-Stroke


Pictures and Details on Boat Point

This is a gem of a fishing boat. Fantastic in the creek chasing barra, or more than capable of running wide offshore to the reef. I have regularly used this boat to fish shoals in the 20-30nm range.

  • Lowrance GlobalMap 3000 GPS
  • Lowrance x87 Sounder
  • 27Mhz radio
  • VHF Radio
  • Dual Batteries (recently replaced)
  • Fully plumbed live bait tank (new pump)
  • Bait Board
  • Boarding Ladder
  • Burley Bucket
  • Motor Cover
  • Safety equipment for offshore
  • Fire extinguisher and EPIRB

The boat itself features positive flotation, self-draining deck, maxi-2 transom, millennium hull, front casting platform, cockpit lighting (x3), rod holders (x4), under-floor storage, 90lt under-floor fuel, navigation lights, enclosed carpeted side pockets, automatic bilge pump, 12v accessory outlet on console, 3 removable seats with 5 seating positions.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Good Weekend Ahead!

Weather forecast for the weekend is looking pretty good. With the full moon Friday tides will be nice and strong. Even though my last trip was a little quiet, I will probably give live bait for Fingermark another go. Any luck and there might be a few Mackerel floating around too. I have had a couple of people tell me of some quite large Spanish Mackerel being caught. But not in numbers.

Looks like I may be selling my boat shortly. I'm looking at stepping up to a larger Glass boat. Mainly for the family. A 1 year old and a 3 year old get pretty smashed by the sun on my boat. It's too dedicated to fishing! So I will post some details shortly...

Saturday, 16 February 2008

More rain for Townsville

With just over 200ml of rain falling last night in the Townsville area, fishing has been postponed for a while. For me at least anyway. Although I'm sure plenty of people are out chasing the elusive Barramundi in flooded backwaters. I personally don't enjoy that type of fishing too much. Although if I got a little more success with it I'm sure I would start to enjoy it more.

Anyway. I took a couple of pictures today while on a drive with the family. I thought people might like a look at how much water is running down the Ross River at the moment.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Furuno FCV-620 Review (Part 2)

As promised, here is part two of my Furuno 620 review. I managed to get a couple of photographs today of the beast in full swing.

This first photograph show the sounders ability to hold bottom at speed. In the top left hand corner you can see the boat speed is 23 knots. Obviously the water is only 6m deep, and the conditions were good. In rough weather or choppy conditions I do get gaps in the reading as air passes under the hull. But generally the bottom is held very well.

This second photograph shows how even small bottom features will show at high speed. Again the boat is doing almost 23knots. The bump shown is an underwater pipeline, probably no more than about 30-40cm high. Even bait and fish sitting on the structure will show at this speed too. This is a critical feature of any good quality sounder. Being able to hold bottom at speed and identify tiny bottom features will allow you to find new fishing grounds while on the move between locations. I have found many small patches in this way!

This photograph shows predatory fish hanging over a hard bottom structure. Possibly reef or wreck. The thickness of the red bottom line indicates the hard structure. Fish in this case I think were small Nannygai. But Mackerel will show up similar. Mackerel are usually a little ‘tighter’ in their pack. It takes a wile to 'trust' your sounder. But every red blob on the sounder is an individual fish. When I first started using this sounder I found it difficult to believe that it was fish that were showing, and often dismissed the readings as 'clutter'. But this sounder is VERY good, if it shows something then you can trust that its fish and not interference or clutter.

And finally, this photo shows a bait school with predators sitting underneath. Notice the bait school shows as more of a continuous shading rather than individual solid reading. The solid readings to the bottom are the predatory fish.

These photographs are not fantastic. But I hope it gives some idea of how things look on the Furuno FCV-620. This is a top quality sounder and highly recommended.

Another VERY quiet trip

Report for 9/02/2008

Well today’s fishing trip yielded our second zero trip in a row. The disappointing thing about today’s trip is that we did everything right and had weather, tide etc all on our side! It’s got me beat what the fish were doing today.

We hit the ramp at 5am and had live bait collected from the middle reef area and headed for the horizon by about 6. Arriving at our fishing spot about 6.45, things were looking very good indeed. The previous night’s storm had moved off to sea, and water was glassy calm. But this didn't last long, as a light 5-10knot Westerly land breeze soon joined us. We drifted the mark several times hoping for some more Fingermark. But the live baits were soon all chewed up by small undersize Nannygai. Bumpa-bars and Fly did manage a couple of undersize Doggie Mackerel.

Left rather dissatisfied from our efforts at this location, we headed in toward Rattlesnake Island to where we have previously had some luck with Trevally. But not today. Not even bait was showing on the mark. We did a circuit of the Islands looking for new ground, but soon gave up and headed for home.

On the way back we went through a large patch of bait flicking the surface. This was in the area between West Point and Pallarenda. Well wide of where the Bohle would be outputting water. Even though there were masses of bait, no predators appeared to be hassling them. A drop of the bait jig quickly revealed the bait to be small herring. After playing around the area for ½ an hour or so, wondering why there was nothing feeding on this large congregation of bait, we took off for the Marina.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Furuno FCV-620 Review (Part 1)

Not too long ago I was forced to replace my old Lowrance X87 sounder. The choice for a replacement was a difficult one and had me researching for several weeks. I finally settled on the Furuno FCV-620. I have been so impressed with it that I though I'd add a small review. While I was researching for the new sounder, I found little online in the way of personal reviews of the 620. So here's mine.

The main specification that initially turned me away from Furuno was the screen resolution. And realistically, thats one of the first things people look at. However, other 620 owners keept telling me that, even with the lower resolution, the units raw ability to detect and display fish and structure is far superior to other similar sounders. So I was forced to look beyond simple pixel counts and colour depth and give the pure quality of the system a go. And I'm very glad I did. Even with its 'low resolution' screen, I am now able to clearly see bottom structure and fish that simply wasn't possible on the old X87.

Another misconception about the Furuno is their difficulty in use. While this may be true about older units, the 620 couldn't be simpler. The system functions beautifully in basic automatic mode, and the customisations availabe through the menu will keep the more serious fisherman very happy. One of my farourite features is the ability to manually specify the depth range shown on the screen. Combined with the 'shift' function, its possible to look at only a very narrow section of the water column. For example, when fishing deeper water (25m for me is deep) I like to look specifically at the bottom 5-10m only. This increases the bottom definition immensly. While this achieves nothing more than the 'Upper and Lower limits' of the Lowrance sounders, its very simple to use and to adjust on the fly. If you still want to see the full water column, split screen bottom zoom or bottom lock can be used.

One of the things that amazed my with this sounder is its ability to read bottom details at high speed. I was stunned the first time I ran over one of my marks at speed (22knots) and could see bottom structure appear on the screen. And it wasn't a big mark at all! From then on I have kept a close eye on the sounder screen when running between spots and, thanks to the Furuno's ability, I have discovered a number of new fishing locations.

I have heard of people who can look at their sounder and tell you the species of fish that are showing up. But I always thought that was a bit of BS. But for the first time I am starting to see the possibility. I would never claim to know species, but I can now easily pick individual predatory fish haunting schools of bait. Given specific locations and known target species, I can guess particular species.

The price of the Furuno FCV-620 has come down a little in recent times. With transducer it is selling for about $1300 in most places. This is a little dearer than equivalent units from Lowrance and Humminbird....But in my opinion, its money well worth spending!

This is what Furuno has to say..

"The FCV620 is a dual frequency (50 kHz and 200 kHz) Color LCD Sounder featuring Furuno's DSP technology that displays underwater conditions in 8, 16 or 64 colors on a super-bright 5.6" LCD screen.

You’ve probably heard about digital fish finders, but aren’t quite sure what the difference is. The main difference is the filtering capabilities and auto adjustments. Our new FDF (Furuno Digital Filter) technology helps adjust gain, STC “Clutter” and output power, as well as suppress main bang (the echoes just below the transducer.) It also makes the picture clearer and easier to decipher. But even the best digital filter won’t help unless you start with a solid basis, such as Furuno’s renowned fish finder technology.

The FCV620's waterproof construction allows it to be installed on any bridge. Audio and visual alarms alert you whenever preset limits are met for water depth, water temperature and fish echoes. Selectable display modes include High or Low Frequency, Dual Frequency, Zoom, Nav Data, A-Scope, Marker Zoom, Bottom Zoom or Bottom-Lock. Furuno's TLL (Target Lat/Lon) output allows you to interface the FCV620 with your Furuno chart plotter so you can mark any spot you desire and save it as a waypoint, enabling you to return to it whenever you desire."

In Part 2 I would like to show some photographs of the screen and detail some of the ways I use the sounder to the best of its ability.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Baptist Church Club Report

Club weigh-in for the first competition of the year was a great success. Around 40 people turned out for the BBQ dinner and presentation. Although the number of fish weighed was a little light on, over 70 fish were recorded as being released over the two days. Most of these were undersize Nannygai, with a few Red-Throat Emperor and a couple of cod.

Of the 7 fish that were weighed in, the highlight was a 5.2kg Queenfish caught by Jordan Quayle. It was caught on a live Yakka in the vacinity of middle reef. Jordan also managed a good sized Barracouda in the same way.

From the creeks Don Anderson and his wife Bev managed a keeper Fingermark, a nice Grunter and a couple of Blue Salmon from Marrisey's Creek.

If you are interested in more information about joining the Baptist Church Fishing Club send an email to club president Dion Forman.

Membership is only $30 for a senior or $50 for a family. They are a great bunch of guys to go fishing with, and the club has some excellent trips organised for the year.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

No Fish Today

Report for 02/02/2008

Ward and I fished in the Baptist Church Fishing Clubs monthly competition today. The comp was probably the only reason we went. Arrived at the boat ramp about 5am to a light wind and a bit of drizzle. But buy the time we reached the middle reef area it was raining and windy. Wind was from the South, so we collected some live bait and headed for West Point and the shelter of the island.

Spent the morning fishing several of my marks around the West Point area for nothing more than a 'Grinner' or two! Not even the live baits got hit. Oh, one Bumpa-bar got bitten off on the drop by a mackerel.

So off to the weigh-in later today, with nothing to weigh in!