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.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Fishing the USA Part 1

Today we moved from Canada to the USA, this was duly accomplished. We drove through to Centralia in the hope of seeing Mount St Helens. As our timing seems to be perfect a nice blizzard was predicted for our return flight from Seattle to Los Angeles. So off we trundled in a vain hope of seeing the Mount. Luckily we new of a river to fish near by on the way back. The Cowlitz River was a nice salmon and trout stream. We did get a sneak peek at the peak and moved in the rain and wind to the fishing location. This time we were after salmon and we saw some nice steel head and cut throat trout. Liam managed two nice hits probably from steelhead and I managed a couple of touches, probably from a trout, Chris was still not getting any thing but hopefully we are getting closer. This fishing can become an expensive exercise with money needed for permits Canada $55 each for a week but this did not include keeping salmon or catching steelhead. The USA was only $16 for a single day. This does not include equipment or anything else. We are not sure if we will fish again this trip but we shall see! Hopefully you guys are doing well back in Oz.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Shelly Beach Soft Plastics

Still looking to land a fish a small window of opportunity in the wind today allowed me to get in a morning Soft Plastics session at Shelly Beach. I knew the calm wouldn't last long, so not worth putting the boat it anyway. And after hearing about Deions experience there the other week I was pretty keen. The tide was not ideal, with the big high not until 10am. But I figured it was worth a couple of hours.

On arrival there was about 8-10knots of wind on the water. Just enough to chop it up a little and make the water a bit murky. I tried a few casts on the way to the rocks where Deion had said he was getting the fish. But no luck.

As soon as I got close enough to the specific set of rocks I could see bait scattering and small GT's racing around. A couple of casts soon had me hooked solid to one of the little fish. These are a lot of fun on light spin gear. A photo and he was away. Over the next half hour or so I worked these rocks to death. There was the odd scatter of bait, and something BIG that came through, but I couldn't fool another fish.

I tried another location with out luck. And finally I changed to a Squidgy fish on the bottom to try snare a Flathead. I got a couple of bumps from small fish, but nothing hooked up. Eventually I gave up and headed for home. But half way along the beach I spotted a big shower of bait. It was a little far out, but I thought I'd give the area a few casts. It paid off, and I was soon hooked to another small GT. This fish was followed all the way to my feet by a bigger GT, probably 3 or 4 times as big. There was plenty of gar in this spot, and I even managed to foul hook one!

Then a short cast over some sunken rocks resulted in a small Mangrove Jack. This was probably the highlight of the morning for me. I love these little fish. It was not top of the tide and getting quite hot. The bite had slowed so I headed home. What a great way to spend the morning.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Father and Son fishing the Sweet Water

Was sitting at home today in desperate need for a fish. It was windy outside so I made a last minute decision to go for a run South and fish the fresh. Tania wasn't felling to well, so I thought it would be nice to take Lachy and leave her with only 1 to contend with. So I packed the car and when he woke from his daytime sleep we were off.

Lachy was very excited to be off fishing with Dad. And all the way there it was constant chatter and questioning. On arrival at our first lagoon we discovered it was totally weeded in. Obviously that one isn't worth a look again until we get some decent rain. So off to our next location, Tarpon Central.

First hit came on a 70mm Pacific Pearl Flick Bait (yep I went into ProTackle today an got some after reading Deion's report!). These are a great looking plastic, and I highly recommend them. The fish failed to take the hooks. A couple of casts later and it was on. A BIG Tarpon burst clear of the water as it smacked the little flick bait. This fish was easily in the 3-4kg class. It pealed off the 8lb fireline and took me directly into some weed. I could feel the fish attached, but after a couple of pulls to and fro, the fish one its freedom. It was a good hour then before another fish hit and missed. And that was it for the evening.

We left about 6pm and collected dinner for the little guy at the servo on the way home. Lachy had a couple of goes with the rod. His erratic way of winding the reel actually suits the flick bait quite well. But he spent most of his time with a stick in the water trying to catch a Croc! Either that or eating bickies!!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas

On behalf of the team I would like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas. I hope everyone gets some wonderful fishing presents from Santa. I myself would simply like some good weather delivered for the next week or so!!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Fishing Port Dougles

Ok, I think I finally have a couple of minutes to put together something about our Holiday to Port Douglas. We left on Friday 12th of December at 8am with boat in tow. We were initially undecided about taking the boat, but with a great week of weather forecast for the far North, we couldn't leave her behind. On our arrival in Port Douglas at about 5pm we instantly went looking for somewhere to buy bait.

We soon discovered that Fishing isn't really a big thing in Port Douglas. There isn't even a tackle shop! But there is a 24hr service station that stocks a good range of bait. Although its a tad on the expensive side. We didn't have freezer space to store bait overnight, so I questioned the attendant as to his stocks. With a 5knot, 0.4m seas forecast for Saturday I had concerns that he would run out. But he assured me there was plenty.

The next morning we planned to hit the ramp at sunrise (5.30am) as I didn't want to run out of an unfamiliar port in the dark. I was a little concerned about parking at the ramp as it was a weekend and such a good forecast. A quick call into the servo saw is with bait for the day. On arrival at the ramp I soon found that my concerns about parking were unfounded. There were no more than 2 other trailers parked at the ramp! Yeah, like I said, fishing doesn't seem to be a big thing up there! We pointed our nose toward Bat reef and headed off over glass conditions.

I decided to run us in the channel between Bat and Tongue reefs and search for some rubble in the deep water that may hold some Reds. And in under 40minutes we were there. The area was abound in tuna schools. Bait and birds were everywhere. We played around for a while with these fish, keeping an eye on the sounder for anything interesting.

After having enough fun with Tuna, we trolled some Mackerel lures around the edge of the reef. Not being a reef fisherman, I wasn't too sure what to look for. So we wasted a couple of hours just looking around. But persistence paid off, and I round a lump in 30m of water. The top of which came up to 18m. There were massive schools of bait hanging off the peak, with good arches sitting around it. A couple of passes with the lures resulted in several hits and a couple of landed Spanish Mackerel.

Next I positioned the boat over the school for some high speed metal. This worked a treat. We has Spaniards under the boat chasing slices and were getting smashed almost every drop. Amongst the Macks were some big Gold Spot Trevalley. This kept us entertained until the bite slowed at the change of tide. We then had a look around the reef, swim, snorkel etc before heading home. It was a long hot day with practically no wind the entire time.

Next trip out was Monday morning. We had planned to go at a similar time, but some morning storms held us back. But once the front had passed it glassed out again. Still raining we headed out about 9am. Initially we were just going to check out some spots close in, but sea flattened and we continued to the reef. Back at our bommie we found the fish biting again. But we found in hard to find the Macks. We landed quite a few Trevalley, and one big Broad Barred Mackerel. This was a shorter day as the kids were still exhausted from the previous fish. So we headed home about lunch time. AGAIN, in a total milk-pond.

Our final run out was on Thursday. We really wanted to get some fillets to bring home so the plan we to head out early. But another round of storms kept us in bed. Things eased up and morning progressed and we headed out again at about 9am. There was not a breath of wind on the water, although it was a little sloppy from the storm. If we had gotten out earlier I would have liked to try some of the outer reefs. But a late start meant back to the peak.

First drift of the mark and fish were going off! They were hitting the metal every drop. Bait was showering around the place and there were even a few small sharks around. Looked like being a great morning. On that first drift we landed a couple of big Trevalley and an undersized Spanish Mackerel. And say numerous other fish chase to the surface. But when the boat was re-positioned the bit had gone. Not sure what happened, but we simply couldn't find the fish. The bait was showing on the sounder, but no predators.

We looked around for some other spots to fish, but didn't have much luck. Another look at the reef and headed for home.

For anyone interested, the reef is only about 16nm from the ramp. The weather was, apart from the storms, simply stunning from one day to the next. The ramp is a good 3 lane cement ramp. Although its quite steep. I found the ramp was ok in 0.7m of water and up. The bottom is quite slippery. There is a public jetty a short walk downstream.

Couple of Video clips from the trip too.....

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Fishing Canada Part 4

We thought a nice mountain trip would be good. The snow had not arrived in Whistler until we arrived! The problem for us of course was the car was not winterised so no snow chains or suitable tires! But still there was a place to fish. There was a nice lake near by so off we went. The closer we got the windier and the more the sleet came down. We still had a go but we only lasted a short time as Chris thought it would be good to fill his boot with iced water! No matter the next day we tried a guide, Pat and Brian from Whistler fly fishing fixed us up. Liam and I payed the money and off we went. This time we tried an area near Pemberton. We went to all the right places and Liam landed a nice bull trout and three to four takes. I was not doing so well and managed a blank. I think Pat the guide was getting worried and he tried a couple of spots I had just fished and also did not manage a take. This happens with fishing whether it is guided or not. We did enjoy ourselves as we payed I wanted to make sure that Liam at least landed a fish and this was accomplished. Well a nice trip but time to move onto Seattle.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Fishing Canada Part 3

We fished the Squamish River for an hour or so today. This river is a world class salmon fishery. We thought we would drop in and show the kids the salmon and maybe pick up a fish as we did last time. As it turned out the salmon run was basically over. We still had a fish but we found out we were about two to three weeks to late for this part of the river, we needed to be in the upper Squamish. What we did see were five bald eagles and a seal! We also noted some nice bear tracks near where we were fishing. I think they were at least a day old so no problems! Next time the report will be from Whistler.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Fishing Canada Part 2

We had a trip to Vancouver Island and fished a river there called the Cowichan. We got onto this place through two good fly shops one in Vancouver called Pacific Angler and one on Vancouver Island called Robertsons Outdoor store. Thanks to these guys we were placed on a river that had fish in it! We only fished for a couple of hours and landed no fish but I managed to hook onto 2 browns and one rainbow. Saw the fish they did some nice runs but I did not quite land them.
This was ok as I was returning all the same. The fisheries guys checked our licenses, rigs and flies! They were very detailed, but also helpful. Liam did go for a bit of a paddle in some water that was deeper than his hipster waders so he was rather cold. We then moved on to Whistler area for our next fish and I will report on that next time.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Fishing John Brewer Reef

A couple of weeks ago Dion started to make plans for a Spear Fishing trip to the reef. He had 3 boats and 10 or so people organised. As the day got closer the weather was looking ok, so I asked if I could jump in on his boat. The main aim of the trip was for a few of the guys in the club who Spear Fish to show the rest of us how its done. But I don't really have an interest, so for me it was just an opportunity to see what its like to run to the reef, and maybe have a bit of a fish while the others snorkel.

We left the ramp about 4am and started the long 2hr journey. Weather was pretty good, just a light Northerly of 10knots or so. Just enough to bump up the water a little. But we maintained a comfortable 20knots in the 6m Hooker.

The other two boats were a bit quicker than us, and by the time we arrived they had already trolled up a couple of Spanish Mackerel. So we were quick to put some lines out. It was too early to start spear fishing, as the sun was still low in the sky. The Mackerel were clearly there, we got a couple of bumps on the lures, but nothing managed to connect.

We then anchored up for the first spear fishing session. I stated in the boat and tossed a popper around for a bit. I managed one rise from a Trout, but I ran out of retrieve room before he had a go. It was pretty quiet at this particular location. Even the guys in the water couldn't see too much. So we moved on.

Our boat went for a troll along the back of the reef while the other two boats remained. We had gone a couple of K's when we spotted a good bit of water. Fusilers were in a tight ball off one of the reef edges, and something was showering them up. We trolled past a couple of times, but nothing even had a go. So we anchored withing casting range. First cast of a popper and something crashed it in pursuit. Second cast and again something had a crack at the popper but failed to hook up. Then repeat casts yielded nothing. By this stage the only 'real' spear-fisher in out boat was over the side. He returned to the boat quickly with a nice Coral Trout, and claiming there was a big school 10kg Mangrove Jack down there. He said that they were rising to the popper, but not taking it. This was good info for me, as from the top of the water it looked as thought there was nothing happening. So his encouragement kept me going for a bit. But my arms got tired and nothing was hooking up, so I took a break.

Our spear-fisher (Chris) soon returned to the boat again proclaiming to have speared a 10kg Mangrove Jack. But the spear pulled out. He looked more than a little upset by this. But off he went in search of the next! About 10mins later we spotted a HUGE paddle shaped tail on the surface of the water, with a reef shark in quick pursuit. We think that must have been his fish.

It was getting hot by this time, and us fisherman were pretty tired. I don't think we even had a line in the water. Dion and Jordan put their heads down for a 15min kip. Chris was sill out in search of the elusive Mangrove Jack!

When Cris returned to the boat Dion asked him what was still around. "Are there any Mackerel around" I think he said. Chris pomply replied "Yeah, just under the boat. They have been moving around the whole time". "Where abouts?" Dion asked. 'Just under the boat"....Ok. So down when a couple of Bumpa-Bars and sure enough, I was quickly hooked up to a good Mackerel. I was sure it was a Spanish. Couple of big runs. But the new rod and reel had the fish at the boat in no time. Turned out to be a rather hefty Shark Mackerel. My biggest for sure.

We tried the Bumpa-Bars for a bit more without raising a scale. We decided it was getting quite late in the day and we wanted to hit some shoal on the return journey. So we trolled our way back to the other boats. Almost there and Dion had a screaming run from a BIG Spanish Mackerel. But we didn't land it. I will let Dion tell the story as to why!!

We collected the other boats and headed for some marks on the way home. As we left the reef the wind picked up. Clearly it was going to be a bumpy trip home. We did try some shoals. But just a quick drift on each. Managed a couple of under size Nannygai. But we really had to get back.

We must have had a least 15-20knots on our tail all the way home. Was not a pleasant return trip at all. But by 5pm we were back at the ramp and glad to be on dry land. Now I have been out, I'm keen to do it in my boat.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Fly Fishing in Canada

Just thought I would put a short report in. We (Chris,Liam and myself with our ladies) are traveling through Canada and the West Coast of the USA for a few weeks. We are mainly touring but when we can we will be flyfishing. So far our first chance has been at Vancouver Island and Elk Lake. Just an easy 1 hour fish to get the muscles working! We fished a beach area and had probably one hit. But it was good to open up the gear and try the new stuff. Just to give you an idea of what we had on, I had wading boots and neoprane socks with jeans and rain proof outer pants. I had a long sleeved shirt and full Columbia inner and outer jackets. Plus gloves! The fish running at the moment are mainly trout with a few left over salmon. It is a quiet time of the year as the salmon are finishing and the trout have not really started. We are all fishing either a 5wt or 7 wt rods with floating lines and sink tips when we need them. We always use local flies so egg patterns, and small fish patterns are the choice, 2 to 3 kilo tippets are the go.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Townsville Boat Ramps - Pallarenda Ramp

Edit: Please sign our petition for better boat ramp facilities...

I have to admit straight up that I have only used this ramp on a handful of occasions, and never with a boat of my own. So if anyone had anything to add please feel free to use the comments section.

This ramp is located at the end of Caper Pallarenda Rd, just before the entrance to the National Park. Basically, drive through Pallarenda and you can't go anywhere else!

View Larger Map

While this particular ramp is ideally positioned for quick access to Cape Pallarenda, West Point, Middle Reef and Cockle Bay, its unfortunately really only suited to small boat and 4wd's. I would say tinnies of about 4.5-4.75m would be the limit. The ramp itself is a good quality concrete ramp that runs directly down the face of the beach. Well, its made with a mosaic of concrete blocks anyway. With no break-walls or any kind of protection from the open ocean it frequently has a thick coverage of soft sand on the top portion. This generally requires a 4wd to be able to safely navigate with boat and trailer.

The angle of the ramp is quite shallow. This means that to successfully launch and retrieve a boat the back of the car is commonly in the water. Or, at the very least, being hit by wave action of the open ocean. This brings on the next problem with the ramp. Being exposed means than any chop on the water makes it difficult to manage a boat on and off the trailer. In fact, I know of people who have launched in the calm conditions of the morning, and then dropped someone off at the beach to drive the car to main ramp. They then drove the boat around to make retrieval easier and safer.

The bottom portion of the ramp is also covered with sand. Coupled with the slope, the ramp is really only usefull in the top half of the tide. I think most people would only use this ramp if the tide heaight was about 1.5m.

So in summary, this is a great little access point to the above mentioned locations. However, given the difficulties it faces, its really only good during the right weather, the right tides and for the right boats.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

December Coral Reef Fin Fish closure officially lifted

We have been speculating for a while now, but today it became official. The December Coral Reef Fin Fish closure, that would have seen a ban on the taking of all Coral Fin Fish over the Christmas holiday break, has been lifted. The following is an extract directly from the DPI&F website.

Fishers will be able to enjoy catching coral reef fin fish during the Christmas holidays with Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin today confirming that the last of three spawning closures for 2008 has now been lifted.

Mr Mulherin said: “The lifting of the December spawning closure is now official.

“This follows an amendment to the fisheries regulation to remove the December closure.

“The final nine-day closure for coral reef fin fish, which was due in December, was lifted after we received independent scientific advice.

“This closure would have spanned the Christmas period effectively stopping many people from fishing through their Christmas holidays because the Barra closed season is also in force.

“Recreational and commercial fishers, as well as charter boat operators, have been in favour of removing the December closure as it has a significant impact on these sectors.”
Mr Mulherin said that the scientific review found that the biological effectiveness of closures was higher in October and November than in December.

“During these seasonal closures large numbers of mature fish gather in certain locations on the reefs to spawn, generally corresponding with the new moon phase,” Mr Mulherin said.

“This may make these fish easier targets for concentrated fishing and the closed seasons are used to provide additional protection during these periods.

“We want to ensure that any closures put in place are effective in ensuring that there are plenty of reef fish out there for people to catch into the future but we also need to balance this with maintain viable fishing industries.

“Two spawning closures have already been completed this year and I would like to congratulate fishers for their adherence to the two nine day closures held from 22 to 30 October and 21 to 29 November.

“There will need to be further consideration of potential closure regimes for
2009 onwards,” Mr Mulherin said.

More information on Queensland's fishing regulations can be found on the DPI&F website – - or by calling 13 25 23.

Info About the Baptist Church Fishing Club

A number of people have been asking for more info about the Baptist Church Fishing Club and my plan was to simply refer everyone to our website. Unfortunately we don't have one yet, so here are some details to fill you in on what we are about and what we do.

About BCFC: The BCFC is a family friendly fishing club that is made up of people from all walks of life who share a passion for fishing. You don’t have to go to church or even believe in God to become a member of our fishing club – everyone is welcome. The Club is run by the Townsville Baptist Church and we love everything fishing! Our Club is also a place where you can find answers to some of life’s tough questions that may not relate to fishing!

Tackle Nights: A Tackle Night is held on the first Thursday Night of each month where members can learn about all aspects of fishing from a variety of expert guest speakers. Many topics are covered and often include fishing basics such as knot tying and castnet throwing, specialised techniques for targeting individual species and locations and practical topics such as boat maintenance and fishing safety. Our fishing year runs from February to November.

Competitions: Each month a competition is held from 12.00am Friday through to 5.00pm Saturday. You may fish using any line class you choose (including braid) and points are determined based on factors allocated to each species to ensure fairness between styles of fishing. For example, a 12.5kg Spanish mackerel (factor 8) will score the same points as a 2kg mangrove jack (factor 50) and a 6.6kg barramundi (factor 15).

Weigh In & BBQ: Each competition is finished off with a weigh in on the Saturday afternoon where each angler is permitted to weigh a total of 5 fish, with no more than 2 of any one species. Following the weigh the Club puts on a free family BBQ where everybody can catch up and spin a few yarns about the ones that got away!

Line Fishing – Men, Women, Junior & Sub-Junior
Lure and Fly Fishing
Catch and Release
Mud Crabs

Annual Memberships:
Family $50.00
Senior: $30.00
Junior: $15.00
Concession: $20.00

BCFC Club Room:
Townsville Baptist Church Hall
38 Canterbury Rd, Kirwan

I hope this helps fill in a few gaps. If you love going fishing, talking fishing, learning about fishing and hanging out with a great bunch of people in a family friendly environment, then you will love BCFC. Look forward to seeing you in 2010.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Baptist Church Fishing Club 2008 Stats and Results

What a fantastic fishing year it has been and congratulations to all of our 2008 major division winners. Here is a summary of our 2008 Club stats and results for those who may be interested:

Total number of fish weighed: 185
Total number of fish released: 281
New Club records: 19

Heaviest fish weighed:
Golden Trevally 8.6kg/129pnts by Rob Lechner
Highest point scoring fish:
Grey Mackerel 5.7kg/142.5pnts by Malcolm Brown
Smallest fish weighed:
Whiting 0.12kg/14.4pnts by Trisha Forman
Lowest point scoring fish:
Barracuda 0.42kg/4.2pnts by Russell Coates

Snr Male Champion: Malcolm Brown 696.6pnts
Snr Female Champion: Bev Anderson 458.6pnts
Jnr Champion: Liam Sullivan 518.65pnts
Sub Jnr Champion: Hayden Elms 37.6pnts
Spearfishing Campion: James Beresford 49.12pnts
Catch & Release (legal): Ward Nicholas 510.72pnts
Catch & Release (u/size): Trisha Forman 240pnts
Top 10 Species : Ward Nicholas 9/10 and 490.25pnts
Mud Crab Champion: Ben Forman 21.5pnts

Fishing Mate of the Year: Dion Forman
Captain Chaos: Ross Wardill