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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.

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Regular fishing reports from our fishing trips.

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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, 28 January 2009

Baptist Church Fishing Club Sign-On Day

If you love fishing and are looking for a great family fishing club then the Baptist Church Fishing Club might just be for you. The club is holding an information and sign-on day this Saturday 31st January. Starting at 9am there will be a discussion on how the club works, competition guidelines and how to join up. Experienced club member will also be running the following hands-on workshops.
  • Tying knots and rigs
  • How to throw a cast net
  • Using baits and lures
  • How to identify fish
  • Choosing rods and reels
  • Spearfishing basics
There will also be talks from the experts on
  • Fishing first aid
  • Fishing regulations
  • Boating safety
The location is 38 Canterbury Rd, Kirwin. This is the Hall beside the Baptist Church.

For more information contact the club president Dion Forman on 47551403, 0419890901 or email

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

High Speed Spinning

Last weekend I put together a small segment of video showing the technique I use when high speed spinning for Doggie Mackerel. Its a shocking clip, as I just sat the camera on the Eski, but you will see the effectiveness.

Here I am using a Shimano Stradic 4000FH spinning real loaded with 20lb braid and a 7foot Loomins Spin Stick. The Stradic pulls in about 91cm of line per turn of the handle. Speed is essential. The lure being used here is a Sure Catch 40g Knight. A 35g Bumpa Bar can also be used in EXACTLY the same way. But I find the Knight a faster sinking lure, getting more 'drops' on the fish.

The idea here is to position the boat so it will drift directly over the already located bait school. Once the boat is over top, the lure is simply dropped directly to the bottom. Its then ripped back to the surface AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Pretend you are trying to keep the lure from being hit, then wind even faster. As you can see, if the fish are there, a strike will usually come within a few turns of the handle. I find this direct up and down approach to be far more effective than casting to the bait, letting it sink, THEN winding it back. I think the fish like the idea of something shooting off the bottom, rather than along it.

The same technique I use with the TwinPower 6000 and 30lb braid on the shoals and wrecks for Spanish Mackerel etc. But I would here use the 60g Knight or 45g Bumpa Bar.

R.I.P. Arthur Dobe

I received a notice over the weekend that local fishing personality and 4TTT presenter Arthur Dobe had passed away. I have now had this confirmed. Arthur was co-host of the 4TTT fishing show and has been a member of the Townsville Sportfishing Club for many years. He was also very heavily involved in Townsville's Fishing and Outdoor Expo. He will be greatly missed among the fishing fraternity.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Mackerel out of season

As Ward said in his post, we managed to get out for this Magic Australia Day. After Saturdays effort I was not keen on a big day. So a run in Wards boat chasing those Mackerel around the North Cardinal sounded like just the thing.

We left the ramp about 5am and headed out into pleasant, but slightly bumpy conditions. We were soon at the beacon, but with the cloud cover and rain it was still quite dark. So our first couple of attempts did raise so much as a bump. But once the sun made an entrance the bait moved up in the water column and Mackerel came on.

I was fishing my Stradic 4000 and 20lb braid with a 40g 'Knight' metal slice. The trick was to sent the metal to the bottom directly over the bait school, then rip it back as fast as possible. Most strikes were coming within a few turns of the handle up off the bottom. But a couple of hits on the drop resulted in lost lures. Throughout the morning I landed 6 fish that made if over the 50cm mark, but had MANY more that were just under. I would say in total 20 or so fish made it in the boat, and about 10 more threw the hooks while being lifted. Didn't matter as they were mostly under size.

Ward fished fly most the morning and had to contend with bite off after bite off. I think we counted 7 or 8 in a row. But one was finally landed, unfortunately under the 50cm. He also managed to hook a nice fish that we think might have been a Golden Travalley. But the fish found the base of the pylon pretty quickly.

On one of the drops I managed to hook something a little more substantial. Turned out to be a nice Cobia. A welcome surprise. As the fish came to the surface I could see a nice size GT sitting under it. Ward had a couple of goes with the fly but couldn't tempt it.

With my Cobia netted an in the boat I switched over to my TwinPower 6000 and a 45g Bumpa Bar. The same Bumpa Bar that nailed my last big GT from the same spot. Second drop and the fish hit hard. We were drifting pretty close to the pylon, and I had to put on some serious pressure to keep the fish away. But it did turn and headed out to sea. Took a good 15mins before we saw the fish, and we ended up about 500-600m away from where we started. But it was a great feeling to see Ward tail the large fish and lift it on board. A few snaps and the fish was on its way again. I'm no good with guessing weights, particularly on large fish. But I'm guessing this is getting up around 40lbs?

Good to be home

What can I say its great to be home! I have been fishing mainly for tarpon since I have come back from the USA. Mainly the flood tarpon to about 14inches using a five wt rod and floating line using my black and pink tarpon fly. Each time I have managed to land between 4 through to 15 fish in about an hour. Its nice to know what is going on! But in saying that I will fish for trout again and as much as possible! Just to finish this report I went for a fish with Malcolm out to the end beacon. We had a great morning and Malcolm did very well, I will let him do his report! I managed a mackeral on fly and one on lure. I find when I am fishing with other non fly fishers its best to have a couple of casts with the metal slice to see whats happening and then get into the fly. I must admit I think I would have landed a few more on metal if I had persisted but this was never going to happen! All this same a great morning!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Fish in abundance after the rain

Yesterday I got my first run to the Maggie Island shoals for a few weeks. Weather was predicted all week to be good Saturday, and for once it was right.

With all the freshwater running out of the rivers, and all the logs that it carries with it, I wasn't keen on leaving the dark! And with the rain that come through overnight it was still dark until about 5.30am. So we didn't go early at all. I think we left the ramp at about 6am. We had a good run most of the way to the North Cardinal, but it got quite lumpy and sloppy in the last few miles. Obviously it had blown out wide with the rain. Having the kids and Tania on board I though it would be best to stop here and have a fish while the sea settled a bit.

It was worth the stop, and over the next hour or so we must have caught over 15 Doggie Mackerel. All on high speed metal, it was a lot of fun. It was very difficult to convince Tania to leave and head wider. Most of the fish were under size, but we managed a neat half dozed fish in the 55cm range. There was bait and fish everywhere, and we definitely left them biting. But the promise of Nannygai on the shoals kept us moving.

It was still a bit sloppy heading out, but we managed a comfortable 20knots for the trip. On arrival there were bait balls and fish everywhere on the bottom. I put down a live bait collected from the cardinal, and in no time I was hooked up solid. This fish hugged the bottom hard, and I was expecting a nice Red to surface. But it turned out to be a BIG Coral Trout. A nice fish that would have to have been close to 15lbs.

We had the usual problems of Travalley and other small fish taking the baits. And the occasional fish taken by sharks. In fact, despite catching fish after fish, the morning quickly faded away with no further keepers in the eski.

On a couple of our drifts we had some large schools of pelagics come through the sounder. There were some big fish amongst them, but we only managed a bunch of Travalley and a Tuna. We did see big Cobia and Sharks in there too. They were hard to keep track of, but while they were under the boat they were suckers for metal.

The last keeper for the morning Tania nailed on one of the drifts. A nice Cobia. The most unlucky fish ever. It came straight up and under the boat, went around the motor and was circling at the back of the boat. One quick run would have poped the line easily. But it just sat there, and Tania managed to get the line off. It was easily netted and brought on board. Not like a typical Cobia fight at all!! Lucky us!

The run home a 2pm was in near glass conditions. And the sea had backed off completely. Such a good run that Tania fell asleep in the chair!! A great morning with the Family. I hope others got out and had as much fun as we did?

Friday, 23 January 2009

Boat Ramp Closure

This has just been brought to my attention by patto41 in the forums.

Townsville City Council wishes to advise the Saunders Beach boat ramp will be closed during February 2009 for urgent reconstruction work.

Recent investigations have found the bottom of the ramp, which is owned by Queensland Transport and managed and maintained by council, is deteriorating.

This poses a safety risk if the ramp is used during low tide. Starting in the first week of February, construction crews will upgrade the boat ramp. This work is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete.

During this period, the boat ramp as well as the access road will be closed to the public.

Alternative boat ramps in the area which could be used are Balgal Beach, Toomulla, Bluewater and Purono Park.

This project is funded by Queensland Transport and is being carried out in conjunction with environmental authorities. For any queries, please contact the council’s Customer Service Centre
on 4727 9000.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Bribie Island

Well just back into Oz and looking for a fish! We enjoyed the fishing in the US and Canada but a lot more info and perhaps better timing is required. Dad, Liam and I tried our hand at some bass fishing around the North Pine Dam area. We probably started a bit late and we did not really know where to go but it still was not to bad. We all managed a show but no fish the area was nice but I think a canoe would have helped.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Townsville Breakwall

Thought I would go for a bit of a fish after lunch today. High tide at 3pm looked pretty good for a walk along Shelly Beach. The wind had a fair bit of south in it, so I thought I would be right. Called into ProTackle on the way (and met a couple of readers). Jason, who knows Shelly Beach very well, suggested it would still be very choppy and dirty there in the bay. I should have listened to his wisdom! It would have saved me a long walk for nothing. Lucky I need the exercise. I didn't even put in a cast. Just started looking for somewhere else to wet a line.

Ended up deciding to walk to the end of the Breakwall behind the Casino. Yeah, more walking. But a couple of casts with a 70mm flick bait soon had me hooked up to a good fish. Turned out to be a nice Flathead of 48cm. I wasn't looking to take fish home, so I stuck him with a tag and off he went. I'm sure this area could do with a few quality fish out there breeding!

A few casts later and I nailed a small Queenfish. Probably only 8in long! But it was something to keep me entertained. These fish all came from the small sand patch in corner of the Swing Basin.

Next I moved to the other side of the wall and had a cast in the corner of the open water. There was a calm spot there with a bit of bait. Looked like a couple of small GT chopping up every now and then. I landed half a dozen small to medium Mosses Perch and a small Golden Trevalley. Nothing to write home about, but enough to keep be sane!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Shimano TwinPower 6000FC & T-Curve Lucanus Spin Rod

Recently I decided to make an upgrade to my spin gear. I had been using a Shimano Stradic 4000FH and G-Loomis 7-foot spin stick for high speed spinning and Bumpa-Baring for almost a year. I had it spooled with 20lb braid and found its speed and quality of build adequate for most of the species I was targeting. In the 12 months I have been using this configuration it has caught numerous Doggie Mackerel, some quality Queenfish of over 1m, some of the biggest Grey Mackerel I have ever seen, a few small Spanish Mackerel, Tuna, big Trevalley and even a 4kg Fingermark. All on metal. But I was starting to feel that the system just wasn't built for BIG fish. I was keen to start chasing big Spanish Mackerel, GT's etc on Bumpa-Bars, and up to 30lb braid. I didn't think the Stradic was up to it. So I decided to make an upgrade.

I'm a big Shimano fan, and didn't even want to consider anything else. I'm not a strong/fit person, so I wanted a rod and reel that wouldn't be heavy in the arms when being used for long periods of time. High speed was a must. There is no point trying to use Bumpa-Bars and other metals slices if you can't crank them fast. And if the reel is too slow, you just get tired quicker trying to put the pace on them. Obviously the reel needed to be strong and have a good quality drag. My main options were Stella 5000SW, Saragossa 8000F and TwinPower 6000FC. The Stella would have been my ultimate choice. It has everything, speed, strength, drag pressure and light weight. But it also carries a hefty price tag. So the wife ruled that one out pretty quickly! That left the Saragossa and TwinPower. The Saragossa would have been a good reel. It had everything but speed. And while it was a far cheaper option, I really wanted speed. The only way I could get speed from a Saragossa would have been to go up to the 14000 size. And, while an excellent reel, it would have been heavy to use all day. So I settled on the TwinPower 6000FC. This FC is a new reel, and had to be ordered in. Most stores are still holding the older FB in the entire TwinPower range, so watch out. This unfortunately carried with it a bit of a price rise. But I didn't mind paying for quality.

Once the reel was chosen it was time to think about the rod. I thought about a JigWrex 30lb stick for a bit. I have heard good things about them. A mate of mine has a Stella 10000 on a 50lb JigWrex and loves it. But its a short rod designed, obviously, for jigging. And while Bimpa-Barring is definitely a form of jigging, I wanted to maintain castability for Tuna and using poppers. So I was shown one of the brand new T-curve Lucanus Spin rods in the catalog. ProTackle didn't have one in stock, but the specs looked very nice indeed. Peter Hazard just happened to be heading down to Sydney in the following days, and would been catching up with the head honcho of Shimano Australia, John Dunphy. Peter returned very impressed with both the rod and reel. And when the rod arrived in store, I was worried the guys where going to get mine! The setup was perfect. I finished it up with 30lb Fins Braid and was set to go.

My first chance to test the reel was on a run with Dion to John Brewer Reef. While that was mainly a spear fishing day, I did manage to land my biggest Shark Mackerel on the setup. A great way to test things out. The reel had heaps of speed, and plenty of drag power. And the rod, it was just perfect. I nailed that fish it quick time, and felt comfortable doing it. I also did a lot of popper casting that day, and could toss 50g popper a country mile.

Next outing was up at Port Douglas. The setup sure got a test out there. Nailing big Gold Spot Trevalley and Spanish Mackerel with ease. I had downgraded the old Stradic to Tania for the trip, but when she had a go of the TwinPower and landed a big Trever, I was told we would be ordering another one! She was amazed how well it performed beside the Stradic.

And finally, a run to the Shoals with Dion nailed me a nice GT. Again, the setup felt just right for the job.

I can't speak highly enough for both the rod and reel. And have no hesitation in recommending them to others.

Specs for the entire Shimano range can be found of their website, but here are the rod and reel.

TwinPower 6000FC

  • Retrieve Ratio: 5.7 - 1
  • Retrieve per Crank: 106cm
  • Max Drag: TBA, but probably about 13-15kg
  • Line Capacity(m): 6/206, 7/169, 8/133
  • Bearings: 8

T-Curve Lucanus Jig Spin

  • Length: 1.98m
  • Pieces: 2
  • Line Rating: PE2-3
  • Lure/Jig weight: 60-200g

Magnetic Island Shoals

Went for a fish yesterday morning with Dion. The forecast the night before was excellent, and we had high hopes for some quality Reds from the shoals. I picked Dion up at his place about 4am and headed off. Things looked fantastic. There was no wind at all in the trees, it was dead calm. We left the ramp by 5am and headed out in glassy conditions. There was a slight Northerly swell on the water, but we were still doing a good 22knots. By the time we reached the back of the island we began to hit a light Northerly breeze. Maybe 5knots as best. So things were looking good.

The plan was to fish my new shoal marks for some Nannygai first up, then with a few fish in the eski we were to look for new ground. Dion, being good mates with Bumpa-Bar Tim, is pretty gun on metal. I was pretty keen to see now he works these amazing slices for bottom fish. Dion is using a Shimano Stella 10000 on a Deep Jig rod and 50lb braid for working these Bumpa-Bars. Its a good setup. One day I will get Dion to write and article on using Bumpa-Bars.

The first drift I landed a big Slate Bream. Disappointing after thinking you have big Nanny on all the way up! Then second drift I was on again. Another Slatey! Eeek. My arms were already hurting and we were looking at each other wondering where to quality fish were. There were good marking on the sounder, surely they were not all these Mother-in-law fish.

I took a break for a couple of drifts, had to let the arms rest a minute. Dion worked the metal on the bottom and came up with a nice little Doggie Mackerel. Ok, time to fish again. Next bait down and I was hooked up to another big bottom fish. There were some tense moments as the fish came up, what was it? Soon we had the fish in view, 'Its the right colour' I said. I led the fish to the net and we had our first Nannygai in the eski. A nice 4-5kg specimen.

By this stage a rather nasty looking storm had started to move down from the North. It was still only blowing a light breeze, so we continued to fish. We worked another couple of patches and boated 2 more Nannygai and released another couple under size.

We moved about a bit, trying not to give away our location to our mates in the red tinnie. Yep, same boat that hung around us one other time. And another boat did a big arc around us trying to pinpoint our location. But the best part about drifting is its difficult for other boats to mark you. When they come close you just keep drifting and move off the spot. But it makes it difficult for youself to fish properly. I must write an article on fishing etiquette one day! Reminds my of a time I was fishing two boat with a mate of mine. We were fishing a small unknown spot together. Being good mates we were anchored pretty close together. Close enough to talk comfortably across the water. And another boat came over and anchored RIGHT BETWEEN us! Crazy hey!

On one of our drifts Dion pulled up a nice little Red Emperor. Undersize, it was the first I had seen on this particular spot. My next bait down and I had hooked up a good fish. Pulling hard I struggled to get it off the bottom. "Big Red?" I thought. But half way up, almost in sight I guess, it took off on a big run. My stomach sank and my thoughts turned to Shark! The big fish took off in a hurry, and I was soon getting low on line. I would normally break off about now, but I had half a thought of a good Cobia. Dion followed the fish with the boat, and I was soon gaining line. But suddenly things went a little slack. Weight was still on the line, but no fight. I wound in to find the head end of a rather large Gold Spot Cod attached to the end of my line. Oh well, at least it wasn't the head of a Red Emperor! I have had that happen before. In fact my only legal Red was lost to a shark in exactly the same way. Funny thing was, the hooks were deep in the Cods mouth. So the shark was never actually hooked, just holding the fish!

By now the storm had moved in closer and wind had picked up. We tried to continue fishing, but the drift was WAY too fast. We stuck it our for a while, hoping that the rain would hit and wind drop off. But neither eventuated. We bearly got a drop of rain, and wind just kept building. It would have been 20knots when we decided to head back in.

It was a sloppy ride, but we managed to maintain 20knots all the way back to the Island. Luckly I put the clears up the night before, we copped a few waves of the front and would have ended up pretty wet.

Back at the North Cardinal things were a lot better. Wind was still in the 10-15 range, but the seas were a lot kinder. We drifted there and worked Bumpa-Bars for a bit. Hoping for a few Mackerel. Dion hooked up and landed a nice Doggie first cast! But a couple of drifts later I hooked up a screamer. First run had us thinking a nice Spanish Mackerel, but after several more runs and long fight we began changing our tune. A Spanish Mackerel just does not have the stamina this fish did. Dion worked the boat as we tried to keep clear of the Pilon. Again drifting proved a valuable technique, as we quickly move away from the snag. Had we been anchored, the fish would have bricked my for sure. A few more minutes of working my new TwinPower 6000 hard and the fish was boat side. A quality GT in the 8kg range. These fish sure are beefy, and this was my PB. A few pics and the fish was released to fight another day.

We worked a few of the other markers on the way back, but didn't manage much more than a couple of hits. Back at the ramp about 11.30am, it had been a great day. Not the one we had planned, but a good day none the less.

Fishing the USA Part 2

Well this will be the last instalment. We have seen a lot since the last report including the Grand Canyon, Zion and Los Vegas. We thought on the way to the Hoover Dam we would try our luck in the Colorado River near the Willow beach Fish stocking area. We arrived after a 1hr of travelling over the dam wall (a very busy place). We had a good look around and found the only bit of moving water. We spoke to a chap who had fished this area for the last week, 5 hours a day, and he had managed to catch nothing so things were not looking up. Oh yes we had to buy a fishing licence and a special permit so we could fish with a Nevada licence on a river that was in Arizona! Any way to the point, we fished this area for about 2 hours and did not manage a touch with the three rods! Still beautiful area perfect water! Perhaps next time………