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

View the latest Product Reviews.

Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Australia Day Bream

Well what else would you be doing on Australia Day? Fishing seems like a very Aussie way to spend the morning. So thats what Dave and I did last Wednesday. We planned to attack the local Mangrove Jack population of our favourite creek with some 3in Atomic Prongs.

We hit the water nice and early to fish the majority of the outgoing tide. We concentrated around the mouth of the creek, but did have a look upstream at one stage. While the water in the creek is clearing up nicely, the Jacks still seem to be absent. But the Bream have re-entered the system with vengeance!

It didn't matter where we went we found the Bream willing and able. In all we caught and released well over a dozen fish for the morning, on good fish and on the plastic. But the only other species we saw was a small cod and a nice GT. So while it wasn't the intended species, and we were a bit down about not even seeing a Jack, we had put away a pretty good session on the Bream. And now that the water is almost back to normal we are looking at 2 Cyclones in a week! Oh well, at least there might be a few new snags in the system to try out next time!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Boat for Sale - 2008 3.7m Sea Jay Nomad (SOLD)

Due to the impending arrival of my new Sea Jay I have my current one for sale. I have had great fun in this excellent little boat. It’s a great fishing platform, dry and comfortable and is exceptionally well built. A real go anywhere creek and estuary boat that runs on a sniff of fuel. It's fully fitted out for bait and lure fishing to a very high standard.

Easy to launch and retrieve on your own on the ramps or the beach and comes with everything you need.

$5,500 - Contact Rob Smith on 0439 894578

• Sea Jay 3.7 Normad (24/04/2008)
• Foldable Bimini (secures to bow for travelling)
• Fully Carpeted floor, casting deck and thwarts
• Front anchor well + Front and rear anchors
• Front hatch storage (under casting deck)
• Oar mounts
• LED anchor light
• Navigation lights
• 2 life jackets + 2 oars

• 15hp 2-Stroke Yamaha tiller (24/04/2008)
• Less than 100hrs
• Fully serviced (RSM and Ricks Marine)
• Will be serviced by Rick before delivery
• Aerofoil
• 24lt Yamaha Fuel tank
• Microdot security marking system

• 45lb Minn Kota Electric (transom type)
• New Humminbird 141C Colour Sounder
• Century Marine battery (Oct 10) in Battery box
• Switch panel (fully fused)
• Isolator switch
• LED under gunwale lighting
• Plumbed livebait tank
• Bilge pump
• Lockable glovebox
• 2 vertical SS rod holders
• Rear and port storage bins
• Folding swivel padded seat
• Tiller extension
• 2 rod internal rack
• Battery charger
• Front thwart and bow mounted 12v outlet

• Redco 42 – Regular anti corrosion
• No rust
• LED Lights
• Jockey wheel
• Bearing Buddies

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Help for the flood victims in Rockhampton

Townsville Marine is organising a 40ft container of goods donated by the people of Townsville to be taken to Rockhampton to assist the flood victims.

With much of the mainstream media coverage now focussed on South East Queensland, the victims of the floods in Central Queensland appear to have fallen off the news agenda by the southern media.

We are North Queenslanders, our brothers and sisters in Rockhampton and Emerald have little or no media coverage while the focus remains on the South Eastern corner of the state.

Many people have also said they would prefer to donate food, toys, furniture and household appliances that are in good working order and surplus to their needs. Some folk have even offered to purchase new goods rather than donate cash.

While some of the cash which has been donated may at some point reach some people, the proper distribution of goods and food to these people will be well received.

Mandy Johnstone has indicated that the local Member Rob Schwaarten is on the Rockhampton distribution committee and that the items donated will reach local victims in central Queensland.

Townsville Marine has organised with the assistance of Royal Wolf containers to have a container available at the Townsville Marine Centre 943 Ingham Rd Bohle for people to donate clean clothes, tinned food and household items for delivery to Rockhampton for distribution to those in need.

NO CASH PLEASE – we are looking to fill a 40 footer with non-perishables.

What we need:
1. Someone to oversee the filling of the container (this will suit a retiree/group of retirees).
2. A company/transport to take the full container to Rockhampton.
3. Furniture, clothing, toys appliances and tinned food kindly donated by the people of Townsville. No perishables.
4. Goods to be placed in packing boxes clearly marked as to the contents.
5. No cash please!

People who are interested in supporting our friends in Rockhampton should call Emmanuel Theodosiou 0411 753 555 or send an email to

Emmanuel Theodosiou [Townsville Marine]
24 January 2011

Monday, 24 January 2011

Weekend Tarpon

With the wind up and fresh water still running through our creeks (plus massive tides and Barra closed season), the only option at the moment seems to be to chase Tarpon in the freshwater. So thats exactly what Dave and I did Saturday afternoon. I personally wasn't going to fish at all for the weekend, happy to have a break! But a text from Dave convinced me to go for a quick drive with the light gear.

To cut a long story short, we fished several Lagoons and streams to the South of Townsville and found the Tarpon willing in all of them. They were only small fish, max about 40cm, and despite being eager to chase and hit a lure they were incredibly difficult to hook up! We managed a few each on both popper and small squidgie wrigglers before a rain squall came through and soaked us to the bone! With any luck the water should be clearing for the opening of the season next week.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Rescued Barramundi

I was on a walk today with the family when we spotted a large Barra trapped in a small section of a creek. It obviously got in there during the floods and was now stuck with shallow rocks blocking the way back to the River. We ducked home and grabbed a couple of nets to try capture the fish and return it to deeper water. It wasn't difficult and fish went nose first into the big net. Unfortunately she lost a few scales from the net, but my environet just wasn't big enough. She already had some injuries down one side, I'm guessing from trying to get around in the small space. But a few lost scales is better than certain death as the water evaporates and warms up. A successful release in Ross River saw the big fish swim away reasonably happy. Here is the video of the event. Its not the best as most was shot by my 6yo son! Hope we don't get in trouble for 'targeting' a Barramundi out of season!!!

Sunday Tarpon

By Dave Little
Lu worked again last night, so to give her some sleep time without me harrassing her I decided to head for a drive to chase a few tarpon. I've been having a ball lately in the south with my new toy (a 7ft 6 4wt SAGE Flight), but today I went in the other direction to check out a few streams that I haven't seen in a while.

I sent a text to a mate that lives not too far from my destination to see if he wanted to come, but he was with family, and his words were something along the lines of "you'll struggle this morning because of the rain we had last night"... my heart sank :( ... Sure enough, I arrived at my first stop to a very strongly flowing creek.

But the tarpon were absolutely going off. So a smile was quickly brought to my dial for the next hour! As it turned out I don't think I went a cast without a strike. Not huge fish this morning, but fun never-the-less. I spent my time casting gurglers, pink and black clouser minnows, mini-pink things, deceivers and even an orange and white deer hair minnow that the small to medium sized ‘poons just devoured!

It was one of those mornings where I didn't even bother counting the fish I caught, or the flies I lost, because even the small fish were absolutely hammering my little offerings. Suffice to say my little fly box needs quite a bit of restocking ;-) They swallowed the only 2 gurglers I had in my box in short time, providing me with some spectacular views of these fish cart-wheeling out of the water to inhale them.

It’s one thing to chase tarpon in lagoons and slow flowing streams with light gear, but in creeks that are in flood, with a 4wt and 6lb tippet these pocket rockets are a whole ‘nother ball-game! They even ate a couple of small deceivers and a little orange and white deer hair minnow, which provided some more aerobatic fun, before I finally decided to go pink and black.

I visited a couple of other spots that usually hold fish to no avail, and then went for a look at a couple of other spots, heading ever closer to the estuaries, and the ever present crocodile. Sure enough there were plenty of fish, but they were just out of range of the fly rod (and I DON’T wade in these waters!!) so I got out the ‘sin stick’.

Out comes my custom samurai with 4lb fireline and I’m in the game again! There were some big tarpon smashing bait under the bridge and also working downstream at a junction at a location I haven’t had a great deal of luck at in the past. The ‘sin stick’ was just what the doctor orderd, because matched with my secret weapon, a 55mm squidgy wriggler in "killer tomato" ie PINK, I landed the fish of the day. Not a monster, but still an absolute beauty that had me worried a couple of times. But check out where I got it from, there are two creeks joining there with timber, floating weed for 3m out in front of me, and trees a meter either side of me. This fish stripped drag off me with ease a number of times and I was really worried I was going to lose it.

Ended up with a couple more from there, and a few more small 'uns at another spot. Went back to where I started the morning and the poons were still there. So just for something different I tried the soft plastics here for a couple more.

Tip: When the ‘poons weren’t smashing the plastics as they landed, the best retrieve was a slow lift with a long pause. Cast the plastic in the vicinity of the boil, let it drop, and you should feel and / or see the bump as they take the plastic. If the line is limp, don’t be alarmed, they’re probably just swimming towards to, retrieve quickly and do your best to keep the tension on to give you the best chance of landing these little fellas. Small plastics are great, today I used a 55mm squidgy wriggler in the killer tomato colour, rigged on a size 4, 2g squidgy finesse jig head.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

GPS Location - Shark Shoal

Shark Shoal is one of the largest shoal patches off the Townsville area. It is home to a massive population of big reds, and during the cooler months it houses some of the biggest schools of Spanish Mackerel you will ever encounter. Other species you are likely to encounter  include Trevalley, Cobia, Rainbow Runner, Queenfish and Barracouda. The only problem with Shark Shoal is that it is very well named! Along with some big schools of fish, there are always the ever present 'men in grey coats'...the sharks!

Shark Shoal is located about 24nm from Townsville Harbour on the western edge of the Green Zone. The shoal itself is reasonably well known, but this particular GPS mark will put you dead onto where the best schools seem to hang the majority of the time. These sounder shots are taken while going past this mark.

Bottom fish are best targeted with pilchards, squid or fish strips on dropper rigs attached to heavy 50 or 80lb gear. Anchoring is possible, but drifting the various schools will usually be more productive. Once a fish is hooked it must be pumped to the boat as fast as possible to avoid being sharked. Its not unusual here to only boat 1 in 10 fish hooked. And sharks love the red fish most of all! Fish with drags locked up tight and pump as fast as your arms will allow. 

Pelagics, such as Spanish Mackerel, can be trolled up on diving lures fairly easily. Just work the lure through the bait schools at about 5 or 6 knots. But if a few boats are already working the area it can be difficult to get a good troll line. I believe the best method for targeting these fish is the use of high speed metals such as the Bumpa-Bars. Here the lure is simply alowed to sink to the bottom once the boat is positioned over a school of bait. The lure is then retrieved at high speed back to the surface. A sturdy reel capable of better than 1m of line per turn of the handle is needed, and 30lb would be considered a minimum if a fish is to have any chance to be boated before the sharks find it! Floating pillies on gang hooks will also account for plenty of Mackerel. The loss of metal slices and trolling lures can add up quickly when the sharks are thick. One technique worth trying is to 'free spool' the mackerel once hooked. A mackerel, without pressure of a line, will outrun a shark. But eventually it needs to be lead to the the boat!

The following video footage shows both the large schools of Spanish Mackerel and the large Sharks that gather on Shark Shoal. This place really is aptly named!

If you have some success from this mark them please take the time to return and tell us about it in the comments section.

GPS LOCATION (WGS-84): S18º 52.937' E147º 00.163'

Monday, 10 January 2011

Weekend of fishing

I got to get out fishing a couple of times this weekend, and have been too busy in-between to get up individual reports. So I will break up this report into both days. I also picked up a beautiful custom made 5'6'' lure casting rod yesterday. Its constructed by forum member Bundybear and its an absolute piece of artwork. And thanks to Shimano and Terry at ProTackle it now has a Chronarch sitting on it with 30lb Power Pro. The workmanship on the rod is second to none, and the reel is a smooth as silk.  I can't wait to give this baby a real workout! 

Dave Little and I had been making plans all week to investigate some new waters around the mouth of one of our southern rivers, but flooding of the road into the ramp had as fall back to plan B. So we ended up putting in at a smaller creek (struggled a bit on the low tide) and fished around all the mouths. With so much fresh still running in the systems we hoped that the incoming tide would bring in clean salt and some hungry fish.

We worked our small soft plastics along the snags and came up with a pair of nice Bream to start the day. A lot of bait was in the system, but not a whole lot of action. It was a long time between strikes.

After way too many casts with not even a look in we decided to head into a smaller creek to look for clean water. And not too far up we found what we were looking for, but despite the clearer look, it was very fresh still. Lots of bait around so we gave it a shot. Again there were a large number of empty casts, but eventually something decent hit my 3in prong. It hit hard and tore off from the snags with a flash of silver. Dave is calling 'what is it', and I replied 'well if its a Jack its a bloody good one'. Full pressure on the Stella 1000 and the 8lb Power Pro did its job and pulled the fish out into open water. A couple of lunges from the fish and soon a solid Jack was in the net. At 40cm it was nice to see on a tough day.

We kept working around all the creeks in the area for nothing more. As the tide topped out the water did clear, but it was now the middle of the day and the water temp had reached 31.5oC. We were hot and had had enough.

With the creeks not firing I decided to take Dad for a drive south to chase some fish in the lagoons and freshwater run off. Our first stop was at a drain running into the top of a local creek. We anticipated some Jacks, but knew there might be some Barra about too. And after releasing 4 small Barra and watching another guy hook and loose one in the 70's we decided to move away and look for something different.

Our second stop was a freshwater lagoon that usually holds some decent Tarpon. And as soon as we pulled up we could see some big fish tailing in the water. Over the next hour we caught and released over a half dozen fish each. The biggest around the 2kg mark, and most just under 1kg. Dad was using a 70mm Squidgie fish and I stuck with the Bubble Pop that I'm addicted to. While the sun was up the Squidgie was doing well, but as the light faded the Popper took over completely. Overall the popper accounted for a similar number of fish, but attracted far more strikes and took the biggest fish of the day.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Nannygai on Artificials

Edit (7-1-11): I have been in contact with Willson Fishing who distribute the SureCatch Crystal Ball Octi-jig in Australia. They have had some excellent communication with my and apparently this particular version is not designed to be fished on heavy gear. I have been informed that there is a HD version that features wire assist hooks and can be fished up to 24kg. There are some on the way for me to test out in the field. I'll feed back when I have had a chance to give these stronger versions a go. 

Yesterday morning Dad and I took another run out wide in his boat. This time we were in search of Red! We have been hitting a particular wreck in search of Cobia the last few trips, so a change was in order. As my boat has not been in the water for a while now, there were some marks around the Maggie Shoals that I have not been to in a very long time. So we decided to revisit these.

My father is a stink bait fisherman from way, there will be no converting him! But I'm really enjoying the soft plastic craze and am keen to start chasing fish like Nannygai, Cobia and Fingermark using this technique. So I was determined to stick at it.

We left the ramp about 5am in the first light to keep an eye out for logs. These are clearing slowly by the way, but still enough around not to run out in the dark. We passes at least 2 that we would have run right over had we not been able to see them! I was armed with about 5 packets of 7in Gulps, 1 packet of 4in Prongs and a couple of 55g Octo-Jigs...and Dad had his trusty Pillies.

The first of the marks we were to hit is one I found a couple of years ago using the sea-snake technique discussed here. The water was still green at over 20nm out, and didn't look too good at all. There was a small show of Nannygai on the sounder sitting just off the mark. So small to try and anchor to, we decided to give it a few drifts. I sent down a 7in Gulp in a natural Pilchard colour. We had just about completed our first drift over the school when there was a very distinctive take on my plastic and I was connected. Only fishing 30lb Power Pro on my Twin Power any big fish was going to be a challenge. But holding the spool and pushing the line to its limits managed to keep the fish off the bottom and I was soon gaining ground. A few lunging runs later and a large red shape appeared through the green water. A nice Nannygai in the 5-6kg range was in the boat! I have caught a few good fish on plastics now, but this was an achievement for me.

Unfortunately this was the only fish to be pulled form this mark, and a quick look at a nearby patch didn't show anything on the sounder at all. So we headed a little wider to one of my favourite spots. The sounder lit up nicely and down when the lines. It wasn't long and we had a double hookup of nice 2-3kg Nannygai. This was looking good!

A few more drifts and a few more fish. Time to try anchor on the school! I'm not a big fan of anchoring, it can be very difficult to position the boat on a small patch of fish in 30m of water. In the same amount of time spent anchoring and re-anchoring to position the boat correctly you can do multiple drifts and have an eski of fish! But this was a large patch of fish and shouldn't been too hard to get on top off.

I didn't manage to anchor on the patch I wanted, but there were fish under us anyway. For the next couple of hours we continued to catch Nannygai in the 40-45cm range, plenty of Trevalley and a couple of small Cobia. All the smaller Nannygai went back as we had plenty of bigger fish for a feed. In all we ended up with 7 good Nannies and 1 Cobe in the eski. Plastics matched the bait easily (maybe even did a little better). But I went through 3 packets of Gulps and 1 Packed to Prongs. So its not a cheap as Pillies.

Before leaving we did a few more drifts to use up bait. And despite the fast run from the now picking up tide, we managed a couple more big runs and bust offs. But plenty of fish already to fillet, so off home we headed.


When I get a bit more experience under my belt I will write a full article on working plastics in deep water for bottom fish. But until then here is what I have been finding works for me, and it varies depending on the plastic. The 7in Gulp Jerk Shads I am rigging on a 1/2oz Nitro jig head in a 3/0 size. There are stronger jigs out there, but for the price these are pretty good. I'm yet to straighten one on 30lb, even pushed to breaking point. I am using 60lb Jinki leader material about 1.5m in length. Start a drift up-current of the school of fish and drop the jig directly to the bottom. Now the usual way to work the jerk shads has been to give two or three sharp jerks of the rod and then letting the plastic to sink again before repeating. This is good for fish like Trevalley and Mackerel, but I have found a different technique for the Nannygai. I 'shake' the rod tip erratically while raising the rod. Then with the plastic off the bottom its allowed to sink again before repeating. The 'shaking' of the plastic seems to be more attractive to the slower bottom fish than the fast sharp jerks. The fish seem to be attracted to the shaking of the lure and then take it when it stops and sinks again. The first you know there is a fish attached is when you go to lift the rod again and it loads up! Set the hooks and your on. You can also put a few turns onto the reel each time to get the bait 3-5m up off the seafloor before opening the bail and letting it sink again. Mix it up for the best results.

The 4in Prongs have been a real winner with these fish. I again am rigging them on the same 1/2oz 3/0 Nitro head. Its not a bad combination, but a 2/0 may fit the plastic better? With this one I again send it to the bottom. But this requires far less work from the rod tip to evoke some action! Just some short rises and drops is all thats required. Again, work it up to about 5m off the bottom before letting it sink.

I have tried the Lucanus Jigs from Shimano before and found them to be excellent for all manner of fish. So I wanted to give this style of lure a go on the Nannygai too. I tried the 55g Crystal Ball from SureCatch. These are a far cheaper option than the Lucanus, but as it turned out not worth the packaging they came in! I lost one very nice Nannygai when the hooks pulled off the Dacron cord under pressure about 3/4 of the way up! This should not happen fishing only 30lb. I have since repleced the hooks with a set available from gamakatsu. Technique is really simple. Let it sink, then just slowly raise and lower the jig off the bottom. Being rather heavy, these are a good option when drift is quite fast. But get a good quality jig or change the hooks.

The big advantage of any of these artificials over bait is that you can keep it on the bottom until you have a fish! There is no loosing you bait to pickers. This is very useful in a drift fishing scenario where you may only get one drop with bait before you have to re-position the boat! Loose that bait and the drift is wasted. With the plastic it doesn't matter if you get a hit and miss the fish, you just keep working it. Remember, all the plastics and jig heads you require, along with some top advice, is available from ProTackle Townsville. 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Freshwater Tarpon

Yesterday afternoon Dave Little invited me to go for a drive out of town in search of some Tarpon in the local flood waters. With the creeks too dirty to fish it seemed like a top idea. We headed off about 2pm with anticipations of some good fishing.

At our first destination the tarpon were rising in good numbers, but they appeared to be mainly small fish. It took a few casts, but finally both Dave and I hooked up...simultaneously! Slightly better fish they put up a great fight, especially for Dave who was fishing with his brand new 7foot 4wt fly rod! A couple of quick pics and the fish were on their way. Tarpon are great sport, but no good on the table.

I continued to fish a small River 2 Sea Bubble pop and got some good attention but no hookups. Then things went a bit quitet, so time for a change of tactics. The Tarpon had been rising to the popper, but not reaching the surface. They seemed to be hanging deep. So I changed over to a small Squidgie Wriggler and light jig head to keep it down. This was a good move and soon 2 and 3 fish were having a go at it at the same time. I landed a few more, mainly small ones, and missed dozens of bumps that I'm guessing were from fish too small to find the hooks. Then things went quiet again. It was almost as though the fish were getting use to what we were throwing at them and loosing interest. Time for a new location and some bigger fish!

As soon as we pulled up at our next location we could see BIG Tarpon tailing in the water. This was going to be good! My first cast and the popper was absolutely smashed in a shower of water, but no hook up. Next cast and I'm on. Some good jumps and we knew these fish were far better. In a difficult spot the fish threw the hook as I was lifting him out of the water and onto the bank. No matter, was to go back anyway. Meanwhile, Dave was now hooked up to his first at this location. Another top fish that was giving him plenty of curry on the light fly rod. But Dave's skill soon had the fish on the bank. Photo and off again.

Over the next hour or so we had a blast catching and releasing these fish. There were plenty of misses and crashing hits, and at least one stonker landed. We are so blessed here in the North to have such an excellent array of fishing opportunities available to us.

I was fishing with a River 2 Sea Bubble Pop 45mm on a Shimano Stella 1000fe and T-curve 661. And a Squidgie Wriggler on a Shimano Sustain 1000fe and T-curve 661. Both are spooled with 8lb Power Pro braided line and a 20lb mono leader. Tarpon are great sport on light line, and you could definitely fish a lot lighter than I was. A good leader is required as the fish have very rough mouths that will make short work of light line. The 1000 size reals are spot on for these fish, providing light and nimble casting. I could cast the very light bubble pop a fair distance to the rising fish. The technique with the Bubble Pop for Tarpon is not unlike what I would do for Barramundi when in season. That is, a couple of short but sharp pops followed by a 3sec pause, then repeat. The strike will almost always come during the 3sec pause. What I like about the Bubble Pop is that it has a bit of fly like material hanging off the back hook. This hangs really nicely in the water attracting the fish while its paused.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Fishing Townsville - January Competition

Congratulations to forum member Greg who won the December longest Fingermark competition. His fish measured an impressive 71cm and won him a $100 ProTackle voucher.

For the month of January Fishing Townsville will once again run a 'longest fish of the month' competition. This month we are looking for the longest total length for a Grunter.

Competition Rules
  • Fish can be caught on ANY line class and via any normal legal line fishing method. 
  • The fish must be of a minimum legal size, measured accurately and photographed in a way to prove its total length (ie on a brag mat). 
  • Photo entries can only be submitted online in the appropriate thread of the forum
  • Fish must be caught between Lucinda (excluding Hinchinbrook channel) and Ayr.
  • Competition runs between 1st January 2011 and 31st January 2011 (inclusive of those days). 
  • The angler must be a member of the forum prior to the capture, or be an immediate family member (ie child/wife/husband) of an already registered forum user.
  • To beat an already submitted entry a fish must be a minimum of 1cm longer than the current leader.
  • Photo entries must be submitted within 48hrs of capture.
  • Entries close at 8am on 1st February 2011.
The prize is a voucher to the value of $100 donated by our good friends at ProTackle Townsville. 

Fishing Townsville promotes catch and release fishing. Fish to don't need to be kept for entry to the competition.

If you are not already a member of the forum and would like to take part in this fun and innovative competition then head over and sign up. Its totally free to join and participate. Good Luck!