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, 31 January 2012

Barramundi Season Opens!

I bet there are more than a few people out there watching the little counter in the top right of the page head toward zero! As I type this there is 17hrs 3mins and 10sec until Barramundi are back on the menu. Barramundi season on the East Coast officially opens at Noon tomorrow (1st Feb).

Fishing Townsville would like to remind readers that the minimum size for Barramundi is 58cm and the maximum is 120cm. In the interest of a sustainable fishery most anglers will release the larger breading fish over 1m. 

Barramundi also have a maximum in possession limit of 5 fish per person. This is a possession limit and includes fish at home in the freezer as well as those in the eski on the boat!

Fishing Townsville would also like to remind anglers who may be targeting Barramundi in freshwater, that the use of a cast net is not permitted. Thats right, it is illegal to use a cast net in freshwater!

There have been several reports of illegal targeting of Barramundi during the closed season, including the taking of fish under size. Much of that activity has occurred locally around the weirs on Ross River. Any illegal activity should be reported to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116.

For more information of the rules and regulation in Queensland please follow the link below to the Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Fly fishing Alva Beach Flathead

Last year I was quite fortunate to have Shimano send me a nice G•Loomis GLX 8wt fly rod to fish the Hinchinbrook Fly Fishing Challenge. Due to circumstances I had to withdraw form the competition and the rod has sat here ever since. So last week I organised a Biocraft 7/8 fly reel to go on it and the guys at ProTackle sorted me out with line and a couple of fly's. So after a bit of a casting session with NQ FlyFishers president Ward Nicholas yesterday afternoon, it was off to Alva beach today for a fish.

We arrived at Alva Beach to fish the outgoing run of the very large morning tide. A stiff breeze blowing straight onto the beach had me very nervous right from the get go! But I figured if I could stumble my way through today then I would better my technique in the long run! Well that was the theory anyway, time will tell if it was a good one or not!

All things considered I guess the casting went quite well. I was never after big distances, so most of the time the fly went were it was supposed to. I didn't come home with a pierced ear at least!

The fishing was quiet to say the least! Bob landed 2 just under the 40cm mark, and I landed 1 that went 38cm. We didn't see much in the way of bait and only spooked a couple of very small fish.

I'm really looking forward to giving the fly a go among the snags for Barramundi when the season opens in just over a week!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Press Release - Townsville Marine & TABS Boats

Townsville Marine is pleased to announce a new strategic alliance to sell TABS Plate Boats in North Queensland.

TABS are renowned for their exceptional quality, design and value for money. Boating enthusiasts from Rockhampton to Weipa and everywhere in between will now be able to buy a quality TABS plate boat from the largest marine dealer in North Queensland – Townsville Marine.

"We see TABS Plate Boats as a complimentary line to our range of premium boat brands" said Emmanuel Theodosiou, Managing Director of Townsville Marine. "TABS plate boats adds depth of range to our stable of high quality brands" he added.

Townsville Marine sells Quintrex, Bar Crusher and Hooker Boats. TABS completes the range by adding premium plate aluminium boats across the entire model and size lineup.

"With stage 2 of the Townsville Marine Centre due to start construction in Q2 2012, the timing was right to expand our range and offer customers a wider variety of premium quality boats."

"Townsville Marine now caters for all styles of boating and fishing. Whether it's pressed, plate or fibreglass – Townsville Marine has the right boat to suit your needs". "We cater for first time boaties, families, specialist fishers and offshore fishing".

All Townsville Marine boats are powered by Suzuki, World's Best 4 Stroke outboards. Townsville Marine has been a Suzuki Elite Dealer for the past year. Suzuki is the outboard power of choice for Townsville Marine. Our customers demand performance, reliability, value for money and the latest in technology. Suzuki Marine is the only outboard brand that meets all of those criteria.

The first TABS boats will begin arriving at Townsville Marine in March 2012.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Tarpon in the Fresh with the Kids

Yesterday was the last day of the school holidays for us, back to work for teachers today! So what better way to fishing off the break than to take the family for a bit of a drive and fish. So 3 spin rods were put in the car along with a handful of small lures and off we went.

We were only gone for a couple of hours, but saw heaps of wildlife around the freshly risen billabongs. Kids got to see a frill-neck lizard, wallabies, turtles, all sorts of water birds, a beautiful red finch and an assortment of fish life. 

With water now running off the flood plains and into the billabongs the Tarpon were going crazy. They were 'boiling' from the time we arrived until the time we left. The first fish came first cast and the action was crazy for the 30mins or so we fished for. It didn't seem to matter what was thrown at them, as long as it was small and moving quickly it was fair game. We used small squidgie wrigglers, squidgie fish and 3in prongs, all with great success. 

It just goes to show that there is still lots to do in the freshwater while the Barramundi are off limits. Using lighter outfits these fish, which can reach 2kg or so in the billabongs, are a whole lot of fun. Doubly so for kids! 

Here is a bit of video of the highlights of the afternoon. 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Shimano Torium 16 Product Review

The Shimano Torium 16 is one of the most versatile offshore overhead reels you could ever own! I have a pair of these reels loaded with 50lb braid sitting on custom graphite rods. Priced not too much over $200 they represent excellent value for money. I use this setup for dead baiting the shoals and reef, floating baits for Mackerel, trolling, live baiting, heavy jigging of plastics and high speed spinning.

The Torium range feature an all aluminium design including spool, frame and side plates. This makes for a very strong and light construction. Although weighting in at 635g its not a light reel! One thing I have found is that the die cast frame and side plates do suffer from corrosion in the form of pitting around screw holes and any scratches. But having said that, I have had my reels now for a few years and this is very minimal and totally cosmetic.

The gear ratio of the Torium 16 is a very impressive 6.2:1. This is achieved via a large main gear and allows a massive 117cm of line retrieved per turn of the handle. I am a big fan of high speed reels, and this one impresses me a lot. It makes a great high speed reel for working metal off the bottom for Spanish Mackerel and allows baited hooks to be retrieved to the surface for re-baiting very quickly. You can also pick up a lot of slack if a fish swims toward the boat. I think of it like this, you can always slow down your retrieve, but you can only wind so fast! Some people claim that this comes at a loss of low down 'grunt' for getting big fish up from the bottom. But I would argue that if you are using a proper 'pump and wind' technique then this is not an issue. The lifting of the rod brings the fish toward you and your are just taking up the slack. The only time a low gear ratio helps here is if you are dead winding the fish up!

The Torium range do not feature a level-wind system. This means a thumb is used to guide the line evenly onto the spool as line is retrieved. If a level wind is an important feature for you then there is always the Tekota range of reels available as an option. But in my opinion the Torium is a much better reel overall. There is also a small risk of level-winds failing and jamming, something you don't have to worry about with this reel. One of the reasons I went of the 16 size over the 20 is that the 16 has a narrow spool. This does a couple of things. Firstly, the reel is lighter and better balanced on the top of the rod. But secondly, as the spool is narrow, the requirement for levelling the line accurately is greatly reduced. Obviously from an empty spool line should be laid on the reel properly, but my wife can use this reel all day in 40m of water and never worry about line lay. Loss of line capacity in the 16 verses the 20 is not even worth considering. The 16 still holds 465m of 50lb Power Pro!

The Torium reels feature 3 stainless steel A-RB bearings and one roller bearing. The bearings are positioned at either end of the spool and at the base of the handle. The roller bearing is smooth and accurate preventing any backward movement of the spool. There is also a backup anti-reverse mechanism inside the reel under the main gear.

The drag system inside the Torium is a multi-waster star drag using high performance Dartainium washers. These washers a massive and sit neatly inside the main gear. The Dartainium washers allow for very smooth high speed runs from pelagic fish. Maximum drag is rated at 10kg, more than enough to fish 50lb braid to the limit. The star drag also features a nice 'click' to it as adjustments are made.

The position (i.e. length) of the handle can also be altered should more 'power' be required. But I have never move it from the original position. The knob itself is quite basic compared to higher end reels, but is comfortable enough for continued use. Alternate after market options are available if you don't find the stock handle comfortable enough.

Free spool is achieved via a manual clutch lever. The spool runs very evenly and casting things like unweighted pilchards is very easy. There is also a ratchet on the left hand side plate that can be activated that will prevent overruns while in free spool or can alert to strikes when trolling or live baiting. A rod clamp can be used for a more secure attachment to the rod when using heavy lines. 

I would say the vast majority of fishing done out of Townsville is dead baiting for bottom fish around the shoals and reef as well as trolling for Spanish Mackerel. This reel is spot on for both these tasks plus a whole lot more! Have a look at the Torium 16 and the full range of Shimano reels today at Pro Tackle Townsville


• Diecast Aluminum Frame
• Stamped Aluminum Right Sideplate
• Aluminum Braced Graphite Left Side Plate
• Aluminum Spool
• Manual Clutch Lever
• Rod Clamp
• Ergonomic Power Handle (50 only)
• Three-Position Power Grip (16, 20 and 30 only)
• Adjustable Handle Shank

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Changes to Boating Regulations is Queensland

There have been some recent changes to the recreational boating regulations in Queensland. These changes came into effect on January 1 this  year, and to my knowledge there has been little attempt to make everyone who owns a boat aware of these changes. 

The majority of new regulations impact on jet ski operators, but there is one rule in particular that will impact on us fishermen. This new rule involves the labelling and awareness made to passengers of all safety equipment onboard the vessel. According to the MSQ FAQ 

"The owner or master must give each person on board information about where the safety equipment is kept. Life jackets or PFDs must be clearly visible while a person is on board; or kept in a place readily accessible and indicated by a clearly visible sign with a white background marked with the word 'life jackets' in red letters. Information may be given orally, in a demonstration or printed on a sign. Persons on board must know where the safety equipment is kept."

I know of at least one forum member who has already been questioned on this when pulled up by an officer on the water. But as I have already said, little has been done to make the public aware. This particular rule is not even mentioned on the MSQ media release 'New rules to keep boaties and jet ski user safe' updated on Jan 6 or the media release 'Recreational boating safety reforms announced' 22nd September 2011. I can't even find reference to it in the latest copy of the 'Queensland Recreational Boating and Fishing Guide' 2011-2012 edition. But there is more advertising in that booklet than information!

Like all legislation that comes out of the Queensland Government, the wording is very vague. For example, if I tell everyone on board where the safety equipment is does it still need to be labeled? If my jackets are clearly visible inside the cabin (i.e. in the side pockets) do they need to be labeled? Does this apply to all safety equipment, EPIRB, flares, v-sheet, first aid kit etc? Do we play it safe and label everything! 

I don't mind sticking by any regulation that the Government see fit to apply, but they need to make a better effort to let us know about the changes, and be a bit more specific about what we need to be doing. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

24hrs on The Slashers Reefs

Wow, what a spell of beautiful weather we are having at the moment! There was no way I was missing out, I have been waiting a long time for this kind of run in the weather to do my first run to the reef out of Townsville. Ever since replacing the dirty old Yamaha 2-stroke with the more fuel efficient 4-stroke Suzuki I have been itching to get to the reef. 160lts of fuel in the Cruise Craft just wouldn't make it with the old motor, now even the more distant reefs are in range!

I left the Coast Guard ramp about 3pm Friday afternoon with Tania and the two kids. I was a little undecided on running to the reef that night, but the stiff Northerly pushed me against it. So we headed to West Point to chase Fingermark for the evening. While we didn't sight a Finger, the small Nannygai kept Tania and the kids entertained for the afternoon. On dark we came back inside the island for dinner and the night.

About 3am I pulled the anchor very quietly and started off toward the Slashers group. Sill a light breeze blowing, and everyone else was still asleep in the cabin, so I sat on a very comfortable 17knots most of the way. The closer we got to the reef the better conditions looked, and by the time I passes Brewer it was billiard table conditions.

I am a total amateur when it comes to reef fishing, just never had the opportunities to get out there. I was fortunate enough to have a mark sent to me by a very generous forum member, so that was our first stop. A nice lump in 50m of water got us started with bites coming immediately. 50m of water is new to me, shoals are generally 25-30m, so that was the first thing to get use to. Its a long way down!

I fished with some plastics on 1/2 and 5/8oz jig heads. Squid viscous, jerk shads and tails, they all seemed to work. Tania stink baited with pillies. All sorts of fish came over the side, some we struggled to identify! Numerous Coral Cod and various sweetlip of all types kept us busy, but the size was well down. We managed a couple of keeper Trout and a nice Spangled and Long-nosed Emperor.

With fish now in the eski and the trip worth while it was time to look around and see what we could find ourselves. To my surprise it was not difficult locating lumps and bumps in the 40-50m range, but finding ones with good fish was much harder. I guess I need to learn a bit more about what makes one bommie better than the others. But again, plenty of small fish and the odd keeper kept us entertained.

We worked our way around the back of one of the reefs and all of a sudden it was the middle of the day. So we started working back toward town. Passing the thousands of boats on Loadstone, we were surprised to find almost no boats fishing the more familiar shoal area. And a sound around soon showed why. They were void of any life! I sounded around several marks and hardly sighted a fish.

It was now getting late in the day and I still had fish and the boat to clean, so we headed for home. Still glassed out we sat on a very economical 22knots all the way, sipping down just 0.5lts/km. I'm very impressed with this new Suzuki, well over 200km traveled for 125lts of fuel. The whole family had a great time, with the weather looking good all week we are even contemplating a second tip out!

Here is a short video of some of the highlights. The GoPro camera is excellent for capturing the moment!