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

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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Saturday 28 February 2009

Baptist Church Fishing Club - Marine Radio Operators Course

The Baptist Church Fishing Club will be holding a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP) course that will provide the opportunity to obtain national certification in the use of MF/HF and VHF radio equipment. The course will cover radio operating procedures, maintenance and repairs, regulations, and marine search/rescue systems. Certification will be through the Australian Maritime College.

Course Details

Saturday 14th March 2009 8.15am – 4.30pm
Sunday 15th March 2009 12.30pm – 4.00pm

$100 BCFC Members
$125 Non-Members
(Includes Text Book, Exam, Morning and Afternoon Tea’s)

Fishing Club Room – Baptist Church Hall 38 Canterbury Rd, Kirwan

There are still a few spots available, so if you are interested or have any questions send me an email by Sunday night (March 1st) or post a comment below. Should be a great weekend and we would love to have you along.

Baptist Church Fishing Club - Comp Results February 2009

The fishing year is off to a great start with plenty of members turning out for our first weigh-in and BBQ for 2009. Unfortunately due to the large amount of fresh water around and the unstable weather, the number of fish weighed did not reflect the effort put in. A total of 3 anglers weighed 5 fish for a total weight of 10.13kg and 219.5 points, with an additional 17 fish being released. The most unusual catch for the weekend was a box of fish fingers weighed by Glen McCormack!

Division Winners:

Senior Male Ian Ferguson 123 points
Lure/Fly Ian Ferguson 123 points
Catch & Release Tony Turner
Hard Yakka Dion Forman 40 points
Encouragement Herschel Wilson

Individual Results:

Senior Male – Line Fishing
Ian Ferguson 123 points
Queenfish 4.1kg 61.5pnts
Queenfish 4.1kg 61.5pnts

Malcolm Brown 82.5 points
Tarpon 0.86kg 43.0pnts
Tarpon 0.79kg 39.5pnts

Ward Nicholas 14 points
Tarpon 0.28kg 14.0pnts

Palarenda Permit

Here is a great story of being in the right place at the right time and just shows that you never know what could hit your lure next. I had seen Mitch the previous morning at Aplins Weir and helped him out with a couple of leader knots and had given him a Storm 3” soft plastic shad in dark green with black bars to try on the barra. When I received an email from Mitch the next evening with a photo attached, I naturally thought that he must have caught himself a barra. Unfortunately the barra hadn’t co-operated at Aplins, but as Mitch still had the soft plastic tied on, he had decided to take his young family down to Palarenda Beach for a fish. First cast and a couple of seconds later the lure was smashed by something big. A determined battle followed which ended in Mitch landing a massive 8.5kg permit (aka oyster cracker or snub-nosed dart) measuring an impressive 82cm. How easy was that!

Neaps and Northerly's

Thought I would follow Ward’s lead and catch up on a few posts. It’s great to be back on deck and I am happy to say that my bout of Dengue Fever that welcomed me into the New Year seems to be finally gone.

I recently caught up with fellow Bush’n Beach writer Karl Mendis was passing through Townsville on his trip north to Dunk Island. Despite Karl timing his visit with neap tides and an early morning Northerly that was expected to swing to a solid 20 knot South Easterly mid morning, we managed to sneak out for a few hours to one of my spots near Cordelia Rock.

Having only 0.5m of tidal run between high and low tides meant a different game plan than usual. When you have a big tidal run, well defined eddies and pressure points form on the current side of any structure or obstruction. It is here that the bait schools take refuge and here that the bigger predators know they can get an easy feed. As expected with the lack of current, the bait schools were scattered over a 200m radius around the structure and among them were some good schools of nannygai, trevally and the occasional mackerel. The other problem with neap tides is that the schools of fish are continually moving, and often not actively feeding.

Karl was keen to catch some red fish, so after finding the best looking nannygai school we began to drift fish. The key to doing this successfully is to mark the school on your GPS each time you do a drift and berley continuously. After a few drifts we could see that the school was making its way slowly back to the main structure. Karl was fishing dead squid on a dropper rig and I was using my trusty old 45g green Bumpa Bar. We managed to pick off a few undersize nannygai on the bait and a couple of school mackerel on the metal. Just before the change of tide the schools of bait and fish had aggregated near the main structure and were holding there, so we anchored up current and got a good berley trail going. As quick as the fish came on the bite, it was over. In that 15 minute window we landed a few more nannygai, school mackerel, barracuda and were harassed by a big mackerel-eating GT.

Fishing neaps and northerly’s is always a challenge here in Townsville. Just be prepared to search a bit harder for the bait schools and when you find them, stick with them because they won’t be sitting still. Where you find the bait you will also find the big critters – you may just need to wait them out!

Sunday 22 February 2009

flyfishing only

Hi folks I thought I would do a general and catch up report. Over the last couple of weeks I have done a lot of fishing mainly for tarpon and the odd barra. While I have managed to catch tarpon each trip its mainly been at my favorite spot which is called spot x on the site. So I have not really been putting info up. As such the tarpon have been working well and enough were caught to keep me happy. We had a fish at the beacons last weekend and I lost a good number of flys but did not hook up to any mackerel so I am working on that one! In the past I used to do well but lately my hook up rate has dropped away so more work needed. We moved the boat to middle reef and had a nice drift and I landed a coral trout and stripey both just under legal. Again no photos yet. This weekend I decided to go for a paddle on the kayak of the beach I fished for 2 hrs with a couple of hits. Then as it seems to happen in the last hour a landed a nice fingermark. A little suprising in the area but still very happy as can been seen from the photo above.

Monday 16 February 2009

My woefull weekends fishing

I had a bit of a disastrous weekends fishing. Hence I have not been too bothered about putting up a report. The weather forecast for the weekend had Saturday looking pretty good, and Sunday even better. But with the club comp running Friday and Saturday, I was a restricted to fishing days.

I was pretty keen to get a jump on the competition, so after work Friday I headed to the freshwater to chase some Tarpon. I had a reasonably successful trip in terms of fish hitting the lure, but I was finding it hard to stay connected. I must have dropped dozens of fish, with the lure being thrown back at my feet! But I finally gave up on the plastics and tried a small hard bodied minnow with the hope that the trebles would hold better. It proved a good move, with several quality fish being landed in the dying light.

Saturday the plan was to take the family to the shoals. It was a good plan, but nothing seemed to work. Left the ramp about 6am and headed out the channel. It didn't take long to realise that, although the winds were light, the sea was horrible. We got about 2/3 the way to the North Cardinal when enough was enough. I was doing 16 or 17 knots and still slamming down in the trenches. We quickly realised the shoals were out for us, and the North Cardinal was as far as we were going. But with so much fresh around we didn't think it was worth going that far. So we spun around and headed for front of Alligator creek. We played there for a bit trolling some lures for a Barra. With nothing happening we made a move toward the Cape. If it was ok, I would have ducked out to Salamander Reef. But a storm was building in the background. A quick look back to Maggie Island showed a large patch of rain moving in. Not wanting to be caught in a rain squall with the kids we bailed back to town. But we didn't beat the rain anyway. Not that it mattered, wind dropped to nothing as the rain came through. So I pointed the nose back out to sea. BANG, BANG. Nope, that swell was still there. At this point it was about 9ish and I had not turned the motor off all morning. We had done almost 60km and had barely put a line in the water. Feeling rater frustrated I opened the motor up hard and headed home!

Back home I needed to get away for a relax and de-stress. So I took my little spin rod and headed for the lakes. I fished around the various lakes for a couple of hours. But the only thing I managed was a small Jack of about 27cm. A nice fish it was quickly tagged and released.

Apparently Sunday turned out to be a ripper. TYPICAL. And I have had reports of good fish on the shoals. Including some hefty Spanish Mackerel. Oh well, there is always next weekend. Weather permitting!

Sunday 8 February 2009

Ditto Yesterday :)

Ward and I repeated yesterdays efforts tonight. Results were much the same, couple of Tarpon from the Lakes, and a few more from spot x. Not much else to say really, so here are a couple of pics.

Barramundi hard to find in the floodwaters

I spent yesterday afternoon with Ward and Dion chasing some Barra in the freshwater. Initial plans were to head south to some of the flooded lagoons. But our confidence about being able to reach the lagoons, let alone fish them, was quite low. So we decided not to waste time and fuel, and to fish locally. Water pounding down the Ross kinda counted that one out. So we decided to give the drains into the Lake a try. At least we didn't have to go too far. And we always had spot x to fall back on for some fun with the Tarpon.

Well we hit those drains hard for a couple of hours with nothing more than a couple of small Tarpon to show for it. It was time for spot x. Dion had never fished here, so we were keen to show him just how much fun the small fish can be on light gear. And it didn't take long for him to find out. Dion's first fish was a ripper for this area, and his spin reel buzzed at it raced off with the 2kg line. A few jumps and it was at our feet for complementary photograph.

We finished early with a phone call from my wife saying that she had managed to lock herself and the kids out of the house! But that wasn't before I managed to hook my first Barra of the season. Probably in the 40cm range, it was great fun on the 4lb line. But it managed to straighten the hook on the small jig head as it pulled hard through some weed on the edge of the bank. Boy was I cranky, it was almost in! Might be having something to say about the Bearkley brand of jig heads.

Friday 6 February 2009

Tarpon on the chew in the rain

I just got home from an hour or so chasing small Tarpon with Ward. We were fishing some freshwater not too far from town. It was my first chance to try out my new Shimano Sustain 1000FE. And I was not disappointed. I spooled up with 4lb Fireline and was using a 6lb Vanish leader. On the end I tied the smallest of the Squidgie tails and a 1/8oz jig. Any of the tails with a bit of pink or red seem to be best. Small flick baits also work well on the larger fish.

The fishing wasn't spectacular, but consistent enough to keep us happy. Ward landed a half dozen or more of fly, and me a similar number on the plastic. Most of the fish were quite small, but I managed on nice one. It was a good test of the light fireline, and I was able to land the fish with relative ease. This is by far the lightest I have ever fished, and I'm looking forward to chasing Flathead on the same gear.

Incidentally, my Stradic 1000 is up for sale on ebay if anyone is interested. Not a thing wrong with it, I just decided to upgrade to the Sustain. Local pickup would be fine if you want to save on the postage.

Thursday 5 February 2009

BCFC - February Comp Postponed

Just a quick post to let you know that the Baptist Church Fishing Club’s first Comp, Weigh-In and BBQ that was to be held this weekend (6-7th Feb 2009) has been postponed due to bad weather. The February comp will now be held the following weekend on 13-14th Feb, with the weigh-in and BBQ at the normal time of 5pm on Saturday the 14th at the Baptist Church, 38 Canterbury Rd.

There is a strong wind warning current for tropical waters from Cardwell to Bowen with winds to 33 knots and seas to 2.7m expected for the next few days, in addition to another pending cyclone to our north. Hang on for another week of wet and windy weather!

For more information about fishing the February Comp, or the Club in general, please email

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Townsville Floods 2009

For those who don't live in Townsville, or simply can't get out, here is a bit of video of the Weirs running after Cyclone Ellie.

Sunday 1 February 2009


Thought I would just add a bit about tarpon fishing. In this weather (and yes I was out for an hour or so this afternoon!) it is a good time to hit the lagoons chasing tarpon. First safety must apply and you need to keep a weather eye and a croc eye out as both are moving now. You only need to find a lagoon or waterway with rising fish. So far I have found a nice spot easy to get to and I have managed to land fish to about 35cm each time I have gone. I won't say where!! But what I have found is running water works well a deep edge helps and stormy weather is a bonus. I use a 5wt on floating line with up to a 8kg tippet. The tippet is high as some of these fish hit the fly that hard that the line breaks! Before you ask I use a fluro carbon line and it is relatively new. The fly of choice is my pink and black in a size 8 chemically sharpened hook. I have some success with poppers but they are visually great but hook up rates can be low. You can also use clousers and deceivers in the more subdued colours. I hope this helps those of us struggling to get out.

Barramundi Season Opens Today

Many people around the Townsville area will right now be preparing boats and fishing gear in anticipation of the opening of Barramundi season. Beware, the season does not begin until MIDDAY today. So don't get tempted to wet a line too early!

If you are fishing in the Gulf or Carpentaria you have one more day to wait. Season opens there midday Feb 2 (tomorrow).

Barramundi also currently cary a minimum size of 58cm (Gulf of Carpentaria 60cm) and a maximum of 120cm. All fish outside those measurements must be released. The maximum number of fish alowed in one persons possession at any time is 5. For more information of regulations in Queensland visit the DPI&F fisheries website.

With the current weather position I'm sure where people will be wetting a line? But if you do get out and about please let us know how you go. You can do that either here in the comments below, of in the reports section of the forum. This is out 3rd good wet season in a row now, so I'm looking forward to a great fishing season.