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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 March 2009


If you are not fishing this week then you're Bloody CRAZY!!

Sunday 29 March 2009

NQ Fly Fishers Mounthly outing

Yesterday I joined Ward and the rest of the NQ Fly Fishers on their monthly outing. Ward planned to show a few of the guys some of the Freshwater options we have here in Townsville. We met up at the big BP in Cluden and by 7.30am 3 car loads of keen fisherman were heading south.

At our first location we were expecting to catch mainly Sooty Grunter, with the chance of a Tarpon or Barramundi. But the Sooties eluded us, and instead member Ray landed this beautiful 58.5cm Barramundi. A lovely fish from a rather tight and sticky situation. After a few happy snaps the fish was tagged and set free.

A couple of the other members caught a 30cm Tarpon, and our youngest member of just 10 years old caught a little Gar Fish, his first capture on fly. But all in all it was very quiet. So off to our next location....... But that proved a little difficult, with the 4wds having too much fun in the sand trying to get out!!

Our next stop was where last weekend Ward and I have had a great time with Barra and Sooties. But it was midday on our arrival, and things had shut down completely for the middle of the day period. We hit the area pretty hard, but managed only one Sooty at 29cm. Next!!

Final stop was a small lagoon on the way home. Some smaller tarpon were out to play, with several fish in the 20-30cm range landed. And to finish up, I landed 2 small barra that were tagged and let go.

A great morning was had by all. If you would like more information about joining the North Queensland Fly Fishers contact Ward Nicholas on his email.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Freshwater Barra on Plastics and Fly

I have just gotten home from a great afternoon working the freshwater reaches of a southern river. With the wind blowing all weekend, I didn't see any other option than to hit the fresh. I had not been back that way since before the floods, so I was pretty keen to see how things had settled. And we were not disappointed.

We left home a little after 2pm, and were fishing by 3. Ward got off to a bit of a rough start, hooking trees, snags, rock and all sorts of inanimate objects with his fly line! In fact, I think he had lost 3 or 4 fly before he even got a proper cast in. But he soon settled into a rhythm and was hooking into a few nice Sooty Grunter.

It was a little early in the afternoon for a hot bite, but we were consistently landing Sooties, and getting hits on most casts. But it wasn't too long before a small Barra or two was landed. I even managed to drop a nice one that might just have gone legal.

As the sun set a bit lower in the sky the Barra started to come on and bite much better. In a short 20-30min session, we landed several nice fish, the biggest of which were 57cm and 59cm. These put up a great fight on my Sustain 1000 and 8lb braid! Just proves you don't need big heavy baitcasters to catch Barramundi.

We left a little after 5pm, having caught countless Sooty Grunter and 6 or 7 Barramundi. The best plastic for the Barra was a Squidgie Pro Fish 65 in Grasshopper colour. Fished on a 1/8 jig head. All fish were released unharmed.

Saturday 21 March 2009

Its windy today

Well I need to go out in the boat for many reasons. Today I thought I would go out for a quite fish. I decided not to invite any one as I thought it would be uncomfortable but mainly I wasn't sure where I would end up and probably no fish anyway.

As it turns out I had a great fish!
I tried to catch something around the pylons but no touches on the fly. I thought before going home, as the wind was building, I would try over at Cockle Bay. I arrived at the mark and hooked up to 2 nice trevally! Cool! then as I started cast and retrieving some thing larger seemed to be around. It buried me into some structure? After another hit and finally hooked up. Yeah it turned out to be a nice 75cm Barra!
The rig was a 10 wt and a shooting t14 head plus a white/rainbow deciever with gold eyes. Yeah nice day, I wanted to stay longer but there was not enough ice so after only an hour and a half I was home and cleaning up. Not a long day but for me as a fly fisher a significant day.

Marlin Man

Some kids at work were telling me about this video on YouTube the other day. I though I would check it out. You decide if its real or not, but it looks good either way!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Marine Radio License

No fishing report this weekend from myself or Dion. We were too busy studying hard to obtain our license to operate a VHF radio. Not to many people seem to realise, but it is actually ILLEGAL to operate a VHF marine radio without first obtaining such a license. But I am happy to report that the course was not too stressful!

Dion advertised a few weeks ago for anyone who would like to sit the course to contact him. We ended up with about 13 people attend the two day workshop, and we sat the examination late today. Fingers crossed we will all pass.

Big thanks to Dion for organising the event, and an even bigger thanks to John (JJ) from the Townsville Coast Guard to guiding us through the course.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Baptist Church Fishing Club - Comp Results March 2009

Two comps and two cyclones – what is going on? Needless to say not as many members fished as usual, with landbased being the preferred option for those fishing the unusual conditions. Still great to see so many at the Weigh-In and BBQ. A total of 3 anglers weighed 3 fish for a total weight of 7.2kg and 136 points, with an additional 13 fish being released. It was also great to see a couple of barramundi weighed – check out how close the point scores were!

Division Winners:

Senior Male Jordan Quayle 49.2 pnts
Lure/Fly Jordan Quayle 49.2 pnts
Catch & Release Ward Nicholas 54.5 pnts
Hard Yakka Trisha Forman 40 pnts
Encouragement Emily Forman

Individual Results:

Senior Male
Jordan Quayle 49.2 points
Barramundi 3.28kg 49.2pnts

Michael St Johnwood 46.8 points
Barramundi 3.12kg 46.8pnts

Gavin Jacobs 40.0 points
Mangrove Jack 0.8kg 40.0pnts

Fish Released
Bream x4
Tarpon x4
Barramundi x2
Mangrove Jack x1
Coral Trout x1
Stripey x1

Fishing the Lakes

Continuing the story…..We left Rowes Bay at 9.30am and headed straight for the Lakes (Stage 1) near Castletown. The Lakes is a great place to take the kids as they can run around, go exploring, and if they fall in, it’s pretty easy to fish them out! It is also pretty snag-free, apart from the occasional shopping trolley!

We had run into Wes at Rowes Bay and he also decided that he was up for a bit more fishing so he joined us at the Lakes. The secret to fishing the Lakes is simple – don’t use any sinkers and dead baits always seem to outfish live baits – weird, but true! Fresh green back herring fillet is my favourite, with fresh peeled prawn a very close second.

Within minutes Trisha had landed her first bream, then another, and another, and a little while later, another. She must have been sitting right in the honey hole because no one else was catching anything. By now everyone was casting into Trisha’s special little spot, but it didn’t seem to help. Yes, she was on again – this time a nice fat mangrove jack.

It was at this point that Wes realised that he still had a sinker on, so off it came and out went a juicy looking unweighted peeled prawn. I don’t think he even finished his sentence when his rod went over and he was on. A few minutes later and Wes’s first barra was safely landed. Not to be out done, Trish was on again and following Wes’s lead, landed another barra. A couple of missed hook-up’s followed, before things went quiet again. By now it was 11.30am and time to go. A great morning with family and friends – and no boat to wash!

Sunday 8 March 2009

Rowes Bay - Soroptimist Park

With the kids keen to wet a line, we decided to join a few other families from the BCFC down at Rowes Bay early on Saturday morning. Each month the club organises a designated landbased spot that is family-friendly. These trips are great for families with young kids, for new members wanting to meet people, and those new to fishing who may benefit from the knowledge and assistance of more experienced anglers.

We were fishing near Soroptimist Park and were fishing the last of the run-in and first of the run-out tide that was due to change at 6.53am. It was hoped that there would be Salmon, Bream, Flathead and even Barra moving up onto the flats during the extremely large tide. Despite baits and lures flying in every direction, there was very little activity. I even had a large live Tarpon sitting patiently near the entrance of the drain pipe for 2 hours, without getting nervous even once!

Nothing was caught, but a great time was had by all. The local mullet schools were also terrorised as Don took the opportunity to teach a few new comers how to throw a cast net.

With the tide well and truly on it’s way out, we decided to head off to the Lakes for a quick fish on the way home.

Seabreeze captures Cyclone Hamish

Take a look at the image below. It shows the wind speed and direction for Flinders Reef yesterday. Looking at that drop and change in direction, I'd say the eye passed pretty close by! Not ever day you see something like that on Seabreeze.

Aplins Weir Barra

Fished below Aplins Weir Friday afternoon after picking the kids up from school. Tarpon, Bony Bream and Milkfish were easy to find in the pools below the weir wall and a couple of throws with the cast net had the live bait bucket full. We were fishing the run in tide that was due to peak at 2.61m at 6.22pm, so expected to find a few barra feeding along the rocky barrier with the rising tide. The water had almost stopped running over the weir, so we searched for the only place where a small stream of water was still trickling through the rocks into the river below.

Live tarpon around 25cm long were sent to work along the edge of the current line. I had one tarpon under a float (4ft) and the other on a running sinker allowed to run the length of the leader (6ft). I also use a 2 hook live bait rig when using big baits - two 5/0 wide gaps joined to the leader using a Snell knot that continues through to a second hook. The first hook is placed in front of the dorsal fin of the Tarpon and the second just before the tail. I find that Tarpon are far more active when hooked through the shoulder than through the nose. Things were pretty quiet until the Tarpon on the running sinker rig got taken by a barra at around 4.30pm – was just under size and was released after a couple of pics. It always amazes me how small fish will still go for big baits. I would have loved to stay on for the change of tide at sunset, but unfortunately it was time to go.

Saturday 7 March 2009

Part 2 Flyfishing the Baptist Competition

The decision was made. We (Dad, Chris and myself) decided to take the safer option and fish Shelley Beach and then finish at the tarpon lagoon. Initially the decision seemed right, there was a good high tide at about 7.30am till 8.30am and from last week there appeared to be plenty of fish around. We arrived and started the walk in. A big problem for Dad, the water was to high and he had to stop half way. Chris and I had to do some manuvering to get around but after an hour we made. Well we fished for about 3 hours but to no avail. There was some minor fish movement but not as much as the previous week. There was a large group of dugong working the area which was interesting to watch. The tides were different and so was the barametric pressure this may have thrown the fish out of there feeding patterns. We then dropped Chris of at home and moved onto the tarpon spot south of Townsville. We found some nice fish and happily landed a few. Dad managed his first on fly! The final count for the competition was 3 legal for catch and release (only the best 2 will count) and 5 undersize for catch and release undersize competition. An interesting competition weekend.

BCFC - March Comp WEATHER UPDATE 1.00pm

The March Weigh-In and BBQ is still on and will be held at 5.00pm at the Baptist Church this afternoon. Cyclone Hamish is still quite some distance away and appears to be no immediate threat to Townsville. See you at the Weigh-In!

Friday 6 March 2009


A Cyclone Warning is currently in place for Townsville and surrounding regions. As we know it is still a “wait and see” game on where, when and if the cyclone will pose any real threat to Townsville.

As at 10.00pm Friday night, the comp is still running and the weigh-in and BBQ will be held at 5.00pm at the Baptist Church on Saturday.

BCFC recommends to all of our members to exercise extreme caution when fishing this weekend’s competition and to limit any boating activity to smooth waters.

Please check this site tomorrow morning for further notification. If the local weather deteriorates further and the cyclone becomes a direct threat to Townsville, then the weigh-in and BBQ will be cancelled - arrangements will be made to weigh fish that have already been caught. We will be keeping a close watch on the cyclone. Let’s hope it passes us by!!!

Flyfishing the Baptist club competition

I thought this week I would put down my thoughts and feelings about this weekends Townsville Baptist fishing competition.

As I am a member and on the committee my feelings are simple. I need to fish and hopefully either land 5 legal fish for catch and release or 5 legal for the main competition. In the competition we can only weigh 5 fish, no more than 2 from one species, therefore we need to find 3 different species for the weigh in. We are fishing an open competition this week so technically we can fish anywhere on the planet as long as we are back for the weigh in at 5pm on Saturday! Normally my plans are simple follow the fish! For me this means checking the local tarpon hole on Friday night to start for about an hour, and then go out on the salt on Saturday from about 5.30am till around 1pm.

Based on the weekends weather reports the chancing of going out on the blue are low. I will wait and see and make a decision in the morning at about 5.00am. For this decision I base it on the seareeze report and the BOM report. Tonight these sights are conflicting so I will have to add my own gut feelings! To be ready in the morning I need to set up the boat and the car for either land based or open water fishing. I am not into barramundi fishing yet so I tend to go out around Magnetic or Rattlesnake Island.

To the fishing
After work I decided to fish the Tarpon spot. I managed to land 5 tarpon, 4 legals and 1 undersized. I used a 5wt St. Croix 4 piece with a shooting head so I could cast against the wind. I had a heavy leader to protect the fly and the fish with my pink and black fly on a new double hook. I fished the spot for 1hr and 15 minutes. I have decided after killing 1 tarpon for my top ten last competition I will not be intentionally killing these fish. So after this afternoons fish I have 2 fish for the legal catch and release competition and 1 fish for the undersized catch and release competition. I need to now find 3 fish from 2 different species to complete the 5 fish. It is always an interesting dilemma to try to work out what to do. I will leave it there for now and let you know how it ends up tomorrow!

Black Weir Barra

Following Stephen Boyle’s talk on Barra at Fishing Club last night, Jordan and I were inspired to get an early start this morning and headed down to Black Weir before sunrise. We were fishing the Gleeson section below the Black Weir wall. Although the Gleeson's section has had only 27800 barra stocked, it greatly benefits from the overflow from Black Weir where the Twin Cities Fish Stocking Association have released 112639 barra.

It did not take long before Jordan’s shallow diving Halco Scorpion 68 (gold with orange back) got inhaled by a solid 67cm barra near the bridge pylons. I was using a chrome popper on the surface as we continued to work this same area until the sun came up, but no more takers. With the cover of darkness now past, I changed over to a gold Bomber and moved around to the Tavern side where I was smoked by a very big fish on my second cast. All I got to see was a massive flash accompanied by a huge bow wave as the barra turned and began peeling the 20lb braid off the reel at high speed. My exhilaration was short lived as the lure and the fish soon parted ways. Thinking that I may have gotten a bad hook up or may have straightened the hooks, I was very surprised to find that the entire eyelet had pulled from the lure! By now it was nearly 7am and time to go - always another day.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

BCFC - Barra Tackle Night

The Baptist Church Fishing Club is holding its March Tackle Night this Thursday night where we will be learning all about how to catch the mighty Barramundi. Details are:

When: Thursday 5th March @ 7.00pm
Topic: How to Catch Barramundi
Speaker: Steven Boyle from AIMS
Where: BCFC Club Room (Church Hall 38 Canterbury Rd, Kirwan)

The March Fishing Comp is OPEN and will immediately follow with boat seats and landbased fishing spots organised at the Tackle Night. Comp details are:

When: 12.01am March 6th – 5.00pm March 7th
Weigh-In and BBQ: Saturday @ 5.00pm (38 Canterbury Rd, Kirwan)

Everyone is welcome. If you would like any more info on the above, or BCFC in general, just shoot me an email at or post a comment below.