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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Prospecting in Bowling Green Bay

With so many boats hitting the Magnetic Island Shoal area these days I decided to go do some prospecting down in the Bowling Green Bay area. Not too many people seem to head in this direction, but there has to be some good ground down that way somewhere. It's really just a matter of setting aside some time and learning to use your sounder properly. Its easy to go back to your same marks time and time again, but eventually the numbers of fish on a shoal will diminish, especially if other boats start to 'ping' your mark. So its a good idea to go looking for new ground every now and then. Once found, good virgin ground can produce some very spectacular fishing. I plan to write an entire article soon about how to locate shoal county, so keep an eye out for that one.

Like everyone else in Townsville we hit the ramp about 4.30am Saturday morning. The parking was already full, and we were forced to park on the grass. We headed off to Cape Cleaveland and then south to an area know as "The Mackerel Patches". I have never been here before, but have heard good things about this ground in the past. It was a much rougher trip out that anticipated, and we averaged not much more than 15-18 knots. It was the slowest trip out I have had since owning a 475 Topender!

Unfortunately things didn't really work out for us on these marks. We did a lot of sounding around and found some fantastic looking bottom. But fish and bait were very scarce. We caught a few under sized critters of varying variety, and managed 2 Red-throat to go in the eski. But even a bite was hard to come by.

So we left here by mid morning and went in search of new grounds. We headed slightly North for a while before running over something on the sounder that looked semi-promising. Lines went down and we soon found plenty of bites. We put in a few drifts around the area, each time picking up good markings on the sounder. We put a few good sized Grass Sweetlip in the eski, as well as one loan thumping Doggie Mackerel. We missed a couple of good runs, but soon got sick of the small fish.

Next run was to a mark I have had in the GPS for a while but never checked out before. There was one boat already here, but they didn't seem to know exactly where the spot was and were doing circles with the sounder. One pass with the SI of the Humminbird and I had the structure pinged about 20m off where my GPS mark was. Next pass and we were on it. Dad was bricked immediately, but I couldn't get a bite. There was a massive show of fish, but they just didn't seem to be feeding. Eventually I put down a large stick bait and hooked up to a good fish. But it turned out to be a Golden Trevalley.

Our last chance for a good fish was on the Mackerel grounds just wide of Salamander. Lots of boats were working the area, but we found a patch a little away from the pack. Hoping for Mackerel we found the only fish willing to play were good sized Trevors. Although I did pick up one small Spanish for the eski only minutes before pulling the pin and heading home. 

It might have been a slow trip out, but we headed home at just on 30knots. I love the bay in glass out! Round trip of about 130lm and a big fuel bill. We had fish in the eski but didn't really find what were looking for. Maybe next time!

At the Fishing & Outdoor Expo 2010 might not have had its own display at this years Fishing & Outdoor Expo, but our contributors where present promoting their own fishing passions. Ward Nicholas, as president of the NQ Flyfishers, manned the fly fishing stall along with several other members teaching people to tie flies. He also gave a couple of very good talks on stage over the weekend and even taught a few people to cast a fly rod.

Dion Forman was at his 'about fishing NQ' stall running a servery about the up and coming release of his very unique magazine. He is looking to gain as much information as possible about what the people of Townsville would like to see in a publication produced and written by Townsville fisherman for Townsville fisherman.

And I was there among it all for most of today helping Dion and wondering around, chatting to people and giving some helpful fishing advice. I hope everyone had a great weekend. We might just do our own stall next year ;-)

Thursday 27 May 2010

about fishing NQ magazine release!

Some of you might have been wondering what's been happening with Dion? He normally has some pretty good fishing reports and hot tips to share with the fishing community. Well, he has been busy locked away in his office working on a soon to be released magazine! The magazine titled 'about fishing NQ' will be an annual fishing magazine like no other. The magazine will feature "detailed fishing maps, GPS marks, and step by step instructions on fishing the entire Townsville, Hinchinbrook and Burdekin regions". It is the first of its kind, a "100% locally produced fishing guide, that showcases the very best of boating and fishing in North Queensland, all written by the most experienced, and passionate anglers, boaties and spearo's in North Queensland".

Dion will be at the fishing expo all weekend to talk to fisherman and discuss his 200 page guide to fishing and boating in North Queensland that will be released this Christmas. You will have an opportunity to tell Dion what you would like to see in the publication by filling out a quick survey. This puts your name into the draw for a chance to WIN a $300 Tackle Pack. Along with Dion several of his writers, including myself, will be dropping in throughout the weekend. I will likely be at the expo most of Sunday. So come along, have a chat and talk fishing for a while.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Flats fishing part 4

Well what can I say! The picture tells the tale. I decided to take a morning off from work and show Dad how we go about flats fishing in Townsville. With the normal start in the morning and a nice falling tide. We worked our usual areas but for no fish, not even a touch! Work was looking good!

Anyway, we moved back to the flats and starting looking and waiting. Finally after about 2 hours we found the fish! With this particular school of tarpon we followed them for about 2 hours working the school and looking for it as it moved over the flats. During this period we managed to stay connected to the school for multiple hook ups including a nice queenfish. Yes we were very happy!

2010 Townsville Fishing & Outdoor Expo

Townsville’s annual Fishing & Outdoor Expo on May 29th & 30th is set to establish a new record number of exhibits as the show becomes the largest fishing, boating and outdoor recreation expo in north Queensland.

The annual Expo held at Townsville Cluden Park Turf Club has become a mecca for fishers and the general community and has now taken the mantle of the biggest show north of Brisbane.

Townsville Sportfishing Club President Morry Suffield said that the strong support of local boat dealers who have supported the show wholeheartedly for the past two years has been the catalyst for the growth of the show.

“While other events try to be something to everyone, we have always focused our show on fishing, boats and outdoors activity. We don’t take all-comers and we keep the standard very high. While other events and boat shows around the state have suffered or failed, the Townsville Fishing & Outdoor Expo has gone from strength to strength” Mr Suffield said.

“Fishing and outdoor pursuits are really some of the cheapest forms of family entertainment and no matter how tight the budget is, wetting a line with the kids or mates is still a popular pastime and the growing numbers of recreational fishers is proof of that” Mr Suffield said.

This year’s event will see as many as twenty new exhibitors and every brand and breed of boat and motor available from all local dealers.

The event at Cluden Racecourse now draws 10 000 fishing, boating and outdoor enthusiasts each year.

The biggest range of fishing tackle ever displayed will be available at this year’s event with exhibitors including Anaconda, Fishing Warehouse, Pro Tackle, and Tackleworld.

“The best thing about checking out the fishing gear at the Fishing & Outdoor expo is that not only can you buy the tackle, but you can talk to experts and be shown how to use it. 

The Sportfishing Club will again be manning its club display and giving talks on rigging lures, throwing a cast net, targeting specific species of fish and other interesting topics. People can also find out about the Sportfishing Club and how to join.” Mr Suffield said.

Attractions this year will include the massive Anaconda display which is one of the largest exhibitors at the show, and the very popular Yamaha Super Tank.

MC and Presenter Scott Hillier from Channel 7’s Creek to Coast will again man the microphone and be one of the many expert presenters on the main stage giving talks and advice on a range of fishing tips.

The Expo has grown from just an event for fisho’s to one that the whole family can enjoy and find something of interest - the show is really about recreational lifestyle. There are all sorts of things to see at the event with fishing and camping gear, camper trailers, caravans, fisheries & other government agencies, clubs and community groups, safety equipment, canoes & kayaks and the latest in lures, rods, reels and boating accessories.

The 15th annual Townsville Fishing & Outdoor Expo will be held at the Cluden Park Racecourse on May 29th & 30th from 8am each day. Admission: Adults $6, Children U14 - free

Sunday 23 May 2010

Quiet in the bay

Dad and I went for a channel run today. Aim was to work metal around the last few markers for some early season Mackerel. Unfortunately the Mackerel were not there! We spent quite a while both drifting and anchored on the North Cardianl, but despite plenty of bait around we didn't turn a scale.

We brought some live bait back into one of the close marks to try our luck. But it seemed quite everywhere. Dad did eventually manage on nice Golden on a dead live bait! And I landed one 48cm doggie on a pillie. Metal only accounted for one 'bump' all morning.

The weather was ordinarly to say the least, and we were back at the ramp about 10am. At least cleaning fish wasn't a problem!

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Townsville Boat Ramps - Althaus/Deep Creek

Althaus/Deep Creek is one of the many small creeks to the North of Townsville. Being a small creek with easy access off Saunders Beach it is prone to over fishing. As a result, while there are fish in there, most are quite small. However, if you are looking for somewhere a little different to Ross River of the Bohle, it might just be worth a drive.

There are a total of 3 ramps located on this creek. But I have only photographed 2 so far. Why there are so many ramps on this system I will never know! Two are directly across the creek from each other, and the third is only 2min up stream.

I guess the ramp you chose will depend on proximity to you home base. Maybe saving you an extra few minutes in the car. But as far as quality goes, the ramp off Saunders Beach is definitely the pick of the three. Its good quality concrete with reasonable low tide usage. The carpark is gravel and there is a short section of gravel road on the way in. But with a small boat its easily used by any standard car. There are no other amenities at the ramp, but the Saunders Beach community is not far away. At the park you will find public toilets as well as BBQ's and seating.

To assess the Saunders Beach ramp simply drive North out of Townsville and follow the signs. Just as you enter the township there is a left turn to take onto boat ramp road.

To access the Purono Ramp drive past the Saunders Beach turn off and only a short distance along is Purono Parkway Rd. Take this turn and follow the road to the end. It will turn to dirt part way along, but other than a bit of corrugation its ok. Again there is nothing here other than a gravel parking area. This ramp is again a good quality concrete ramp, but access at low tide is not as good as the Saunders Beach ramp.

The ramp opposite the Saunder Beach ramp is accessed from Bluewater. I have not been into this ramp for a long time, so I can't give clear directions. But google is your friend! This ramp does not appear to be in as good a condition as the other two, and its quite steep looking. But if you live in Bluewater its probably the ramp you would use, otherwise I would be avoiding this one.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Trolling the Shoals

Got an email today from a regular reader, Adam McFarland. He spoke to me about a big GT he had trolled up on the shoals last weekend.  As I did not get out fishing last weekend I asked him to put together a quick report to post up and some pics for everyone to read. Here is what he had to say.

My Wife and I, and my brother and his girlfriend un-tied our 30ft trawler from the marina around 6am ready for the 3 hour steam to the shoals. When we arrived we had the place to ourselves. We rigged up the TLD 20 and TLD 25 with a slimy mackerel (from ProTackle) each set on a chin guard and trolled around the mark at 4-5 knots. It didn’t take long for the TLD 25 to scream and we were on to our first of 5 decent Spanish Mackerel for the day, giving everyone a go. 

It was getting close to our last pass for the day when the TLD 20 screamed hard, something big had taken one of the last baits we had. After more than 20 minutes we started to see colour and could understand why I was so sore, a firmly hooked GT had given me a great fight in the open water. We also landed a couple of Mackerel Tuna with a Halco Laser Pro 190 (7+m) on the way home. All in all a great day trolling with plenty of fish for all, topped off with a beautiful sunset coming back into the marina.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Flats fishing part 3

Well the pictures tell the tale! We worked the plan as intended. After a very slow start working the mangroves (as in no fish) we moved around and had a search on the flats and Richard found a nice trevally. We then went back and worked the mangroves again but there was no action so back out to the flats. This time we worked the area a bit more thoroughly and came up with a nice golden! Finally we then went out to the reef flats area and Richard landed a nice coral trout. All in all the plan did work but with a slow start.

New look website

Today I did a major update to the look of the website. Things may change a little further over the next couple of days, but at this point everything seems to work as it should. Some older posts may not display 100% correctly due to layout changes. But this should be minimal. There is now an 'about' page with information and contact detail for the website contributors. 

I would appreciate any feedback in the comments about the look. If anything is not working please direct an email with the problem to

Friday 14 May 2010

Flats fishing part 2

After a few tries and finally working out that the flats can fished at both high water and low, I finally landed some fish! 

After catching the first targeted trevally, on a rising tide it was with some trepidation that I started fishing on a falling tide. As the tides are not always perfect as they are in our dreams, sometimes you have to fish at the wrong time. 

The place I fish has mangroves on the waters edge, sand flats offshore, some rubble beds and coral bommies in the deeper water. The basic plan is to fish the flats first. This will allow me to target any fish moving up over the flats as the tide rises. Then move up to the mangroves and work the mangrove edges, this allows any small fish to move out from the mangroves and hopefully attacked by a larger predator! Finally move back to the flats as the water leaves the mangroves, at this point I am again chasing the larger fish but this time moving off the flats. The final spot is to work the rubble and coral areas at the end of the tide. Ideally the next step would be to follow the tide back in! 

The type of fish caught so far are pictured but there are smaller fish they may join your catch. The main target is the golden trevally so hopefully they will follow. I do look for fish feeding and work with stingrays if possible. I am using a 8wt rod with an intermediate line and at this time a white clouser/deciever pattern this seems to work best so far.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Rollingstone Creek / Balgal Beach Boat Ramp Update

On Sunday 31st May 2009 at last years Balgal Big Weekend the floating pontoon at Fishermans Landing Balgal beach was open by the Mayor and a flurry of politicians. This was warmly greeted by every fisherman as it provided a wonderful amenity that is constant use.  Those that read my review of the ramp early last year will not that the pontoon was left resting on the sand at low tide. It was unfortunate that the pontoon was placed in such a position, it had to be moved.

Originally the pontoon was funded by  Federal/State government  but the cost of the move was picked up by the Fishermans Landing Fishing and Social Club and the company Superior Jetties for which we can thank them. The boys at the landing promised to have the pontoon moved for the Balgal Big Weekend where they are conducting the Tackle World open fishing completion (Friday 21-Sunday 23 check the flyer available here). The move was a major logistical exercise, but well worth the efforts.

Photobucket Photobucket

Northern Beaches Festival - Update

PhotobucketWith the dates for the Northern Beaches Festival fishing competition fast approaching I have asked the president of the association to write a few words. This what he had to say on the event.

Last year, my first year as president of the Northern Beaches Festival I was introduced into the dynamics of this diversified Festival. It is truly a wonderful slice of the lifestyle that we all share.  Part of that recreational time or for some most of it, is fishing.

The Festival features 3 Fishing competitions that differ greatly from each other but are designed to serve the majority of anglers. The Pro Tackle Junior Beach Fishing Competition is my personal favourite. To see the faces on the littlies holding up their catch is a delight. I rummaged through my shots from last years competition and came up with this. Regrettfully I did not record the name of the family so if they read this post Mal and I will send copies to you. The brother his holding up his sisters catch, mum looks on. The lass won a great prize a tackle box full of Shimano goodies.

PhotobucketDon Cummings from the Toomulla Beach Fishing and Social Club has been running this contest in conjunction with Pro Tackle Townsville and Shimano for a number of years. The prizes are superb and the event promotes the sport  at an early age with categories for Pre-School, Primary School and High School. The Pro Tackle Junior Beach Fishing competition has traditionally been conducted as a stand alone event at Toomulla Beach but this year Don and his committee have agreed to trial it in conjunction with the Balgal Big weekend at Balgal Beach on Sunday 23rd May 2010. Cost per entry is $5.

The event will be conducted alongside the NQ Cool Wheels (200 vehicles on display). Markets, Music on the land and Mayhem on the water with outrigger races,  Kiteboard demonstrations and TS Coral Sea Naval Cadets. Registrations forms are available to be downloaded form this site or at the cenotaph Balgal beach from 9am on Sunday 23rd. I guarantee no one will be board – the day will be one big buzz.

Tackle World Open Fishing Competition is for the serious anglers.  It starts on the evening of Friday the 21st May and runs through to 3pm on Sunday 23rd followed by the Presentations. This is conducted by the Fishermans Landing Fishing and social club from the Landing at Balgal. Tackle World have released a comprehensive list of the prizes which when you do the maths is very significant. Every junior that enters also receives a prize. Again the registration forms are available online from this site as well as the list of prizes. The boys at the landing asked me to advise that there are some variations to the final prizes categories  compared to the first ones  drafted last November 2009.

For the fishing widows on Sunday come and enjoy the party that will be on the Esplande and on the Beach. A special children’s corner, 200 cars on display, markets, music, good food and drink. The Balgal Big weekend is about our  Northern Beach lifestyle.

The Member for Hinchinbrook Challenge is an inter club competition for all registered clubs between Cardwell and Townsville (Alligator Creek). This event is a month long event commencing 1st May to 28th May 2010. The winning club has the privilege of hosting the following year. I know a number of clubs have expressed interest  early and I know there is still time for those that have not advised the Landing they can do so on 4770  7227 and register the club. It’s a simple matter of recording your combined members catch over the period.  At the end there is a great social and a great way to share fellowship and the love of the sport.

For all those that enter the competitions good fishing but most of all enjoy the occasion.