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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.

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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Monday 26 July 2010

Luring in Cocoa Creek

I spent a few hours yesterday morning Luring Cocoa Creek with Dad. We tossed our Flatz Rat lures around from the top of the creek to the mouth. And after 4hrs I finally snagged a Rat Barra among the mangroves at the mouth. Cocoa has been hard fishing for a while now, so I think next weekend we might have to give another creek a go!

It was pretty quiet in the creek, aside from a couple of campers on the bank well upstream, I think we were the only boat in there all morning. When we had finished and started our run back to the 'ramp' from the mouth, we spotted the croc that everyone talks about. I have heard many times now about a croc that lives at the mouth of Cocoa, but had never seen him. As you can see from the pics he is there, and a pretty good size too. He didn't seem to disturbed by our presence, and simply slid into the water as we approached for a photo. 

On another note, someone has dumped and burnt out a car on the bank near the ramp. I have no idea what type of person it takes to do something like this, it doesn't even look like a stolen car. Its missing some pretty vital components to drive the car here and then set fire to it. So I think its been dumped off a trailer. And that begs the question, why here?

I guess I shoudn't be surprised, the amount of rubbish I have seen dumped on river banks in the last few week astounds me. And this is in some pretty isolated places where people have gone to a lot of trouble to get into and fish. One would think these people would have more concern for the environment they have come to enjoy. These pics are taken from an area on the upper reaches of the Bohle river. One individual even went to the trouble of packing up there rubbish into a plastic bag....and then dumped the bag! The dumped cast net had a dead snake in it that had obviously become trapped and died. These people really should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday 19 July 2010

JCU student working with recreational fishing and sharks

Fernanda de Faria is a master student with the Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre at James Cook University in Townsville and her project is looking at the species composition of the recreational catch of sharks of the GBR and also, because most sharks are released, she is looking at possible catch and release effects on shark populations.

In order to collect data, Fernanda has been going out on recreational charter fishing boats collecting photos and tissues (for species identification) as well as a small blood sample (for physiological stress analysis). The stress levels are measured against different parameters like play time, hooking location, air exposure time and etc. In addition, Fernanda has individual recreational fishers on board their on boats taking photos and when possible, tissue samples of every sharks they catch. And here is where you can help. If you are interest in helping with shark research and conservation, please contact Fernanda and she will give you a “ data collection kit’ and instructions. The data collection process is very simple and shouldn’t interfere with your fishing.

With the results of the project Fernanda aims to compile a species list for the recreational catch of sharks in the GBR and provide recreational fishers with advice on best handling practices in order to guarantee the survival of the sharks after being released.


Sunday 18 July 2010

Barramundi still active

After reading so many hot reports in the forum of good catches of Barra from our local creeks, we decided to spend yesterday afternoon lure casting ourselves. We hit the creek about 2pm to fish a nice steady outgoing tide. The slight movement in the tide presented us with some nice green coloured clear water, perfect for lure casting. 

We made our way up the creek and then worked back with the tide. The action was not as furious as we would have liked, but I managed 1 nice Barra of 62cm, a small Jack and 2 Cod. The Barra came from the mouth of a small drain and took a standard gold Flatz Rat. These drains are great places to cast lures, especially on the outgoing tide, as fish sit and ambush prawn and small fish as they run out with the tide. 

Water temp was only 21 - 22 degrees, but proves the Barra are still taking lures for the patient fisher! 

Thursday 15 July 2010

Human error blamed for most boating fatalities

Sunday 11 July 2010

Working hard for a fish!

This weekend was the Baptist Church Fishing Club monthly competition. The competition always runs on the Friday and Saturday with a BBQ weigh-in Saturday afternoon. But usually work prevents us from fishing on the Friday. But this weekend happened to fall inside school holiday time, so we had both days to look hard for our 5 fish. 

Initial plans were upset by the poor weather, so while the kids and Tania went off to the movies to see Toy Story 2, Dad and I headed into the upper reaches of one of the local rivers to flick around some plastics. It was the right part of the tide, last of the outgoing, but it was 10:30 before we began fishing. So not the best time of day! It was tough work with Dad landing an undersize Bream and very small Flathead. I managed 1 rat Barra and that was it. We had managed a couple of nice Flathead here not long ago, so were disappointed in our results. 

That afternoon I took Tania and the kids into Ross River for an afternoon fish from the tinnie. We didn't fish for long, but managed to keep amused with a few undersize Bream, Mangrove Jack and Estuary Cod. Best fish was a 34cm Jack. All the fish fell to half pillies fishing on small lightly weighted hooks. There are generally plenty of bites to keep the kids amused, but on this occasion nothing keepable made it to the eski.


By Saturday morning we were getting desperate! So a last minute decision was made to shoot back up to Lucinda where Christian and I had done brilliantly just a few days earlier. The tide would be a little different, high later in the morning and overall a much bigger run. But how could we go wrong?

We left home at 4.30am which got us to the ramp and ready to roll by 6am. Perfect timing. The tide was indeed much higher than earlier in the week, with the snags totally covered by water. This, coupled with a strong breeze, made it impossible to find those sticks and logs that were the key to success. So we began by fishing a flat along the edge of the mangroves. This at least gave us some structure to concentrate around. The bait was present, but fish were hard to tempt. I managed 1 65cm flathead after hundreds of casts. But it was the only fish we would pull from this area. 

Eventually tide turned and water dropped enough to spot the snags up on the flats. But the water was racing! We stuck at it, moving from log to log, and before we knew it there was barely enough water to motor through and we had to get off! Compared to earlier in the week the window we were presented with was much smaller. I managed one more flathead, but not as big as the first. 

We then moved back into the river and fished some back water to the sand bars. Dad hooked up a small barra that threw the hooks on its first jump. On the edge of some fast running water we found a small school of queenfish and trevally feeding. However, while they presented some action on an otherwise quiet day, they were not big fish. 

If we were going to make the BBQ we would have to get going. So by 3pm we headed for home. It appears the neaper tides may be better for this type of fishing? Good excuse to get up and try again soon. 

Flats fishing Magnetic Island

Went fly fishing with my son Chris during the school holidays on some local flats near Magnetic Island.

This time we concentrated on a new spot I was told about from Terry at Pro Tackle. We worked the area fully and managed to land 3 species of trevelly over  2 days fishing. The wind and rain did not help, nor did the overcast skies, but we still followed the basic plan.

We worked on a full falling tide and worked the water at about the 0.6 to 0.7m depth range. We had a mixture of clousers and crab patterns but only the yellow/white clouser worked.

We targeted swirls and movement, along with some blind casting. Chris had a 7wt outfit and I used my 9 wt. Both rods had intermediate lines (the golden took me into the backing). It was a great couple of days, but you have to be prepared to sit and watch! All fish were caught sighted usually with swirls showing there presence.


Report by Ward Nicholas

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Fishing Hinchinbrook with Soft Plastics

I have just spent two days staying with a mate in Halifax. Christian and I use to fish together during our uni days chasing Mackerel off the end of the break wall. But he moved away to Cairns and since then we have only fished together once or twice. He has now brought a house in Halifax, so I can see us getting to fish together a lot more. I drove the tinnie up to his place Monday lunchtime and by about 2.30 we were in the water and off for an afternoon session. Christian is quite new to the soft plastics game, so I was keen to get him connected to a few fish on the lighter lines. But I was also a little concerned thats it July and we were fishing an area I knew zip about! We would be fishing the last of a smallish incoming tide. While the tide wasn't big, it was in the building phase and presented us with a nice steady flow and crystal clear water. I stuck with the idea that fish should be moving up onto the flats with tide and into warmer water. So off to the mouth of a river we headed.

There was only about 90cm of water over the sand, but easily enough for the tinnie and plenty to hold some fish. We headed for some timber that was sticking up out of the water. I was anticipating some flathead feeding on bait that was holding around the structure, but was also hopeful for a Barramundi! We threw plastics at this tree for about 20 minutes with not much more than a bump. Then Christian got caught up and we had to go in for a retrieval. As we neared the timber we could see fish moving around in the crystal clear waters. There were Bream that would have been well over the 30cm mark, and 4 or 5 rat Barra! So we got the lure off and backed away as quietly as we could. We downsized the plastics in an attempt to snag a Bream, and I pulled out the bait-caster that had a gold Flatz Rat attached. Even though a Flatz Rat is a deep diving lure, and we were in less than 1m of water, its a floating lure so can be worked gently without pounding it into the bottom. So I threw it to the timber, jerked it hard to get it down deep, then let it sit for a count of 3. In that count of 3 it floats up a little and can then be jiggled back down. This slow retrieve can keep the lure at the critical depth an keeps it close to the timber for a long time. In fact, you can even work a Flatz Rat just under the surface in the same way. It only took a couple of casts and I was hooked to a nice little Barra. He was quickly netted and measured at 55cm. A quick photo and he was on his way again.

We couldn't tempt any more fish from this snag, so we moved on to some more good looking structure. Thats one thing about Hinchinbrook, there are always plenty of places to try! We were not here long and I was hooked up to a nice fish. This one was on a 5in Strike Bait. With this style of lure I was anticipating another rat barra, but it turned out to be a nice Flathead. Measuring about 58cm it was soon in the eski for our dinner! Christian managed a couple of hookups, but both time the fish threw the hooks pretty quickly. But this was enough to get him excited and keen to keep trying this very addictive style of fishing.

We moved to another flat to the inside corner of the river. There was a mass of small herring moving off the flat as the tide topped out, and fish and big rays were moving all over the area. It didn't take long and I was hooked up to another good flathead, and then another! With enough already in the eski for dinner I was happy to let the remainder of our fish go.

As the water fell from the flat we moved off and fished the deeper drop off, we got a few small trevally and Christian landed a big Wolf herring that was kept for a spanish mackerel bait. It was now getting dark and we had to find our way back through the maze of sand bars to the ramp, so we headed off. We thought 1 Barra and 3 flathead over 55cm was pretty good, and anticipations for the following morning were now very high!

Day two and we headed straight for the little barra snag. It was rainy and cold and the sun was only just showing first light. We were cold, but ready for a fish. I went straight for the HB while Christian stuck to the plastics. We made a few casts with no success. Christian again hooked up on the structure and was pulling at it wiggling the stick that was sticking up out of the water. Hold on I said, I just want a few more casts. Bang, I was connected to another Barramundi! I think Christian's shaking of the log had woken them up!! Another fish of 55cm was photographed and returned to the water.

We spent the remainder of the morning moving from stick to stick as the tide fell from the flat. In some places there was only just enough water for the small boat to move through on shallow run, but it was enough for the fish. By the time we were forced off the flat at about 11am we had caught and released almost 20 flathead and 5 barra. Not one flathead was smaller than 55cm, and the biggest just nudged 70cm. Most were about 60-65cm. We even experienced a double hookup of 60cm flathead, and a double hookup of a flathead and a barra!

This is the best flathead fishing I have ever experienced, and one of the most fun sessions in an estuary I have ever had. Christian is now well and truly hooked on plastics and is keen to have another session in the tinnie soon! I know I can't wait.

Recreational Boating Facilities Demand Forecasting Study Invitation to Workshop

This may present a good opportunity for us to finally have a real say about current boating facilities in Townsville. No ensuring anyone will listen, or that anything will come of it, but if there is a chance then we need to take it!

Sunday 4 July 2010

Townsville Boat Ramps - Loam Island

The Loam Island boat ramp is a single lane concrete ramp that gives good easy access to the top weir of the freshwater section of Ross River. The ramp is primarily used by ski boats, but is completely open to the public. From the ramp you can access any of the weir from below the dam wall down to Black's weir that runs across from the Riverside Tavern to the Weir State School. However, while construction is occurring on the bridge upgrade, boats cannot move downstream past the highway bridge.

There is a large section of river that is sign-posted 6knots. This runs from the ramp upstream past the housing. So watch your speed and be prepared for a slow journey!

Other than an under cover eating area there are no facilities at the ramp, not even a toilet. However, parking is adequate for the number of people who use the ramp. Being fresh water there is not tide to worry about, but there are gates at the top of the ramp that are closed during times of flood. There are no security cameras for the parking area, and I did see a burned out car there only a little while ago. So I would be wary about leaving my car there late at night. But there are usually plenty of people around during daylight hours.

There is no pontoon available at the ramp. However, if you were inclined to put in a large fibreglass boat, there is a nice beach section just 50m upstream (or along the dirt track by car) that could be used to pick up passengers.

The road in is one way, so you have to exit via a dirt track that brings you back to the main road. This is shown in the video below.

This short video shows where to turn off from Upper Ross River road, and the one way dirt track that brings you to the beach and back to the main road. 

Fishing Townsville July Competition - Longest Mackerel

Fishing Townsville is running a competition for the month of July to see who can catch the longest Mackerel. This is a length based competition and as such does not require the killing and weighing of a fish. There will be a small prize awarded to both the longest Spanish Mackerel AND longest Doggie Mackerel. The competition is open to forum members only and entries are to be submitted online in the appropriate thread. Fish may be caught using any legal line fishing method, and there is no line class advantage. Fish much be caught between Lucinda and Ayr and between the 1st July and 31st July 2010. An accurate measurement must be taken and proof of capture in the form of a digital photograph showing the length of the fish must also be submitted. A photo on a brag mat like shown below is ideal. And finally, anglers must either be a member of the forum prior to the capture or be an immediate family member of an already registered user. So if you are not already a member and would like to take part in the competition then head on over an sign up. Its totally free to join, and there is heaps of good advice available. 

Saturday 3 July 2010

NQ Fly Fishers - Fishing Alva Beach

Last Sunday the NQ Flyfishers had their monthly fishing get together at Alva Beach. We arrived around 7:30am as the tide was getting near the top. This allowed us to fish both the bottom of the tide and the top. As a group we landed 7 flathead for the morning, the biggest including 3 lagals. On this occasion only flathead were caught, but normally we land trevelly, bream and other species. For a slow morning and high winds it was a nice catch.

We then moved onto a local tarpon spot and landed approx 6 tarpon in the 30-50cm range. We also had a visiter from Denver, Colorado via Sale in Victoria (an exchange teacher)! Brett managed his first saltwater fish in Australia and a nice Tarpon, well done Brett!

Report by Ward Nicholas

Thursday 1 July 2010

Flathead on Plastics

Yesterday afternoon Dad and I decided to have a quiet time fishing the sand and mud banks of a local creek for flathead. It's been a while since we chased these fish on the light line, and I was keen to try some new country. The area we fished is not too far, but a little out of the way. It was the last part of a fairly small run out tide, leaving the fish concentrated in the deeper channels and holes. I like this stage of the tide for flathead, but with all the lies we saw up on the banks I will try this particular location again on a bigger tide, just to see.

We ended up landing in excess of 10 flathead for the afternoon, but many were quite small. Only 4 were keepers, although these were good quality fish. One in particular was in the mid 60cm's. He gave a great fight right on dark on 8lb braid.

My plastic of choice is the Squidgie pro fish range in the 70mm size. I particularly like the grasshopper and poddy colours. They look great in the water and both flathead and barra seem to love em. I have caught Barra over 80cm on these plastics before. The jig head I was using was a Berkley 1/8oz #1/0. The 1/8oz is a perfect weight for flathead and matches these plastics quite well. But you can straighten the hook easily, so be warned!