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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.

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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.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Shimano Chronarch D Product Review

Barramundi fishermen are often looking for the perfect reel for lure casting. As most of my readers would be aware, I really only started targeting fish like Barramundi on lures a couple of years ago when we purchased a small tinnie and electric motor. Before that my only experience in the creeks was live and dead baiting. Consequently the only outfit I had suitable for the task was a Shimano Calcutta 200 on a G∙Loomis GL2 644. Now don't get me wrong, this was an excellent setup and has served me well for quite a while. But as my lure casting became more 'serious' I started to want more from the outfit. My biggest problem with the Calcutta is that being a drum style reel it is quite large to hold in your hand. Its also a very heavy reel more accustomed to sitting in a rod holder with a live bait attached. This might not seem a big deal, but when you are casting lures quite literally all day long, comfort does start to play a role.

Given that my next reel needed to have this comfort in mind, a low profile baitcaster reel was the obvious choice. Shimano have an excellent range of baitcasters, from the lower end Caius to the top of the range Calais. For me, the upper end of the range was where I wanted to be. So that left me with the choice between a Curado, Chronarch or the Calais. After some discussions with the ProTackle guys I ruled out the Calais. This is a superb reel and deserves the title of being the flagship model. But it's a complex reel that needs high maintenance to keep it in tip top shape. Something not every fisherman is prepared to do! So now it was between the Curado and Chronarch. I was going to go with a Curado as this seems to generally be the reel of choice for most anglers. It's an excellently priced reel and is more than up to the task of big Barramundi. But when I put it side by side with the Chronarch, it just didn't compare. The Chronarch was a lot smoother, more precise and had less 'play'. So the Chronarh D was my top choice.

The side plates and frame of this reel are all aluminium, making it super strong and very light weight. The spool is an aluminium magnumlite design, and is again super strong and ultra light. There are 6 Stainless Steel A-RB bearing and one super smooth roller bearing. This is 2 more bearings than the Curado and, coupled with the precision engineering of the aluminium spool, is the main reasons the reel is so much smoother. Gearing is Shimano's powerful HEG (High Efficiency Gearing) coupled to a durable brass drivetrain. The infinite anti-reverse is instant with zero backward movement in the handle. 

Cast control is provided by Shimano’s VBS system. This is quickly and easily accessed through a flip open side plate. This 'escape hatch' requires no tools to open and also provides maintenance assess to the bearings at each end of the spool. Terry from ProTackle also recommends opening this hatch after cleaning the reel to allow air to enter and dry the inside fully.

The Chronarch features a high quality Dartanium drag which is capable of delivering about 5kg of maximum drag pressure. This is pretty standard for a reel of this type, and assuming the 1/3 rule allows good drag pressure for up to 30lb braid. Additional pressure can always be applied using a thumb on the spool!

The handle shank is cold forged aluminium that has been drilled for weight reduction. The accompanying star drag is also cold forged aluminium. The handles are a sexton material that provide a very positive feel. Thanks to all the bearings and quality materials used in this reel when you turn the handle the movement is very smooth and fluid like. 

There is a D5 and a D7 version of the reel, the difference being the retrieve rate. The D5 features a 5:1 retrieve ratio, while the D7 is obviously 7:1. I opted for the quicker of the two as a faster reel is always my preference. My thought is that you can always slow the retrieve down, but you can only wind so fast! Plus, sometimes when lure casting to Barra you only want to work the lure for the first few meters where the cover is and then rip the lure back to the boat for the next cast. The faster reel is better for that. 

I have been using this reel for several months now and am extremely impressed. The drag has always been super smooth, casting is light and nimble and reel looks and feels as good as the day it arrived. In the hand the reel is comfortable and light, good for full days lure casting. The reel casts like a dream, especially with the more lightly weighted plastics that many baitcasters struggle with. A 4in prong with '00' ball sinker for example will cast very easily. I chose to spool the reel with 30lb PowerPro with the intention of it being a Big Barra Reel. But as luck would have it the biggest fish I have landed have been Barramundi in the high 70's. But from those experiences its quite clear to me that this reel is capable of much more! I have put the reel on a custom made graphite CTS rod built by Bundybear. But, it would go quite nicely on either a G∙Loomis 665 or T-Curve Barra rod. 20lb PowerPro and the lighter G∙Loomis 644 would also be a nice combination. I highly recommend this reel for any avid lure caster who demands the very best from their tackle. 

Since purchasing this reel Shimano have now released a Chronarch E series. The Calais has been removed from the range, leaving the Chronarch as the flagship reel. I have no experience with this new reel as yet so cannot comment on the changes to the 'D', but there have been mixed reviews around.


• Aluminium frame and side plate
• Dartanium Drag
• Super Stopper
• Super Free (SF)
• Magnumlite Spool Design
• High Efficiency Gearing (HEG)
• Escape Hatch

Sunday 23 October 2011

All Aussie Shock Leader Systems - Twisties

Quite some time ago now I introduced you guys to Phil Lawlors All Aussie Shock Leader. Featuring a Dacron loop, decoy clip and line guard, this unique leader system was specifically designed for lure targeting Barramundi. Well Phil has recently taken his leader system to a whole new level with a range of twisted leaders being branded 'twisties'. Like Phil's original product, these are made from the highest quality components and with utmost precision and care.

The advantage of a twisted leader compared to a single strand leader is the shock absorption built into the design. When a fish pulls or hits hard the twist gives gently. You can feel this give by grabbing a leader on each and and pulling. The twists slightly 'undo' lengthening the line a little. This is particularly beneficial when fishing braided lines like Power Pro as the zero stretch factor can be hard on fish. The shock absorption will help prevent pulled hooks, missed hookups and straightened trebles.

What makes Phil's design quite unique is the short length of 'double twist' created after running the line through the hook or clip. This gives about 10cm of 4 strands of leader material twisted together before being finished with a neat and tidy whip knot. This effectively builds in a toughened section of line to protect against wear from the Barramundi's mouth. This does away with the need for a line guard like used in the original design. The first leader I used chasing Barramundi in Hinchinbrook a few weeks ago caught 6 Barramundi up to 75cm, and the leader is still going strong. 

While there is the obvious range of line strengths available (20lb, 30lb, 40lb, 60lb and 80lb), there are also now two different styles. The first features the standard Decoy clip for lure casting/trolling, but the second is very unique featuring a Gamakastsu worm hook rigged texas style with a 'oo' ball sinker built into the leader design. These are produced with the idea of fishing plastics such as the Atomic Prongs in a weedless manner as featured here. This is not something that could usually be done with a leader featuring a clip. So these leaders allow a fully weedless plastic to be fished with all the advantages of the twisted leader.

Graham Knight from G and T Fishing School and Charters is using these leaders exclusively now with his clients and is extremely impressed with their design.

Phil will custom make any leader from any brad of line and in any length you like. But the standard leaders are made from Black Magic leader material, Decoy Egg Snap or Gamakatsu hook and are approximately 1.2m in length.

If you would like to purchase some of these unique leaders Phil can be contacted via a PM in the forum or on the following details. 

Currently in the range are the following designs.

1. 20lb twisty with a size 4 Decoy clip.
2. 30lb twisty with a size 4 Decoy clip.
3. 40lb twisty with a size 5 Decoy clip.
4. 60lb twisty with a 200lb swivel and split ring combination.

5. 20lb twisty with a size 3/0 Gamakatsu worm hook.
6. 30lb twisty with a size 4/0 Gamakatsu worm hook.
7. 30lb twisty with a size 5/0 Gamakatsu worm hook.
8. 40lb twisty with a size 6/0 Gamakatsu worm hook.

Prices start from about $10 per leader. 

Phil Lawlor - 0422 564 880 or email

Monday 17 October 2011

Fingermark on Gulp Squid Vicious

Yesterday I was given the chance to test out a Quintrex Renegade 520 for Townsville Marine. This boat is fitted out with a Suzuki DF90A. A full review will be published in the next few days, but I will say this for now. If you are one the many people interested in a good 'all rounder' for both creek and offshore work, then this might just be the boat for you!

Not being one to pass up an opportunity for a fish, it was a given that the rods and reels would be accompanying my on the test! The boat is well suited to lure fishing around the inshore islands and reef, so that became the plan. Armed with a handful of soft plastics Dad and I headed off to West Point to chase some Fingermark. This was also a great chance to test out the new range of Gulp Squid Vicious plastics that ProTackle now has in stock. These plastics have 3 'arms' hanging of the back and do resemble a squid in the water. Perfect for fingers!

I picked up Dad early and we hit the ramp pretty close to 4.30am. The first stop was a mark between West Point and Palleranda. Its only 5m deep and best hit early before too much traffic is on the water. As it was still dark I started with a glow in the dark Gulp Grub, and it only took a few drifts to have a small Nannygai on board and a couple of solid hits that failed to hook up. It was clear the glow made a difference as Dad failed to attract any attention on his standard Grub. But as the sun came up the fish disappeared from the mark, so we headed to West Point.

I have dozens of small marks for this area, and throughout the morning we hit almost all of them! Again we started early in the shallower marks and moved to deeper water as the sun rose. It was here that we changed over to the Squid Vicious, and it was a good move. Dad was first to hook up, landing a nice little Finger about 45cm. I followed suit with a fish of similar size. While somewhat disappointed in the size, we were elated by our early success on the new plastics. These were proving to be a top little lure. 

A few drifts later and I hooked onto something much better! It pulled 50lb from the Stella no worries at all. But heading away from the boat and structure it didn't appear to be a Fingermark. Soon a big Queenfish burst clear of the water. This was a good fish and took a fair effort to bring under control, despite the very heavy gear! But he was soon in the net, another victim to the the Squid imitation Berkley. A quick pick and this one was released to fight another day.

A couple more drifts on this mark and Dad was nailed by a big fish. Again pulling 50lb from the reel with ease. But this one knew where he was going, straight to structure! I think this was the big Fingermark we were looking for. I keep hearing about that one for the rest of the day!! After this the fish on this mark went quiet. Quite possibly due to the lost fish. So it was time to move on.

We looked at a few marks that had very little showing on them. We managed a small Nannygai or two, but needed to find a better show of fish. We then moved to one of my favourite Fingermark spots in about 10m of water. And it didn't disappoint. I hooked up first, and it was clearly a better fish. Still not the monster we were looking for, but a more respectable catch. Then Dad followed with a similar sized fish, and then one just a bit smaller.

We now had 5 Fingermark in the eski and felt pretty good. The weather was starting to improve, and we decided to take the boat for a bit of a run further offshore. We had to get some better fuel consumption figures at least ;-). So we headed first to Bay Rock and then off to Burdekin Rock. Nothing was biting at either for us, so we headed wider into 20m of water for a look. But despite looking at several more marks we didn't see another fish. 

Back at the ramp just after lunch we were quite happy with our successes. I can see us spending a lot more time chasing these Golden fish, especially when the closed season on Barra starts!

Thursday 13 October 2011

Boat for Sale - 4.2m Goodwin Longboat

4.2m Goodwin Longboat aka "Benda"
2005 30hp Yamaha CV,
Fish oil coated trailer (absolutely no rust),
54lb Javis Walker Electric,
Lowrance Mark 5x and Garmin GPS Map 172 (with Northern Australia map card),
25lt fuel tank,
Custom side console,
2 x Padded seats,
Fire Extingisher, oars and full inshore safty gear,
Bilge pump,
LED light,
Rod storage,
Underfloor storage,
Sand Anchor,
Plenty of rod holders,
Front and rear casting decks,
Set up for serious luring....


Contact Ben Western @
                                   or phone 0431 195 141

Bushland Beach Boatramp community needs assessment

In response to recent media coverage and police correspondence regarding perceived safety issues at the Bushland Beach Boat Ramp, Marina Drive Bushland Beach, the Townsville City Council is conducting a community needs assessment of the issues identified in this area.

The recreational fisher is an important component of Bushland Beach, being a popular boating and fishing destination in Townsville. The Bushland Beach Boat Ramp is most often used by recreational boat users accessing the local fishing areas. This facility is constrained by poorly defined vehicle access, limited lighting and poor signage. The boating community of Townsville, including permanent residents and visitors, will be invited to participate in a needs assessment, generally in response to:
  • an increase in demand through population growth within the region and growing level of interest in boating as a leisure activity; and,
  • the need for a safe environment for boat users.
This Assessment will include the collection and assessment of:
  • crime statistics
  • assessment of site for local evidence of crime/unwanted behaviour
  • assessment of site for environmental contributors to crime/unwanted behaviour
  • gathering anecdotal evidence from police and stakeholders, and
  • assessing vulnerabilities to particular types of crime.
This information will assist Councils decision-making, as it allows a determination of which strategies are likely to be effective against certain types of crime in particular applications.

I am seeking your assistance in obtaining relevant information on any safety concerns which you may be aware of as highlighted above. Further community engagement sessions will be conducted at the Bushland Beach boat ramp over the coming weekends. I will notify you on the proposed engagement session dates once confirmed.

If you could provide any information or statistical data to me by 17 October 2011, that would be appreciated.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any clarification or further information.

The second Community Engagement times for the Bushland Beach Boat Ramp are:

Location: Bushland Beach Boat Ramp
Date: Sunday 16 October
Time: 9.30am – 11.30am

Kind Regards

Yours faithfully,

Nyomie Sherrington
Team leader, Community Services
Community & Environment
P 07 4727 9719
F 07 4727 9235

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Barramundi at Hinchinbrook

Last weekend the tides and weather really seemed to point toward a top fishing weekend chasing Barramundi at Hinchinbrook. Tides were of a reasonable size without being too big, the winds were light and top of the tide was early morning allowing a full days fishing the preferred run out. Saturday was our planned day, but things didn't work out and we had to fall back to Sunday. Dad picked me and the little boat up about 5am to drive the one and half our trip to Fishers Creek. Its a long drive, but would be worth it if we nailed a couple of good fish.

We launched close to 6.30am and immediately headed off for the Benjamin Flats area. We really don't know Hinchinbrook too well, having only fished it for Barra a couple of times. We snuck into a likely looking creek that had a lot of fallen mangroves from the Cyclone last year. The water was very clear and there was bait all through the system! This creek produced a couple of flashes and missed hookups from the Barra, mostly on white prongs. But it wasn't until we got closer to the top of the cree that I hooked up the first fish if the day. It was a good solid Barra, probably well into the 70cm range. It followed my 3in prong out from the mangroves and stopped just 2m shy of the boat looking at the lure. I immediately paused and allowed the lure to sit. It's very hard to refrain from twitching the lure to entice the fish to strike, but more often than not this will result in the fish spooking and vanishing back to his haunt. The lure slowly sunk out of site the Barra followed it down. A little wait on the rod and lent back to set the hooks. The water exploded as the fish jumped clear of the water. At this stage I was only fishing 8lb on my Stella 1000. But the fish was in open water and I thought I had a pretty good chance of landing this fish. The Barra had other ideas! He soon turned and headed for the sticks. I applied extra pressure to stop her, but there was nothing more I could do. Once in the timber it didn't take long of the line to pop. Being the first fish of the day, and never being sure of another, one that loss really hurt!

We looked in another couple of creeks close by but didn't like what we saw. There were just too many mangroves and no real stand out structure. We saw a few Barracuda and small GT, but no Barramundi. We then headed further up the flats in search of some of the famous Hinchinbrook drains. The tide was running out well at this stage and we figured the drains would be the place to be.

The next bit of structure we fished was a large clump of dead timber lying in the corner junction where to creeks came together. We were immediately greeted by a large fish swimming clear in open water just wide of the snags. I was working my lure toward the fish when a second Barra suddenly appeared. Dad had his lure right in front of this fish, and when it moved toward the prong the first fish turned away from my lure and went to look too! This seemed like a given, two fish looking to fight over Dads 4in prong. But it wasn't to be. Dad paused and let the prong sit and both fish seemed to go down after it just like my first, but they just disappeared. After loosing my first fish on 8lb, I had now changed to my Chronarch and 30! I stuck to the trusty Flatz Rat and put it hard back into the timber where these fish had come from. Only a small twitch an BANG, the water exploded. A good soling fish (guessing close to 80cm at this stage) erupted from the water, mouth open and trying to shake the lure free. It was a good fight and the fish made several attempts to get back into the timber. But despite being able to freely pull drag against the 30lb Power Pro, it was much easier to handle than my first fish. It was soon netted and handshakes were had! On the tape it went 75cm, but she did look big in the water!

Knowing we had found where fish were hanging we worked this area pretty extensively, but couldn't raise another fish. Time to try another creek. We were going to head back inside the flats and fish some creeks closer to Conn creek. But a last minute decision and very flat Channel saw us head across to Hinchinbrook Island. There are many good creeks that line the island side, so we decided to take a look at a few.

This proved to be a good option, and as the tide bottomed out and started to run back in we came across a couple of good patches of fish. Some came from drains, one from out in the open, but most from prominent snags that had good water around them at the low tide. As the water was shallower on the bottom of the tide I had changes to a shallow running suspending Yo-Zuri lure. In all we boated another 5 fish ranging from 61cm to 74cm. Plus the usually missed strikes, jump offs and rat fish. About 4pm we headed back to fishers and the long drive home.

I learnt a lot from this trip. To fish an area you know nothing about and to find good fish was very rewarding. My biggest lesson was to not spend too long in a place that just isn't fishing well. Move on and find the fish. I got to try a couple of lures and techniques I don't usually use, and give the success I will be trying them more in the future. I also had the opportunity to put Phil Lawlor's new 'twisties' leaders to the test. Phil has been making the All Aussie Shock Leader now for quite a while, but this new twisted design is brilliant addition to his range. I'll write more about this one in the near future, but if you look closely at a couple of the picture you will get the idea.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Important Dates

We have some very important dates for closed seasons coming up. Please add these dates to your diary or keep them firmly in the back of your mind! For convenience a counter has been added to the site that indicates when Barramundi season closes. 


Throughout the Queensland east coast, a closed season applies to barramundi from midday 1 November to midday 1 February.

Throughout the Gulf of Carpentaria and adjoining waterways west and south of the intersection of longitude 142°09'E with the shore at high tide, a closed season applies to barramundi. The timing of the closed season varies each year according to lunar and tide cycles coinciding with spawning peaks.

The Gulf of Carpentaria closed seasons for barramundi for 2011-2013 are:
  • midday 4 October 2011 to midday 30 January 2012
  • midday 7 October 2012 to midday 3 February 2013
It is also prohibited to deliberately target barramundi for catch and release during these closed seasons, as the stress of capture may prevent a fish from spawning.

Coral reef fin fish

Coral reef fin fish closure dates for 2011-2013:
  • 24 October to 28 October 2011, and 22 November to 26 November 2011
  • 12 October to 16 October 2012, and 11 November to 15 November 2012
  • 2 October to 6 October 2013, and 31 October to 4 November 2013
Tidal waters within the following boundary are closed waters for coral reef fin fish:

from the northern tip of Cape York along latitude 10°41´ south
to longitude 145° east
to latitude 13° south, longitude 145° east
to latitude 15° south, longitude 146° east
to latitude 17°30' south, longitude 147° east
to latitude 21° south, longitude 152°55' east
to latitude 24°30' south, longitude 154° east
to latitude 24°50' south, longitude 154° east along latitude 24°50' south to the mainland shore along the shore to the northern tip of Cape York at latitude 10°41' south.

A basic online guide has been developed to help identify fish listed as Coral Reef Fin Fish. This reef fish web guide groups fish into families. For full details of the legislation visit the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.

Friday 7 October 2011

Movember Fishing Townsville Team

Guys, I think it fair to say that fishing is a fairly male dominated sport?! And we know that us men are not the best at keeping a check on our health! Well it’s Moustache Season again, so I’ve decided to start up a Fishing Townsville Movember team. Together we can all do our bit to help with mens health.

To join the Fishing Townsville Movember team go to 

Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer and male depression. Close to 3,300 men die of prostate cancer in Australia each year and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime. Many of these men do not seek help. 

I’d like to try and change those statistics. 

The more people I can get to join my team, the more lives we can impact. You can either grow a moustache as a Mo Bro, or join as a Mo Sista and help to recruit other Mo growers to the team. 

Once registered, the Movember team will send you all the information you need to raise funds and start growing as part of my Movember team.

If you’d like to find out more about the type of work you’d be helping to fund by supporting Movember, take a look at the Programs We Fund section on the Movember website: