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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 7 July 2014

Mixed bag plastics fishing around Townsville

I had the most awesome day on the water yesterday with good mate Andrew. The plan was to go back to basics and spend a full day working plastics amongst the timber in one of the local creeks. Although the water temp is well down at the moment, and the Barramundi traditionally go a little quiet, the tides are small and the water is running super clear. This clean, clear and slow running water is makes for great conditions for working small plastics in tight to structure. While the water is a little cooler and the Barramundi are suffering from fishermen term 'lock-jaw', there is no doubt the smaller prawn imitation plastics work best. And as these are very light and slow sinking, you need smaller tides and lighter run to allow the plastic to sink down into the timber without drifting out to quickly. A 1-1.5m change in tide is usually ideal.

So we put the boat in about 6am and ran across to our creek of choice. We sounded up a few fish in the deeper water at the mouth of the creek and dropped a Threadybuster to see if we could pick up an early fish. But nothing was biting. So we began our long run up the back of the creek.

We started at a small side creek that looked like it should hold a fish or three. The tide was just starting to run out and some snags at the mouth of the creek looked impressive. I tied a brand new Live Target 3in shrimp onto the 8lb Stella, and Andrew put a DOA onto his little 4lb Rarenium outfit. The Live Target Shrimp looks good enough to throw straight on the BBQ! The detail in the final product is unbelievable. Price isn't to bad either, the Fishing Warehouse has them in a pack of 4 for $19.50. Less than 5 bucks per lure works out ok. But unfortunately my first shrimp didn't last long before finding a new home amongst the snags. While it looks great in the water, and will no doubt attract a bite, they are quite snag prone. And, unlike the DOA, they don't 'push' off the snag quite as easy. So back to old faithful I went.

We slowly made our way right up the back of the creek, almost as far as I could get my boat. And while we were consistently getting bites and landing the odd fish, there were lots of quiet spells and the fish were well down on size. We managed a few small Jacks and a handful of just under size Barramundi. We only landed 2 or 3 Barra, but jumped off at least that many more. But none would have gone size anyway. Deeper snags or snags in very close proximity to drains seemed to be the ones holding fish.

Eventually we got into less than 2m of water and turned back. We motored back to where we began and then worked our way out with the still falling tide. We continued to get the odd fish, but it was very quiet. Then finally Andrew got the kind of the strike we were looking for! A fish that hit hard and burned off into the deeper water. Andrew took it easy on what was obviously a good fish. Eventually the unmistakable colour of a good Jack came into view. A couple of surging runs later and he was in the net. At 45cm this was a great looking fish.

As the tide turned made its way back in things went even quieter! We had been looking at the weather on Seabreeze all morning, and the updates of images form the AIM's webcam every 15mins. Seabreeze had the winds dropping for the afternoon, and it looked like glass in the channel. So we decided to bail on the creek and go for a look out the front. But not before one again stopping and dropping some Threadys around the channel at the mouth. Here we found large schools of Queenfish and Trevalley more than willing to nail the mini-Thready. But while this was a lot of fun for a short tine, the fish were only small. The only decent fish to take the lures was a nice little Fingermark. Still only a small fish, but well and truly of legal size. So it went into the eski for the kids to have for dinner. My boys love fish, and at the end of the night Andrew left his Jack for me as well. As it turned out, the kids devoured BOTH the Fingermark and the Jack on their own!

The allure of the glass conditions in the channel was to strong. Up came the iPilot and we headed for the North Cardinal. It was now about 3pm in the afternoon and we were keen to see if we could get an afternoon bite out of a Doggie or two. As we neared the final marker conditions were so good it was tempting to keep going and chase a Spaniard on the shoals. But it was getting late already and the heaviest outfit I had was 15lb. We sounded around the marker and to our disappointment there was very little bait showing. We dropped metal slices for about half an hour and didn't get a single strike.

From here we made our way back toward home, sounding around each and every marker as was passed them by. Not one single lead had any decent show of bait! Despite this we gave a couple of drops of the slice on a few and couldn't find a fish.

I then took Andrew across to a rubble patch I have marked closer into the island. It gave a good show on the sounder so we decided to drop the Thready's and try for a Fingermark. A few less desirable came up (lets just call them Grinner) when Andrew finally nailed a good fish. He was only fishing 8lb, and there were some very nervous runs along the bottom. Hoping and preying for a nice Fingermark to make its way to the surface, soon came the despondent call of "Cod". But it was still a good capture on 8lb. A couple of quick pics and he was released to grow even bigger.

A short time later and my reel was finally screaming with a good fish. This one was a little confusing, good solid runs, but not super fast. Some runs deep, but then some toward the surface. Turned out to be a foul hooked Doggie Mackerel. Obviously he took a swipe at the lure, but it had nailed him in the side of the body. Probably a good thing to, with no wire I can't imagine that little Thready would have come back in one piece! At 60ish cm it was a nice finish to the day.

One final sound around a few markers on the way back to port and we were off the water about 6pm. A solid 12hours on the water and great day overall. I really do love the versatility of my boat. Miles up the creek one minute, and out the back of the island the next. And I doubt the Suzuki would have gone through more then 25lts of fuel.