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Burty's Fishing Road Trip!
Around this great country of ours are thousands of locations that people love to getaway to and most are generally within a couple of hours drive. Here in South East Queensland, I’ve put together a typical road trip of what myself and many others who call this area home regularly love to do to keep the lifestyle happening and not sink into the badger hole of work taking over your life. Sure we must work to buy the everyday necessities but at the drop of a hat, why not quickly pack the car or boat and head away to kick-start the engines on a budget that won’t break your bank!
- AMITY POINT - North Stradbroke Island Moreton Bay
My old stomping ground growing up as a kid thanks to my beautiful grandma spending most of her life there (thank you)….This once small fishing village is now a thriving tourist destination for people wanting to get away for the day or weekend. Situated on the nor-western tip of North Stradbroke Island and only an hour to the ferry terminal, the community can be reached by car and boat. A simple but enjoyable one hour ferry trip across the sometime notorious Moreton Bay from Cleveland to Dunwich which is the main town on the island, is all it takes to get to this fishermen’s paradise. From Dunwich, a 30minute drive will put you in the heart of the Amity Point.
The rock walls that lie along the front of the town were put there back in the mid 1900’s to prevent any erosion caused by strong tidal currents and the prevailing westerly winds the coastline gets in the cooler months. This rock wall houses a variety of marine life from squid to the general bread and butter fish such as bream, whiting and flathead, through to the tasty grassy sweetlip and furious tackle busting kingfish. The wall is easily accessible for bank anglers but caution should be taken when stepping on the rocks as they do have a tendency to move a little.
- SLIPPING SANDS - Jumpinpin
This area is situated along the southern end of North Stradbroke Island in the pristine waterway of Canaipa Passage. It is home to a variety of fish life and is only accessible by boat. Sand dunes stretch up to 40meters into the hillside and provide non-stop entertainment for the kids armed with a piece of cardboard.
This area can be the home base for anglers wanting to fish the Pin region. Most spots are found all within a few kilometres of this area.
In the months leading up to winter, bream school up in there thousands along the many mangrove-lined banks that surround these waterways. Kalinga Bank, Tiger Mullet Channel, the southern tip of Short Island and Whalley’s Gutter are just a few spots that anglers regularly target. Fishing with light tackle on the last of the tides generally produces a catch for the dinner table. Using local baits like yabbies and flesh baits such as strips of mullet fillet always work well.
Despite Slipping Sands being sheltered from the blistering winds, most other open fishing spots in the Pin region are exposed to sou-easterlies.
Tailor, whiting, mulloway, flathead, trevally, sharks and mangrove jacks are just a few other species regularly targeted in this region. By boat, travelling time is generally no more than an hour.
- SOUTHPORT SEAWAY – Southport Broadwater
The Seaway is the main entrance for anglers and commercial vessels operating out of the Gold Coast. Built in the mid 1980’s, the Seaway consists of two break walls stretching more than a kilometre in length from the Southport Broadwater east to the Pacific Ocean.
These rock walls are home to a huge variety of marine life and regularly attracts hundreds of anglers on a daily basis. Anglers and boaties alike take shelter on nearby Wavebreak Island for the night where a safe mooring can be found.
Further north, a camping ground called Currigee is available for long term or overnight stays. A ferry is available for those anglers who don’t own a boat. Fishing around this neck of the woods is great for all aspects of fishing. One can walk for five minutes across the lower section of South Stradbroke Island from Currigee to the surf where the beaches are pretty well un-touched with wild animal life roaming freely along the white dunes. Fishing the gutters produces a vast variety of fish from large green back tailor, sand whiting, large mulloway, sea bream, dart and flathead.
One can also walk a few kilometres south to the northern break wall of the Southport Seaway. This area often rises to the occasion with quality fish caught. Land-based anglers regularly target large trevally, mulloway, tailor, sea bream, mangrove jacks and tuna just to name a few. Spinning with metal lures such as Raiders on the run in tide has produced some of the most memorable catches with large tuna and trevally climbing over each other in hope of eating your lure. During the summer months when the bait fish school up along the coastline, this area is one that should be considered as handy spot just five minutes from most boat ramps or a quick walk from the water taxi drop off point.
- OFFSHORE FISHING
Venturing out to the ocean through one of the five major entrances along the coastline will see you on a reef with in no time at all. The first key to successful offshore angling is with live baits. Plenty of local shallow reefs are easily found simply by noticing all the charter boats backing up on the grounds just after you’ve exited the seaway.
Spots to consider are the local bait reefs and wrecks such as the Aquarius north east of the Seaway, the 12fathom bait ground off the sand pumping jetty, the Scottish Prince, Mermaid and Palm Beach Reef’s and Kirra Reef just to name a few. Bait jigs are a necessity to catch these fish, which generally comprise of yakkas or yellowtail and slimey mackerel. Keeping them alive with the use of a plumbed bait tank is required.
The offshore grounds aren’t hard to find especially if you have a GPS unit. Most of the local tackle shops such as Tackle World at Labrador are more than happy to help you out with a few spots to get you under way.
Reefs off the coast run in a north to south direction and stretch all the way from Point Lookout off North Stradbroke Island south to the border. The waters off Surfers Paradise house a variety of reefs in depths of 12fathoms, 18fathoms, 24fathoms, 27fathoms, 36fathoms, 42fathoms and 50fathoms, which is commonly known as the shelf. Others reefs and bombies can be found in different depths but their mass are not as big. A variety of dead baits should also be taken out such as W.A. pilchards, squid, mullet fillets and fresh octopus. Charter fishing vessels such as “Sea Probe Charters” is one way of fulfilling the dream of heading offshore.
- THE BORDER REGION
Fishing throughout the creeks and rivers of Tallebudgera, Currumbin and the mighty Tweed offers a vast diversity of fishing for anglers.
Fishing the back lakes of these regions produces its fair share of action, especially on light tackle. These myriads of lakes offer a great range of fish life from trevally though to giant herring. These fish are top fighters and put on a show that comes close to that of their distant relatives in the tropics.
The sand flats around the entrances also house plenty of whiting, which are regularly caught during the warmer months and the start of Autumn. Whiting are a schooling fish that inhabits the estuaries and as the cooler months approach, they head out to the beach gutters where they can be caught in good numbers. Utilising our local baits that are found in the area in which you’re fishing is the best way of getting a few bites. In this case, beach worms or pippies would be the best to use.
Further south in the Tweed, certain parts along Fingal Wall allow anglers to fish right beside their car, therefore allowing them to set up a picnic and shaded area to sit under. Boats are not a necessity when fishing this river, though it is recommended to hire one just to take in what the mighty Tweed has to offer.
Once you get a few kilometres upstream, untouched waterways stretch and wind their way past old townships such as Tumbulgum, a place where time has stopped. This area is so beautiful and full of fish that one can only think back to what the fishing was like in the early 1900’s. Mangrove jacks, school jew, elbow slapping whiting, bream and the tasty flathead are all caught in the holes and channels that lie along this stretch of the river.
Reef fishing the volcanic grounds east of Cook Island and out to the Nine Mile house plenty of action for those anglers after some top action on wahoo, which are one of the worlds fastest swimming fish, yellowfin tuna and other tuna species, sharks, snapper, mackerel, marlin, amberjacks, kingfish and many other different species. Live baiting makes a huge difference when fishing the ledges along these reefs. Trolling skirted lures around with a wire trace attached to them such as Hex Heads also pays off especially when you’re hooked up to a 25kilo wahoo. The best time to fish the reefs off Tweed, are January through to May. Reel Fishin’ Charters is the only boat charter fishing from the Tweed. Different fish regulations and fishing licences apply once you head over the border into New South Wales. These should be adhered to and checked prior to heading out.
- THE WEEKEND GETAWAY…ILUKA – Northern New South Wales
This area is a fishermen’s paradise and a place that can take months to explore. Iluka is known as a small sleepy fishing village to most, but to the fish markets, the Clarence is a thriving commercial industry which provides a huge seafood supply every day and is one of the largest suppliers along the east coast of Australia.
It is a town that offers something for everyone. World heritage rainforests, the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Clarence River encompasses Iluka and for this the town will always be known as a fishermen’s haven. Accommodation must be booked well in advance especially on school and public holidays. With four caravan parks, self-contained units and small fishing huts available for rent it doesn’t take long before this town is booked out.
The Clarence offers anglers such a great diversity of fishing from luderick, bream, flathead, whiting and monster jewfish in the lower reaches to some of the best Australian Bass grounds behind Grafton in the upper reaches. With over two hundred islands situated throughout the river, the Clarence is on of the largest river systems in the southern hemisphere to house so many islands and with this so many fish.
Bank fishing is nothing short of amazing with white pristine beaches and a necklace of headlands dotting the coastline. Throwing a line in can be done from these rocky headlands or off the beaches where tailor, mullet, dart, jewfish, mackerel, long tail tuna, trevally, flathead, drummer, whiting and bream are mostly caught.
Nearly all of the reefs along the Northern New South Wales coastline are situated very close to the shore. This allows many anglers in smaller boats to venture out and get amongst the wide variety of fish the ocean has to offer. Mackerel, snapper, pearl perch, kingfish, jewfish, samson fish, tuna, wahoo, amberjack and marlin are just a few that are regularly targeted.
If you love fishing, walking, relaxing, unspoilt beaches, and a laid-back village atmosphere, then you’ll love Iluka. And the greatest part - it is only a two and a half hour drive south of Brisbane.
Budgeting for a road trip like this can be done on either short or long term plans. For example taking a quick and easy two day getaway, the cost of getting there is minimal, camping is cheap and food can be taken with you. For extended stays, budget for a cabin or house…this will be your biggest cost but comfort on a long tern getaway is essential, food can be taken with you or daily meals can be bought from the local pub again keeping the cost down. Also keep a few pennies aside for anything else you require to suit your own personal needs as this will cost a bit more than it would on a standard two day getaway. For me, two to three days in one of the above locations is enough to let your hair down and escape the bustle of everyday life. Let’s just say it’s enough to kick start the engine again on a small budget that won’t break your bank. Enjoy and put this simple road map in to your area and see what you come up with…you’ll be surprised!