people go on a trip or holiday it is normal to check out the intended
destination for things to see and do apart from the obvious reason
for going there. This was the case recently while planning a sports
trip to Townsville. Being a keen fisho and having the game plan
to go early to acclimatize to the weather (that's our excuse and
We're sticking to it) I thought it would be a good opportunity
to chase some of the local piscatorial species available.
While on the phone to fellow fishing correspomdent Dave"Nugget"Downie,
he suggested searching on the internet for a local fisho who might
like a crew for a day or any guides operating in the area. A simple
message on a couple of chat boards on the net gave me several
responses and a few contacts of charter operators in the Townsville
region. After some phone calls and only getting answering machines,
the ringing on the other end of the line yielded a real person
in the form of Brad Doyle from Cleveland Bay Sportfishing Charters.
After the initial chat and the obvious question " isn't Cleveland
in Moreton Bay" it was explained that Cleveland Bay is at Townsville
(you wouldn't think that I worked there 10 years ago) we got down
to exactly what I was looking for. Brad suggested chasing a few
reefies or trolling for some Mackerel, but after explaining that
we can do all that in the south he agreed that Barra were to be
the main target.
flight there was quite pleasant as were the cool drinks served
to the team around the pool at Seagulls resort (until about midnight).
Getting picked up (both me and my hangover) outside the resort
at five in the morning we headed about 50 km south of Townsville
to the Houghton river, Brad informed me that the other guys booked
for the day could not make it so it was just the two of us so
I invited Brad to fish as it would make the day more enjoyable.
One thing that should be remembered is that if you are paying
someone to take you fishing and he or she fish without being invited
to, you should not pay them.
Within the first few hundred metres around the corner there was
plenty of surface action, which Brad called as Barra chopping
into schools of baitfish. After an experimental cast with a Mann's
stretch 20 a trevally around the four to five kilo mark was subdued
after a bullocking run back down the river. Several more around
the same size committed suicide on our lines before I called a
halt and requested a look at the snags Brad had told me about
that hold the barra. A pass over one of the snags showed an old
mangrove tree that had fallen in and was on the bottom in 25 feet
of water with fish sitting all through and around it. It was explained
to me that live prawns were the go and after the first offering
got bricked on 30lb mono line I had a feeling that a fair session
the next hour, several fish were caught including barra, school
jew, pikey bream (see pic) and trevally as well as a couple of
unstoppables. As the high tide stopped running the fish decided
to go into overdrive and it was a case of getting slammed before
the bait hit the bottom. A few jigs that had proved successful
down south on bass got nailed but the 15lb braid I had on my rig
was not up to the task. Getting them out of the snags before getting
busted off was an effort, much to my guides amusement with the
obligatory "I told you so" getting thrown in.
day had been one to remember not that any records were set (the
biggest barra was 69 cm long) but the fact that a clean, clear
river with plenty of fish and no other boats around made this
trip very enjoyable. It was also encouraging to see plenty of
juvenile fish mixed in with the bigger specimens showing how healthy
the system is in the area.
guide for the day was Brad Doyle from Cleveland Bay Sportfishing
Charters at Townsville who runs a five-meter plate aluminum boat
that can accommodate up to five people. Give him a call on 07
47737871 or 0418 761346. By the way this was not an article written
because I got a free days fishing (as is the case at times with
some writers) in fact I paid full price for Brad's services which
are $85/ half day and $140/ full day.