HOT SPOTS: Darryl Branthwaite wants to let you in on what he believes are the best fishing spots in the Gladstone Region.
HOT SPOTS: Darryl Branthwaite wants to let you in on what he believes are the best fishing spots in the Gladstone Region. Mike Richards GLA050618HOOK

Daz dishes up the best fishing spots in Gladstone

FISHING guru, GAPDL chief executive officer and The Observer columnist Darryl Branthwaite wants to let you in on what he believes are the best fishing spots in the Gladstone Region.

The Gladstone Region is packed with amazing fishing spots and Daz says each of us will have our own favourites, but the following list are his top spots.

Douglas Shoals

Patrick Clifton caught this nice pair of red emperor on a trip to Douglas Shoals.
Patrick Clifton caught this nice pair of red emperor on a trip to Douglas Shoals.

Positioned 55nm north of Gladstone and 10nm directly north of Northwest Island, Douglas Shoals is an area approximately the size of Boyne Tannum with excellent fringes and a 20-24m deep plateau.

I find it best to fish the last hour before the low tide and before the high tide.

Species include trout, reds, sweetlip, Spanish mackerel, big Moses perch, parrot and other mixed reef species.

Lake Awoonga

Luke Clow holds up a solid barra from Lake Awoonga while out with Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing Charters.
Luke Clow holds up a solid barra from Lake Awoonga while out with Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing Charters. contributed

Lake Awoonga is the most well stocked impoundment possibly in Australia as the Gladstone Area Water Board have stocked it with barramundi, mangrove jack, mullet and a few other species.

With the water temp dropping between May and September the lake does slow up with the fishing but once up in temperature this impoundment can yield metre-plus barra, 700-850mm long jack, and has an ecosystem unrivalled anywhere along the coast with abundant shoreline and aquatic bird life.

Rock Cod Shoals

Mitch McGregor with a six-foot long black marlin caught at Rock Cod Shoals.
Mitch McGregor with a six-foot long black marlin caught at Rock Cod Shoals.

Located approximately 20 nm to the east off the coast from Tannum Sands, these shoals represent the start of the Reef, and being such an enormous area, allows for many bottom feeding species to thrive as well as the pelagics patrolling the perimeters.

Being exposed to the elements, fishing this area fishes well in less than 12 knots of SE breeze.

Boyne River

Daniel Cook with a nice mangrove jack caught recently.
Daniel Cook with a nice mangrove jack caught recently. Contributed

The Boyne would have to be one of the best river systems to fish all the way along the coast.

Because of Lake Awoonga being upstream, this system is blessed with big barra, all the way from the mouth to the dam wall.

The river is also home to mangrove jack, tarpon, king salmon, grunter, big bream, flathead, queenies and there has been a cobia caught at the mouth.

Lady Musgrave, Boult and Fitzroy Reefs

Karen holding up one of many coral trout she caught at Fitzroy Reef.
Karen holding up one of many coral trout she caught at Fitzroy Reef. contributed

These are the pick of the reefs to fish when coming out of 1770, as they have excellent stocks of trout, reds, lipper and a full range of pelagics.

Having a navigable channel into Lady Musgrave and Fitzroy lagoons, allows us to stay out for extended periods, and really test the gear on the big drop offs on the eastern side of the reef system where pearl perch, barred cod, snapper, and big billfish thrive.

There are many green zones in this region requiring you to know where you can and cannot fish. Check them out.

Gladstone Harbour

Jai Volker's 65cm (3.1kg) Grunter caught up at Grahams creek.
Jai Volker's 65cm (3.1kg) Grunter caught up at Grahams creek. Jack Bonnici

I wanted to talk about the harbour as it's an incredible fishery with reef inside the harbour, bays which have clean estuary water on one side where you catch bream and Moses perch and the other has the dirtiest water which is home to barra, and blue nose salmon.

The middle of the harbour has a gravel bottom and the grunter just love it.

The marina is so alive that this year anglers have even caught juvenile red emperor.

The crabbing through Grahams Creek, Targinnie, and north to Pacific Creek has to be seen to be believed as well as the huge kind or threadfin salmon, metre-plus barra and the odd triple tail cod.



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