Rockhampton – Fitzroy River – 27 October 2013

Sunday PM

First stop was the tackle shop in Rockhampton, to find an emergency replacement for my broken light spin rod. The G.Loomis GL2 range has moved on since I bought mine. I found all the available G.Loomis ‘fast’ action rods a little too stiff for my liking. I think this is because the new, higher quality graphite has less give. I decided to look at something cheaper with a little more give. I settled on a 6’6″ Berkley Dropshot, rated 2-4 kg, two piece. It would do, until I could look into a more refined replacement.

With the Barramundi closed season fast approaching I felt I should try another session, land-based fishing in the Fitzroy River, at dusk. The boats were thick and there where plenty of land-based anglers wandering the banks. Everyone was keen to tempt a Barramundi. The tide was running out and had been high at about 4.00 pm. The wind was north-easterly but its was dropping off.

The folks in Barra Jacks (http://www.barrajacks.com.au) had loaded me up with traditional hard bodied suspending minnows and 45 lb leader but the reports from the Barra Bounty competition (a few weeks earlier) had suggested many anglers had been successful using small soft plastics. Obviously, I had a few packets of these as well.

Fitzroy Flathead

Fitzroy Flathead

Rocky seasnake

Fitzroy River seasnake

Fitzroy River seasnake

Lures will catch anything

Lures will catch anything

Nasty

Nasty


I started fishing at about 5.30 pm behind the bowls club on the north side of the river, with a locally made, timber hard bodied suspending minnow lure in a silver colour. There were a few surface slurps and I could see decent bait schools swimming around. As the sun dropped on the horizon I felt some resistance and wound in. I had something but I could not see what. As I pulled it clear of the water I realised it was a sea snake. Is there no end to the predator list up here!

I managed to shake it loose from the line and it slithered off, back to the water. I decided to swap to soft plastic and put on a GULP 3″ Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour, on a 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook jighead. It was now almost completely dark. I walked along the bank casting wherever there was an opening in the tall grasses.

Just before seven I felt a fish grab the plastic and I was hopeful. After a couple of small runs I realised it was a flathead. It came to the surface angrily shaking its head. It was about 45cm long. I released it and gave up for the day.

Rockhampton – Fitzroy River – 25 October 2013

Friday

I arrived in Rockhampton late in the afternoon and decided to go fishing on the banks of the Fitzroy River, right in town. I drove over to the Bowls Club and worked my way down to the shoreline just as the sun was dropping, at about 5.00pm. Low tide would be a few hours later. This area, below the ‘new’ bridge, across the river, has lots of rocky channels and drains with muddy/sandy bottom in between.

I could see the fish rising to slurp up bait or perhaps small prawns. The locals prefer to fish this area with large hard bodied minnows. I had no idea what the pattern of the rocks beneath the water, so I started with soft plastics. I decided to initially fish with a 3” Gulp Minnow in the Peppered Prawn colour with a 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead.

I had a few touches and as the tide receded and the sun fell, I got a better view of the terrain. This far up the river is obvious fish territory. About 800 metres further upriver, the salt water is stopped when it meets the Fitzroy River Barrage. Presumably the fish follow their natural impulse to swim upriver to spawn and then get stuck in this area (unless they work out how to climb a fish ladder – which seems unlikely!). I concentrated on casting next to the rock bars and into the channels and lost a bit of tackle in the process.

Dusk on the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton

Dusk on the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton

Caught just after sunset on a run out tide

Caught just after sunset on a run out tide

A baby - but still a barra

A baby – but still a barra

At about 6.30 pm, when it was almost too dark to fish, I felt something grab the soft plastic and drop it. I had now swapped to a 2” GULP Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour on the same light , 1/8th ounce, 1/0 jighead. I carried on peppering the area with casts and a few minutes later I connected again. It was a very small saltwater barramundi, I photographed and released it.

It was now too dark to fish and so I retraced my steps back to the car. Only a baby – but I had found a Fitzroy River barramundi.