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A week in Mackay part 1


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The long awaited fishing holiday

With anticipation high days before leaving not knowing how the fishing would be or what fish I would likely encounter catching over the week period. On arrival to mackay It wasn’t looking good for the fishing side with a nice little thunderstorm welcoming me and my partner to the city. The rain wasn’t going to put me off catching some of the fish on my bucketlist but there were a few more important things to do before wetting a line. A quick tour of the city from my partners mother and step-father followed by a lunch along the riverside I couldn’t help but take my heavy baitcaster set-up matched with a few barra lures and plastics just incase there was some action nearby I could get stuck into them.


Two days later the was a small window of blue sky in the afternoon with still alot of wind so trying to get out of the strong wind me and my partner rushed down to the Mackay Harbour to fish the rock wall that was sheltered from the winds. First cast it looked very fish with a small amount of nervous water close to the walls edge. Not knowing alot about the depth and speed of the current a small 1/6oz TT switchblade in Pink Hussar was sent out on my light bream combo to get a rough idea of what my strategy was going to be. While the blade was slowly getting to the bottom it seemed like it took forever and that it would never hit the bottom, finally it was there as started to retrieve it back I was waiting for a hit as everyone that I talked to including my partner were talking mackay up and that my tackle would be far to light. Slightly getting distracted with these thoughts in the back of my head I totally forgot that I had a lure in the water so a slow roll back to the waters edge then WACK a fish came scouting out from underneath a small rock, the fish wasn’t a monster at all but it was my first fish in Mackay and a fish on my first cast. It turned out to be a small rock cod roughly 15cm big. The next cast I decided to instead of throw directly out in front of me to actually cast along the rock wall where all the bait seemed to be hanging and where the rock cod was caught, a quick hop off the bottom with the blade and I was on again no more then 1 metre away from where the first fish was caught. A few more casts and no more fish a quick change of tactic to something that I use quite regular in Brisbane for mainly my bream it consist of 6lb braid, anywhere from 6lb to 12lb depending on the structure that I will be fishing with a small recurve hook something in the 1/0 to 3/0 (depending on what size fish are in the area) with no sinker and preferably a flesh bait. The change was a good choice as soon as my bait was hitting the water we were either both on or wasn’t to far from being onto a fish. The majority of the fish were small in size but put up a great little fight and we actually managed to get bricked by a few fish

It was starting to get later and a few hours of some fun under the belt it was time to head home and get ready to fish some local creeks the next day.

I still had some doubt about the fishing but waking up in the morning with the first day of sun I couldn’t help but get a tad excited. Leaving the house with bout in tow for a short drive north, along the way I couldn’t help but notice each time we passed over small bridges that they were still dirty and was starting to get worried about the condition of the water as all these small creeks feed into the system we we’re going to fish. Arriving at the boat ramp at 6:30am right on the bottom of the low we quickly threw the pots in for some cracker muddies then we were off to find some cleaner water and out of the 15knot winds. There didn’t seem to be too much bait along the banks and the small drains but we managed to gather enough lives to get us through a few hours of fishing.

The first spot we dropped anchor on looked very fish with a nice snag and some nice flashes underneath the mangrove roots. In hope of catching the fish that has eluded me for so long the might Mangrove Jack, I tied on a F18 classic onto my baitcaster set-up and casted to the most likely snag to have a fish holding on it. As my lure hit the water I started on my retrieve with short stabs of the rod tip with the rod close to the water, after a few twitches I was on with some nice flashes of silver and a paddle tail I was calling it for a small barra. The fight didn’t last long with my Quantum Energy PT locked with 50lb braid and 60lb fluro the fish was soon boated. It turned out to be an archer fish roughly 20-25cm long and actually was a nice surprise. Plenty more cast later I had only had 1 more hit with no hook-up and I knew there was plenty of fish around as they were visible and flashing along the mangrove bank. It was time to change to bait with the same rig I used the day before. I knew roughly where the snags we’re as the other two were snagging them all the time so I pitched my small bait along the mangroves slowly letting line out but no to much that I wouldn’t be able to see the bite in the braid. Yet again with my first cast of bait I was hooked up, the fish was a little bit bigger then I expected and quick bricked me with my 6lb braid and 12lb fluro. The next fish I was a little wiser and had my drag max to what my line would let me and as soon as the bait was taken I quickly had to work to get him away from the snags that got me a few minutes before. From the take I knew it was a different fish, The bite was less subtle from the previous fish but it was still a good bite. I wasn’t very amused when it turned out to be a small just under legal size bream as I didn’t really travel that far to be catching them but it was still a fish and fish is what I enjoy catching. After a quick look at the fish I could see why it put a much better fight then the 35-40cm bream I catch in Brisbane, the fish although was small it was very wide and fat and from the environment it has to live in it had to be strong otherwise it would of been prey for something else.


At this stage it was getting late morning and the hot sun was starting to take toll on my partner so we moved out to the main creek to be in the easterly winds in hope it would cool us all down. Unlike our previous spot I wasn’t to keen to fish it had everything that I normally would try to avoid the wind, dirty water and bugger all structure to hold fish. With the easterly wind straight onto our backs the unweighted bait wouldn’t be able to work, I find that as soon as there’s abit of wind/chop on the water the floating braid pulls the bait up out of the strike zone and carries it away to fast. The rig I changed to was a simple rig just a running ball sinker rig with a small ball sinker and a small baitholder hook and a large peeled prawn. Yet again I was on within the first minute of my bait hitting the water. My partner and her step-father were starting to get peckish so will they had something to bite on I decided to put out another two lines in the water one with a live mullet and the other with a running ball sinker rig. It started to get a little much for me in between trying to bait up another rod would be going off and if it wasn’t just the one with it would be two rods with fish on. Soon enough I was annoying the partner as all she wanted to do was have something to eat and every time she tried to I would be putting a rod in her hand to wind in the fish, enough was enough I had to go back to the one rod. One thing that always make me laugh when I go fishing with my partner is that she will cast right into the snags or cast somewhere where her line is going to drift into the snags but she always seems to pull a fish out or if she does get snagged she manages to somehow get it off without busting the gear. This spot seemed to be another one of those times where she was casting right into the laying down timber and pulling fish from it, I thought for sure everytime she cast that this was the time she would get snagged or she was going to get bricked by a bigger fish.

An hour goes by and we still haven’t had a keeper in the box so we changed spot yet again into another spot out of the main creek and into something just out of the main breeze but still enough to keep us alot cooler if we didn’t have any at all.

Spot three was similar to the first spot we tried with a sand bank on one side and mangrove lined bank on the other with a steep drop off at the foot of the mangrove. The fishing was very similar as the others aswell with plenty of bream coming onto the boat but we finally managed to get some cracker bream for the esky. Even tho we had two livies out on each spot we hadn’t had much action on them, we had a few strikes but no fish, as I threw out our last livie on my heavy starlo stik on the 3000 size reel that Andrew from the Downrigger Shop sent me some weeks before matched with daiwa jigging braid and 50lb fluro, I didn’t think to much of it and thought the bait would once again be taken with no hook up but it didn’t seem to be the case. The rod slowly loaded up and with the light drag the line was slowly coming off until the fish had time to swallow the bait so I could set the circle hook into its jaw. The fishes fight was very erratic and at the spur of the moment I couldn’t pick what type of fish it was but I knew it was something that I was familiar with, the 3000 reel working like magic it wasn’t to longer before I had my first glimpse at the fish or should I say shark. I soon

snapped the 1mtr+ Bull Shark off as it sure as hell wasn’t coming into the boat. I don’t mind handling sharks of any size but sometimes safety of others is more important that taking a picture with it or bringing it in the boat to get the owner circle out.

For the rest of the day the fish seem to go off the bite as we moved from spot to spot. The time was later afternoon and was time to head home and time to checking the pots. It started off promising with the first pot having 12 crabs but on closer inspection we found 9 females, 2 undersize males by only mm and the last the a good quality buck the rest seem to get worse as we moved to pick up the pots. Between the 5 pots there would of been close to 35 crabs all but 2 were keepers there were some other legal muddies but they were empty so we decided rather then take them and get little meat to release them and let someone else catch them when they are full.

Sorry theres not more photos guys/girls wasnt going to write a report and then when I started I couldn't stop.. Part 2 of the report will inlcude Daydream island, coral trout, wrasse, tuskies and more

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Hey mate shame Mackay didn't turn it on for you, what with wet season happening and all makes it hard fishing. Were you fishing in the Pioneer river? That bream sounds like it was a pikey bream, they are much heavier bodied than yellowfin bream so go heaps harder for their relative length.

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