It’s a great time to use that annual leave to take the kids on an adventure with land-based fishing that won’t break the bank or leave you frustrated with holiday crowds.
Land-based fishing is an activity that is suited for everyone from those still in prams to those with a few miles on the clock. Obviously, you have to pick and choose your destination to suit the agility or fragility of those fishing with you.
Some locations are great to push a pram or wheelchair to (a lot of jetties or boardwalks for instance), however fishing a rock wall on the Tweed River or Seaway isn’t really suited to youngsters or those unsteady on their feet.
In a lot of ways, fishing from the shoreline is quite different to fishing from a boat.
If boat fishing, it’s easy enough to pull up the anchor and try another spot, whereas with land-based fishing, particularly with kids, it’s a good idea to find an interesting and easy spot to start with, such as a jetty or beach. For most older kids and adults it’s easy enough to walk a kilometre or two (when beach fishing for example) to cover ground, however young kids will most definitely dig in their heels at the prospect.
Fishing from the shoreline means gear must be easily transportable in a knapsack. Many inventive anglers have come up with excellent trolleys for transporting their gear from the car to their fishing spot. Keeping gear and weight to a minimum is important, so don’t go overboard with sinkers and lures. The more you bring, the more you have to carry. Some people like the luxury of chairs and the ability to push a rod holder into the ground to hold their rod.
Without trying to sound like a broken record, remember to take home all the litter you have created including line, bait packets and food packets. Numerous fishing areas are located near parks, boat ramps and jetties, and rubbish bins are usually provided by councils. Also try not to leave bait, fish guts or anything that will smell in the vicinity because this kind of activity will lead these areas being closed to fishing.
Jetties are amazing places for anglers, giving better access to deep water. The Shorncliffe Pier will be a terrific platform to fish from once construction of the new pier is completed in early 2016.
Brisbane City Council has remembered anglers and included fish cleaning stations, which is terrific.
Species that can be targeted from the pier include the usual flathead, whiting and bream along with gar and tailor, with baits of prawns and yabbies ideal. Places such as the old Hornibrook Bridge and Redcliffe, Sandgate and Scarborough foreshores will also fish OK for bream, flathead and whiting. River mouths are great areas to fish but doing so comes down to accessibility.
As you head south you’ll find plenty of areas where you can fish but more areas where you can’t. Some areas are inundated with mangroves while others can only be accessed through private properties.
I believe you really have to first think about where you want to fish. Decide how far you want to travel before piling into the car and taking off. Research the area thoroughly and ensure you are fishing in a location that has no restrictions (green zones).
In some areas you are not permitted to dig bait, so it definitely pays to do your research.
The internet is an excellent tool for finding fishing spots and Google Earth gives a good indication of water depth, whether the foreshore is made of sand or mud and the accessibility via parks and roads. Usually there is an area near boat ramps where you can fish, however it’s important to be courteous to boat users who may have to use the beach area near ramps when launching or retrieving their vessel.
Parks and boardwalks on rivers and creeks are good options but always look out for ‘no fishing’ signs and abide by all rules. Some councils provide fishing locations on their websites such as the Brisbane City Council’s guide to fishing platforms.
This website provides a great deal of information on locations and what facilities are available. No guarantees of catching a fish though!
I know most councils with waterways will include some relevant information on their websites, and this was a godsend when my husband Robert and I travelled around Australia a couple of years ago.
Further south are more areas you can fish from the land including Jacobs Well and Cabbage Tree Point, though access can be quite restrictive. Some of the best locations are on the Gold Coast where plenty of waterways are accessible to the general public. I know in a lot of areas the water can be quite shallow (you will have to watch the tides), but it’s important to note that you can catch loads of fish in knee-deep water.
Give it a go and see. Beach fishing along many of our beaches will be reasonable over summer and I like fishing the Spit just to the south of the sand pumping jetty. Beach worms can be caught here but pipis are scarce, so bring your own bait if you aren’t a very good wormer.
It’s also great because I don’t have to worry about dingoes or four-wheel-drives on the beach. When land-based fishing you sometimes really have to put in the hard yards and try several areas, but it’s a great way to while away the school holidays.
Oh and remember that New Year’s Day is one of the quietest days on the water. Make sure you take advantage of it!