The Gladstone Region is known as the engine room of the Queensland economy with some of the biggest heavy industry processing plants in the world.
But for those of us shift-working keen anglers that work in industry; we know the best kept secret about the place we choose to work and play is obvious – it’s the fishing!
Did you know according to national recreational fishing data (Source: www.agriculture.gov.au) and Infofish Australia (Source: www.infofishaustralia.com.au) catch statistics report that the Gladstone Region has the highest effort to yield ratio for an angler in the nation?
The reason for this is we have the most diverse range of fish species and locations to fish…from freshwater impoundment, lakes and creeks, to saltwater estuaries, rivers, harbour, islands, and the Southern Great Barrier Reef locations.
We’ve got bucket loads of options.
This provides us with the opportunity to catch a wide range of fish species; from freshwater Barramundi and Mangrove Jack to estuary species like Grunter and Flathead, harbour and inshore saltwater Barramundi and Bream, the pelagic species like Tuna, Trevally and Mackerel.
Then there’s the offshore reef varieties that the southern states aren’t fortunate enough to have like Red Emperor and Coral Trout.
The options are outstanding, and this leads to Gladstone boasting the highest per capita recreational boat registrations and licences in Queensland.
Townsville ranks second and the Sunshine Coast third. (Source: www.bia.org.au and Queensland Department Main Roads 2016 Recreational Vessel Statistics)
The Boyne Tannum HookUp has developed to be Australia’s biggest family fishing competition because of this natural asset for the Gladstone region of diverse fish species and catch locations on offer.
People travel from all over Queensland and interstate to join in on the family fishing fun of the HookUp.
This natural offering has also led to two entrants in my new online fishing competition ‘Allstars Insalt’ delivering stand out performances.
For the first eight-months of the ‘Allstars’ competition local angler Ryan Stimson has won four different fish categories.
He’s taken home $1,200 cash for landing the longest Salmon 121cm, Coral Trout 71cm, Tuna 96cm and Barramundi 110cm – and all from the closest Port of Gladstone.
So, I took the opportunity to talk to Ryan about fishing around the Gladstone region. It turns out that Ryan also values the huge diversity in fish species and locations to fish that our region boasts; because he can change the species he’s targeting to suit the weather conditions.
His favourite fishing is up the estuaries chasing Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, and Fingermark, and of late he has appreciated the skill of sight cast fishing.
Ryan performs so well across so many fish species in the ‘Allstars’ competition because he’s a shift worker so he has lots of days off.
So, the flexible format of an online fishing competition operated from a website that’s open 24 hours suits his lifestyle.
He likes to do his research on a species, follow other successful anglers in that species for the latest tips, techniques and then he locates areas he thinks the species could be found. He likes to continue to be learning and improving his fishing skills through experience.
I had to pose him the question that every other angler is thinking – Does he think he can beat the Greatest of All Time Salmon angler the other Ryan (Ryan Paterson) at the longest Salmon again?
He’s done it once; so, can he do it again?
Unfortunately, people…seeing he’s the diverse angler that he is… he’s now busy chasing other species, but hopefully with me just putting the challenge out there he might make a last part of the year play on the Salmon G.O.A.T.
Ryan finished his chat with me praising the ‘Allstars’ competition. He absolutely loves the online competition format; because he’s not doing the usual stuff. For example, he was off chasing a Tuna the other day which he normally wouldn’t do.
He thinks the competition fish species selection is great because it caters for every kind of angler; both inshore and offshore, fresh and saltwater, and you can vary your day on the water depending on the weather. Ryan suggests that all anyone has to do is target and catch one PB (personal best) and they are well and truly in front.
He’s very grateful to have won a few prizes because he uses quite a bit of fuel and fishing gear getting out and about targeting different species; and fortunately the cash prizes cover these expenses plus more.
‘Allstars Insalt’ has also been dominated by a Bundaberg based entrant, who has secured most of his winning catches from the closest Port of Gladstone.
In the first eight-months of competition Wayne Baldry has taken home $2,400 for the longest Red Emperor 74cm, Mackerel 150cm, 148cm, Cobia 122cm, Nannygai 74cm and Coral Trouts at 70, 74 and 77cm all from the closest Port of Gladstone.
For anyone following ‘Allstars’ or Wayne, I’m not including his Port of Bundaberg wins in this list.
Based on these inspirational anglers’ performances I hope you’re now feeling encouraged to enter the upcoming Gladstone Region’s Baffle Creek Family Fishing Festival from 20-25 September.
The Baffle Creek Fishing Festival is organised by the Baffle Creek Fishing Club and is hosted from the Baffle Creek Community Grounds.
It’s a week-long event fishing the nearby Baffle Creek waters, and is purely “Catch, Snap and Release” for great prizes.
Some of the prizes include a boat package, fishing gear and sunglasses. There’s also live music to entertain you and the family.
My online fishing competition ‘Allstars Insalt’ has months of competition still to occur and stories to share. I have decades of fishing tips and will interview many successful commercial and recreational anglers to share their suggestions too.
As much as I like to write about fishing, I’d also like to hear from you. So please email me at email@example.com to share your fishing trips, fishing tips, fishing stories and photos.
A day on the water is better than a day at work.