The ABT Bream Qualifier on the Clarence River prompted my recent trip to Queensland. This is a trip I happily make whenever possible. Not so much for the fishing, as it is always a tough arena but more so because the family and I love the quiet little coastal town. After looking at the tournament calendar it dawned on me that the Hobie world qualifying event was being held the weekend before at Redcliffe. Now I wasn’t particularly interested in the qualifying aspect but with the Clarence event a week later it was enough justification to plan a family holiday around the two events.
Originally the intentions were to stay in Redcliffe for a week, travelling down to the Clarence the Thursday before the ABT qualifier but after a bit of arm-twisting, we were persuaded to head down to Brisbane to stay with cousin Kendall. During the 4 day stay, to much surprise we did get out for a fish. Now because I had my kayak up in Brisbane we decided that we would use our kayaks instead of putting the boat in. That’s when the question was asked. What do you want to do? Where do you want to fish? My response – Anything but Bream.
After a tough couple of days at Redcliffe and what was expected to be some tough Breaming to come at the Clarence River, I wasn’t at all entertained by the thought of going out and catching the typical little Queensland Bream, especially when what is meant to be the big Bream venue of Queensland, Redcliffe, didn’t fire the weekend prior. I believe the nearby Bass water was off limits due to seasonal restrictions, and it is the wrong time of year for the Mangrove Jack, the species us New South Wales people regularly envy when we see images on places like Facebook. When Kendall mentioned the chance of catching GT’s and Tarpon down the coast, I jumped at the suggestion.
After we packed up and started heading down the coast, Kendall started to tell me about the places we were going to fish. Restricted water behind closed gates. Yep that’s right, for those who don’t know, I didn’t, parts of the Gold Coast canals have locks. These areas are locked to land access by gates and a lock restricts water access. The best part for us was we had keys. When we arrived, my hopes were high. I had been trying to convince myself that in a place like this, the residents hopefully had better things to do then fish and with restricted access to the canal system the fish would be a little less wary, hopefully oblivious to lures. Once we were inside the system, the sounder lit up like a Christmas tree.
Remember the part where I said ‘Anything but Bream’? Well despite seeing Tarpon finning on the surface and not being able to get them to bite, we had an insane session catching Bream. Between us, a conservative estimate would be around 60 fish landed in a few hours and of those, probably only a couple undersize, with the largest around 38-40cm fork length. At one point, I fished one side of an entire arm and had about 15 casts WITHOUT catching a fish. I’m not sure if it was just one of those sessions where the tide, wind, moon and our tongues hanging out the side of our mouths were all aligned properly or that the fish in that system were really not that intelligent. Besides two reasonable Flathead, it was like we couldn’t catch anything else but Bream. I even resorted to casting out in the middle of nowhere and trolling as fast as the Pro Angler would take me, everything resulted in Bream.
I could bet my left arm that if we went there to target Bream, we wouldn’t have caught a thing. Have you ever had a session like this?