Matt Branthwaite holds up a solid north west red emperor.
Matt Branthwaite holds up a solid north west red emperor.

Gladstone region and reef have the best fish around

THIS is the last of my columns for the year and I just wanted to reflect on some of the awesome fish which have been caught around the region during that time.

We are so blessed to have a spectacular river and estuary system on our door step which consistently yields arguably the biggest barra in Australia.

In addition, I think we have the best muddies, prawns, grunter, massive king or threadfin salmon, schools of blue salmon, monster black jew, pull-your-arms-off fingermark, the sweetest tasting whiting, and bream so big that you can knock a fillet off them and come home with 2kg of fillets.

On top of that, we go through to cobia off the beach, flathead which consistently go over length and have to be released, and so much more.

That's just the inshore stuff!

Offshore the fishing we have here is something that the Mexicans (south of the border) and our south-east Queensland counterparts drool over.

Having been part of the Boyne Tannum Hook-up since its inception, I have seen some of the biggest mackerel caught up at Rundle Island weighed in, coral trout which would cost an absolute fortune.

But what about the solid red emperor, or the sweetlip, or as "Time Chrutchill" (Tim Churchill) refers to them, RTE (red throat emperor)?

The Gladstone region, and the Southern Barrier Reef is a very cool place to work, rest, invest, and play; and all of us, who live here, know that.

The places we can visit in a boat are spectacular and at times you have to pinch yourself to ensure you aren't dreaming.

Place like Yellowpatch, Pancake Creek, Seven Mile, or up Grahams Creek on a still foggy morning when the water is like glass and every now and then a "boof" can be heard from a barra having his, or her, brekkie.

What about waking up beside North West, Masthead, or any of the islands, and reefs, just offshore, and looking over the side into crystal clear water, watching the fish swim along the bottom 10m below.

So cool.

It's just a pity the region isn't like that this weekend because this wind looks like continuing through the whole weekend and only possibly dropping out a bit on Monday night.

There are plenty of unstable weather patterns around this time of the year, so if you are intending on slipping out the front over the Christmas break please ensure that you log onto VMR Gladstone, or Roundhill, if you are coming out of Town of 1770.

Know what the weather is doing as well as the tides, especially what they are doing when you approach them in current against wind.

Know your limits, and know the conditions, because it is Christmas and we don't want to lose anyone.

Finally I'd like to wish you all a very merry, and safe Christmas, and hope that the fat fella brings what you want.

If you are short of an idea, why not buy Johnny Mitchell's new DVD called Wild Adventures Curtis Island, now available off his website, Pats Tackle World or Barra Jacks in Rocky if you are from up that way.

Eight years in the making and some of the footage will leave you gobsmacked!

Stacey Popp with the 117cm barra caught while out with Johnny Mitchell a couple of months back.
Stacey Popp with the 117cm barra caught while out with Johnny Mitchell a couple of months back.