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7 Days In Central Queensland

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Hi All

As I mentioned last week - I just headed off for a week at Armstrong Beach, MacKay - here's the report!

I had been invited up to join my Queensland uncle fishing for a week at Armstrong beach. After getting some 90mm pipe for my fishing rods - I was off to MacKay, and then to Armstrong Beach. The trip up was - umm - difficult. Arrived at Sydney Airport to be told my flight to MacKay was cancelled. Was put on a flight to Brisbane, then was told to switch from Virgin to JetStar to complete my flight. On arrival in Brisbane, by rods turned up, then my clothes - but my fishing bag was no-where to be found. At least $800 worth of gear was missing - not happy jan!

I caught the JetStar to MacKay - and arrived 4 hours after originally planned. Picked up my remaining gear, and on the way out of the airport - thought I might check the Virgin Baggage Carousal - just in case. And you know what? There was my bag! Awesome! (had a call from Virgin later that night saying they still hadn't found it - but was sure they would! I told them I got it already - relax!).

Arrived at Armstrong beach - an awesome little caravan park, generally populated by some awesome grey nomads who were keen as mustard on fishing. Boat launching off Armstrong beach (hairy at times), and some serious fishing in Boundary Creek. An area known for it's crocs, big fish, and plenty of them.

Unfortunately when I arrived, a 20-25k SE wind started, and it was the full moon. It meant big tides, and timid fish.

A typical day started at 5am, a quick breakfast, then off to launch the boat from the beach (some hairy stuff!) at mid tide (low tide meaning the water was 1.5km from the beach!). We would fish 6 hrs until mid-tide again (through the high tide), and then come home. Wash the boat, clean the fish, quick sandwich for lunch, then grab the prawn net, and prawn the low tide. Get home, happy hour, quick dinner, bed. Repeat. As the tide got later each day - by the end of the week we were prawning at 5am, fishing, the prawning late afternoon. Fully hard core. Fully cool.

To be honest, due to the rain and tide, fishing wasn't awesome. We caught a huge variety of fish, but mainly small. Species included Mud Crabs, Eels, Catfish (nasty little things), toads (very nasty things), Mangrove Stingray, Flathead, bream, blue salmon (awesome tasting fish), Queenies, Grunter (you'll never guess why they're called that!), king salmon (again, awesome tasting), perch, sliver jewfish, black jewfish, perch, Moses Rockcod and whiting. I think that's all - as you can see, a great assortment.

Though the fishing was slow - the fish of the week came on the last day. After 7 days of slow fishing, it was starting to look up. We started with a bunch of huge bream - 40cm and up. Very cool. We then moved to the lee side of an island, and anchored up within 100m of 2 other boats that were out there. It's a very small comnunity there - and you all launch withing a 15minute window, helping each other out. in other words - those boats were friends.

Those who know me, know I always go to extremes. I had my only two outfits there. A 6lb job for the river, and an 80lb outfit for outside (though we didn't get outside). All of a sudden, my 80lb outfit went off. After 7 days of patient fishing - this was it. I had a fish on - and it was huge. The fish went straight up from 8m depth, to 1m in the air - it jumped like no fish had jumped before. Time froze. There was the biggest blue salmon you have ever seen. I looked him in the eye. He looked back. And winked. He was at least 80cm - it was massive. Huge. A salmon the likes this river had never seen before, and would never see again. The other boats heard the commotion - and saw the fish jump. It was on for one and all. The Pepsi I had just opened was immediately spilt as I grabbed the rod. It peeled line off like it was 6lb - but it was 80. As my uncle cleared the other rods, and did some acrobatics around the rods. The fish did a slow curve around the back of the boat, as I slowly increased the drag, and reclaimed some line. All of a sudden - the fish made a massive dash for the mangroves - but it wasn't going to happen. I hadn't waited here for 7 days to go home empty handed. I stoped him, and again gained some line. As I got him closer, he made a desperate lunch towards the anchor. But I knew I had him beat, and called him into submission. At last I had him by the boat, and my uncle grabbed the enviro Net - and it was time to bring this baby home. He was mine. With the two other boats watching, I brought the massive salmon for it's first pass of the net. Missed. Second time lucky. I skillfully kept him from the side of the boat, and anchor, and brought him again to the net. This time he entered the net - but managed to escape with a flip of the tail - after all - his head hardly fit into the net! The tension was rising. My uncle was sweating - an entire week and hundreds of dollars rested on landing this fish. From one of the other boats was heard the call "Just net him ya useless bastard!". It echoed what was in my mind. I brought him around for the third time. This was it. It was to happen here, or not at all. As he came around, he entered the net. My uncle, with a huge effort went to lift the slow draining enviro-net out of the water - but with a heavy fish, and 2 gallons of water, it was proving difficult. The fish kicked. he slipped. .......

and PING............

the 60lb trace, worn through by a huge fight and the sharp teeth gave way.

With a flick of it's head - the salmon was gone.

My explicative rang out across the water.

My uncle and I needed a few monents in silence to contemplate life. After 5 minutes - we could look at each other again. My rage suitably buried. My uncles shame likewise. It was several days before we could look each other in the eye again.

To the credit of the other boats - as they pulled anchor and moved away, they each came and offered their condolences - "Don't worry mate - those Salmon you only land 1 in 6". But this was my salmon.

So there is a huge salmon out there with my name on it. And I'm going back there next year to claim it.

And that was my trip.


PS got some huge mudcrabs and brought them back home live - ate them the other night mmmmmmm. Very yum.

Photo of some bream:


And the photo of the one that got away:


PPS I don't think I like Environets!

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Nice report Mike!!! I'd have shut up about the lost gear and scored a few new lures for the inconvenience and panic that have set in!!!

Give that uncle of yours a slap for me and give him some netting lessons in between trips!!! Get the missus to run around the front lawn holding the end of the 80lb and see if he can catch her!!! :wife::wife:



Edited by PJ Garn
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Great :1fishing1: report you had me on the end of my seat :o waiting for the out come of the salmon.

I some how think that the folks in the other boat might have known your uncle better when you read the bit

(One of the other boats was heard the call "Just net him ya useless bastard!) :074:

But all jokes aside I think the second photo said it all.

The trip and the salmon is imbedded in your memories for quite some time to come. Thats what fishing is all about the ones you catch and the ones that get away. It does not say much about your uncle but. :bash:



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Give that uncle of yours a slap for me and give him some netting lessons in between trips!!!

Thanks PJ :-)

But I can't blame my uncle - not only did he fully organise the trip (He's from Rocky) - his boat, his tent, his idea - I was his guest! As well as that - he's had many years experience. The thing to blame (I think) is the environet - this one may have been an early one - but it's a shocker! I almost bought one a few months ago - but glad I didn't. Even with the little fish it's extremely hard to use! Perhaps the later ones are different - but I'm now sworn off them!


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mate i read the sad tail and then saw the pic off the one that got away and pissed myself laughing great report

love the pic of the blue nose bream

the pic of the one that got away send the uncle a copy he'll have a good laugh to


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