Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

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Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Ads22 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:35 pm

So, my long anticipated trip to Baffle Creek finally arrived. I was excited about possibly catching a barra, or a jack, or anything really. I was keen to explore a new waterway and get some quiet time. :cool: :grin:

Tuesday
I drove in Tuesday afternoon and immediately checked out the beach and boat ramps around to get a bit of an idea as to how they looked, then arrived at Baffle Creek Caravan and Camping Park to set up my tent.

I decided on the 10-man tent, even though it was just me. I was to be here for 5 nights, and could use one room for table, chair, esky and storage; and the other for bed and resting. I’m glad I went this way, as it made for a very relaxing stay.

As soon as I had set up, I headed to one of the old, washed out boat ramps, thinking this might mean that it hasn’t been fished for a while. The whole drive down here, all I could think about is catching my first jack, so I wanted to get out there and start. I launched here and explored, really getting and idea of the area, mangrove structure, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the water until about 3.30pm, so that meant really only 2 hours on the water, as it is dark by 6pm. I had no action or interest while on the water but it was a lovely spot and really calm evening. I had paddled right up to the bridge over Euleilah Creek, tried some holes and nothing.

During my paddle, I had the joyful call from someone to say they had my dog, back in Rocky. I am pretty particular about looking after my dogs and I was pretty cut that they might be out. Worse still, it was only one. Where was the other one? After a few tense phone calls, it turned out the other was safe in our yard. What a relief! The back gate was ajar and my teenage son is adamant he shut it when he left for tennis after school. :roll: History might suggest different. I calmed a bit as I paddled back and loaded my kayak in the dark.

No fish, and I didn’t feel like cooking and making a mess, so that meant cold baked beans for dinner. Not that I minded. At least the dogs were safe. Perhaps going away wasn’t such a good idea.

Wednesday

Wednesday morning came, and I was up early to give myself as much time as possible to fish. After all, I came here to be on the water, not to lie in bed. I was on the water at 5:40am, at about first light, launching from the boat ramp behind the caravan park.

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The water was calm and I couldn’t wait to start fishing. I hadn’t even contemplated catching nothing, given I had 4 whole days of fishing ahead of me. How did I manage to convince my wife that going away by myself for 5 nights would be a good idea? I think I might owe her big time.

There was a little activity on one of the flats just and I flicked around here for a while. There wasn’t much action, so I headed up stream, drifting on the run in tide and flicking at the mangroves. Soon after I started, I had a hit and a good little run. As the fish got yak-side it released itself. It was around the 45-50cm mark. I was spewing! That was supposed to be dinner. It wasn’t until I’d been on the water for about an hour that I landed my first fish for the trip, a little flathead on a Gulp! minnow grub.

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About half an hour later, as I was passing a small island I landed a small grunter, followed a bit later by another small flathead. I had found the nursery, so there must be some big ones around. Another 10 minutes and I landed a bream of about 22cm (measurements elude me several days later – and in hindsight, it looks a bit grunter like, despite the yellow fins and silver sides). Things went quiet for about two and a half hours, with many casts and a bit of trolling in between. Then I landed perhaps the smallest fish I have ever landed on lure, a little moses perch. I don’t recall how long he was, but it wasn’t much longer than the lure!

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Another hour went by and little happened, until I landed another flatty. Twenty minutes later I found a small rocky section and landed a small, mid-20s, estuary cod that looked like he had been dinner for someone else. I didn’t get a hit while he was on the line, so it must have been a pre-existing injury.

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I continued further upstream, as it was only just after midday and the next bit looked interesting. About 10 minutes later I got a hit in the shallows next to the mangroves and the fish ran for the open. I thought ‘probably another flatty’ until I saw a flash of silver. ‘Ooh, must be a bream or grunter’. There wasn’t much of a fight, it was all over in a matter of seconds really, more like a small bream fight. But when it surfaced, I could see that it was a jack. My first Mangrove Jack. :grin:

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I won’t say it was a disappointment, because it was such a nice looking fish. But I had read so much about how hard they fight, and this fella was pretty tame. To be fair, he only went 29cm. Not legal size, but it was a start.

I continued drifting upstream and found a rocky point with a big drop off (relative to the rest of the place). I cast in here a few times, hopping a gold ZMan Minnow off the rock and into the deeper water. On about the third cast I got a good hit and run. This felt heavier. The fish ran again and went deep. It felt like a flatty, but heavier than I was used to. I got a distant flash of a massive head and was excited. This was a huge flatty, at least relative to my previous catches. I hadn’t had my GoPro on all day, so quickly turned it on while the fish ran. I brought her up yak-side and reached for my net, but it was going to be too small. Just as I was about to reach for the lip grips, she shook her head again and threw the hook. She would have gone about 70cm. I was gutted. I had dropped two sized fish today, and more importantly, had dropped a certain PB flathead. Needless to say, all my GoPro caught was a brief part of the tussle and a few curses! That was the end of the GoPro for the day.

I drifted around these rocks for a bit longer, with no more luck. Caught another flatty and cod on my way back then battled the current and wind back to the ramp. I was off the water at sunset, just before last light. As I drove back up to the tent, I was still spewing about dropping the big flathead. Too much messing around and didn’t have a contingency in place for if I caught something too big for the net. But driving at the mandatory 10kph and passing the grazing kangaroos, with the light fading, it was pretty peaceful.

12 hours on the water, no dinner for me. Cold baked beans it is again!

Thursday

The next morning, I headed up to boat ramp near the school at Wartburg and launched with the aim of heading up Euleilah Creek as Cav had suggested. I had already landed my first jack, so surely I could get a larger one. However, I wasn’t so sure, having overheard the blokes next to me while I tried to sleep last night. They had fished all day for bugger all. And all the folks they’d been talking to had caught about the same. No sign of any jacks anywhere. Or barra.

I was on the water about 6:15am, and again it was pretty calm. I love this time of morning, when the water looks so still. I flicked a grub around the rocks near the ramp for a while, with a few little tiddler hits, until finally I landed another tiny moses perch, slightly bigger than yesterday’s effort. About an hour later, I landed a small bream on a little red hard body minnow I got from eBay. I had just stopped trolling upstream and stopped near a snag in the middle of a flat to cast the red minnow a few times.
I continued up Baffle Creek, electing to troll past Euleilah Creek as I could see a drain that was worth trying. The water was still calm and paddling was a breeze. I stopped trolling as I approached and changed rods to the plastics. I slowly made my way up the drain. About an hour after the bream, I hooked a nice flathead. Another sized flathead that got yak-side and dropped before I could net it. ‘There goes dinner,’ I thought, as well as muttering a few expletives. Three sized flatties I had dropped. I must
have been doing something wrong. I guess we have these runs, but it wasn’t looking promising.

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I worked my way up a bit further into the drain and noticed that it was a passage, but there had been very little current in there. There was another one that continued on and this one had been blocked by a fallen tree at the other end. I worked up into there and just as I turned around I flicked my plastic under a tree I had hit about half a dozen times already. I hooked up and wasted no time in netting this one. Another flatty that went 44cm. Very thankful to have fish for dinner tonight, and it was only 9:15am. The rest of the day could be hard work, but at least I would eat.

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I trolled back down to the opening of Euleilah Creek and up there for a short distance, then went to work hitting the mangroves and any bit of structure around. The hard part is that it is all mangroves, so there is much to be cast at! And many places to hide. It had been pretty quiet for an hour or so. I headed back down the opposite bank of the creek and came across a rock bar and drop off. I flicked in here a few times, battling the current to keep position as I didn’t want to drop anchor for long. I got a good hit and run, but it dropped soon after. I suspect, given the run of things, that it would be a little flatty.

I still had plenty of the day left, so decided to head back down Baffle Creek, past the ramp and toward where I had dropped the big flatty yesterday. I didn’t have time to get that far and back, but there was plenty to cast at on the way down there. The wind had come up and the paddling was much harder, with cross-currents and running channels. I worked around an island and the opening of a few drains for no interest, then muscled my way back upstream to the launching point. I cast around here for a while with a few little hits but landing nothing.

It had been a very quiet day fish-wise. I was off the water at 5pm and had dinner cooked by 5:45pm. Almost 11 hours on the water today, but at least I had dinner!

Friday

It had been two long days on the water with limited success. I was getting fish, but not what I had anticipated prior to coming. Hopefully the situation would improve today! I launched from Flat Rock boat ramp at 5:40am and cast around the mangroves and a few rock bars near the ramp. There were some very interesting structures to cast at and I could have hung around for a lot longer. But, there was so much to explore toward the mouth.

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I moved downstream and threw out my red hard body minnow and a soft vibe and started a troll up the channel. The tide was on the way in and I didn’t expect much. About an hour after I got on the water, I passed over a peak under the water and both rods went off. The minnow obviously had something on so I grabbed it, and started reeling, as the other line went slack while I drifted backwards. A brief little fight saw a 25cm trevally in the kayak. I quickly released it and grabbed the other rod. I began reeling and drifted over the snag. As I released the snag, the line took off again for a few moments, then went slack. Double hook-up, but only landed one. This was a more promising start to the day.

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Half an hour later, while drifting along the mangroves, I had cast at a snag about a dozen times. As I was drifting away, I leaned back and cast at it one last time. A couple of flicks and I was on, quickly landing a 48cm flatty. Woohoo, dinner again!

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I paddled my way down the channel admiring a group of sea turtles breaching. I had just turned my GoPro on hoping to get some turtle shots when a bull shark launched perhaps 30 metres in front of me, rolling before it splashed back down. I wasn’t sure how much would show on the video, but only managed to get it in the bottom of the shot as my camera had been set a fraction high. Video is here https://youtu.be/sChDbaPYcHw

More flicking at mangroves for little effort until I drifted up a tributary an hour after the last fish and I landed a 44cm flatty, this time on a gold ZMan minnow. After a bit more mangrove bashing and drifting my way up and back down the tributary, I headed back to the creek proper.

I threw out a couple of trolling lures and set off for the mouth of the estuary. It was a long paddle, but I had dinner already and wanted to see the mouth. I slow trolled my way down to the mouth, the current picking up heavily as I approached the mouth. It is a beautiful and peaceful part of the world, but paddling back against that current was incredibly tough. I pulled over for a bit of a breather at the mouth, had a feed and absorbed the scenery.
Too soon, I had to head back toward the ramp. It was a big paddle back and I had a strong current to work against. It took about an hour to get to a comfortable section to starting trolling again, and shortly after starting my troll, I landed a 24cm flounder on an 11cm minnow designed for barra. These guys have such a small mouth that I can’t even believe it tried to eat this thing!

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I continued my long paddle back toward the ramp. It was hard going. I stopped at a few sandy flats on the way as there was some activity around. I changed lures a few times over the flats and couldn’t entice anything much. There were a few chases and bumps on surface lures but nothing hooked up.

I set about making it back to the ramp as my body was fatiguing by now. I paddled with a plan and worked along the edges where it was calm. Eventually I made it back to the ramp and it was only about 4:30pm. Now that I was back near the ramp, I drifted along the edges casting until I hit the rocky structures that I had been casting at this morning. I cast around these rock bars for about an hour landing one estuary cod.

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I was off the water and had seen the rising and falling of the sun. My body was shattered, but I had dinner and there were some great things to see today.

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Saturday

I headed out later today after such a big day yesterday. I woke about 6:30am and decided to take my time and rest for a bit longer, then tidied my ute and tackle bag. I hit the water about 8:30am, launching from the caravan park boat ramp. Within 15 minutes I had landed an estuary cod, followed by another 5 minutes later.

As I drifted upstream in the channel near the boat ramp, I got a hit under a tree but no hook-up. I fiddled around here for about 20 minutes, getting hooked in the tree about 5 times on impossible casts and having to tackle the branches to retrieve my jig heads. Eventually, I gave up on the impossible cast and drifted to the other side of the tree and flicked a couple of skimming casts behind the offending herbage. On the third cast I hooked a 34cm flathead.

In less than an hour on the water it was looking positive, but we needed some upsizing. I was planning head across the channel to Bottle Creek, but noticed some fish in the middle of the first channel, so put out my Tilsan Bass lure and a new, longer red minnow from eBay. Soon after I started my troll, I passed by a bloke in a canoe struggling to rig up his line. As I passed him, I paddled over a rock bar and the Pflueger with the tilsan lure went off. I wheeled around and headed back over the snag as the line wasn’t releasing. Once over the other side of the rock bar, I reeled in another little cod.

After a little more trolling and paddling, I worked my way up Bottle Creek. I pulled in a couple of small flatties on the way up, then landed a couple more on the way back down when I hit a drain that was almost empty as the tide headed out. The tide had dropped enough for me to see crabs in the pots I was passing, and mudskippers on the bank.

I trolled for a bit longer, then decided that was enough for my time at Baffle Creek. I headed back to the boat ramp and cast around for a little, landing another tiny moses perch on some underwater fallen trees.

Another 7 hours on the water today. No dinner again tonight as all fish were too small. I think there were three flathead at 38cm that wouldn’t stretch quite long enough. I headed back to the tent, showered and sat down with some tinned tuna and crackers while the wind picked up and watched some footy until a brief storm came through, of course, wetting everything that needed packing away in the morning.

Sunday

I got an early start on packing up my gear on Sunday morning as I had planned to stop in at one of the rivers on the way back to Rocky. My alarm was set for 8am with the aim to be away by 10am. As was the way for the week, I was up pretty early, and had my gear packed and was ready to go when the alarm sounded. This was handy, as it meant that I was able to head off and be at the Boyne River rest stop at Benaraby and launching just after 10am.

The wind was getting pretty strong and I was concerned that it might get even stronger. Wind aside, the weather was great for a paddle. I got my gear together and headed hit the water with an outgoing tide. I was hoping on a barra, since there was no action of this kind at Baffle Creek. I wasn’t sure what else I could get as I hadn’t fished here before.

I trolled some hard bodies downstream from the bridge for nil, before pulling over near some drains and casting. Within 25 minutes of launching I had hooked a landed a 38cm flathead on an Ecooda Live Shrimp. In hindsight, it’s no surprise to find flatties in tidal water, but it hadn’t even crossed my mind that they’d be here, too. I continued casting here for a while, then trolled further downstream, pulling over at the occasional snag and drain. This continued until I had been on the water about 2 hours and had paddled a couple of k’s downstream. The tide current was running pretty hard now at places and I decided I should head back towards the launch site before I overshot my paddling limit.

I turned back upstream and against the wind, trolling along the edge of the drop offs for the next hour so, sometimes at a cruise, others with great exertion for the same distance covered. There were mullet aplenty, but nothing else seemed to be paying much attention to my lures, despite several changes.
Eventually, I reached a creek just short of my launch site and could relax a little again knowing that I didn’t have to paddle hard to get back now. I drifted up the calm stretch of creek casting at snags, rock bars and anything that seemed possibly fishy. I landed another moses perch from one of the rock bars and kept drifting further up the creek.

Just as I had decided it was about enough for the day, I found a nice big fallen tree and flicked my shrimp at it. After about 5 casts I got a little grab and run without a hook up. It was only small, but I had visions that perhaps there might even be a jack hiding in there. There was plenty of structure showing on my downscan so I peppered the tree and eventually after a couple of little hits and about 30 casts I landed a small estuary cod. I released the cod and headed back to toward the river proper.
While rounding the corner to cover the last 100m or so to my ute, I heard a decent splash against the edge. I stopped and cast my shrimp at it. On the first cast, there was a little grab and run. I cast again and hooked up. I hadn’t brought any keeper bag on the water with me, but being so close to the ute, I kept this one as he went 48cm. Bonus. I trolled up toward the bridge with one last hope of landing a barra, but no luck.

It was home time and by now I had been on the water for over 5 hours. I packed up and headed back to the family, bearing a couple of nice flatty fillets.
It was a great week 5 nights at Baffle Creek. The fishing was pretty slow, as experienced by all those with yaks and boats in the caravan park. I landed enough to keep me interested, and feel I learned quite a bit. I enjoyed my stay at Baffle Creek immensely, despite the tough fishing. I think it would be well worth a try heading into summer.

Baffle lessons and musings

My first Jack, GT, and Flounder.

Moses Perch, Estuary Cod and Flathead saved me from donuts. It seems I can catch them anywhere.

Quiet time is good for the soul.

Paddling upstream against the tide is bloody hard work.

47 hours on the water in 5 days of paddling/fishing is a good way to reset sleep patterns.

Filleting flathead isn’t so hard.

Still no yak barra.

Cheers and happy fishing,

Ads
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Yak PBs
Estuary Cod 50cm; Mangrove Jack 49cm; Barra 106cm/11.5kg; Flathead - dusky 62cm; Flathead - bartail 51cm; Flounder 28cm; Forktail Catfish 60cm; Bream 32cm, Sand whiting 30cm; Striped Butterfish/Scat 20cm; Barred Javelin 47cm; Bull Shark 80cm; Queenfish 45cm; Tarpon 60cm; Golden Perch 47cm; Estuary Perch 33cm; Saratoga 72cm; Leathery Grunter 43cm.
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Hakamike » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:49 pm

What a great write up, I really enjoyed the read. Well done on some new species!
Cheers, Mike.

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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Ads22 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:11 pm

Hakamike wrote:What a great write up, I really enjoyed the read. Well done on some new species!


Thanks Mike. Ended up pretty long. Perhaps I should have called it Baffle Creek Waffle! :wink:

Ahhh... back at work now, can only dream of fishing for a little bit. :cry:
Yak PBs
Estuary Cod 50cm; Mangrove Jack 49cm; Barra 106cm/11.5kg; Flathead - dusky 62cm; Flathead - bartail 51cm; Flounder 28cm; Forktail Catfish 60cm; Bream 32cm, Sand whiting 30cm; Striped Butterfish/Scat 20cm; Barred Javelin 47cm; Bull Shark 80cm; Queenfish 45cm; Tarpon 60cm; Golden Perch 47cm; Estuary Perch 33cm; Saratoga 72cm; Leathery Grunter 43cm.
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby schmik » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:20 pm

Beats 5days at work!

Nice write up!

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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Mackayak » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:24 am

Great post have often thought of going there. Look like great weather :wink:
PB's From yak:
Fresh Water: Saratoga 51cm YES; Barra 110cm; Murray Cod 78cm; Golden Perch 45cm; Bass 44cm;EP 38cm
Salt Water: Snapper 62cm; Jew 83cm; Flathead 71cm; Mangrove Jack 37cm; Whiting 31.5cm; Bream 37cm; Trevally 38cm; Tailor 32cm;
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Dodge » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:05 am

Interesting reading, and a great variety of species landed Ads.
Cheers RICHO [the older one]
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Ads22 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:12 am

Mackayak wrote:Great post have often thought of going there. Look like great weather :wink:


Weather was pretty good really. I was talking to Roger, the guy who runs the caravan park, he says the fishing can be great. He's got a couple of videos on YouTube. Reckons his barra video was the best barra fishing he's seen there. They were schooling up he reckons.
https://youtu.be/AAFGxsC8Zg8

And queenfish. https://youtu.be/3WOz427dPGg
Yak PBs
Estuary Cod 50cm; Mangrove Jack 49cm; Barra 106cm/11.5kg; Flathead - dusky 62cm; Flathead - bartail 51cm; Flounder 28cm; Forktail Catfish 60cm; Bream 32cm, Sand whiting 30cm; Striped Butterfish/Scat 20cm; Barred Javelin 47cm; Bull Shark 80cm; Queenfish 45cm; Tarpon 60cm; Golden Perch 47cm; Estuary Perch 33cm; Saratoga 72cm; Leathery Grunter 43cm.
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby WayneD » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:28 am

Thanks for taking the time to write this up. It was a good read!
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Fleetfeet » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:24 am

Awesome write up, I really enjoyed reading about Baffle Creek.....it's definitely on my fishing list
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby LittleSalami » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:26 pm

Great read to end my day.
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Mackayak » Sun May 01, 2016 7:07 am

Ads22 wrote:
Mackayak wrote:Great post have often thought of going there. Look like great weather :wink:


Weather was pretty good really. I was talking to Roger, the guy who runs the caravan park, he says the fishing can be great. He's got a couple of videos on YouTube. Reckons his barra video was the best barra fishing he's seen there. They were schooling up he reckons.
https://youtu.be/AAFGxsC8Zg8

And queenfish. https://youtu.be/3WOz427dPGg


Thanks for the lick they where good to watch. Will now need to defiantly see to going there one day. :wink:
PB's From yak:
Fresh Water: Saratoga 51cm YES; Barra 110cm; Murray Cod 78cm; Golden Perch 45cm; Bass 44cm;EP 38cm
Salt Water: Snapper 62cm; Jew 83cm; Flathead 71cm; Mangrove Jack 37cm; Whiting 31.5cm; Bream 37cm; Trevally 38cm; Tailor 32cm;
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Re: Baffle Creek 19-23 April, Boyne River 24 April, 2016

Postby Ads22 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:56 pm

Just had a read over this report in anticipation for heading to Baffle Creek again tomorrow. :grin:

Will only get a couple of sessions on the water, but will also use it as a bit of recon for a possible longer trip again later in the year, or early next year. If anyone would be interested in a trip let me know! :grin:
Yak PBs
Estuary Cod 50cm; Mangrove Jack 49cm; Barra 106cm/11.5kg; Flathead - dusky 62cm; Flathead - bartail 51cm; Flounder 28cm; Forktail Catfish 60cm; Bream 32cm, Sand whiting 30cm; Striped Butterfish/Scat 20cm; Barred Javelin 47cm; Bull Shark 80cm; Queenfish 45cm; Tarpon 60cm; Golden Perch 47cm; Estuary Perch 33cm; Saratoga 72cm; Leathery Grunter 43cm.
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