Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

Another side to the Whitsundays

There is something magical about a mangrove creek at first light. The water is usually mirror calm and the smells, the buzzing insects, the first birds up and about looking for a feed. I grew up fishing mangrove systems and while past years have spent more time on the blue water I just love getting back to my roots in a mangrove creek. As barramundi closed season gets closer and the water warms I took the opportunity for a morning on the Proserpine River. A set of new moon tides meant a dead low at first light with the first push of the run in tide signalling the start of the typical feeding burst for barramundi and king Threadfin which are the prime target this time of year. The “Prossy: river now has a wonderful new ramp and launching facility, a long way removed from the very “ordinary” old ramp and dirt track I started using there over 20 years ago and it has meant a definite upswing in the size and style of boats we now see on the river. The river is ever changing, new banks, island where they never used to be, old island just gone the river is like a living thing. I don’t spend as much time on the river as I used to and some of my favourite old spots are gone but the fundamentals are still the same. Find the bait and you find the fish, work up onto the flats in shallow water on the rising tide, fish light and be patient. It can be a very relaxing way to spend a few hours. I saw more baby crocodiles than I have ever seen so I guess this is a great sign for the health of the river, and I saw enough big ones to remind me we do live in Crocodile country and to be careful around the water. A great day, a nice feed of fish and just another side of the wonderful and diverse waterways within a few minutes’ drive of the tourism hub of Airlie Beach.