Ansons Bay

The secrets revealed - local Ansons Bay angler Bert Blackwell takes a look at what is available in his favourite place.

Approximately 35km north of St. Helens and a similar distance east of Gladstone lies what is arguably the best big bream water in the state, and home to many other species. 

Ansons Bay is no bigger than Woods Lake and has 2 km of channel, 6 km of river with extensive sea grass beds, mud and sand flats and mussel beds. This estuary is a prolific nursery fro molluscs, crustaceans and many fish. All common estuary species are present in good numbers as well as a few extras, i.e., bass and King George whiting; but the premium fish is certainly the black bream.

Bream are found in most parts of the bay, but with spawning late this year due to the better than average rainfall most fish are now in the bay where they will feed vigorously over the coming months.

I would like to deal firstly with the river, and a couple of points that may help bring that 2 kg monster to the net. Water depth is from 0.5 metres to 12 metres deep. The bottom varies from sand to weed, and rock will sometimes be encountered, all are capable of producing good fish.

An early start is almost essential as the smaller fish seem less active. The first couple of hours after daylight are the most productive, as is the case toward evening.

Most any bait mentioned will bring success as long as it's fresh. If you wouldn't eat it don't expect a big bream to either. He's the king of the castle up here and has first pick of the available food. Use the smallest, or no, sinker needed to hold bottom.

Because of the dense vegetation which often hangs out over the water and numerous logs (especially up the river), 6 kg line is mandatory to prevent these bruisers cutting you off in their barnacle covered lairs. Occasionally they cannot be stopped.

Also worth keeping in mind, last January several unsuspecting anglers had their rods snatched from their boats, stolen right before their very eyes, never to be seen again. Big bream are dirty fighters and can often be hard and fast when they take the bait.

Although most fishing done here is with bait, this water would lend itself well to the lure and the flyfisher, with an unknown population of native bass and chub mullet showing themselves during the summer months some in excess of 3 kg.

The Ansons River is a very sheltered water and can be fished comfortably in most weather with the tide having minimal effect on the fishing.

As the fish move back into the bay the river mouth and Rocky Point are favoured locations. The channel and Boarding House Flats will produce good fishing, with outgoing and slack tide being peak times for bream. A little berley may be of use when fishing the channel, but will more than likely bring a good number of the ever present toadys if used in the river. The deeper holes and sand patches up stream of seagrass beds are most productive in the channel as well as on the Flats. Good size King George whiting are also frequently taken in these areas.

When targeting the larger bream, I believe the one hook rig with running sinker is preferable to the commonly used two hook rig, these can lead  to snagging of the second hook as it is dragged through forests of sea grass and the many mussel beds.

Hook sizes should vary with the bait, # 4 to a # 1 is fine. A wander around the shallow will produce good shellfish baits, as well as nipper and sand worms for those with a bait pump.

With the abundance of salmon, trevally and other species about as well as some good size flounder, a smorgasbord of seafood is within easy reach of the recreational fisher.

The only foreseeable threats to this idyllic water would seem to be illegal netting, which is thankfully not as common as in the past, but is still of grave concern to most regular anglers.

Also of concern is current land clearing on the southern shore which has resulted in fertilizer and topsoil being washed into the bay. Drains from this land also run directly into the bay - one of which goes through our reserve. There is also a questionable operation which is located on the southern side of the channel entrance. Hopefully these matters will be addressed in the near future before it is too late.

Also worth noting is that adjacent to Ansons Bay is some of the hottest gamefish territory in our state with marlin and yellowfin tuna caught in past season rivalling anything from anywhere on our coast. Local knowledge is essential for crossing the barway if heading to sea from Ansons Bay. The locals are helpful in this department, so while you're here with your family or off for some peace and quiet on your own, remember, fresh bait, no more weight than necessary, don't take more than you need and this unique piece of paradise will produce fish and the associated joys for many generations to come as it has in the past.

Species available: bream, salmon, trevally, flathead, flounder, mullet, leatherjacket, luderick, King George whiting, garfish, ling, cod, occasional snapper.

Preferred baits: sardines, crabs, prawns, squid, nippers, mussels, pipis (clams), sand worms.

Bait, information, supplies and what's happening and where, can be obtained from the shop at Ansons Bay. Local information is always the best - especially as it is free.

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