Land Based Game Fishing: The Catwalk, 1770

On the 24th of May, 1770, Lieutenant Captain James Cook and his crew landed the Endeavour on Queensland soil for the first time. To commemorate this famous landing, this historic piece of coastline was named the Town of 1770. This tiny coastal village is situated on the Central Queensland Coast and is approximately 500kms north of Brisbane. In the past decade the Town of 1770 has become a really popular fishing destination for the younger generation of LBG enthusiasts, as Kaydo’s Land Based Game specialist Goshie explains in his first article for 2016.

The Catwalk is number one rock fishing hot spot in the Town of1770 and is rated by many as the best spinfishing ledge on the Australian East Coast. The Catwalk is perfectly situated on the easternmost point of Round Hill Head. This is where the mouth of Round Hill Creek mixes with the oceanic currents and this provides the perfect location for a big pelagic predator to ambush hordes of unsuspecting baitfish. Popular gamefish like Spanish mackerel, longtail tuna, giant trevally, golden trevally, queenfish and the odd juvenile black marlin have all been captured from the Catwalk.
Kody Granger with a sight casted long tail tuna.

Kody Granger with a sight-cast long tail tuna.

SPANISH MACKEREL

The best time to target Spanish mackerel from the Catwalk is between September and December. The majority of Spanish mackerel encountered by rock fisherman in these subtropical waters are often school sized fish ranging between 6-15kgs. The early morning spin session is most productive time of day to chase mackerel. These fish have phenomenal eyesight and over the years I’ve hooked plenty of mackerel well before the sun has hit the horizon. When there is a hot mackerel bite and there are plenty of fish around you will encounter the odd fish during the day. The late afternoons can also produce good numbers of fish as the mackerel seem to come close to the rocks to hunt prey within the shadow lines that are created over the water by the large cliffs behind the Catwalk. Some of the best lures for targeting mackerel include the Rapala X-rap SRX14, 5Inch Mack Bait, 50gram Flasha and the 85gram Surecatch Knight. When targeting mackerel it’s important to use a short 30cm length of 60-80lb single strand wire. This will prevent your lure from being zipped off by these toothy predators.
Chris Weeks with a 12kg Spansh mackerel.

Chris Weeks with a 12kg Spansh mackerel.

LONGTAIL TUNA

Longtail tuna are a fantastic spinfishing target due to their aggressive feeding habits and line burning capabilities. Longtails are also known as northern bluefin tuna and these hard running fish can be captured almost all year round along the Central Queensland coast. The larger fish usually show up around September to November while the smaller sized longtails are more prevalent between December and May. The most effective and exciting method of targeting longtails from the Catwalk is to sight-cast these fish between 8am-3pm when the sun is high in the sky. The Catwalk is the perfect location to sight-cast longtails as it is predominately a sand bottom ledge and on a clear day you can easily spot these migrating tuna from a long distance away. With a good pair of polarised sunglasses I can often see pods of tuna approaching the ledge from more than 200-300m away. Longtails have a very dark coloured backs and they look like black torpedoes motoring through the water. When the tuna are travelling in big pods with more than a dozen fish they will usually feed with more aggression. In some areas in Australia like Morton Bay longtails will only feed on small lures, however at the Catwalk they seem to attack everything from big metals, surface plugs to even soft plastics. During a recent trip to 1770 I had a lot of success chasing longtails on the new GT Icecream surface plugs.

TREVALLY

During the warmer months packs of GT’s and golden trevally can often be found terrorising schools of baitfish. Trevally are opportunistic feeders and love to cruise along the rocks looking to ambush prey around the big bommies scattered in front of the Catwalk. These trevally will take a wide variety of lures and they also love big soft plastics. The numbers of GT’s proved to be a little scarce this year with only a few fish landed sporadically throughout the season. Mark Bloomfield nailed a solid 18kg fish in October this year on a 50gm Flasha spoon that was slowly jigged close to the rocks. I have found that GT’s prefer feeding during rougher weather and seem to come on the chew when the swell is up and the water is a little bit murky. Golden trevally are also prevalent during the summer months and are usually taken on slow moving lures. These fish usually feed on the bottom and the best way to target then is to slowly jig your lure across the sand bottom. During the recent 2015 season I managed to land a solid 15kg golden trevally by that ate a “king of chrome” 5inch Mack Bait that was fluttering on the drop.
LBG specialist and Kaydo writer Goshie with 15kgs of golden trevally.

LBG specialist and Kaydo writer Goshie with 15kgs of golden trevally.

QUEENFISH

Large queenies can also be captured from both The Catwalk and also from inside Round Hill Creek. The green maker buoy near the Captain Cook Monument is an awesome place to throw lures at big queenfish. There are plenty of metre-plus queenfish lurking around the inshore waters of 1770 and these predatory fish will take metals and surface lures. In my opinion queenfish are a highly underrated sportfish and will usually put on a spectacular aerial display when hooked from the rocks.
Queenfish are a sensational target from the stones.

Queenfish are a sensational target from the stones.

GEAR AND TACKLE

A good quality high-speed spinfishing outfit is recommended when fishing the Catwalk. Heavy duty threadline tackle is definitely becoming a lot more popular than traditional overhead spinning outfits. All reels should have a 6:1 gear ratio to crank lures at high speeds. To get the maximum casting distance out of your outfit your rod should be at least 9ft long. During the recent season at 1770 I used the new Assassin Shore Game 2XH rod and managed to land ten longtail tuna on ten different lures in one week. These Assassin rods are perfect for shore based casting and being able to throw a wide variety of lures makes them extremely versatile. Like a lot of popular rock fishing destinations in northern areas the resident sharks have become a real problem at the Catwalk. These fish thieving sharks are normally bull sharks and bronze whalers and they have learned that there is always a free feed on offer whenever someone hooks a decent sized fish. The best chance of getting your fish out of the water fully intact is to spin with a reel loaded with at least 50lb braid.
‘The Catwalk at 1770 is fast becoming the go to ledge for land based spinmen and with such a great variety of lure crunching fish on offer it’s certainly not hard to work out why.’ Goshie
Goshie

About Goshie

Goshie has been targeting large pelagic gamefish from the ocean rocks for over 16 years and is one of the most experienced LBG anglers in Australia. This keen rockhopper began his LBG career in the late nineties by chasing smaller pelagics such as bonito, rat kings and Aussie salmon from the sandstone ledges in his hometown of Sydney.

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