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Dream Fishing in Lucinda

Dream Fishing in Lucinda

A couple of hundred kilometres north of Townsville lays a small township nestled on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and Hinchinbrook Island. Lucinda is a small community with a few hundred locals and all believe this place is as magical as it gets. You do not have to drive far to get from one end of the town to the other. But what makes this town so famous is the industry.

Sugar cane farms line the roads on the way in and from the water, looking back at land, shows the enormous smokestacks protruding from the view of lush green hills in the distance. The largest sugarcane mill in the southern hemisphere is located only a few kilometres out of town, and is surrounded by several smaller versions. But still the town sits by itself on the end of a peninsula on the southern end of the Hinchinbrook Channel. For me, the stories that had been told about Lucinda were the kind that only one could conjure up in dreams.

Imagine this, you have been on the road for a while driving in extreme heat. The humidity and sweat on your eyebrow brings on a thirst that can only be quenched by the drop of a cold ale. You can pull up into the local pub. Sitting in the cool shade on the verandah, you look across the road to see storage sheds - and I mean very big storage sheds. As you gaze further down the street, you can see the ocean, and way out in the distance is a ship, a sugar-carrying ship the size of a tanker. Carrying the sugar out to the ship is a jetty, a jetty that stretches for nearly six kilometres. Holding this enormous structure up are large pylons and there are thousands of them. Every one of them holds a gargantuan from the deep. For a fisherman, this is a dream place.

The facilities in the town are fantastic with a quality boat ramp, jetties for mooring, a caravan park, a small diner and café. There is even a resort with accommodation to suit everybody’s budget. The Hinchinbrook Marine Cove Resort is located at the very end of the point right next to the boat ramp. Whether you are honeymooning, or staying with the family or with just a bunch of mates, this place is the duck’s nuts when it comes to good old quality value for money.

Houseboats are also located here and can be hired out for a reasonable rate. Crabbing is fantastic for our short time out on the water, and landed us enough muddies to last a week. We did not even have a crab pot! The mud flats are vast and at certain tides, the crabs literally sit there as if they are ready to be picked. Prawns can be caught in a cast net from the flats around the boat ramp and barramundi, salmon and cod school in numbers throughout the creeks and along the rocky cliffs.

There are a few jetties located here. It is funny how a small shire such as Lucinda can recognise the values of the community and what brings the dollar into the town. Tourists can fish from a retired sugar-jetty, where stainless steel rod holders have been attached to the rails for easy use. Catches here comprise of barramundi to mackerel. But it is the grand daddy jetty where most people come to fish, for out there, the fish are massive. Not one day goes past where someone has not been smashed by something big from the deep. The average depth of water is 16 metres and live bait can be gathered from any of the pylons. Yakkas or yellowtail, scad, pilchard and herring make up the schools of bait found in the area. Dropping one of these little jellybeans down to the bottom only entices a good problem. Having the drag set heavy on your 80-pound braid outfit is important, for if anything big was to hit, you need to pull it away from the pylon before it smashes you hard. Believe me, this was something I experienced several times per trip.

If you can think how hard and how much of a dirty fighter a standard three-kilogram mangrove jack we catch on the Gold Coast is, imagine a fingermark which is of the same family five times the size and a lot more structure for them to run into. These fish grow enormous up here with many fish caught exceeding 17 kilos. Lots of other species are also encountered around the jetty as one could imagine.

Lucinda is easy to get to, a two-hour flight to Townsville followed by a short scenic drive up the coast. Flights these days are fairly cheap and with some notice and good planning, you can save a lot of money; and you are going to need to because by the end of the trip, you will need to stock up on tackle again…believe me!


By Paul Burt


This year on Season 2 of Step Outside with Paul Burt, check out these amazing locations and more every weekend on 7Mate, or catch up on 7Plus.




Published in the April – July 2020 print edition.