Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

The saintly serenity of St Helens Beach, Queensland

by Lee Brake on 19 Aug 2013
What the rocks! Most of the local creeks have rock bars, so don't go roaring around until you know the area. Lee Brake
Small, secluded and alluringly tranquil St Helens Beach in north Queensland is one of the state’s little hidden gems situated centrally in a bay fed by a multitude of mangrove creeks.

To say that the St Helens area is heaven for small boat enthusiasts would be pretty much right on the money. There are close to a dozen creeks to explore and fish, ranging from tiny mangrove and rock lined inlets to long meandering systems that wind inland past the Bruce Highway and offer excellent freshwater sport. Add to this more rock and mangrove flats than you can poke a rod at, a string of inshore islands, some deep holes, sandy beaches and prime land based hotspots and you have the perfect destination for the travelling angler looking to explore somewhere different.

This little oasis of piscatorial perfection is situated about 15 minutes off the Bruce Highway (turn off at Calen) and is roughly and hour’s drive north from Mackay or south from Proserpine. It’s not the place to come if you want an internet cafe on the corner and a drive through Maccas, but if you like the idea of an escape from the hustle and bustle, this is a good spot to keep in mind.


Tranquillity aside – and that’s available in spades – this is fishing county. A quick drive down St Helen’s main street will reveal to visitors just how fishing orientated this little community of less than 100 houses is. Every house has a boat – sometimes two or even three – and cast nets hanging on clothes lines, crab pots stacked under mango trees, rods leaning up against old tin sheds and empty boat trailers in various states of repair are all everyday sights. These aren’t your Skeeter owning, graphite wielding fishos either; they’re mostly retirees and holidaying farmers who prawn, crab and soak a few baits. It’s a simple life and a good one.

What’s on offer
I personally love St Helens Beach because there are so many piscatorial options available. Even if you don’t have a boat, prawns can be netted (cast or drag) off the beach near Carpet Snake Point and Skull Knob; grunter, parrotfish, whiting and flathead can all be caught off the beach and its points; mud and sand crabs can be caught by putting pots overnight around the beach’s fringing mangroves and you can even walk out to the mouth of Jane Creek at low water to chase a barra or salmon in the hole there.


If you have access to a boat, you have a host of options depending on where you want to launch and the tide you want to fish. It is possible to run around from Seaforth without much fuss. Many anglers do just this and if you’re planning on fishing the area over the top of the tide, it’s not a bad option; however, if you want to work the St Helen’s area more thoroughly, it’ll pay to launch locally, as sandbars are a key feature of the bay. The ramp at Carpet Snake Point isn’t bad, but is a half tide ramp and should also be avoided if there’s strong northerly wind blowing. From here you can fish the local creeks with ease and it is a very short run over to Jane Creek and not much further to Blackrock, Station or Saunders. All of these systems receive only light recreational pressure through most of the year and fish very well. Blackrock and Jane are also nice, deep creeks with plenty of deep holes and bends. This makes them exceptional barra, jack and fingermark creeks, and whether live baiting, bouncing plastics or trolling you can expect some impressive catches. The mouth of Jane is an easily accessible spot and there are plenty of snags, drains and holes to keep you occupied. Grunter fishos will also find some nice shale bottom through this area.


Blackrock is more extensive and, as the name suggests, it is full of rocks! As you push upstream almost every bend has another rock bar and these can yield rewards for the thinking angler and bent props for the unwary. Work the deeper sections of these on the run out tide with plastics, blades or bait for bream and jacks, switch to barra gear for the first of the run in, and then finish off by going back to the finesse gear as the tide rises to tempt grunter and fingermark. Trolling the whole system slowly with medium and shallow divers like B52s, Classics and RMGs on your first visit is a productive and informative way to get to know its layout. Further around the bay are Station and Saunders Creeks. Both of these are tricky to navigate around the bottom half of the tide and are mostly popular for crabbing, but Station does have some pockets of deep water that fish well for barra and jacks. Also worth being aware of is the Green Zone that exists at this end of the bay which encompasses the Brothers Islands and the headlands at the point of the peninsular (check your zoning map).

The inshore islands, reefs and headlands are also well worth your attention. Low Rock (a.k.a Lonely Reef) sits all by itself between Croaker Rock and Carpet Snake Point and its isolation makes it an attractive target for fingermark, the odd cod and reef fish and school mackerel. It’s best trolled or live baited, however, casting 5-7' plastics around its fringes will get results. The High Islands to the north are popular for coral trout and grassy sweetlip and are popular for mackerel trolling. From there it’s about an hour’s run out to the Smith Group of islands which are extensive and contain some excellent reef fishing as well as some outstanding anchorages, but that’s for another issue.


Accommodation
There are a few options for those visiting the area. The Mackay City Council maintained camp grounds at St Helens Beach itself are popular and sites are well kept with facilities available. Otherwise, Saint Helens Gardens Tourist Park offers a variety of accommodation and is situated on the bank of St Helens Creek back towards Calen.
Camping information Mackay website

Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportHella Marine - July 2016Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

Doors open on Thursday for Sydney International Boat Show
Doors open on Thursday for the 49th running of the Sydney International Boat Show. Doors open on Thursday for the 49th running of the Sydney International Boat Show. This year will prove to be educational, entertaining and a great day out for all the family.
Posted on 27 Jul
Lowrance® wins Readers' Choice Award
Readers of Game and Fish/Sportsman Magazine selected the Lowrance HDS Gen3 as their Favorite Fishfinder/GPS Lowrance®, a world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957, announced today that readers of Game and Fish/Sportsman Magazine selected the Lowrance HDS Gen3 as their Favorite Fishfinder/GPS in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
Posted on 21 Jul
Fisheries Victoria praises good tuna fisher behavior
Fisheries Victoria has congratulated majority of south-west anglers and people who visited region on fishing actions Fisheries Victoria has congratulated the majority of south-west anglers and people who visited the region on their general positive fishing actions and behaviour so far in the Southern Bluefin tuna (SBT) season.
Posted on 21 Jul
Champion Angler joins Product Development Team
Captain Ray Rosher has joined the company’s Product Development and Pro Staff Team. Leading boating and sportfishing products manufacturer Taco Marine® announced today that Captain Ray Rosher has joined the company’s Product Development and Pro Staff Team.
Posted on 14 Jul
Victoria welcomes nine new Fisheries Officers
The appointment of newly Fisheries Officers across the state will bring the team looking after Victoria’s fish stocks The appointment of nine newly-trained Fisheries Officers across the state will bring the team looking after Victoria’s fish stocks up to full strength.
Posted on 14 Jul
Fishing attachments plus one handle equals more space
From a family of warriors to the hardcore offshore angler fishermen often end up with a boat that's crammed full of gear From a family of weekend warriors to the hardcore offshore angler, fishermen often end up with a boat that's crammed full of gear. To solve that problem, Shurhold offers a line of fishing accessories that fits its One Handle Does It All system. It helps solve the onboard storage problem and makes fishing more enjoyable and productive.
Posted on 8 Jul
Barz floating sunglasses - Ideal for sailing in rough conditions
Our SAN JUAN floating model fitted with 1.1mm Acetate Lenses have a density of 0.95 GM/ML Barz floating sunglasses float in rough conditions. Most sunglasses that say they float, only float in the bathtub as once they break surface tension (or if there is any movement on top of the water)... down they go...
Posted on 7 Jul
Sydney International Boat Show – A pilgrimage for boaters
Connecting the two is a ferry service that also gives show visitors a bonus voyage across the magnificent Sydney Harbour The event is well known for delivering a comprehensive variety of products, across all boating sectors. Joining local visitors, the show also has a large number of guests from across the country as well as overseas, making it the ideal location for the marine industry to use as a base to launch new products and services.
Posted on 5 Jul
Sydney International Boat Show – A pilgrimage for boaters
Connecting the two is a ferry service that also gives show visitors a bonus voyage across the magnificent Sydney Harbour The event is well known for delivering a comprehensive variety of products, across all boating sectors. Joining local visitors, the show also has a large number of guests from across the country as well as overseas, making it the ideal location for the marine industry to use as a base to launch new products and services.
Posted on 5 Jul
Fine for keeping koi carp without a permit
A 51-year-old Ocean Grove man was found guilty and fined $1,745 in Geelong Magistrates Court over possession of koi carp A 51-year-old Ocean Grove man was recently found guilty and fined $1,745 in the Geelong Magistrates Court over the possession of koi carp.
Posted on 4 Jul