Weekend Escape: Brunswick Heads

Want to get away from the rat race to enjoy top estuary fishing and the laidback pleasures of a quintessential coastal town? KRIS SWERES has just the place for you!

DOTTED all along the east coast are little townships that seem to have been suspended in time. Hamburgers still come standard with beetroot, pineapple, bacon and egg and the little video game in the corner costs 40 cents. Kids still get around barefoot whilst giving each other lifts on the handlebars of their pushies. There’s an RSL where people meet up for a beer after work and the local pub has pictures of “old timers” holding up massive shovel-headed flathead. The resident bream hanging at the back of the trawlers down at the wharf are massive, uncatchable and raised almost exclusively on a diet of hot chips.

Places like this have an untouched “magic” to them and you can’t help but unwind and soak up the relaxed lifestyle. Located just south of the Queensland and NSW border is a place exactly like this, the sleepy little community of Brunswick Heads.

Like it used to be
Apart from its appealing character, Brunswick Heads has one thing that keeps me coming back time and time again – incredible fishing. Running through the middle of the town and wrapping its way upstream into private cattle property is the main river. This pristine waterway remains how I remember it to be when holidaying here as a kid. Pulling up to the ramp you can still see shimmering schools of twisting and flashing poddy mullet in the clear, clean water. Oysters grow wild on the rocks and because of its open bar, the river flushes with pure ocean tides that carry with them all the benefits of moving flow. Sand banks dotted with yabby holes resemble a lunar landscape and weed beds occur throughout the entire system. To say it’s a healthy estuary is an understatement. In a single day you can experience many forms of fishing. Flicking metal slugs and ganged pillies at the mouth for tailor, trevally and mulloway to walking surface dogs in the shallows for whiting. A little further upstream, catching bass and estuary perch on prawn-like plastics is definitely on the cards. This place is lure fishing heaven.

Target Species
The species encountered in the Brunswick River are your typical estuary fare, with a few tropical overlap specimens thrown in. Giant trevally, jacks and tarpon occasionally show up and can really make you feel like you’re fishing somewhere up north. On the other hand, schools of that iconic southern sportfish the estuary perch can also be encountered. I personally love the bream fishery that the Brunswick offers. Having some functioning oyster leases peppered along the river ensures big angry bream will be sitting amongst them waiting in ambush. I’ve found Bushy’s Top Dog surface walkers are particularly good lures when scouting around the leases early in the morning. There is no better feeling than seeing a big bream, fins flared, angrily eyeballing a surface lure under the glassy surface. When this is happening try stopping the retrieve momentarily and nine times out of 10 you’ll get smashed. Heart pumping stuff indeed. Jackall Chubbies, Atomic Hardz and Pontoon 21 Crack Jacks all produce fish when the surface bite goes a little quiet. Closer to the new moon massive schools of immature prawns can be seen moving along the bank. This in turn attracts literally hundreds of feeding bream. Although generally small fish, it’s basically a fish-a-cast when the conditions are right. I have found any prawn style hard-body or soft plastic to be most effective. Light leaders of no more than 6lb will draw the most attention but you’ll have to play your quarry if it turns out to be better than average. If you’re like me, as long as you’re catching them it doesn’t really matter how big they are.

If you are, however, chasing the bigger stuff some very respectable school jew and XOS flathead also sit in and around the oyster leases. Using a sounder anglers can locate the holes, eddies and drop-offs that so often seem to attract the bigger estuary predators. Be warned as light bream tackle will be pushed to its limits if you hook a soapie or better lizard. I’m sure there’s a couple of big fish still swimming around with some lip piercings signed by Jackall Bros and donated by me!

To specifically target these predators I like to use slightly larger soft plastics on a medium weight spin rod. The ever-faithful Squidgy Flickbaits in Flash Prawn or Evil Minnow are unrivaled in my books as a crustacean or baitfish imitation. Fish them slowly with gentle lifts of the rod for maximum results and watch for the subtle takes. Big jewfish can sometimes hit as softly as a small bream. If you do hook a bigger specimen don’t be afraid to use your electric motor to steer them clear of gnarly country. By letting them run on a slightly lightened drag you can successfully wear them down enough to slip into the net. Although the Brunswick rarely gets deeper than five metres, it holds some monster jewies.

The Brunswick River is definitely the sort of place you’ll want to spend at least a weekend exploring. Accommodation, like anywhere, can range from budget style camping (which is what we do – and love!) to B&Bs and higher end places. Terrace Reserve and Ferry Reserve are the two main caravan parks and offer simple powered campsites as well as more upmarket cabins. Ferry Reserve Caravan Park is pretty awesome in the sense that it’s literally right on the water and even has a ramp (suitable for small tinnies only). Prices are pretty reasonable and it boasts great amenities. A hot shower, toilet and BBQ can be gifts from above when you’re camping! The Brunswick Hotel also offers accommodation if you enjoy a cold beverage and hot dinner before you retire for the night. As with any of the east coast’s holiday towns, Brunswick Heads can get a little hectic around prime holiday times such as Christmas and Easter so early bookings are advised. I prefer to head down in the off times and virtually enjoy the river to myself!

Having a boat isn’t entirely necessary to fish the river either as there are plenty of rock walls and groynes along the banks. Fresh local bait fished on as light line as possible with a small ball sinker will see you catching fish very quickly. If you’re planning on throwing some lures around, a selection of soft plastics, a selection of bream style hard-bodies and a couple of metal slices are well recommended as a starter kit.

For a more detailed view of the area, check out – this will pretty much tell you all that the “Brunz” has on offer as well as weather and tides.

So if the idea of quick weekend getaway to an unspoiled coastal village with great fishing appeals, have a look at the Brunswick River and get back to life’s simple pleasures. See you out there!

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.