This seems to be the question that many anglers in the Circular Head
district are asking themselves lately. The varieties of fish being
caught have suprised the locals, with no doubt the 13 kilo snapper in
October being the highlight. Other species that have been caught in the
sporting fashion that are not usually common are King George Whiting,
pike and the snotty trevally. Throw in a few Australian Salmon, silver
trevally, gummy shark, mullet, tailor and the odd double figure flathead
and you have one of the most productive and improving estuary fishery
this state has seen in modern times.

Historically Duck Bay has been productively fished by boat, but since
the introduction of the netting ban and the reclaiming of some mud flats
on the West Esplanade it is not uncommon to see 3-4 dozen anglers
catching good numbers of edible fish, including flathead, silver
trevally and Aust Salmon. The annual whitebait migration up the Duck
river travels past the "Reclaimed" during the months of Sep,Oct and Nov
and it is not uncommon for sea run trout to be hooked during this
period. The encouraging aspect of the "Reclaimed " is that majority of
people fishing are kids and at the right times of the year the number of
visitors to the district using this facility would also suprise most. It
is a fantastic land based fishery right in the heart of this far north
west award winning town. The running sinker rig is the common and most
economical rig with baits ranging from chiken,squid and pilchards.There
seems to be a trend with light surf rigs at the moment and small star
sinkers due to the larger captures. Any rod and reel combination is
basically used with probably the ideal outfit being a 6-8 ft rod with 10
lb line on a reasonable egg beater. It is advisable to have a landing
net on hand just in case you happen to hook that monster and there is no
doubt the  best time to fish is the incoming tide about half way to
three quarters in. This part of the river never gets targeted with good
bib lures, rubber baits or even flys. The potential of this 100 sq meter
piece of water in the the 60 km zone of Smithton has to be a major draw
card for the area. Also very good to see the local fishing club have
started a tagging program which seems to create alot of interest amongst
a very broad range of people.

For the more fortunate angler who has the luxury of a boat, Duck Bay can
offer you a fantastic days fishing.The common fish the locals usually
target are Aust.Salmon and flathead and spearing flounder has an
increased interest now the estuary is zoned no netting,there is no doubt
it is a more selective means of capture and the catch rates are
generally quite high.

Trolling is the most popular means of obtaining a feed but in recent
years there has been a significant rise in using burley whilst at anchor
and fishing with baits. On a recent trip in Duck Bay whilst fishing in
this manner I landed a silver trevally, a 48cm King George Whiting,a
flathead an Aust. Salmon and a gummy shark within 2hrs. I was using
pippies for bait on a long shank hook on a paternoster{spelt incorrectly
Michael I think}rig with large beads on the knots of the 2 hooks and the
sinker.I hooked every fish on this rig where as my fishing buddy had the
same outfit without the beads and didn't experience half the action I
had for the day. We specifically went to target whiting due to the
increased numbers being caught and having read an article on different
rigs and gear was very pleasing to actually hook and land a very
good size fish. Using proper rigs and baits it is only a matter of time
before we will be seeing an increase in the hook ups of quality
sportfish and table food like snapper.It was interesting to learn the
day the 13 kg snapper that was caught in Oct.the barometer was at its
highest for the year. Another interesting aspect of the event was that
it was caught on an artificial lure which tends not to be the preferred
attractor.Over the years the odd one would appear usually caught on a
long line set for shark, but in more recent times they have been hooked
while drifting for flathead. To my knowledge I would only know of one
trip from a snapper angler from Launceston that has specifically
targetted the species in Duck Bay. There is a window of opportunity here
for anyone who wishes to seek the challenge.

Another great quality of Duck Bay is the access along Seven Mile Beach
to the estuary mouth by 4 wd It is a great place fish with surf gear for
flathead and gummy shark of an evening or even throw a lure about if the
tide is running too hard to fish with bait.


The 2 hrs before low tide and the 2 after seem to be the best due to the
current and weed being at its minimum.

Overall Duck Bay is an improving fishery and caters for every angler we
can be thankful we have it on our door step, most of the world don't.


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