Land Based Prawning – April 2015 – Ross Tickle

Landbased Prawning

It’s the time of year that most South Queensland fisherman dusts off their cast nets, rig up their tinnies and sets out to try and get a feed of delicious Banana Prawns. But just because you don’t have access to a boat doesn’t mean you can’t get in amongst the action as there are plenty of spots to throw a net and get yourself a feed of these tasty crustaceans.

The first thing you must master if you are after a feed of tasty prawns is how to throw a castnet. For those people who have never thrown a castnet before I would recommend a mono net around the 7 or 8 foot size to start with and is a good idea to practice in your backyard or local park before setting out.  Once you have managed to consistently get a good spread it is time to look for a suitable spot to try your luck at getting a feed of delicious Banana Prawns.

Time of Year

As with all prawning the ideal time to prawn is from late February all the way into early June. Good rainfall in January and early February is key to a good prawning season as it will flush them out in to the rivers. It is a good idea to talk to your local tackle shop and wait for good reports of prawns being caught or go out and try a few different locations at different stages of the tide to try and find a few prawns.

Cast Nets

Whilst most prawning is done ideally with a 12 foot custom made prawning net with only a top pocket I have found the best net to use land based is a 10 foot top and bottom pocket mono cast net. The reason I like to use this size net is that often times you will have to throw over a high hand rail and this can be made very difficult with a larger net. Using a cast net with bottom pockets as well is a must especially being in shallower water, often times the prawns do not shoot all the way up into the top pocket and can be easily collected in the bottom pockets.


There are a number of land based locations where you are able to target a few prawns but there are some key things to look for when finding a land based location. The first is a suitable area to throw a castnet, in most cases this means either a jetty or pontoon that allows good access to deeper water and is free of any rocks or other underwater obstructions. Secondly somewhere which has artificial light, prawns are very similar to baitfish in the fact they like to feed in the light and areas under lights can often hold good numbers of prawns throughout any time of the tide. Once you have found these spots there is nothing left but to start throwing and be persistent, often time’s prawns will pass through at different times of the tide.

Jacobs Well                  

Jacobs well is located between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and is well renowned for its land based prawning and fishing and is a great spot that a lot of people head to try their hand at getting amongst them. There is a pontoon and jetty that can both be used to castnet off and prawns can be found right up in the shallows at high tide. The jetties themselves are very popular and it is important to try and get to your spot early and be considerate of other fisherman.



Colmslie Jetty

Colmslie Jetty located just west of the Gateway bridge on the bank of the Brisbane River is one of the most popular spots to try your hand at some land based prawning. It is not uncommon on a Friday or Saturday night to have more than 30 people shoulder to shoulder getting in amongst the prawning action. This spot is particularly good to prawn on the larger high tides in and around the full moon and when the prawns push right up amongst the lights and onto the mud flats around the mangroves. Whilst there is two jetties at Colmslie Boat Ramp fishing including prawning is only allowed off the larger wooden jetty as the floating pontoon is restricted to boat launching and retrieving.

These are just a few popular spots for land based prawning but there are many spots in particular around the Brisbane and Pine Rivers which offer great access to deep water holding more than a fair share of Banana Prawns.

Time of Day

Unlike prawning out of a boat I have found the best time to chase prawns land based is from late afternoon well into the evening. There are a few reasons why I believe that night time is best for land based prawning and the first is that prawns are often drawn to the artificial light to feed on micro-organisms much the same way herring and other baitfish feed on small shrimp. The second reason that I believe prawns are more likely to push up in and around the jetties on the high tides at night time is due to the fact there is low light. The lack of light means they have protection from predators and are more likely to feed up in the shallows. If you have time it can be well worth prawning during the week as often the jetties are quieter and you have a much better chance of getting yourself a feed of prawns. It also gives you the advantage of trying different areas of the jetty trying to find the depth of water they are schooling in.

Cooking & Preparation

If you are fortunate enough to land yourself a feed of prawns there are a few steps to ensure they taste perfect. The first like all seafood is to keep them as cool and fresh as possible I like to have a bag of ice on hand and as I fil up my bucket continually add ice to keep them cool and fresh. Once I have them home I put a large pot of water on to boil on the highest heat possible. To this I add approximately a cup of rock or sea salt, I then also prepare a large container with an ice cold salty brine using another cup of salt. Once the pot is at a rolling boil I add ten to fifteen prawns and cook for a minute or two until the shell has started to separate from the flesh then it is straight into the ice cold brine to immediately stop the cooking process. Once the prawn has cooled it is important to give it a taste test and alter the amount of salt to your liking. Once they are cooked and ready to eat it is time to sit down and enjoy then with a cold beverage or two, there isn’t too much more rewarding then sitting down to fresh seafood you have caught especially when they are delicious banana prawns.


Points to remember

It is important to remember the possession limit for any prawns is 10 litres per person and not to exceed this limit if you do come across a large school of prawns. The second is that most land based prawning is done on jetties which are used by the public and it only takes a minute or so to wash off the deck with a bucket of water to clear any small rocks or debris picked up whilst castnetting, ensuring that the jetty area remains clean and free for the fishing community to use in the future. So whilst the season is now in full swing it is a great time to try your hand at some land based prawning.