Fishing Hervey Bay
The pristine clear waters surrounding Hervey Bay make it one of Australia’s most popular fishing destinations for men and women who are into fishing. Hervey Bay is situated on the Fraser Coast and is a popular point from which to visit nearby Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Hervey Bay is an easily accessible holiday destination, being a 45-minute direct flight from Brisbane. It has a population of approximately 53,000 residents. Hervey Bay boasts a beautiful subtropical climate, some say its the best climate in the world, very consistent. Temperatures range from 14 to 23 °c in winter and 22 to 29 °c in summer. Hervey Bay is an attractive place, with its many beaches backed by pretty parkland and greenery. There are several picnic areas within the parkland, making it a great place for a picnic. There are many choices for accommodation in Hervey Bay, with many hostels and apartments along the Esplanade and Torquay Road, all the way to Urangan. The Esplanade is also the place to go if you are looking for food, as there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along here, there is also a modern marina in Urangan. If you enjoy fishing then head to Urangan Pier which is a great spot for fishing.
Some types of fish that you can catch in Hervey Bay
- Golden Trevally
These fish come from the jack or horse mackerel family can be seen invading the flats of Fraser Island between August and April and are a blast to catch on fly gear and light spinning tackle. These fish run six to eight kilograms in weight.
- Giant Trevally
Growing to a maximum of 70 centimetres in length and up to 80 kilograms in weight, the Giant Trevally along Fraser Island get to a 15-kilogram size. They’re a predatory fish that hunts in schools. This fish contains amazing speed and strength, which makes them fun to catch, especially if you use a fly reel and rod.
Known for putting up a great fight, whiting can be caught throughout the year in the Hervey Bay waters. The most abundant fish of Hervey Bay is whiting. These fish rip plenty of line off your fishing reel since they’re exceedingly fast.
The smaller bream are found in bays, estuaries and surf. They love rocky outcrops. This is an easy fish to find inside Hervey Bay waters. There are several fishing experts who love going after this species of fish and enjoy how well they taste.
These fish, which have a wide, flattened head with both eyes facing upward, bite on almost anything and are found from August to November in creeks and inlets of Hervey Bay.
Drifting along while jigging the bottom gets you into schools of the monster Red Emperor fish. There’s no mistake knowing when a red is on your line because they hit very hard. Another benefit of this species of fish is they are big, with several weighing eight to 10 kilograms and huge monster reds weighing in at 24 kilograms. The white meat on the thick-bodied fish is excellent to eat.
Possessing a very bony mouth, snapper can only be caught on an extremely sharp hook. Snapper can range into the 20-kilogram class.
- Coral Trout
With beautiful red colour and known to dart for cover, coral trout are fun to catch. A common size is 10 kilograms, but some grow to over 30 kilograms.
Spotted Mackerel are found in these waters. With a noticeable forked tail, mackerel run about 100 centimetres in length and weigh up to 10.2 kilograms.
Offshore Hervey Bay charter fishing operators get you into trolling for other fish species, such as marlin, tuna or mackerel. The maximum size of sailfish is 3.5 meters and they usually weigh as much as 120 kilograms.
Another species found by Hervey Bay charters are marlin. Some of the finest marlin fishing in the world can be experienced here. Species include striped, blue and black marlin. The Hervey Bay Boat Club Tournament on the 8th to the 11th of November 2012 scored a record of 169 marlins taken by 11 boats in three days. Marlin tagged and released here can exceed 400 kilograms.
For sizzling action, try fishing for tuna on spinning or fly fishing gear. March through June is the height of tuna activity, but tuna can be found year-round in Hervey Bay waters.
The name of this fish is derived from the Australian Aborigines and it means a large-scaled river fish. Barramundi lives in rivers and swims into estuaries and tidal flats to spawn. These fish put up an amazing fight and are highly sought after by Australian sports fishing experts. Some freshwater fishing possibilities result in big barramundi catches.
These long-bodied fish are found throughout the Hervey Bay waters. They primarily eat crab and can get to two meters in length and as heavy as 60 kilograms.
Although boating and fishing charters are quite popular, many locals are have had success simply catching Bream off the beach or one of Hervey Bays many piers. Bream will take most baits presented to them for Dough mix, Pillies, Prawns, Whitebait, Pipis, Worms, Yabbies or my favorite two – Mullet gut with the onion and Mullet Fillet. The bait you use for the estuary areas can differ slightly for the open water areas. While a lot of fishos target bream from the shore with bait, only a few throw hard-bodied or soft plastic lures from terra firma in a dedicated attempt to catch these fish. … These creeks and backwaters are too small for a boat – the only way to fish them is via paddle power or on foot. There are two main things that attract bream to an area and they are structure and food. If you find areas that are holding bream food, such as small baitfish, prawns, crabs and marine growth, then you are partway to catching fish.
The structure is the other key and it is available in both manmade and natural forms, with both holding fish at different stages of the tide and season. The manmade structure includes oyster leases, rock walls, jetties, pontoons, boat ramps and bridges, while natural structure includes rock bars, mangrove edges, weed beds and drop-offs. The structure provides protection, a break from the current and ambush points, while also attracting bait.
Often when targeting bream the secret is to get your lure as close as possible to the structure, to draw bream out and trigger strikes. This may be a skip cast into a shady pocket under a pontoon, a pinpoint cast close to the mangroves or allowing your lure to run just over the top of the weed and draw the bream out of cover. Offering both structure and food, including discarded bait and fish frames, jetties and boat ramps can often be bream magnets. Remember that bream will often hold tight to structure, so anglers casting away from the jetty are often casting away from the fish. Fishing vertically around the pylons can often produce more fish, however, you may need to gear up on the heavier side when it comes to line and leaders.
Best Bait. Again, duskies will eat anything. But remember big baits catch big fish. Some of the better baits include live poddy mullet, fresh strip/fillet baits, live prawns, frozen prawns & whitebait. The best time to get yourself a nice Flathead is during the day, two-three days leading up to the full moon and the following two-three days after. The preferred tide time would be high tide 7-9 Am and fish the run out from the top of the tide down. The fish will be most active two hours after the top of the tide. Flathead would be one of our most popular table species and provide great sport as well. Flathead are endemic to Australia with a number of different flathead species being found around the country. The iconic Dusky (Platycephalus fuscus) would be one of our most popular and largest of the species with the current Australian record being held by Alan Strathearn from the Richmond River in NSW weighing in at 9.440KG caught on the 14th of July in 1983. There have been unconfirmed reports of flathead as large as 13kgs & 1.2 metres in length with most large fish are measured and released nowadays.
How to catch the red emperor?
By far, the majority of Red Emperor are taken on a well-presented bait. A go-to bait would be a small whole squid on a pair of snelled hooks than a strip of fresh fish for good measure. My favourite would be a small whole fish called a Rosy Threadfin Bream, these fish are often caught out on the Red grounds. A tropical reef-associated fish Red Emporer live for around 35 years and can grow to 116cm and 33 kgs. They are found from 10-180 meters of water with mature fish commonly found in 40-90 meters. There are many successful ways to target Reds but for me using a big fillet bait is by far the best way to catch fish consistently. The rig I recently experimented with off Queensland’s Bunker Group off 1770 consisted of a 1m length of 80lb Tough Trace, 15kg rolling swivel with a combination of a snelled KLT 8/0 and DX Point 6/0 with 15cm of fluoro tube separating the hooks with a Black Magic Pink Snapper Snack skirt above the KLT hook. I added a running sinker above the trace and used 3 to 8oz sinkers depending on the current and depth we were fishing. The running sinker allowed the Red to pick up the bait and without feeling the weight before applying pressure to set the hook. If you prefer a paternoster type rig the same hook rig can be implemented with a slight modification to the paternoster. Targeting mature reds requires hard work as it is the most challenging reef fishing. When targeting Reds offshore, you have two alternatives; drifting or anchor and berleying, depending on the marine condition. Whichever way you choose, the key to successful fishing is by first locating them and then presenting large baits close to the bottom of the ocean. The best way to target large Reds is to try and overpower them.
GOLDEN Trevally are prolific in our northern waters and, as with most of the trevally family, are dogged fighters. Solid sluggers probably best describes the fighting method of goldens, as they are frequently called these days. I’m not too sure about their reputation as one of the best eating of the trevallies – I just can’t bring myself to eat one. Goldens are probably the easiest of all the trevallies to identify and therefore the least likely to be confused with their myriad of cousins. They can often be seen in small schools near the surface in clear conditions, especially if there is any berley in the water. Queensland has developed quite a specialised fishery for golden trevally in recent years. It’s based around shallow water sight fishing for goldens when they are “tailing” – that is to say feeding with their tails above their heads, as do buffalo bream in WA waters. Working the flats with saltwater fly gear in pursuit of the blubber-lipped goldens was featured a while back on one of Peter Morse’s terrific Wildfish television shows.
Giant trevally will take live or dead whole fish and fillet baits as well as soft plastics and trolled minnows, but by far the most exciting and sporting way to target them is on large surface lures like poppers and stickbaits. These fish range from the central waters of New South Wales all the way up to Hervey Bay and surrounding areas. Catch this monster in Hervey Bay.
The summer whiting generally ranges from 200 to 300 grams, but can occasionally get up to 900 grams. You would have to have a pretty large stringer of them to feed the whole family, but there are plenty of them to be caught. The winter whiting is smaller and it would take about 10 times or more as many of them to make a good fish feast. They are worth the effort though because they are quite tasty, being very succulent and a bit sweet. It’s not hard to catch more of these because you can easily catch them by the hundreds when they are around. Of course, having the right baits and being in the right spot helps. If you want to get started on catching some whiting, check out the surf gutters. Quite often you can catch the whiting on a beach just a short cast out from the shore. This is because they will enter a gutter running along the shoreline that fills with water whenever the tide rises. Those tides bring in goodies for the whiting to eat, like beach worms and pipis that bury themselves in the sand. Whiting truly are for everyone. If ever there was a ‘people’s fish’ the Whiting would be it. It has launched the angling careers of many a 3 year old. It’s the classic summer holiday fish. It has dedicated lifers who target nothing else. Dyed in the wool Marlin hunters can’t help themselves but beam with joy with a 45cm elbow slapper in their hands. Great chefs have launched careers on their delicate flavour. For most of us, it’s a special, a weekend target or the prize table fair from the day’s mixed bag.
Every year commencing in early September, the giant female Black Marlin arrive from the wide Pacific Ocean to spawn along this 250 km stretch of the Great Barrier Reef. The rich waters off the reef and nearby continental shelf offering these breeders an abundant food supply.
This period is known world wide as the Heavy Tackle Marlin Season and extends through to late December or until the heavy tropical summer storms start to dump metres or rain, cooling and dirtying up the waters and forcing the whole system back out to sea.
There are distinct cycles at work here, first the huge bait-fish schools arrive, followed by their predators, the Tunas, Sailfish, Dolphin Fish, Wahoo etc. and it is these secondary predator schools, here to do their own breeding, that the marlin feed on. Big fish need big baits – you don’t catch monster Marlin on Sardines. Refers to our rigs and bait section for more info.
Barramundi aren’t just a northern species. River systems such as Fitzroy in Central Queensland’s Rockhampton region and the Mary River on the Fraser Coast are home to some of the biggest breeding populations of barra on the east coast. The Barramundi would have to be one of this country’s most iconic sports fish and can be caught in both fresh and salt water.
The freshwater fish are generally a lot bigger in girth than the salties as they don’t have to fight current or tide. But both can be caught using the same methods.
The bottom line is Hervey Bay is a great fishing destination with a diverse range of fish.