View Full Version : Whitsundays Help.

26-01-2002, 06:11 AM
Hey there, long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm going on my honeymoon very shortly and the girl and I are Bare-back yachting around the Whitsundays.

As such I'm going to have a lot of time to dangle a line in. In fact I'm planning on taking 4 rods.
The bulk of the fishing will be trolling I think, and as such I've been increasing the number of lures I have by tenfold.
But no doubt I'll also find time to do some anchored bait fishing, hopefully even some sight-fishing (I've never done this properly and would love to have a go). Thank god the girl likes catching (and eating) fish, or I'd have to come up with a new plan....

Since this is largely a Queensland site (Go the Blues) I was hoping some of you guys could give me a few pointers/tips, hot-spots etc.

Any advice or assistance is appreciated.

28-01-2002, 03:12 PM
hi Elvis
are taking a sailboat or motor boat? no difference . firstly check with the charter company or tackle shop on the rules reguarding fishing areas in the whitsundays as some areas are national park with no fishing :'( but most of the place is open . use the dinghy to troll around the bays and rocky outcorps . use the birds ( the flying kind ) to loacte schools of feeding fish on or near the surface . one spot is the shute harbour jetty and the wall near the boat ramp . the charter company or tackle shop ( remember to buy something of them that info might be more easy to get ) might be able to give you an area to try as they are local poeple . enjoy the trip hope you catch some

30-01-2002, 05:11 PM
Firstly Elvis...........Go The Mighty Maroons :P

The Whitsundays offer a huge variety of fishing. Most places you anchor for the night will produce fish. Like Sawmill Beach, Nari Inlet. When sailing from one destination to another, keep within a couple of casting distances of the fringing reefs that hug the inside of the main islands and your lures should do well. Langford Reef holds great bottom action for Sweetlip and the Trevally love the poppas and slugs around the same area. My fav is casting Nilssies at the fringing reefs on a rising tide. Chucking the lure at the " canyons" you'll see with the Polaroids.

Anything can happen and probably will. Good luck with the fish, good luck with the new wife and bad luck for your Blues ;)

02-02-2002, 07:26 AM
Thanks very much lads, appreciate it. Particulalry how we'll kick your butt (as per usual) :)

Get in the dinghy and troll eh ? Didn't think of that to be honest. I was planning on simply leaning the rods (strapped of course) off the back of the boat (36.5 ft motor cruiser) as I drove around.

As for the restricted areas, that's not a big problem, I've got all the maps and whatnot, the no-fishing areas don't look too big, I certainly don't plan on stopping in any of those areas, and it won't kill me to pull in my lines in for an hour as I motor thru the restricted areas.

bugger ... got to go to a meeting. I'll be back.

02-02-2002, 12:26 PM
yeah, so anyway.

There's a place up the top of Hayman Island that apparently has lots of gamefish, I plan on motoring thru there quite a few times :)

Quick question for anybody ? Can you troll Poppers ?
I was planning on trolling 3 lines, with say 2 skirts and a minnow. Or maybe 2 minnows and a popper... any thoughts ?

What's the stroy with this guy carking it at Hamilton Island after being stung by a Irrukanji Jellyfish ? Bloody Hell, not too keen on that!

02-02-2002, 12:53 PM
The minnows sound the go. I use Mal Florence Master Blasters in Hot Pink. The good old Rapala CD18 will never let you down up there.

Skirted Lures sound good, but the poppas ??? Just keep one tied to a casting rod for when you see the mack's working.

Good luck ( cockroach ) :P

05-02-2002, 05:13 AM
I fished the whitsunday's over christmas/new year.plenty of tuna working eveywhere they wouldn't take minnows but they couldn't resist small slugs like crystal eyes or small raiders.as for bottom bashing there is a lot of small trout just about on any reef but i only caught 2 keepers for the trip.try pinnacle point at the top of hook island fish in the deep water
near the rocks,lost some big fish to the reef, need heavy line.also good anchorage in this area

05-02-2002, 09:23 AM
thanks very much lads, I appreciate it.

Of course you probably won't like me so much when I catch the world record size fish next week. :)

Weddings on Sat, fly up Monday, by Tuesday I plan on having caught 2 at least.

Jagman- you mentioned heaps of Tuna, what sort of size are you talking ?

I'm taking 4 rods.
1 (borrowed) game rod with overhead reel and double stranded 20kg line leading to braid. This will be the main line, and in the water almost all the time.

A 9ft big boat/small beach rod, with 30 pound (13.6kg) normal line on a beach threadline reel. The rods a little big I know, but I needed another heavy duty rod, and I didn't want to buy one.

2 normal rods about 7-8 foot each, both with threadlinse reels. One has 7kg line and 3kg (have 2 spools for this, my favourite rod) and the other with I think 3-5 kg line that I borrowed, I'll use this mainly for the bait fishing, maybe casting a poppa or two.

I'm also thinking about using a improvised berley trail made out of a old-stocking as I troll -Is this a good idea ?

06-02-2002, 05:01 AM
G'day elvis
The tuna only small macks and a few longtail around 4-5kg.
I used silstar powertip & a penn spinfisher 6500 loaded with 20pound fireline with a 40p jinkai leader.I was mainly casting the small slugs into the school hooking up nearly everytime.I tried trolling xmas trees & halco lazers but the wouldn't touch them.


06-02-2002, 05:09 AM
Hey Elvis

Try throwing some metal at them, I've found that they find the Yo-zuri metallic sardine and the Hydro Metal in mackerel colour very tasty indeed.

Dress the hooks regularly to razor sharp and crimp the barbs on the trebles.

07-02-2002, 07:56 AM
Cheers for that boys,
I've got a few slugs and metal spoons so I'll be sure to give them a go.

Last day at work today for almost a month. Gotta love that. ;D

05-03-2002, 07:25 AM
Well I went, I saw but I would hardly say I conquered.

I trolled for at least 2 hours every day (mostly around the passage) and got nada. A big fat zip. Used skirts, minnows, slugs, you name it.

Did a bit better moored up at night though. A lot of little reef sharks. A few little Hammerheads (including one BIG one that spooled me)
Barra's, pikes and small mackerel made up the rest. Oh and one nice Groper maybe 5kilo ? From driving around in the dinghy with a lure out the back (whoever suggested that earlier, cheers)

Everything went back in, apart from a few of the mackerel that I cut up and used as bait.

05-03-2002, 01:58 PM
Sorry to hear you didn't go as well as expected. :(

Fishing is a funny thing though. I must say that we have never missed chucking those Nils'es over the coral at Whitsunday Island and the slugs at Bird rock near Hayman.

The scenery would have made up for the lack of fish anyway.

Breat place to be 8)

21-08-2014, 09:37 AM
Ridiculously big bump.

So, over 10 years later and I'm heading back to the Whitsundays to do it all again. It's interesting how time flies, last time was on my honeymoon with lots of loving and topless new wife happiness, this time it's with waist-high kids and I doubt there will be any loving or topless viewing :(

Anyhoo, my fishing skill level has increased exponentially since then, and I am back for any recent pointers.

I've got 6 days on a 44ft Cat motorcruiser, leaving from Shute Harbour.

I'm planning to troll 2 rods whenever we move. One is a Tiagra 30 on overhead 15kg with 50pd mono, the other a crappy 50 size Okuma on 12kg rod also with 50pb mono. I was planning on trolling small-mid size skirts, some Halco wobblers, and a variety of diving minnows ala Xrap 30's. I've also got a bird and flasher teaser I was considering taking (thoughts on whether this would be worth it?)

I'm also taking a couple of 4500 and 6500 baitrunners on snapper rods I was going to use for bait fishing at night/whilst anchored.

However one of my main focuses this time is GT's (and/or tuna) I've got a Shimano sustain Fg 3000 matched to a Nitro Viper 5-8kg rod with 20pd fireline that I was going to use for throwing small-mid size poppers (80mm type), metal slugs, other divers, Jackall transoms etc. Barra/snapper/jewfish type lures.

I'm also about to pick up one of the new Daiwa Saltiga Expeditions 5500 and match it to a Shimano T-curve King Mac 8-12kg. (I'm getting this for other reasons as well) I was planning to throw mid size poppers and divers on this mainly. Williamson Jet poppers, Xrap 10's long cast, megabass and lucky craft stickbaits in about 110mm and larger soft plastics - 120mm Sluggos, Gulp, Squidgy fish etc. Should I be considering bigger lures as well? I've yet to get any line for this, but I was thinking of 50pd TD Sensor braid - Is this too light ?

The rough plan was: Nara Inlet, Cid Harbour, up around the top of Hayman and down to Whitehaven, Hamilton Island, and whatever else I can fit in. Considering I am driving/navigating (as in deciding where we go) are there any spots that have great fishing that I should consider anchoring in for a day/night?

So 6 rods total, mainly 3 different purposes. Am I missing anything ? Targets are: Trout for eating, pelagics for trolling fun, GT's for sportfishing joy.

I've been Googling pretty heavily, but there is a bit of a lack of Whitsunday fishing specific information.

Is my plan to target GT's viable? What sort of rough size could I expect (as in - is my gear suitable).

Is there a tackle shop in Airlie Beach that is worth visiting?
Is is worth taking a throw net or am I better off trying to jig up some squid at night for live bait?

Thanks for any help gents.

(note I very politely have not mentioned either the Blues or the Waratahs..... oh...wait, I just did...oops :D )

21-08-2014, 02:56 PM
Hi Elvis, drop me a personal email kc@whitsunday.net.au. I have 30 years up my sleave here and am sure I can spend an hour or so with a zoning map and put you on some good fish. Plenty here but takes time to work them out. Happy to point you in the right direction and help show off how good we have it up here.



22-08-2014, 07:35 PM
Hey Elvis,
I'm no Whitsundays expert, but have done a few self guided trips in my trailer boat. Whitsundays Tackle World at the BP on the RHS coming into town, is well worth dropping in to.
Personally, I've found the fishing around the islands fairly tough. Langford Reef just on the edge of the Green zone has held some nice trout. There's GTs around the bottom of Hook is when the tide rips through, but you might struggle to stop them with less than 50lb gear. Cid Harbour is a sweet anchorage as is Nara Inlet.
Can you go to the outer reef in the hire boat?

23-08-2014, 08:49 AM
Hi Fishard.
I don't think you can go to the outer reef in a hired bare back.

As for the GT's after some googling I've revised my line and plan on getting Jerry Brown Hollow care in either 65pd or 80pd to go on the saltiga.

Any thoughts on using the bird/flasher teaser? Is there likely to be larger game fish (sailfish, small marlin, larger tuna, wahoo, etc) in and around the general area?

Also bait fishing whilst anchored: Will I have any trouble getting some livies (jigging up squid a night, or berleying for garfish or yakkas or something)

31-08-2014, 08:49 PM
Hey elvis, there are marlin and sailfish here August to December and gts and Spanish macks august sept. Fish headlands isolated rocks look for bait schools an birds and blue water wide of hook n hayman Islands good luck. Catch fusiliers and use them as live bait n hang on :-)

09-09-2014, 10:41 AM
Nice bump in the posts, love it.
Just wanted to say, don't forget your tender, it makes an ideal fishing boat that can get into some tricky areas. I've had some great sessions from the humble tender.
Cid Harbour is one of my favourite fishing spots, many fish caught on the troll or flicking from the tender.

17-09-2014, 02:37 PM
hi Mick, yeah I got a kick out of a 10yr+ bump. What happened to those 10 years?

So I've got my Saltiga, soon to be loaded with Jerry Brown 65pd.
i've been stocking up on Williamson poppers and stickbaits.

Am going to pick up a rod case, and have upgraded my rods to take 6. Can't wait.

b j p
06-01-2015, 09:38 PM
Awesome. Sounds great!

b j p
08-01-2015, 08:06 PM
How'd this trip get on Elvis?

I'm planning a similar Honeymoon trip (albeit, I put the kids "in front of the horse") in late March 2015. Looking at a sailing catamaran (with tender). Whilst, as you mentioned on your trip, I don't think it'd be a seek and destroy on fishing, it'd be great to hear your thoughts on the best places not only to fish, but also to visit and spend time.

I would expect a bit of trolling behind the yacht where practical and then from the tender, and at anchor from the yacht.

09-01-2015, 05:10 AM
Hey bjp, we eloped to Airlie beach about 12 years ago, got married and then spent a week on a bare boat charter. We trolled a lure or two out the back just about everywhere we went. Only caught one mackerel trolling. We made sure we anchored out of the green zones each night and caught fish every night. A lot were under size, but usually got a couple for a feed. Got a couple of squid doing this also.

For what it is worth, we got a motor boat rather than a yacht. Haven't done much sailing, and figured it would just be simpler with the motor boat. There were a lot of yachts that seemed to do most of their travelling with the motor, sails down also.

I can't remember the anchorages we stayed at, the missus has them all written down somewhere, I will see if I can find it.

09-01-2015, 11:07 AM
Apostle Bay, Stonehaven, Syd Harbour, Hughes Point, Turtle Bay, Refuge Bay - Nara Inlet.

There are some permanent moorings in some places, some in 25 metres of water. Pretty sure these were out from Apostle Bay, but was a long time ago. We never managed to get onto the ones in the deeper water, they were always occupied. Reckoned there would be a chance of bigger fish off the deeper moorings.

The weather will dictate which anchorages you use. If the wind is up, pick one in the lee of the wind.

b j p
09-01-2015, 11:48 AM
Thanks Bremic. Yeah I had leaned towards the motorboat, but the other half is a sailor so had to give in. From chatting with the bareboat guys, you can stop the yacht pretty quickly with the press of a button. The yacht also had an inflatable with small outboard will could potentially sneak off before everyone wakes up to catch some plastics etc or hit some shallower water. I've heard people haven't had much luck trolling which really surprises me in those sort of waters. Looking forward to just leaving a live bait out at night with the ratchet on for the best sounding alarm clock ever!

Any of those anchorages must not miss places?

b j p
09-01-2015, 11:54 AM
Gotta be a pretty good place to catch nothing though right? :)

09-01-2015, 01:57 PM
Not really any super special, all are worth a visit. I did like Apostle Bay, we had that to ourselves. A couple of other anchorages there were lots of boats around, sound carries well at night, so you lose some of the serenity. We never got to anchor for the night at Whitehaven. Wind was up when we visited and is fairly exposed. Stopped for a play on the beach via the dinghy a couple of times. We had a tender as well, I think they all do. Mandatory really, there is plenty of opportunities to get off the boat and have a look from the shore.

Our boat had a GPS that was only good for depth readings, didn't give any indication of bottom, baitfish etc so we were fishing blind. Didn't mind too much, we weren't there for the fishing as such, but we did get a few feeds.

b j p
09-01-2015, 10:19 PM
That reminds me to dig out my old hummingbird portable sounder. I did think about that a few weeks ago. It doesn't show super fine definition but should do the trick, particularly putting/drifting in the dinghy.

Pretty pumped!

25-01-2015, 01:50 PM
Apologies for not updating. BJP sending me a message reminded me.

I’d like to say thanks to those that helped out with PM’s, emails, thread replies and everything. Much appreciated.

Whitsundays trip report. Early December 2014
(no pics at this stage sorry, they are still on my phone)

We had two boats, 44ft motor-cats. 3 families split up and fluctuating between them. 5 nights, we should have booked 10.

Thanks to Qantas losing my bag on the flight up, that contained probably 90% of my fishing gear, I was hampered right off the bat.
Wife and kids, 5 bags and a rod tube between us- they don’t lose my freaking undies or t-shirt do they? noooo... they manage to lose the gear I had spent several thousand dollars and months collecting. Thanks for that. (I got it back the day before we went home, most of it never got wet)

My grand, well-researched, well supplied and much dreamt about plan to target huge GT’s went out the window before I even got on the boat. Nix to that.

I borrowed a handful of lures and a reel off one of the other guys (So I had 7 rods and only 2 reels). I was trolling for Marlin with a 6500 baitrunner and snapper/jewie rod, the other outfit was a 8ft Zenaq GT Rod with a Saltiga Expedition 5500 and 65pd braid. Needless to say, I tied that one to the rail pretty well when trolling.

We took the boat from Shute Harbour. Went to Nara Inlet, Cid Harbour (twice), Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Is, some place I forget within sight of Hayman Is, Butterfly Bay and a couple of other places I forget the names.
Top speed on the boat was 10-12knots, so by throttling back just a smidge I was perfect trolling speed. Everytime we moved I trolled two lures out the back, mainly small skirts but also Xraps and tremblers. Skirts were the standout- and also by far the easiest to use, no tangles, you can see them pop, and due to relaxing/chatting etc. you tended not to watch them as closely as when normal fishing, so being able to lean over from the top deck and see them clearly was a winner.

After a ridiculously long training session from the Charter people (seriously, do I really need a 40min lesson on how to use a sextant thingy?) we set out bright and early and crossed the passage……

….The other boat was running 200m in front of us when I saw the strike behind them. Then the first jump- they hadn’t noticed. Frantic yelling, CB calls and mobiles ringing finally worked.
The bro-in-law played and landed a smallish Black Marlin as we circled in the other boat and all the kids got a great view. This was within 2 hours of leaving Shute Harbour! everyone was over-excited and on a high. This was the same bro-in-law whom I had to convince to take light game gear and skirts "are you sure there are marlin inside the reef? I wasn't going to take the Tiagra"…He did a great job as it was him, the wife (driving) and most of the little kids. Everyone else was on the other boat taking video. I’ve got a great photo of him holding the marlin up chest height in his bare hands prior to release.

We pull up to some bay (Pinnacle Bay I think) within sight of Hayman for the afternoon/night. 5 mins after we drop anchor there is a GT hanging around that was the size of a fridge - an absolute monster. The boys all scrambled like mad and threw poppers all over the place for nada.

I was dangling a piece of cooked steak that night for ages, beer and ciggie in hand, how's the serenity... time for a leak..I hand the rod off to the Canadian tourist bro-in-law... he hasn't even sat down before the rod bends over and he lands a big batfish, he was wrapped, and it became a in-joke. Whenever we hadn't caught anything for a while - pass the rod to Jase, at one stage he was holding 4 rods.

Little batfish and the like were everywhere at night. Without my bait jigs/small hooks/squid jigs, my plan to catch livies was dead in the water. Cooked steak for bait it was. All food scraps (prawn heads, bread etc) went in the water, this brought up a variety of fish. One night was a school of small GT's that would only take metal slices. Big Gav took 16 metal slices up there, he came back with 2.

We get up at dawn and the 3 blokes and the eldest boy take the runabout (inflatable) out for a troll. We saw so many fish schools exploding it was crazy, they were just everywhere –yet we couldn’t get a hit. Metal slices, trolled diving minnows, poppers, nothing. So frustrating.

Half the day was lost as bro-in-law No.1 self-impales himself in the arm with a 12/0 marlin hook as he is re-rigging. It was in very deep thanks to us spending a whole afternoon at home sharpening the hooks before we left. Off to Hayman island to get the nurse to cut it out. $300 just to tie up at the wharf for 2 hours, another $300 for the nurse to cut it out….an expensive mistake indeed, but when you are having beers pre-dawn and are onto Rumbos/Dark and Stormies by 9am these things happen.
Despite the fact that 3 staff at Hayman came down to help us tie up and smile at the hook-in-the-arm, one guy crazily does the total opposite of what the headguy is saying and we manage to hit the dock diagonally despite being in neutral and being pulled in from 2ft out. Small hole in the side of the boat- thanks for that. Onto the radio with Charter base to check insurance- no dramas all covered. Phew.

Anchor in Nara inlet the next night, the wives and kids have a great day on the beach. Right on dusk we take the runabouts out. We tie the two of them together to make a double wide super duper mega inflatable (quickly named the ‘Double Ender’). 3 blokes and 6 kids (in lifejackets) and we were off to see what we could see. A bit of exploring saw us near the reef at the entrance to the inlet….
”oh sh!t look at all the splashing over there! Go Go Go!”
“Kids Kids, look at that right in front of us, right there!”
I cast a Williamson Jet-popper into the school.
All the kids are looking…pop…pop… BANG! this monster Mackerel jumps fully 3ft clear of the water as it smashes the popper. All the kids see it from less than 30ft away. The Saltiga 5500 and 65pd braid makes smooth work of the 15kg Metre+ fish. One of the most enjoyable fish I have ever caught, my boy still talks about it 2 months later. Mackerel steaks that night on the BBQ.

Next day saw us off to Whitehaven, partway there I turn around to check the lures…Yep that one is all good...hey where’s the other one? Oh sh1t... I run down to find the 6500 baitrunner is down to the backing, man it took a long time to land a metre long barracuda. My 9yr old learnt a lesson too, when Dads' rod is bent over and the reel is screaming- don't get between him and it!

Pottering around in the inflatables at night/afternoon saw a few small fish, mainly GT’s and other randoms. Not nearly as many as I thought though, nothing really decent either. 10yrs ago I caught stacks of various species doing this

A few small tuna were fought as we randomly passed a school busting up, metal slices off the front deck with the girls driving was the go here.

Staying at Hamilton Island one night was great, the kids loved the pools after having to wear stinger suits everywhere else. Adults had cocktails in the pool. I crashed the golf buggy within 60seconds of hiring it (hint: they don’t go straight if take your hands off the wheel to point at something)

I hooked and fought a MONSTER cobia for over 30mins near Cid harbour only to pop it as I reached for the leader. Had blisters on my fingers (from level winding) for 3 weeks. Kids all saw it and called it for a shark, it was like a barrel it was so fat.

A night reef fish was sharked, and the Canadians had never seen anything like it- the half fish with the bite curve. They had no problems not swimming at night after that, and daytime snorkelling had a bit more excitement all of a sudden.

My 6yr old son and I sat up late one night when everyone was asleep, we sat on the back steps/boarding platform in our pyjamas… he caught 2 reef fish all by himself as we chatted about all sorts of stuff. That hour or so was a true highlight for me, and a memory I will cherish forever.

Perfect weather until the morning we had to come back, and the rain hit like...like…like um… a lot of rain. Visibility was about 20ft, making for a sketchy ride back across the passage. I navigated solely by GPS, and about every 5mins the GPS would drop out for a minute or two and when it came back the boat would be pointing in a totally different direction. My wake trail was a continuous letter S, the other boats GPS didn't work at all so they just tried to follow me, good luck with that.

Lots of fish considering lack of gear, and also fishing was really only done whilst moving or at night/dawn. 80 billion beers drunk. Awesome trip, not too expensive when chopped up between multiple families, am having no trouble convincing the wife we should go again in a year. Also managed to get a quickie in once. :D

b j p
02-02-2015, 02:37 PM
Sounds awesome and looking forward to my trip. Now to find the DO NOT LOSE STICKERS for my gear!

Thanks Elvis. I will update with my report when I'm back later in March.