The capital and largest city of Queensland, Brisbane is the starting point for most Australian East Coast adventures. This is one of the oldest cities in the country, and while it’s mainly known as Queensland’s administrative and business centre, it’s certainly worth a visit—especially if you’re into fishing. Set around the Brisbane River and looking out into the bountiful Moreton Bay, Brisbane has water at its heart. Visit with a rod and a reel, and you’ll find that fishing’s part of its soul, too.
The whole of the southern coastline of Queensland is known for the diversity of its marine life. There’s something to be caught here all year round, and the various fishing charters Brisbane has to offer know how to give you the best experience for the time of year you’re visiting. Whether you’re after a Tuna or a Flathead, you’ll find your match here.
The first thing you need to understand about fishing in Brisbane is that it revolves around two clearly defined seasons. In the summer, it’s all about the big game, with Tuna, Kingfish, and Cobia making their way close to town and Marlin being caught further offshore. Come here in the winter, though, and you can expect to fill your Esky with top-notch table fare—big Pink Snappers and Bream are what fishing Brisbane is all about at this time of year.
Where to fish
Once you’ve got the season down, all you need to do is figure out where to start. Here’s our rundown of the top fishing spots Brisbane anglers need to know about:
Sheltered by Moreton Island, Moreton Bay is 14 km (just under 9 miles) from the centre of Brisbane. A massive 125 km (78 miles) long, it extends from Caloundra in the north down to Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast in the south. This huge, shallow bay has historically been an important port and access point between Australia and the wider world. Now, it’s known for its biodiversity, with around a quarter of Australia’s bird species coming here at some point in the year, and dungong, dolphins, sea turtles, and even whales dropping in.
The fishing Moreton Bay plays host to is no less diverse. Despite its shallow waters (usually between 1-8 m or 3-26 ft deep), the bay attracts a kaleidoscope of species to its artificial reefs and natural sand banks and islands. Mack and Longtail Tuna, Mackerel, Bream, Sweetlip—and of course, the notorious Pink Snapper—are just a few of the species you could encounter round here.
Some of the best fishing spots include West Peel Artificial Reef for a variety of Snappers, Sweetip, Tailor, and Bream, Harry Atkinson Artificial Reef for Snapper, Tuna, and Mackerel, and Mud Island for Tuna and Mackerel, as well as reef fish.
The sweeping meanders of the Brisbane River contrast with the dense apartment blocks of the city that bears the same name. Twisting and turning all the way up to Lake Wivenhoe, some of the river's most popular inhabitants include the local favourites of Bream and Flathead. That’s far from the end of the story though: adrenaline seekers will find that these waters are home to a large population of Bull Sharks. Brisbane River fishing usually revolves around the less toothy targets, though, with Threadfin Salmon, Sweetlip Emperor, Cod, Tailor, Mangrove Jack, and Jewfish all making their way onto the ends of lines.
Freshwater anglers shouldn’t miss Lake Wivenhoe, a huge dam located just 80 km from Brisbane The birthplace of impoundment fishing for native species, this is one of the best places in the country for Yellowbelly and Australian Bass fishing.
The best deep sea fishing Brisbane has access to starts beyond Moreton Island. Make the journey, and you’ll be out in open waters, where the ocean’s top predators are hungry for bait. Deep sea trips are best in the summer, with Marlin, Sailfish, and Tuna all putting up a serious fight on light or heavy tackle. You can find some good deep sea charters out of Manly, while Noosa and Gold Coast are also within easy reach and have a good selection available.
Types of fishing
If you’re after a famous Brisbane Snapper, focus your efforts around fishing at dawn or dusk. Target them by bottom fishing or jigging. Artificial lures are getting very popular in Moreton Bay—casting lures for Tuna in these shallow waters is a game fishing experience you won’t forget.
Offshore, you’ll generally be trolling for Billfish, as well as Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo. Light tackle big game fishing is popular around here, and the ultimate test of an angler’s ability. Don’t worry though—all serious Brisbane Fishing Charters stock heavy tackle, too.
Need to know
Get there: Brisbane Airport is the main international airport serving southeast Queensland. There are good train connections between Brisbane and Gold Coast, and Noosa and Mooloolaba are also a short drive away.
Budget: full day private charters cost around $2000 AUD for 10 hours, with shared charters around $200-$250 per person.
Rules and regulations: Fishing licenses are not required for fishing in Queensland, although you do need a fishing permit for fishing Lake Wivenhoe. Size and bag limits apply to a number of species: your Brisbane fishing charter will inform you which fish you are allowed to keep.