Hervey Bay is a paradise for anyone who loves the ocean. Sheltered by the 123 km (76 mile) long Fraser Island, this waterway is home to both tropical and temperate fish species. Big game and surf fishing are equally good, while reef fishing is some of the best in the world. A selection of Hervey Bay fishing charters is available to test your angling skills, targeting Tuna and Trevally on the fly or heaving up huge Snappers and Coral Trout from the reefs.
This protected expanse of water attracts visitors from all over the world from July to November, when there’s one word on everyone’s lips: whales. Vast pods of humpback whales come here every year during their annual migration, seemingly using the bay as a restful pitstop in the middle of their 10,000 km journey.
Come here for the fishing, though, and you’ll find that the season lasts much longer than 4 months—there’s something going on in these waters all year round. Whether you’re looking to fill the Esky or to test yourself against some of the world’s top pelagic game fish, you won’t be disappointed. The only problem with Hervey Bay fishing is choosing what to tackle first.
Hervey Bay (both the body of water and the town with the same name) is located in the south of Queensland, and is a paradise for nature lovers of all types. And thanks to its ample accommodation and dining options, as well as the area’s numerous tackle shops, it’s the perfect base for a vacation by the water. Looking out onto Fraser Island, the largest sand island on the planet and a World Heritage Site, this is a town that simply can’t be visited without getting out on the water to explore. And with Hervey Bay fishing being so diverse, there’ll be plenty to find.
Where to fish
The best Hervey Bay fishing spots are in reach of a day’s boat ride, which is good news for charter anglers. Even shorter trips will take you exploring the bay’s numerous islands, mangrove creeks, tidal flats, and reefs. The hottest spots include Big Woody Island, whose north-eastern side is home to a reef known bleakly as “The Graves”. Don’t let the name put you off, though—this area houses delicious bottom fish like Mulloway, Morwong, Sweetlip, Parrotfish, and Snapper.
Head beyond that and you’ll find Little Woody Island. The north of the island houses broad sandy flats that are ideal for wading and sight fishing the Bay’s crystal clear waters for Golden Trevally and more (watch out for Sharks!)
Head out on a full day charter and you can see just how diverse this fishery is. Hotspots include the “Southern Gutters”, halfway between Bundaberg and the top of Fraser Island. Here, a number of deep holes attract a whole array of bottom feeders and pelagic fish, including but not limited to Coral Trout, Cod, Trevally, Tuskfish, Mackerel, Kingfish, Marlin and Tuna. You can also try the wreck of the Chin-Chow, a boat that sank near Fraser Island about a century ago and is now a hotspot for Giant Trevally, Amberjack and Cobia, to name a few. Rooney’s Point, right at the tip of Fraser Island, is famous for its Juvenile Black Marlin and Longtail Tuna, and—you guessed it—much more.
For those who want go the extra mile, the continental shelf drops quickly just beyond Fraser Island. This is where the real big game action starts. Look out for Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin in the summer, as well as Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, and Mahi Mahi. You will need at least 10-12 hours to fully experience this, with some charters offering multi day trips for diehard anglers.
Land-based anglers can sample a teaser of what’s available by fishing the iconic Urangan Pier. While this won’t give you access to the diversity of species available further offshore, Urangan pier fishing can lead to some good catches of Whiting (especially in the spring), as well as Queenfish, Trevally and Mackerel in deeper waters at the end of the pier. Shelly Beach, the Urangan Steps, and the walls of the Great Sandy Strait Marina also have potential for people who don’t have access to a boat (or who don’t want to put their fishing rod down after their charter trip!)
Need to know
Get there: Hervey Bay is 290 km (180 miles) north of QLD’s state capital of Brisbane. This is roughly a 3 ½ hour drive. You can also reach the city by high speed Tilt Train, which stops at nearby Bundaberg and Maryborough direct from Brisbane. Hervey Bay has its own airport, with flights from Brisbane and Sydney.
Budget: Trips start at $150 AUD per person for a shared half day trip. Full day shared trips cost around $200 inshore and $250 offshore. Private trips average around $500 AUD for a group for a half day or $700-$1000 for a full day. Full day sportfishing trips start at $1500 per group.
Rules and regulations: You don’t need a fishing license to fish in Queensland, apart from in certain stocked impoundments. Season closures and bag limits apply to some species and change on a yearly basis. It’s not allowed to keep Queensland Groper, Humphead Maori, and Barramundi Cod, among others. See more here.
Stalking the flats for Trevally on the fly, stocking up on big and colourful reef fish while watching the whales swim by, or battling big game. Hervey Bay has it all—the only thing you need to do is give it a go for yourself.