Making the most of Fraser
  |  First Published: July 2011

When it’s raining cats and dogs, with howling southeasterly winds that rarely drop below 25 knots, topped off with swells of 3-4m, conditions are not exactly ideal on Fraser.

But there are always ways to get around these conditions to appease that persistent need to wet a line with at least some prospect of success.

We recently experienced such conditions on Fraser. So we escaped to the western beach where the seas were calmer and fishing in the rain was tolerable. We made it to the beach north of Awinya Creek and managed a modest bag of mostly bream and flathead.

We ventured back to the ocean beach and went looking for opportunities. Fortunately there was no shortage of good low water gutters that provided fishable conditions over the lower part of the tide. The best of these were south of Dilli Village, between the two jump-ups on to the inland Hook Point road.

The ever reliable dart did not let us down but there were also a few tarwhine and big whiting taken as well. Even though the ground swells had us fishing on near dry sand one minute, and up to the waist the next, fishing here was enjoyable but exhausting.

Our party included a number of very young anglers, all of whom were enthusiastic about trying out their matching rods and reels they got for Christmas. Conditions on the open beach were out of the question, so we travelled north to Waddy Point, then back to Indian Head. Although the protected gutters behind Waddy looked inviting, there was little to thrill the young ones.

The northern side of Indian Head however, provided an excellent gutter separated only from the big seas by a sand spit. It wasn’t long before the supervised youngsters were nailing fish. Admittedly the majority were butter bream but that didn’t worry the kids one little bit. A few whiting, tarwhine and, quite surprisingly, small silver drummer were also beached. These were the first fish ever caught by some of the very young children and they were stoked! For me this was the highlight of the two weeks spent with our young families.

More recently, the island has seen some excellent conditions. Dart have been prolific right along the beach. It would seem inconceivable, considering the numbers of adult and juvenile fish that they could ever be fished out. Nevertheless the decision makers have decided that dart need to measure 30cm with a bag limit of 30. You will recall my optimism that this year would see the return of the sand whiting to our ocean beach.

There has been a cautious start with fish of excellent quality. Hopefully when conditions settle down we will see more of them. A number of big tarwhine have also been taken out of the gutters; however there have been very few bream amongst them.

July is the traditional start to the annual tailor season and in May there were already reports of scattered schools moving into the beach gutters. There has been a lot of activity just offshore where it looks as though tailor are hammering bait fish, much to the delight of the sooty terns.

Fraser Transfers

Details of transport to and from the island change from time to time, so here is an update based on current information.

Fast ferry services from Hervey Bay (Urangan) to Kingfisher Resort no longer operate. Instead a barge service, with bus connection from Hervey Bay, operates between River Heads and Kingfisher Resort. The barge also caters for vehicles. This service departs from River Heads at 6:45 am, 9:00 am, 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 6:45 pm and 9:30 pm. Return services depart from Kingfisher Resort at 7:50 am, 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 8:30 pm and 11:00 pm. For the visitor travelling to the ocean beach, it means taking the single lane track via Cornwell’s Break.

The Fraser Venture barge continues to provide an excellent service between River Heads and Woongoolbver Creek. Services leave River Heads at 8:30 am, 10:15 am and 4:00 pm. From the creek, barges leave at 9:00 am, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The road across the island to Eurong via Central Station is mostly two separated one-way tracks.

For both River Heads barges the return vehicle fare is $150 and booking is compulsory by phoning 1800 227 437.

The barge service linking Hervey Bay (Urangan) no longer operates on a regular basis.

At Inskip Point there are continuous services operated between 6:00 am and 5:30 pm by Kingfisher and by Manta Ray. Return barge fare is $100 and booking is not required. Once on the island, vehicles travel north along the beach when conditions permit. Alternatively vehicles take the inland track as far as safe access points onto the ocean beach.

In my May QFM column I mentioned the closure of visitor facilities at Happy Valley. The precinct of the shop, restaurant, bar and fuel station was regularly a hub of activity for a variety of visitors like backpackers, day tourists and (sometimes grubby) anglers, not to mention the locals. The only visitor facilities on the island are now at Eurong, Cathedral Beach, Orchid Beach and Kingfisher Resort.

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