74 islands of options
  |  First Published: April 2012

The second month of autumn is already here which means everything will start to become cooler.

But April is still an excellent time to be on the water in the Whitsunday as there’ll be plenty of pelagic, reef and estuary species on the bite.


The rock walls and rocky shorelines near the Cannonvale VMR station have been fishing well lately. This area usually offers the best fishing when there is plenty of bait present. Garfish and herring are the most common baitfish and when they are around so are the predators. There’s nothing better than arriving at your fishing area and seeing bait skipping around the place or boiling on the surface – it gives you a positive gut feeling that somewhere around the place there’s going to be some big fish lurking around.

You can catch a variety of pelagic and estuary species in this area like mangrove jacks, queenfish, GTs, golden trevally, fingermark and many more can show up in numbers at the right times.

The fishing platform near the Shute Harbour boat ramp has also been fishing very consistently. Although this area can become quite busy at times, it still offers some sensational land-based fishing.

Generally, the best times to fish here and most spots for that matter, is when the sun is fading or rising. Combine this with plenty of baitfish hanging around the vicinity and some current flow; and you have some likely conditions for good fishing. As the fishing platform is located near a number of attractive underwater fish-holding features, you can catch a variety of species here.

The platform is close to a drop-off that is used as a channel for the ferries. It drops into water around 12m deep. This deep water brings in a variety of big pelagics such as GTs, mackerel species and very large queenfish

There are also numerous jetty pylons that rise out of the deep water and provide great cover for fish.

Hooking up to a big fish and landing it from a jetty or rock wall is a fishing experience that is hard to beat. The feeling of your rod buckled over and drag peeling out is always exciting and is what makes you return time after time!

Island Time

If you’ve got a boat in the Whitsundays and the forecast predicts calm weather, there are endless areas to fish. The 74 islands are a very unique part of the Queensland coastline. In no other expanse of water are there as many fish-attracting features. You could spend your life fishing the Whitsunday islands and there would still be places you haven’t yet fished.

Prime fish species to target in April include GTs, queenfish, mackerel species, coral trout, emperor, sweetlip and many others. Tuna species such as longtail and mac tuna can also show up if conditions are right.

When targeting large GTs look for areas with any rocky or reefy features near deep water. Places that consistently produce big GTs are Hook Passage, Double Rocks and the mouth of Nara Inlet. These fish can be caught all over the islands and seem to average around 20-25kg. The most established technique to catch these fish is to use large surface poppers and stickbaits.

When you’re connected to a large GT, the fish will often charge down into the depths, hanging tight to the bottom. If there are any large reef bommies in the area, you have to make sure that the fish doesn’t swim around one and rub your line in the sharp coral.

If you’re fishing an area with a lot of nasty ground and plenty of line-busting reefy structure, it’s best to tow your fish away from hazards. You need a very tight drag and someone ready to operate the boat. When a GT strikes, pull the fish into open water by powering away with the boat.

Being connected to a green GT over 25kg with a virtually locked drag is going to be tough. The first 20 seconds can be brutal – but once you’ve towed the fish into deep water you can back the drag off and relax a little.

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