Off the rocks
  |  First Published: April 2012

Rock fishing offers a shore-based angler the chance to catch fish that are usually only caught while boat fishing. It is a very productive way to fish and a great experience.

Noosa National Park provides some of the best rock fishing destinations in South East Queensland. Whether in the river or the headlands, rock fishing requires a lot of safety precautions. It is essential to know how to fish off the rocks safely, but at the same time catch great fish!

In the river

There are a number of good rock fishing spots within Noosa and Noosa Heads. In the river, there are a lot of rock walls that hold good fish.

The Gympie Terrace stretch (just before Noosa Heads) has a large rock wall edging the bank and is probably the safest rock fishing destination in Noosa. It provides great food sources such as oysters, and small baitfish hiding amongst the rocks. A lot of estuary cod, bream, flathead, and the odd trevally or tailor can be caught around there.

Another great rock wall system within the river is towards the river mouth. Fish, such as bream, cod, flathead, mangrove jack, trevally and tailor are all regular catches. These rock walls are best fished on high tide when you can cast in front of large sandbanks and rocky outcrops; this is where the large fish will be.

National Park

The Noosa National Park rocks are the reason why Noosa is known as such a great rock fishing destination. It has various points and bays, giving anglers various spots to choose from to suit their style of fishing and safety comfort.

The National Park consists of seven great rock fishing spots, but the main ones are the Boiling Pot, Dolphin Point and Fairy Pools.

The Boiling Pot is the first point from the Noosa Heads side. It is a great destination for a day of fishing with the family. It’s only a short five minute walk from the car park at Noosa Heads, and has great fishing when the conditions are right. Fish available there are bream, big tailor, dart, jewfish, trevally and many different species of reef fish.

Dolphin Point is the next point along from Boiling Pot. The walk may take about 20 minutes, but is usually worth it. You can fish on the beach next to the point (Tea Tree Bay), which is the safer way, or you can fish right on the point, which is generally a safe area when the conditions are good. Expect to catch bream, trevally, tailor, cod, yellowtail kingfish, various reef fish, and sometimes tuna and mackerel when in season.

Fairy Pools is the next point along from the Dolphin Point. This is a great area to fish, casting in front of the rock ledges and reefs will get you fish! Fish including bream, trevally, tailor, various reef fish, and the occasional squire (juvenile snapper) can be caught there. Fishing the headlands is best fished early morning, just before the sunrise through to about 11am.

Tackle, Lures and Bait
In the river

Rock fishing is open to a wide variety of baits, lures and tackle. Baits, including prawns, squid, live or filleted mullet and, my favourite, pilchard, all work a treat while fishing off the rocks. Sometimes having just the hook on the end of the line and floating out a whole pilchard can attract tailor and trevally.

The simplest and the most helpful rig to use off the rocks is a sinker straight down to the hook, this will prevent a lot of snags and save lots of tackle! A size 2 or 3 ball sinker above a hook size of about 1 to 3/0 will be ideal. Lures including small minnow, surface and metal spoon style are appropriate in these areas.

National Park

You can try many different ways to use bait while fishing off the headland rocks.

Using live baits including herring, garfish or mullet, or whole dead baits such as squid or pilchards, all on different rigs work great. The main rig for using dead baits is exactly the same rig for fishing the river rocks, but mainly heavier tackle. Using a hook size of about 2/0 to 4/0, with a sinker size of about 3 to 5 will suit.

Live baits are generally floated out under a balloon off the rocks. The balloon (float) should be about 1m above the hook, and the hook size should be around 4/0 to 6/0.

When using lures, casting metal slugs off the points is probably the best chance of hooking up to good fish. Casting out far and reeling in fast is the best way to use metal slugs.

Safety is the most important thing to remember: wear appropriate footwear, always go an experienced adult, and tell someone where you are going. Make sure the conditions are good; check that the waves are small, and that the weather looks fine.

Rock fishing at Noosa will always end up as a great day of fishing. Catching fish off the rocks that are usually caught on a boat is very exciting. Remember safety is the most important thing, and when the conditions are right, have a go!

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