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Be safe, rock fishing
  |  First Published: October 2016



This month will see Fraser Island’s tailor season reach its peak. It’s been a good season so far, but we can now expect the overall quality of catches to improve right into November. During August and September, the headlands and beaches, 400m south of Indian Head to 400m north of Waddy Point, were closed to all forms of fishing.

Now that October has arrived, the closure doesn’t apply. We’ll be seeing top tailor spots like the northern faces of Indian Head and Waddy Point lined with keen tailor anglers. I should point out that north of Indian Head, the beaches and headlands of Middle Rocks are zoned green, indicating total closure to fishing throughout the whole year.

The August and September closure is intended to give a degree of protection for spawning tailor. Tailor spawn have been identified in the Indian Head to Waddy Point zone, but it’s expected that spawning takes place along most of the Fraser Island East Coast. One of the biggest concentrations of spawning fish is to be found in this area. It’s always a pity that other species can’t be targeted during these months.

On the northern side of Waddy Point, there are sand bars and gutters protected from southeasterly weather. Along with the adjacent inshore rocks, these can produce some good fishing for whiting, bream, dart and flathead. Unfortunately, these areas up to 400m north of Waddy Point are off limits to fishing families during the September school holidays. The same situation exists on the northern side of Indian Head.

The opening presents some furious tailor action, for those who don’t mind fishing from potentially crowded rocks along Indian Head’s northern face. It’s interesting to see the enthusiasm of tailor anglers, who can’t wait for the lifting of the closure at noon, 30 September. Of course, Fisheries officers are usually on hand to supervise. Over the last decade of closure openings, we’ve seen spectacular catches where anglers were quickly scoring their bag limits of 20 big tailor. There have been others where scarcely a fish was taken.

Now it’s October, we can put that aside for ten months and freely target many species that are found in the previously closed zone. The abrupt faces of Indian Head provide some opportunities for rock fishers, but the prime emphasis must be on safety. Following the uneven path from the beach along the northern face, a low area of broken rocks extends north, called ‘The Pebbles’.

This is a renowned tailor spot, but it can also be good for bream, tarwhine and dart. Sand movement around the headlands is just as fickle as it is along any of the beaches. At times, deep gutters cut in close to the rocks. At others, otherwise good features are enveloped by sand. Beyond The Pebbles, the track leads to a small uneven platform, known by some as ‘The Gallery’. In good conditions, bream, tarwhine and spotted perch can be taken around the base of the rocks, and offshore boulders.

Of course, this is also a favoured tailor spot. I can’t recommend venturing any further around the headland from here, even though it’s possible to access some more exposed and potentially dangerous vantage points. Returning to the beach on the northern side of the headland, pronounced calm gutters might be there, if conditions have allowed their formation.

An ever-changing maze of sandbanks, gutters and lagoons extends north and west from Waddy Point towards Orchid Beach. Boat anglers take advantage of calm gutters to launch in preparation for trips to outer reefs. Whiting, bream, flathead and dart are often abundant here.

As well as tailor fishing, the rocks along the northern face fish well for bream, dart and reef species like spotted perch and Moses perch. Beyond here, a slightly elevated platform called ‘The Wall’ affords reasonably safe fishing for bream, reef fish, tailor, dart and mulloway. Access the southern end of the headland by taking the track through dunes behind it.

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Waddy Point offers some great rock fishing opportunities.

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