The Whitsundays way for May
  |  First Published: May 2006

The Whitsundays aren’t just a fishing destination. Visitors can also go diving, snorkelling or sailing around the fringing coral reefs.

Yet, if you carry any type of angling sense, you will soon be drawn into what this great fishing this location has to offer.

The Whitsundays has 74 tropical islands that house a variety of different fishing habitats. Each island is unique and holds a range of various fish species and understanding these habitats is the key to targeting a specific species. For example, inshore habitats include long white sandy beaches, tall rocky ledges and vast clear fringing reefs.

Various techniques can be applied when targeting fish in the Whitsundays. Baitfishing works well and will give you a host of species. However, many anglers use different artificial baits such as soft plastics, hard-bodied minnows and fly patterns. Listed below are some proven and exciting ways to catch different species using artificial baits.

Soft plastics

Whitsundays flatties love soft plastics. The best places to search for flathead habitats are in the shallows near sandy and muddy shorelines. Flathead rely on ambush tactics to feed, and cover themselves in sand or mud to strike baitfish and small crustaceans.

Cast a Berkley 3” Pogy near some scattered rock and wind slowly whilst pausing and twitching your rod tip erratically. These fish will strike the lure near your feet so swim it all of the way in.

You can catch flathead off the shore on every Whitsunday island, but check zoning maps for allowed fishing areas.

Hard-bodied minnows

Many fish are attracted to the irresistible swimming action of a hard-bodied minnow. The type of hard-bodied lure should be chosen to suit the profile the bait your target species favours.

GT inhabit the inner and outer islands, and the Hook Passage is a good area to look for them during May. Search the coral bommies, drop-offs and rocky points for GT with hard-bodied lures like the Storm Deep Thunder. The best places to try are where the current and baitfish combine.


Flyfishing in the Whitsundays is great fun with over 100 species to target. Queenfish will be a common catch in the sandy bays during May. One way to find these fish on the flats is sightfishing, which is easy and exciting. Queenfish regularly cruise around Windy Bay, on the outer Whitsundays islands, in packs chasing baitfish.

Be ready with a large fly, such as an all-white Lefty’s Deceiver or baitfish profile. When you spot a fish slowly cruising, cast 2-3m in front and let the fly, allowing time for the fly to slowly sink. Strip the line slowly and twitchy in front of its face. The Queenfish will not be able to resist!

These three techniques display only a fraction of what is on offer to anglers fishing the Whitsundays. Fishing with artificials can be frustrating at times, but it’s a fun and exciting way to fish once you have it all figured out.

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