Time to Nab a Crab
  |  First Published: April 2003

APRIL is a great month for outdoor pursuits at Rainbow Beach. The weather is cooler and more pleasant, and the ocean is still very inviting for a surf or a swim. Most importantly, the fishing, both shore-based and offshore, is usually very good at this time of year.


Beach fishing has been very good lately, with some excellent fish being taken. Quite a few large bream and tarwhine have been active, and these fish should increase in numbers throughout April. Large elbow-slapper whiting have also been taken in reasonable numbers.

During April the beach fishing should continue to be very good. If you want to take some nice beach fish, get yourself some quality fresh bait and fish late afternoon, during the night, or the pre-dawn through to about 7am.


Fishing in the bay has been slow lately, with only a few whiting, jacks and bream, but the crabbing has been very good. Mud crabs have been around in good numbers after the rain, and plenty of people have been out chasing them. If you ever set your pots up this way, keep your eyes out for ‘Ding’ and Wayne ‘Dodgy’ Hayes, a couple of very successful local mud crabbers. Their crab boat is an 18 foot Canadian Air Boat, powered by a 502 Chev engine, and they tell me that it has several advantages over a tinny. Firstly, it can travel at speeds of over 80 miles an hour, and secondly, it doesn’t require much water and can power over sandbars.

During April the mud crabs should still be available, and over the Easter break they’ll be highly sought-after. Easter is a very busy time in Rainbow and many locals avoid crabbing due to the high incidence of ‘share farming’ (crab pot theft). If they do catch someone in the act, many of them get very aggressive.


I love bottom fishing, but during Summer it can sometimes be frustrating, with scattered fish and strong currents. During April, however, I’ve had excellent success on the wider reefs in past years. April right through to September is the best time of the year for reef fishing off Rainbow Beach.

Recent calm weather has seen the boaties returning with excellent catches of Spanish mackerel. It has been very pleasing to see the good run of fish averaging around 8-10kg, mostly taken at the ‘Pinnacles’. Most of these fish have fallen to trolled baits, but a few anglers have successfully applied trolled lures or live bait.

Bottom fish have been reasonably active on the inshore reefs, although my last trip was affected by sharks. Early in the day we were having a ball catching red emperor, sweetlip and squire, but then the sharks moved in. The reef fish were there in good numbers, and you could get a hook up very easily, but on the way to the surface the sharks snatched an easy meal. We tried some moves but they soon found us. We decided to move a few miles away and avoided the sharks, but we started catching large catfish. Very frustrating!

During April the offshore current should start to ease, and some trips to the wider reefs may be possible. In the past I’ve found the end of the month to be productive for pearl perch, squire, scarlets and reds. From here on it should only get better.

1) ‘Ding’ and Wayne ‘Dodgy’ Hayes, a couple of very successful local mud crabbers.

2) George Tilgals of Buderim with a brace of tarwhine. Quite a few large bream and tarwhine have been active lately.

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