Weekend escape to Hervey Bay
  |  First Published: June 2005

After a stressful two months of study a serious fishing weekend was needed, so my dad, some close friends and I planned a trip to Hervey Bay. We decided that to maximise our chances we would use my dad’s boat Risky Business, a 6.4 Star Craft, for outside work and my 13ft tinnie for the creek work. With the weather checked and fishing gear packed we headed up on a Thursday afternoon and arrived later that night.

Day one

At 3am both boats were on the water and day one was shaping up to be great – not a breath of wind and a perfect tide. Dad and his mates set off for some spots around the Wathumba Reefs leaving my good friend Matt Drury and I to head out to the Pelican Banks adjacent to Moon Point, with high hopes of bagging some nice goldens.

We waded the banks, me with fly gear in hand and Matt with a baitcaster combo rigged with a Stretch 5+ in grey ghost. The fishing was quiet for the first half hour until Matt hooked-up and after a brief fight bagged a 58cm flathead. With Matt one up on me I had to change my plan of attack, so I ditched the fly gear for a spin outfit rigged with a livie. Only 10 minutes had passed before I was on to my first fish of the trip. This fish had some decent weight behind it and wasn’t going to be taken easily. 15 minutes and several runs later, the fish had bitten straight through the heavy mono leader and had vanished into oblivion.

The next hour was quite slow; the fish seemed to be become quite picky about what they would take, so we decided it was time for another location. After leaving the Pelican Banks we trolled a drop-off and twenty minutes into the troll a nice golden had taken my gold Bomber. A few minutes into the fight Matt had hooked up on what seemed to be a decent golden. With both fish taking big runs to the bottom, it was chaotic in the boat as we swapped sides and tried to avoid the tackle boxes and eskies. After an exhausting fight both fish were landed, although the tackle was a little bit worse for wear.

Day two

Up early on the day two, the plan of attack was to head out wide for a bottom bash and troll up some Spaniards and tuna as dad and his friends had done the day before. On the ride out to our spot we had managed to stumble onto a fairly decent patch of tuna chopping up. We grabbed the spin rigs from the overhead rocket launchers, and within seconds all of the rigs’ slugs were in the water.

The first casts yielded two hook-ups to some medium-sized longtail tuna and after a few minutes the first fish of the day was safely nestled in the salty brine. After 10 minutes the school had descended to the bottom and moved off, but with a few nice tuna already in the icebox the day was shaping up quite nicely.

Unfortunately, the wind by now had picked up, making for some unfriendly weather. We began trolling some skirted lures along a fairly deep ledge, but the swell made trolling quite difficult and with only one hit in 45 minutes we decided that some bottom bashing along a nearby bombie would be a better option. We experimented with a number of flesh baits including squid, pillies and mullet. The most effective seemed to be the squid, which accounted for some nice reds, parrot and cod.

Hervey Bay is an excellent escape option for the weekend. Only a few hours drive from Brisbane, it is easily accessible for anyone who is interested in getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are a vast number of hotels and motels along the esplanade and boat ramps really close to your front door. With so many fishing options available, whether it’s from the shore or boat, Hervey Bay is a whole lot of fun.

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