Tailor alternatives
  |  First Published: August 2004

WITH SERIOUS winter conditions making a late appearance at Hervey Bay, a wide variety of species have made themselves available. In particular, reef fish like grassy sweetlip, blackall, cod and blue parrot have been taken on the deeper reefs and ledges until quite recently. A further drop in water temperatures, however, might change this.

The shallow reefs have been particularly quiet, which is normal for this time of year. The deeper reefs, in particular the Roy Rufus Artificial, have been giving up a few reasonable snapper as well but local enthusiasts are confident that the best is yet to come. Further north off Arch Cliff and Wathumba Creek, reports of snapper have been sketchy. The fish being taken there aren’t of outstanding quality.

Diver Whiting

Diver whiting have been reported from all the popular areas as well as some spots that rarely see them. Gutters draining the Mangrove Island system have been producing a particularly good class of fish, with the majority exceeding 25cm. Gatakers Bay has continued to fish well, as have areas inside and outside Dayman Spit, off Torquay.

This month, local and visiting light-line anglers will continue to make good catches of this delightful little fish. We are still hearing reports of huge individual catches by a minority of fishermen, who are making them day after day in reasonable weather. It will be interesting to see whether common sense prevails and our fisheries managers impose minimum size and bag limits.

Sand Whiting

Whoever first referred to sand whiting as ‘summer’ whiting certainly got it wrong as far as Hervey Bay is concerned. Sand whiting are an ‘all year’ option. In fact, in both quality and quantity, the best catches are made during autumn, winter and spring.

During the last few months, high evening tides over the full and new moon phases have seen catches of big fish in a number of locations throughout the bay. These have included the shallow banks off the Picnic Islands, off the eastern side of Little Woody Island, near the mouth of Fraser Island’s Urang Creek and at One Tree Point on Woody Island. These locations will continue to fish well at night at least until the end of September, when the higher tides start to revert to daylight hours.

City beaches – particularly at Shelly Beach and Torquay – have fished particularly well for sand whiting, much to the delight of holiday anglers who have good fishing almost at their doorstep. August and early September should see even better catches along these beaches.

The full moon at the end of August will herald the arrival of the big schools of sand whiting for which Moon Point is famous. Excellent fishing from Fraser Island’s western beaches can be expected until seasonal northerlies bring dislodged weed into the inshore waters.


Pelagics have held on surprisingly well, with school and broad-barred mackerel and Spaniards taken throughout the bay. Longtail tuna are still around in numbers but they becoming harder to please. Mack tuna seem to have taken a break.

Bream Season

We’ve had another slow start to the annual bream season. The recent cold snap seems to have caused the fishy hormones to kick in, however, and there are now good numbers of bream about. The rocky foreshores at Point Vernon provide excellent land-based bream fishing, with most success coming over the evening high tides. Round Island, the northern end of Woody Island, the western foreshores of Little Woody Island, Bun Bun Rocks and the Picnics will almost certainly fire during the coming month.

Fraser Island

As I compile this report, tailor catches on Fraser Island’s ocean beach are not at all exciting – just a few choppers coming in along the beach with better numbers around Waddy Point. However, the next weeks are almost certain to see the arrival of the spawning greenbacks as offshore winds allow baitfish to move into the beach gutters. Just a reminder that the headlands from Indian Head to Waddy Point and their surrounding beaches are totally closed for all species during August and September.

While many anglers are looking forward to the arrival of tailor, others are continuing to enjoy some great sport with big sand whiting, dart, bream and tarwhine being in good supply. All of these species will continue to be available throughout the tailor season.

1) Nine year-old David Andersen had a long battle with this 9kg longtail tuna in Hervey Bay last month.

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