Flathead plentiful
  |  First Published: September 2003

THE RAINBOW Beach Fishing Classic was well attended and some fantastic fish were weighed in despite the weather being less than perfect throughout the week. Some ‘Classic’ catches for gilled and gutted fish included red emperor over 14kg, sweetlip to 4.6kg, pearlies over 4kg, snapper to 8.5kg, a 17kg jew and a 1.6kg bream. Those are good fish by anyone’s standards, and reflect the quality fishing available on the Cooloola Coast.


Quality ‘summer’ whiting have been available right up until the time of writing on Teewah and Rainbow Beach, with 35-40cm fish being reasonably common. During September these surf whiting may still be available but historically September is an excellent month to target whiting at Inskip Point and Hook Point on Fraser Island. Fishing the lead-up to the full moon is most productive and the fish are usually quite plentiful. The odd bigger fish will be mixed in but these school fish generally average around the 26cm mark. Local fishermen target these fish using beach worms or yabbies and long casts are not necessary as the fish are virtually at your feet.

Beach anglers can also expect to catch bream, tarwhine, dart and tailor during September. If you want the best fish target the change of light, although you never know what can happen if you’ve got a line in the water. The 1.6kg gilled and gutted bream caught during the Classic was caught at 11.30am, two hours before the high tide on Teewah Beach!


Bream have been caught around the bottom of Fraser Island near the old ramp and along Teebar Ledge. When fishing the ledge it’s best to fish the turn of the tides as the current can really tear through this area making fishing very difficult. Plenty of crab pots have been visible all through winter so I’d say it would be worth putting the pots out this month.

Flathead have been plentiful and lure trollers have been having a ball catching and releasing plenty of fish. Local youngster Terry Van Oirschot recently hooked, landed and carefully released a beautiful flathead. Terry is a very keen angler and spends a lot of time on the water with his family, who run Rainbow Beach Houseboats. During September the fish to target is flathead but remember to abide by the new regulations. If you catch a flathead and aren’t sure which particular species it is, play it safe and release all flathead between 40 and 70cm.


During the Fishing Classic in Rainbow Beach plenty of anglers found the fishing a little inconsistent. This can partly be attributed to a poor moon phase and windy weather that made travelling to the wider reefs nearly impossible on many days. However, it also made me realise the tremendous impact of GPS on the offshore reefs. On a normal weekend I don’t see too many other boats whilst fishing, but during the Classic when I travelled to many of my inshore marks I found boats sitting right on them. With the population growing so quickly in southeast Queensland it certainly reinforces the need for sustainable catch limits and protection of our valuable fish stocks.

During September there should be reasonable numbers of snapper on the inshore reefs, and these larger fish have started to become a feature of recent trips. Previously there had been very little cooler weather and I hadn’t heard of any larger fish being caught. Pearl perch, red emperor and sweetlip have been quite plentiful and some very good quality fish have been taken. Last week a friend of mine, Terry Smith, went on a charter with Ed Falconor on the Keely Rose. They put up with some very lousy conditions but he was stoked witha mixed bag of pearl perch, Maori cod and a 13.5kg scarlet. This was the biggest scarlet I’ve seen and according to some publications is about as big as they grow.

1) Young Terry Van Oirschot recently landed and carefully released this fine flathead.

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