Bundaberg’s brutes
  |  First Published: December 2005

Around Bundaberg at this time of year we get to experience some of the best fishing in Queensland. Right now the gamefishing is at its best, the barra are biting at Monduran and the creeks are firing with big jacks.

As I write this we have just returned from a great weekend’s fishing on the Shelf, where we hooked up into some magnificent fish. Small black marlin are around right along the Spit at the northern end of Fraser Island and plenty of sailfish school up here all year as well.

At one point on the weekend I saw some dark shadows move up on the lures in the spread at the back of the boat, and they turned out to be a school of cobia. Two hooked up immediately – one over 60lb was lost at the boat after a great fight on 8kg line, and one about 30lb was bought onboard and taken home for the dinner. I have never hooked cobia on skirted lures before and I think this will be a first for Tropic Angler Lures as well.

Large schools of tuna are working the coastline and are common on the inshore reefs and wrecks. It’s a great time of year for tossing small metal slugs on light line and practicing your angling skills on these fish.

Some big trevally are often found swimming with the tuna, and there’s also the chance of hooking up into a small black or sailfish. These billfish are caught right along our coastline from 1770 to Tin Can Bay. If you fish the Tin Can Bay area, you can find plenty of billfish in the area around the bar – just look for the bait. 1770 has plenty of large schools of slimy mackerel and these will attract ‘billies’ as well. The reefs off Bundaberg are also great spots to catch billfish. Just look for schools of bait, especially slimies.

Reef fishing along the coast has been great with plenty of big red emperor around. David Magner and his son James caught a nice snapper while working the wreck of the Barjon recently. This is a great place for all styles of fishing, and it’s only a matter of time before a billfish is caught around the wreck. Big schools of cobia and trevally live on the Barjon and you will often see longtom on the surface chasing anything that moves. On the bottom, big cod prowl the area and schools of snapper move in and out on the reef all year.

Monduran Dam

The annual tournament at Monduran Dam was a great success this year, with plenty of good-size barra caught. Gary Leather from Salty’s did very well, and his sons also caught plenty of barra and took out major prizes.

I love this tournament – I go every year and my family also loves the atmosphere and the prize giveaway nights. I must say a special thanks to all the sponsors who regularly support this tournament, particularly Salty’s and Tropic Angler Lures.

It was also good to see all the people from MASA who volunteered their time to serve the public and to welcome anglers to fish the waters they have stocked. The people of Gin Gin are the main force behind this stocking group and make the tournament happen. It’s worth having a stop off in this sleepy little village, located just east of Monduran Dam, to experience the shopping and to have a meal or stop for the night within easy reach of the dam. Monduran has camping facilities and cabins, but if you feel the need for motel-style accommodation it’s best to stay at Gin Gin.

The fishing at Monduran has been excellent this year – I have been catching around about eight fish most afternoons. If you haven’t fished here before though, I recommend hiring a guide for your first day just to get some local knowledge.


The rivers and estuaries of Bundaberg are a great place to throw some lures, with plenty of species waiting to nail anything that moves. Fish such as barra, jacks and salmon haunt our creek systems. The best places to fish for theses species are the Baffle, the Gregory River, Deep Water, The Kolan River and (one of the best kept secrets by those in the know) the Burnett River. The Burnett River is one of the most underestimated rivers in our area and produces plenty of good fish on a regular basis. The rocky bars are a great place to catch barra and jacks, and down behind the mill is great place to catch queenies, trevally and barra. It’s generally in the lee of onshore winds, so it’s a good place to practice flyfishing.

This month I will be mixing up the game- and sportfishing with regular trips to Gin Gin to fish the dam for barra when it’s too rough to fish offshore. If you are coming to Bundaberg just give me a call at Bundaberg Fishing Charters and Boat Hire (ph. (07) 4159 0995) and I’ll be happy to give you all the up-to-date fishing info.


1) Bill Wagstaff with a hard-fighting cobia.

3) The fishing at Monduran Dam has been excellent lately.

2) James Magner caught this snapper from the wreck of the Barjon.

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