Canoe Capers
  |  First Published: March 2009

There are always many places to fish and many species to fish for in April. From 1m+ barramundi in Peter Faust Dam to big saltwater sportsfish, such as GT and queenfish – Whitsundays has it all!


The many saltwater islands of the Whitsundays are home to a huge array of different fish species, and in April one of the most popular targets is GT. These fish frequent the large, deep rocky headlands, isolated rocks and reef areas. There are some enormous sized GT in the region, but the average sizes we encounter are around 23-25kg.

Surface popping for these pelagics is an excellent way of catching them, but it can be tough going hurling out large poppers and stickbaits on heavy gear. However, when a big GT strikes your lure from the surface it’s very exciting and certainly makes up for all the effort.

We use are Shimano Stella 8000’s with T-curve Bluewater spin 10-15kg rods. These are great rods for large GT and will easily cast medium sized poppers and stickbaits a long way. Heavier gear will probably be needed for landing bigger fish of around 45kg and up. The GT Special rod is an excellent rod for this situation.

The many sandy flats around the islands are also great places for all types of sportfish to hunt on. Golden trevally, queenfish, coral trout and flathead are usual encounters when probing a productive sand flat with lures.

The best sand flats usually hold a lot of baitfish, mangroves, a rubble type bottom, a nice depth of over a metre and are close to deepwater. Having deepwater right near the flat is an important ingredient as big fish from the deep will usually come up into the shallows to feed. And the deep is where big fish are!

Canoe fishing

Casting lures from a canoe or kayak can be a very enjoyable way of fishing as it’s simple and peaceful. In the Whitsunday area, it can be a fun way of targeting sooty grunter in the freshwater creeks or small saltwater fish such as flathead and mangrove jack in the clear sandy shallows.

We recently fished at Peter Faust Dam from a canoe and our goal was to catch a 1m+ barramundi. After getting the canoe prepared with all of the gear, we set out and started fishing the edges. We found there were a lot of bony bream schools splashing around on the surface so we decided to cast a 110mm Squidgy Slick Rig in evil minnow through and under the schools.

After a bit of casting, a fish smacked the plastic and we set the hook. It then jumped out of the water several times and began to tow the canoe around quite fast! After a minute of towing, the fish was gently lifted into the canoe for a photo and measured 113cm – an awesome canoe capture!

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