Land based fishing In Hervey Bay

By Scott Mitchell

The fabulous fishing found in Hervey Bay has a lot to do with its geographic location, offering a truly unique variety of both warm & cool water species side by side. Having world heritage-listed Fraser Island on the door step is another one of its great assets. Stretching over 120kms in length and 5 to 25 m in width, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, interrupted only by the spectacular headlands of Indian Head, Middle rocks & Waddy point. You could write a book on the fabulous beach & rock fishing found on Fraser Island and around Double Island Point to the South of Rainbow Beach alone. 

While there is truly some fantastic in-shore reef and sport fishing opportunities around Hervey Bay offering a unique mix of both tropical & sub-tropical species – there is also some great land based fishing to be had as well. 

The historic Urangan Pier was originally constructed to access deep water for cargo handling of sugar, timber and coal back in 1917 at a length of 1.1kgs. The pier was decommissioned & closed after the last ship docked in January 1985 and was in serious need of repair with 239 meters being demolished. However, due to public outcry, 868 meters of the pier was left, and a full restoration project began. The last 220-metre section of the pier has now been fully restored with the original timber pylons being replaced with plastic covered steel pylons & re-opened in 2009. A $5 million refurbishment is currently under way to restore a further 660 metres with the work expected to take three years to complete. A temporary walkway has been built to allow tourists and fishermen to retain access to the deep water end of the iconic facility while the work is being carried out.

The pier provides shore based anglers with great access to deep water and attracts huge schools of baitfish & the predators that feed on them. Everything from bream and stonker flathead to huge Spanish mackerel and giant trevally are encountered regularly by the "jetty rats“ throughout the year.

Marina’s and boat harbours abound in structure with rock walls, pontoons and moored boats all attracting a variety of species. The Urangan marina is no different and offers consistent fishing for a range of species both in-side and outside of both the Northern and Southern rock break walls. These walls can be easily accessed with the best fishing found an hour either side of a tide change. Timing your fishing around the change of light at dawn and dusk will further improve your results. You can also get some great prawns by cast netting off the two pontoons either side of the main boats ramps when they are running.

The in-side channel that runs from the Urangan Pier North towards two a couple of rock groins is another area worth a wade on the last of the run out tide. The expansive flats in this area all drain into an in-side channel that can fish well for whiting, bream and flathead. You occasionally get other pelagic species like, queenfish, mackerel and golden trevally through this area as well.

The two Rock groins themselves can also fish well on the top of the tide and offer a sheltered area to fish when the South Easterly breeze gets up. There are a couple of small piers along the esplanade towards Scarness that can be worth a look at the top of the tide as the water actually dries out past them on the low. There is a shallow reef off Scarness beach that runs north towards Point Vernon that can be accessed on the big lows tides found around the full & new moon phases. This area can turn up a host of species including coral bream, small trout, grunter, emperor etc.

Point Vernon offers plenty of spots to fish from the shore all the way from Pialba around to Eli Creek. The area around the Gattakers Bay boat ramp produces surprising results including consistent barramundi captures in season. You can wade the flats around the mouth of Eli Creek on the low tide with a number of deeper wholes always worth a look when there’s no water left for fish to hide.

Further north you can access Oregan Creek from the end of Petersen Road at Craignish. This little creek is worth a wade again on the last few hours of the run out tide and you can walk upstream if you’re keen to fish the deeper holes as well.

Toogoom is another productive area for the shore based anglers and again offers protection in strong South East winds. The mouth of Beelbi Creek can produce surprisingly good fishing at times for bream, whiting, flathead, grunter, queenfish etc. You can walk the bank from the boat ramp next to Goody’s restaurant both upstream and downstream towards the entrance. Again the last few hours of the run out tide is the most productive time to be fishing these small estuaries. 

South of Hervey bay you have River Heads which is the main barge access point to World heritage Listed Fraser Island. There a three boat ramp points on the point where the Mary & Susan River meet which produce some great land based fishing opportunities for a range of species from bream to barramundi! You can also catch a barge across to Kingfisher Bay Resort which has a fantastic jetty that produces great fishing again for everything from bream, flathead, Jews and barra to giant trevally, mackerel and tuna! 

So if you visiting Hervey bay and don’t have your own boat – you should still pack your rods as there’s plenty of land based options to sneak a fish in.