After some great success fishing the top end of Fraser Island and the Breaksea Spit over the past year or so I couldn’t help but feel the urge to hit the area again when the weather allowed. Due to the large distances required to fish these areas you really need exceptional weather to get there in a timely fashion and to also allow for good fuel economy and optimum range. I recently had that chance in the weather and found our selves leaving Brisbane Friday night towing the boat up to Urangan boat harbour at Hervey Bay.
After a sleep at the ramp we were up and on the water well before daybreak making our way north to the top end of Fraser. The seas were dead calm and as we made our way around Rooney point we were confronted with thick fog all the way around the top end of Fraser Island. It was a strange sight and seeing whales rise close by through the fog gave an uncomfortable feeling with such low visibility.
By the time we arrived at the spit the fog had cleared and we didn’t need to find a channel as there was no swell on and the seas were dead flat so I just crossed over some shallow banks and into the open sea. I headed for a mark east of the sandy cape and soon the sounder lite up on a spectacular rise covered in fish. I positioned the boat for the first drift and soon noticed that we were drifting extremely fast with a ragging current. We were all disappointed to find this out as most spots you fish in that region are large steep bombies so drifting over them fast means you get snagged up easily and go through loads of tackle.
I repositioned the boat well forward of the spot to compensate for the fast moving current and everyone had their lines hit bottom just as we were on top of the reef. It was a triple hook straightaway with the old man raising a nice red throat sweetlip followed by foxy with a beautiful blue maori cod and Mick with a reasonable sized Amberjack. I went back for another drift and it turns out this spot had some variety on it with Mick pulling a spangled emperor and foxy a brown maori cod. Things went quiet after that so I moved on to fish another bombie close by and this spot would produce our first red of the trip.
I continued to drift fish over many bombies in the area but the fishing was slow with only small mixed reef fish being caught so I decided to go check an area out on the edge of the shelf for some pearlies. We found some nice schools of fish in 105m of water and Mick was soon onto a good fish but after an initial solid fight turned into a dead weight. What came to the surface was a solid Snapper that had been bitten in half by a shark and to say Mick was disappointed was an understatement. The next drift the old man connects to a quality fish and he begins pulling the fish from the deep water. A cracker pearl perch of 73cm and 5.03kg hit the surface and safely went into the net. I caught one of a similar size next drop and we continued pulling more big pearlies, maori cod, parrot and yellowtail kingfish before deciding to head in a little to fish various rocks before dark.
Just as the sun was setting I found one rock 10mtrs high with a big school of bait on it and predatory fish scattered around it.
Because the current was so strong we were using paternoster rigs with the biggest snapper leads we had in hope of reaching the bottom and holding the bait there for as long as possible for red emperor. Ideally we wanted to float some baits down among the big schools of bait and fish surrounding them but the current made it difficult so we had to persist with what we were using. It didn’t take long to figure out what fish were feeding on the bait as good snapper starting coming over the side one after another. These fish were happy to take any bait offered on the paternoster rigs and as the sun disappeared the snapper went off the bite.
I persisted in the surrounding area and after the boys pulled some big amberjack and mixed reef foxy finally hooks another decent fish that we were hoping would be the right colour. The right colour it was and a nice solid red hits the surface and after some pictures were taken found itself iced up in the esky. Not to be outdone Mick hooks up soon after but was less than happy when a big barracuda hit the surface and proceeded to go crazy on the surface until we could get hold of it for release. The fishing slowed up and with time getting on I headed back to some shallow water near the shoals to anchor up and try get out of the current. I anchored up in 25mtrs of water and the current was no different and impossible to fish so we got some sleep.
We were awake on sunrise and headed to some ground E and SE of the sandy cape in 55mtrs of water. I found some nice country that had good shows of fish on it and told the lads to have a drop. Dad was hit straightaway and soon had a big coronation trout flopping around on the floor while Mick pulled a nice red throat. Next drift I had a solid hit on a whole hussar fillet and raised a nice legal red followed by more Red throat and hussar.
With time getting on I headed back towards the spit with plans of fishing some shallow water shoals in hope of targeting some green job fish. I sounded around and located plenty of bait and some large predatory fish high in the water column close by. We put down unweighted pilchards and slowly feed out the line while looking under the boat and seeing a school of around 10-15 big green jobbies swimming around. We couldn’t tempt them in to taking a bait and I was happy to be patient and persist for some time to see if our luck could change. Eventually I had a taker and after a very short fight I had a little green jobbie in the boat. It was the correct species but wrong size and what we could see under the boat was jobbies 5 times that size. The jobbies were holding just in front of a pinnacle covered in bait and we just kept drifting over it hoping some bigger ones would take the bait. After many many drifts I was smashed while letting some line out and soon had a solid connection to a good fish. After many big runs I could see a nice green jobbie coming to the surface and into the net. Green Job fish are one of my favourite looking fish and looking at them front on resemble a T-rex dinosaur. We went back for several more drifts and once again I was smashed while feeding line out and pushed the drag up. Line began to watch peel of the reel and after a solid fight I had another beautiful green job fish flopping around the deck and decided it was mission accomplished and time to head for home.
By now the conditions were unbelievably flat and we were given a nice close show by some whales around the top end of Fraser sealing off another fantastic trip in paradise.
Beautiful water around top end of Fraser Island near the spit