I often get asked what moon phase is best for fishing off Fraser Island/ Double Island Point. After many years of fishing this area it’s hard to give a definitive answer on the trends that I have experienced. Just when you think you have worked it out, bang you experience totally the opposite and you’re back at square one. This is the wonderful world of fishing for you. Because of this unpredictable nature I have always been one for keeping an open mind when it comes to the fishing factors that many believe and swear by. Personally the main factor I believe that affects fishing off the Wide Bay area is the full moon and the season. It seems more often then not that the weather around the full moon is usually pretty unsettled and less then desirable. A full moon also means larger tides there for increasing the tidal flow and this making fishing the wide grounds very difficult at times.
My last trip happened to fall right on the full moon but this one had a bit of a twist because we also experienced an eclipse that night which made for an interesting sight. To my surprise the forecast was looking pretty good on this full moon so I rounded up the lads and headed for the ramp late Friday night where it proceeded to bucket down rain making it a little cosy with 4 blokes sleeping in the big cab of the Riptide. We headed out a messy Wide Bay Bar in the morning and was greeted with a choppy sea and 15 knots of easterly wind. I headed out to the 35km area and fished a few rocks I hadn’t fished for a while and after a few patient drifts ended up a couple nice Reds over the 10kg mark but it was tough going.
I moved wider and wider while fishing spots along the way with very little to show for our efforts. I have always found that fishing during the day on a full moon can be very slow and even a lot of your smaller mix reef species aren’t particular interesting in feeding as well. By the afternoon I was east of the wide bay bar near the shelf and found a nice show of fish located on a smaller rock close by to an old favourite red mark. Andy soon had hooked up to a solid fish but due to boat moving south with the current his line got dragged over the rock before he could get the red up higher enough and was busted off. I had also hooked up to a good red which had me working hard but unfortunately I had the man in the grey suit grab my fish and head off at a great rate of knots before I locked the reel up and broke him off. Next drift Foxy hooks a very solid fish on a whole mullet fillet and what hit the surface was a very nice Red around the 13-14kg mark. What followed was less then amusing when a simple placement of the net saw the red thrash around causing the handle on the net to break off as well as foxys line at the same time and we both stood there in shock as the red swam away whilst still inside the net. We watched it swim away like the net wasn’t a problem in the world but somehow I think a shark would have soon sorted him out quick smart once he got back down there.
Well after 3 good reds were lost that was the end of that sort and sweet session so I continued to move around fishing loads of marks I had in the area but it was very slow. I headed off the shelf in around the 100-120mtr area checking out some old pearlie grounds but the shows were very small until I found a great show in 98 mtrs and the lines were dropped. Straight away everyone’s rod buckled over and nice Pearlies around the 3-3.5kg were coming aboard in what was now near perfect conditions. We pulled a fair few pearlies before one was taken on the way up by monster from the deep. It peeled line off and continued on its way with us eventually thinking it might have been caught up on the bottom, as it just wouldn’t budge. I drove the boat forward and after a while we realised this thing wasn’t caught up but just bloody huge. After a team effort and some seriously slow pumping and winding a massive Black Cod hit the surface. These fish are often caught in the deep water while chasing pearlies and other deepwater fish and to think these fish grow a lot bigger is mind-boggling.
After that we headed back into 55mtrs of water and picked up the odd Red before anchoring on a nice show only to realise the current was to strong so we pulled the pick and ran in closer to avoid the current. Had a drop on a great rock covered in fish and was rewarded with a couple nice reds but otherwise not much else was bighting and the fishing was very slow. With the sun starting to fall and the moon beaming above the horizon in glass conditions I moved to an area with an abundance of small reefs. The reason I did this was so that instead of anchoring on the one spot I could move around in the great conditions and fish each spot trying to locate any reds that have moved up onto the reefs to feed during the night. As we were doing this we started to see the eclipse of the moon occur and the fishing started to heat up. We picked up some nice reds and mixed reef fish over the next few hours before I finally threw the anchor out around midnight on a nice show of fish.
After the hussar drove us crazy we had a sleep and woke up early to move on to other areas to fish the day. I headed back out towards the shelf and fished some large reefie areas and straight away found the fish feeding a lot more aggressively with reds, hussar, moses perch, gold spot wrasse, parrot, cod and red throat all coming over the side fast. One spot was producing great red throat with the old man pulling a nice one at 4.55kg. It’s hard to find areas ENE of the wide bay bar that produce red throat and consistently so it’s a great little spot to give the esky some more variety of these tasty fish.
With time getting on and 14 reds plus a great variety of other fish in the esky we started making our way in but fishing a few spots along the way. One spot produced a few reefies but more interestingly trag jew were on the bite and we had not caught them this far north and wide before.