9 'secret' fishing hotspots you can try in the Gympie region
NO MATTER where you go, local fishermen are notoriously tight-lipped about where their secret hotspots are, and it's no different in the Gympie region and the Cooloola Coast.
But if you're new about town and looking to test the waters around the notorious Wide Bay Bar, or if you're just a casual looking for a place you haven't tried yet, our experts are here to help.
Tony Stewart, who formerly wrote The Gympie Times' weekly fishing report and ran a chartering business out of Rainbow Beach, shared a particular set of stretches where keen anglers can hope for a big bite.
1. Bar Reef, due east from the Wide Bay Bar
- Mr Stewart said anglers can expect to find plenty of mackerel swimming in the bar reef waters as they get warmer from Christmas onwards.
- He recommended using burly to lure reef fish closer to boats in the area.
- Schools of fish are expected to be found along the trail.
- Trawlers could also find success there.
2. Seven Mile Ledge, east of Bar Reef
- Produces a mixed variety of fish depending on conditions.
- This ledge is wide and has plenty of space to work in.
3. Fourteen Mile Ledge, north east of Seven Mile Ledge
- Seven miles on from Seven Mile Ledge, this spot is also known as Steve's Ledge.
- 500m ledge, tipped for good fishing but based on weather and tide conditions.
4. The Football Ground
- Approximately seven miles south/south-east of Steve's Ledge.
- Another potential hotspot in summer months but subject to change depending on conditions.
5. Christmas Reefs
- Located five miles north-east of Steve's Ledge.
- An area of "broken ground" which runs for "a couple of miles" and opens up "numerous fishing spots".
- Tony says: Schools of fish are like a mob of sheep, they'll eat everything in the paddock and move on. Depending on how many nutrients there are in the area, they will occupy a space in large numbers.
6. Old North
- 15 miles north-east of Wide Bay Bar
- A known "good spot" for mixed reef species.
- Seven miles north-west of Old North.
- Numerous reefs to try in this area.
8. The Mahenos
- "Further north-east", 10 miles north/north-east of Eurong.
- Located near the SS Maheno wreck at Fraser Island.
9. Fourteen Mile Stretch
- A continuous reef running east/south-east of the Wide Bay Bar.
- Holds many species and varieties of fish.
WHAT YOU CAN CATCH
Mr Stewart says pearl perch, snapper, parrot and moses perch are just some of the species biting along these stretches.
"As you get out into the wider grounds there are hussar and red emperor around too, there are a lot of species," he said.
Tony Stewart: "It's a matter of weather conditions and how far you can travel.
"The Wide Bay Bar governs this area, that's why there's still fish here.
"Weather conditions are always changing and that limits pressure on fish populations.
"It's a dangerous bit of water and it must be respected any time you go out.
"It changes every day, so always pay attention."
Dave Arthur, Rainbow Escape Charters: "Always look for the change of depth.
"I call it dead country. Look for patches where the depth goes from 60 metres to 50-55 metres.
"A lot of upwelling happens in this area. When water hits a structure, the nutrients carry up from the ocean floor and it's a food chain.
"Smaller fish feed on plankton, then bigger fish come along and feed on the smaller fish and so on until you get sharks.
"Experiment with your bait. I use the humble pilchard, and squid works pretty well too. For bigger catches use live bait."
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