Guided Fishing in Hervey Bay

Flats Fishing Hervey Bay & The Capricorn Coast

When it comes to flats fishing, the Fraser and Capricorn coasts are world class destinations. There are many sand flats protected from the prevailing south-east trade winds. Inside Fraser Island and at the northern end of Curtis Island on the Capricorn Coast are classic examples.

If sight fishing in shallow clear water is what you’re into, there is absolutely no better location! Feel the palpitations as you watch GTs, queenfish, permit, golden trevally and even Marlin eat your lure or fly. Yep, marlin on the flats…… it’s not a typo!

This is flats fishing at it’s absolute best.

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When To Fish The Flats

Around the top end of Fraser Island the flats fishing is at it’s breathtaking best from November through to March. Sometimes we’ll witness heart stopping action as black marlin, longtail tuna, giant herring or queenfish chase bait fish into the shallows. Other times they’ll be resting up on the sand flats during their journey past this spectacular section of coastline.

Further north around Curtis Island the winter months are more consistent. From April to October the onshore Northerly winds drop out and the water clears. That’s when sight casting to GTs, queenfish and permit is red-hot – and often in water less than knee deep.

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Flats Fishing With Spinning Gear

One of the great things about fishing these flats (aside from an incredible array of fish) is the ability to fish a little lighter. A quality 15kg spinning combo is a good choice, handling longtail tuna and golden trevally with ease. You’ll have a great shot at landing a small black marlin on this gear too….. if you can manage a hook set!

And even though 40kg GT’s are a good possibility, the lack of structure means you’ll often land them on a 15kg line class. It’s really something special.

In terms of lures, small to medium stick-baits are a good choice for most species on the flats. The GT’s tend to be a little more spooky on the flats, so definitely lean towards smaller surface lures than you’d normally toss at a big GT. Single inline hooks work best, and keep them razor sharp to give yourself the best chance of setting the point into a marlin.

Plastics also work well on the flats, rigged as light as possible for the wind and current. Unweighted plastics with a sharp single hook or a skipping garfish are great options on the marlin too. And don;t forget to throw a few metal slugs into the kit, they work wonders on tuna, mackerel and trevally at certain times.

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Flats Fishing On The Fly

Fly fishing the flats is a special experience! And once again, the lack of rock or reef structure allows a welcome light-line fishing opportunity.

A 12 weight rod is perfect if GT’s are your main target. For queenfish, permit and golden trevally a 10wt rod is more commensurate, and an 8 wt can be used when the fish are smaller. You’ll be scrambling for the heavier gear if larger fish turn up though, as we recently experienced!

Large arbor reels, plenty of backing and a sink tip line will keep you well in the hunt.

Deceiver style flies on 5/0 and 6/0 hooks are about right for the GT’s, with smaller sizes of this pattern and crease flies being perfect for the queenfish. For the permit and golden trevally you’ll want to load up on shrimp and crab patterns as well as some clousers.

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John’s Top 5 Tips For Flats Fishing In The Fraser/Capricorn Region

  1. You have to be stealthy when flats fishing in clear, shallow water.
  2. Check the tides – best water clarity for sight fishing is on the end of the neaps.
  3. Wear a pair of quality polarised sunglasses, so you can see the fish in the water more easily.
  4. Down size lures compared to fishing deeper water – less bling and flash and more natural colours.
  5. The less weight on flies the better – even the plop of a fly with lead eyes can be enough to spook fish when flats fishing.

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Flats Fishing With Guided Fishing Down Under

Saltwater flats fishing is my favourite style of fishing, and I really enjoy sharing the excitement with others.

There is no-where else in the world that I know of where Marlin can be caught flats fishing in shallow water. Combined with species like GTs, Queenfish, Permit, Golden Trevally and you really do have an interesting mix.

Sight fishing in shallow clear water in a spectacular environment is what it is all about, and my 5.5metre TABS boat was designed with flats fishing in mind. Dugong and Humpback Whales are often seen when out on these flats, so anyone booking a flats fishing charter with me will have an experience to remember!
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