The author’s brother Ron caught a decent jewfish in a deep hole close to shore.

Hot beach fishing action on K’gari trip

Hi folks, I’m recently back from a 10-night trip to K’gari – previously called Fraser Island – and what a trip it was!

In the 26 years of fishing the island, that was probably the best all-round fishing we’ve had on both the east and western sides of the island.

This trip to K’gari was timed to coincide with a new moon about two thirds of the way into the trip – to give us the best tides before and after the moon. As usual, we also sat down pre-trip to determine – subject to wind – the best tides for fishing the western side and the optimal beach for jewfish, whiting and tailor.

Now, let’s discuss each of these and the conditions and tactics that found us some very good fish.

A lovely lure-caught tailor at midday.

Beach jewfish

Over the first few nights of our trip to K’gari, we had planned to target mulloway or jew with high tide peaking slightly before or after dark. Fortunately, we found the other ingredients for our pursuit of jew – being a couple of narrow but deep holes with a steep shore sandbank dropping into deep water and in easy casting distance from shore.

They also had an entry point or rip straight out to deeper water.

On top of this, our confidence was further lifted when we spied a scattering of coffee rock nearby and bait in the water. We spotted both mullet in the waves and also caught a few tailor before dusk.

The result was that we lost three big fish the first night in some big runs, after being a bit under-gunned in the leader stakes. Taking that into consideration, I was comfortable with the 40lb mono on my heavy duty Alvey 650E5 reel, though upped my leader to a 50lb fluorocarbon as added insurance.

This proved effective as I landed two fish the next night. For bait, apart from extra-large pilchard, we had live beachworms, bonito fillets and fresh tailor fillets.

The end result was that we scored a total of four jew with three returned over the next couple of nights before the tides got too late to suit our other fishing targets.

A nice late afternoon catch of whiting on a rising tide on K’gari’s western side.

Beach whiting and worms

One of our other targets on the beach – more as a daytime option between jew and tailor sessions – were whiting in the low tide gutters. While a lot of beach traffic during peak tailor season can limit the numbers of big fish close to shore, they are still worth targeting to fill in time and satisfy your fishing desires during the day.

Of course, while they will take pipis from time to time, the number one beach bait for whiting is live beachworms. To ensure we had some and to hit the beach running, so to speak, on the way through to the island, we picked up a few live worms from Drew at Gardiner Fisheries at Rainbow Beach, and kept them alive with a couple of aerators and regular water changes each time we fished from the beach.

Speaking of Drew, while you are at Gardiner Fisheries, be sure to sign up to the huge tailor and whiting competitions on now – the prizes are absolutely huge!

Later in the week, we caught our own worms in the usual target areas, which are big wide flat sand spits that sit in between little shallow gutters.

These have enough of a film of water near low tide to carry the scent from your stink bag of fish frames over the worms, so they’ll pop their heads up.

We got most of our worms in the hour before and after low tide.

Back to whiting… as usual the best action came in the hour before and after the low tide.

While it was a bit tougher to target them this trip on our planned days on the beach – before we hit the western side as the surf and southeast wind came up – once again, when we found shallow clear water with a closed blind end, we caught enough fish for a feed.


About Sean Thompson

Sean caught the fishing bug bad one very cold Canberra day 20 years ago when he was bored and picked up and read Angler's Almanac by the fireplace. Since then he has filled his mind with knowledge from fishing magazines, books, the internet, TAFE fishing courses, guiding fishing charters (estuaries, beach, bay and mountain lakes) and of course 'on water' experience. He and a group of mates formed a social fishing club and soon started to share what they learnt and caught online. Sean is the admin for Ontour Fishing Australia on Facebook, which is a page that shares information, reports and sponsor giveaways and welcomes all to the site. He plans to move into blogging on his new website when time allows.

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