Fraser Island is like no other fishing experience you’ve ever had. Fishing on-board Topwater Sportfishing Charters,we found just that!
From catching mini Black Marlin in 5 meters of water, GT's and Spanish off isolated bombies, Blue Marlin in hundreds of meters of water - to getting your arms pulled out of their sockets by monster Red Emperor all within an hour or two of each other.
One of the few places where a Grand Slam is possible. A Grand Slam (In Fishing) is better defined as catching 3 species of Billfish in a day. Most common around Fraser would be a Blue, Black and Striped marlin all in one session. Although we didn't achieve the Slam, we came close - losing a blue in the dying hours of the day.
One of the most exhilarating types of fishing is light tackle marlin. It’s insane watching one, or even the whole school of marlin follow the boat to the point where you could reach out and touch them. They are one of the most aggressive eaters, sometimes swallowing half the teaser then continuing to smash every bait in the spread.
They’re all out for heart, not stopping till they’ve had somewhat of a feed. They come in chasing the numbers of baitfish which are present amongst the inshore fishing grounds. Earlier in the year, the best luck will be had on the outside of the island, also showing up on the inside of Fraser closer to the end of the year. This is when it's possible to catch them on the flats & when catching them on stickbaits or fly is not uncommon.
With reports of good numbers being caught, we steamed from the Gold Coast in hope of catching a few. It wasn’t long till the Skipper (Jason Legg) called a fish on the right teaser, then a text book bite on the short flat line. We only had a few hours to fish upon arrival of Fraser. Marking every bait school we came across, slowly working North up the coastline, we found where the fish seemed to be congregated. Another fish tagged, and a few more missed, the day was over too quick. Over dinner and a Rum or three, we put together somewhat of a plan in hope of double figures.
A wild steam out through the bumpy bar crossing, it wasn’t long till we got our first bite. A consistent rate of bites and coordination on deck lead to a good hook-up rate. We also managed 3 recaptures, including one of our own fish from a previous days efforts. With double figures in sight, the swimbait got smashed and we tagged our 10th fish for the day. Going 10 from 13 as the sunset, we steamed back through the bar to our (although blowing 20knots) calm anchorage.
6kg line & light drag is the best way to target these fish, usually with aerobatic performances being displayed during the fight. Most days we will run two daisy chains, with two skip-baiting Gar-Fish, a flat line with a swimming Gar – short on the right and a livey ready in the bait tank. Where possible we’d jig for bait (In this case Yellow Tails), having an abundance of them ready for when we needed them. They would also get rigged as skip and swim baits, some days finding they worked better than the Gar-Fish.
The light tackle season out of Fraser is shared by the annual migration of the Humpback Whale, where they come to breed in the warmer tropical waters of the Pacific. Whales, pods of dolphin, schools of tuna and mass abundances of birds can be seen working the same bait schools the marlin are. I guess that’s the beauty of Fraser, you don’t have to venture far from anchorage to the fishing grounds – just a short steam through the bar (which can get pretty wild sometimes).
Whether it’s whale watching, marlin fishing or just enjoying the uniqueness of the area, if Fraser Island is not yet on your cards, make it!