Mackay Fishing And The Great Barrier Reef
Mackay is arguably one of the best fishing locations on the east coast of Australia, with great fishing all year round and catering to all styles, depending on your interest. Ranging from Reef fishing and Game fishing, Beach or estuary, Freshwater creeks and impoundments.
All within an easy hour’s drive from Mackay. Feel free to contact any of the local tackle shops, Barra Pro, Fishing World & Northside tackle for great friendly service and the latest local fishing tips.
Mackay is truly blessed for us Offshore fisherman and professional anglers, with numerous island and reefs to the south, east and Whitsunday islands to the north. For the smaller tinnies, try the reef surrounding Taroba Rock, which is just Northeast of Flat top and Round Top island, easily accessable from the Pioneer River Mouth. Some great fishing for Snapper in the cooler months or Mackeral in the summer months.
Keswick Island and St Bee’s are the closest main group of islands to the North East approximately 15 Nautical miles away which offers access to the smaller trailer boats. Other islands just a bit further include Brampton Island, Wigton, Calder, Scawfell and Derwent, just to name a few, and recommend a larger vessel to target these destinations.
Some great fishing can be had working the fringing reefs and points, with the prized coral trout a common catch. Spanish Mackeral are also available and well worth having out a livebait under a balloon, or trolling the deep points and rocks.
Try the lee side of the numerous Whitsunday Islands for great protected anchorages and stay the night. Fishing can be great with Grassy sweetlips and other reef species coming into the shallows to feed. Camping is available on Scawfell Island and Carlisle Island national parks with facilities such as shelters, tables, toilets, & Freshwater provided ensuring a comfortable stay.
Park fees and permits apply but are well worth the money to stay in paradise, Mackay best kept secrets!!
Further afield is the Great Barrier Reef with countless fishing destinations. Serious Trailerboats and fuel capacity are required with Parker Reef and Credlin reefs the closest at 45 nautical miles, and continuing to the remote outer reef 100 miles or more, more suited to liveaboard charters. Famous reef species likely to be encounted include Coral Trout, Red Emporer and Redthroat Emporer and numerous others.
Some of Reefari’s trophy catches include Bluespot Coral trout to 15kg, Red Emporer over 10kg, Spanish Mackeral to 25kg’s, Goldspot Cod to 20kg and heaps more.
Nearby islands do suffer from more fishing pressure and is worthwhile travelling further afield if possible, but with Perserverence and effort some great fishing is still possible inshore. Ensure you have the latest Zoning Maps from GBRMPA, and follow fish regulations and sizes.
Game fishing for Black Marlin and Sailfish is well worth a try out in the Shipping Channel wide of Scawfell or Calder islands over the summer months, best period between September and January. A combination of Skipping Gar and lures your best bet trolled about 6 knots.
Our annual run of Spanish Mackeral is from June to October, with quality and numbers of Spanish mackerel improving, with Monsters over 30kg regularly caught. Trolled lures, swimming Gar and Wolf Herring the ultimate bait. Check with Mackay’s Game fishing Club for latest fishing news.
With any offshore trip, planning is important and well worth logging on with the local Mackay Volunteer Marine Rescue. Generally July to December is the best part of the year with more stable weather patterns. Weather is predominantly Southeast trade winds or Northerlies in the summer months, providing an uncomfortable chop at times, so pays to pick your weather window and go when suitable.
Make sure the weather forecast is on your side. Always keep an eye on the tides with highs of up to 6 metres, the run can be fierce, also chopping up further with wind against tide at times. Mackay’s best launching all tide boat ramp is located at the Mackay Marina with pontoon and parking facilities. Other suitable all tide boat ramps to try would be the Mouth of the Pioneer River, Hay point or Victor creek at Seaforth.
Land based fisherman are spoilt with heaps of beaches and rivers. One of the easiest accessible points is the Mackay Harbour wall with a large protected breakwall enabling fishing no matter the wind direction.
Encounters with pelagic such as Mackeral, tuna, queenfish are common, as well as Barramundi, bread and butter species and even the odd coral trout.
For impoundment fisherman, the well stocked local dams of Kinchent, Teembura and Eungella with Massive trophy Barra up to 1.2m and larger are the way to go. Becoming well known for great fishing these are well worth a try. These dams are stocked with Barramundi, Sooty Grunter, and and sleepy cod.
Summer months are definitely the time to try as fish are more aggressive with the warmer water temps, with trolling of lures along the Dam wall a great way to get started. Sooty Grunters are reaching up to 50cm in size, and built like Beer Kegs fight like real freight trains.
Definitely a great place to live with an endless amount of fishing spots and great fishing destinations, with a huge variety of fish species to match. Tight lines and enjoy what the Mackay region has to offer.
No Fish Is Too Big...
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