You are here

Fish in paradise

WRAY briefer, skipper, and all-round nautical expert, Mike Dicker, blogs about the Whitsundays from his unique on-the-water perspective.

What’s more satisfying than reeling in a fresh, plump coral trout from the back of your yacht? Dinner doesn’t get much fresher, especially when you can cook it on the barbecue aboard your vessel and enjoy it under the Whitsundays stars!

Fishing is one of the must-do activities while chartering your WRAY vessel, and with 72 islands and the coastline teeming with a huge variety of pelagic and reef fish, you're guaranteed to catch dinner. Add to that, an average daily year 'round temperature of 27 degrees and spectacular surrounding scenery - magic!

Before you wet a line, it’s important to know where you can fish as there are some protected zones within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park where fishing is off limits. Learn the limits now, so all you catch on charter is a great feed – not a fine!

Understanding the zones

There are three zones charterers fishing by line (rod and reel, or hand line) can fish within the marine park. These are the General Use Zone, the Habitat Protection Zone and the Conservation Park Zone and are subject to specific terms, enforced by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

General Use and Habitat Protection zones are limited to a maximum of three lines per person, with a combined six hooks per person. The Conservation Park Zone is limited to one line and hook per person. 

Check the zoning maps inside your copy of 100 Magic Miles, by David Colfelt (on board your vessel). They are also available via Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s website

Fish to look for include Spanish mackerel, trevally, rockcod, red emperor, snapper and the Whitsunday delicacy – coral trout.  

Of course there are thousands of species here, and caution needs to be exercised when identifying your catch. Make sure you refer to our handy fish charts on board your vessel.

Paddle tail, Chinamanfish and red bass are a few of the poisonous (but strikingly beautiful) fish you may encounter. Generally, the larger the fish the less safe it is to consume, so aim for a catch less than 4kg. For more assistance in identifying fish, visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

For best results, drop your line in an hour before or after high tide (neap tides are best). Fishing in the early morning or evening is ideal. Use a 25kg line to avoid snaps and snags from the coral.

Popular bait for fishing in the Whitsundays includes prawns, squid, pilchards, herring and garfish. Never feed processed food, cooked seafood or bread to fish. Take only what you need and abide by sizing and bag limits.

Happy fishing!

Cheers, Mike.

A fisherman goes fishing in the Whitsundays

Fish for some of Queensland's finest species in the Whitsunday waters, then cook your catch aboard your WRAY vessel.