Fishing is a great family activity while on charter, and when you fish responsibly you’re not only helping our Marine Park retain its ecological balance, you’re also ensuring that charterers just like yourselves can continue to catch a whole range of fish species in one of Australia’s best fishing grounds.
When fishing it’s important to identify and follow the protocol for the strict fishing zones within the park (outlined in your own on-board manuals, and also available to see here online) and adhere to the below regulations. These are not just our own rules, but strict guidelines set out by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
• Avoid anchoring on coral – find sand
• Take only what you need
• Do not use pest or non-native fish for bait.
• Do not fish where fish feeding takes place (for example as part of a tourist program)
• If you’re unsure of the fish identity or size, release the fish immediately.
• Return all undersized and unwanted fish to the water quickly to minimize injury.
• If you’re keeping the fish, remove it from the hook or net immediately and kill it humanely.
• Do not litter – clean up all fishing gear (such as discarded tackle and line, and bait bags) and take it back to shore to dispose of properly.
Here at WRAY we like to lead by example. We have quite a few keen fishers amongst our staff, which prompted us to hold our first annual fishing competition at our base on the 6th of December 2017.
Our Shute Harbour base is located in a light blue ‘General Use’ zone, which technically means each person is allowed a maximum of three lines (on rods or hand reels) per person. We stuck to one rod per person to keep the competition fair.
The competition saw most fishers catch and then release, and we saw many different species reeled in over the afternoon, including Tusk Fish, Rock Cod, Gold Spot Cod and Grassy Sweet Lip.
The winner of the fishing competition was Paul Sievers, who caught a 50cm gold spot cod using Squid and Piltred as bait. After photos were taken the Rock Cod was placed back into its natural habitat. Paul is no stranger to fishing in Shute Harbour or the Whitsunday area, and gave these tips to those looking to wet a line in the while on charter.
• What are your best recommended times to fish?: “Dawn to Dusk” – Spoken like a true fisherman
• What are your favorite spots to fish in the Whitsundays?: “Marckerel Bay, Deloraine Island & Windy Bay”
• Paul’s most wanted fish to catch: “Coral Trout, however I do like Red Throat Emperor”
Paul Sievers, the winner of WRAY's fishing competition 2017.