Mackay is arguably one of the best fishing locations on the east coast of Australia, located in Central Queensland, Australia.
Mackay is serviced with daily air flights from Australia’s major east coast cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and is only a short flight away. The climate is wonderful with a very mild winter, and a warm summer, ensuring 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 impounds.
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 info.
Buy a lure, bit of bait, and you’ll be rewarded with some friendly advice and what’s biting that time of the year.
Mackay is truly blessed for us offshore fisherman, with numerous island to the south, east and Whitsunday islands to the north. For the smaller tinnies and boats, try the reef surrounding Taroba Rock, just to the Northeast of Flat top and Round Top island just east of the Pioneer River Mouth, very easily accessable and produces some great fish at times.
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 island to the North East approximately 15 Nautical miles away which offers access to the smaller trailer boats and are the start of the famous Whitsunday islands to the north.
Other islands just a bit further north 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 reef 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 deep points and rocks. Good Giant Trevally populations abound around the islands and also well worth targeting with poppers and stickbaits for those keen enough to battle with one of awesome fish.
Further a field is the Great Barrier Reef with countless fishing destinations, bommies, reefs and beautiful coral lagoons. Serious Trailerboats and fuel capacity are required with Parker reef the closest at 45 nautical miles, and continuing to the outer reef’s edge at 100 nautical miles.
Famous reef species likely to be encounted include Coral Trout, Red Emporer, nannygai, Redthroat Emperor and numerous others. Other awesome fish you may come across include the Maori Wrasse and Barramundi Cod. Both now protected and must be released. Ensure you have the latest Zoning Maps from GBRMPA, and follow fish regulations and sizes.
A Quick Fact 35% of the Great Barrier Reef is now protected from fishing.
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. A combination of Skipping Gar and lures are your best bet trolled about 6 knots.
Our annual run of Spanish Mackerel 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 are the ultimate bait.
Check with Mackay’s Game fishing Club for latest fishing news and well worth joining. Don’t forget the annual Spanish Shootout fishing competition with all welcome, some great prizes and fishing.
With any offshore trip, planning is important and well worth logging on with the local Volunteer Marine Rescue. They monitor VHF Channel 21, and the international shipping distress frequency 16, but stick with Channel 21 for routine communication and with a VHF Repeater on Brampton Island for great range and coverage.
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. 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, and also chopping up the ocean with wind against tide at times.
Try the lee side of the numerous Whitsunday Islands for great protected anchorages and stay the night if your vessel large enough. Fishing can be great with Grassy sweetlips and Spangled emperor coming into the shallows to feed. Mackay’s best launching all tide boat ramp is located at the Mackay Marina with pontoon and parking facilities.
Other suitable 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 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.
The Barramundi just seem to keep on getting bigger and 1.2 metres seems to be more and more common, that’s one big fish. Most are released as they have a distinctive muddy taste and just to good to catch once.
Mackay and the fishing will blow you away, and is definitely a great place to live with an endless amount of fishing spots and options. Work options are numerous and are well paid with a booming mining industry for Coal and sugar industries.
Check out a local Mackay fishing charter operator such as Reefari who can cater a fishing trip of a lifetime to your needs, with various day and overnight fishing trips.
Reefari has several charter boats which can take various size groups, and charters from local cruises, snorkeling and spearfishing, reef fishing, Game fishing and Sportsfishing for Giant trevally and tailored to your needs.
Fishing Mackay is great with a huge amount of options, get out there and and enjoy what the Mackay region has to offer.