Not only are the 74 islands and coastline of the Whitsundays surrounded by beautiful azure seas they are teeming with a huge variety of pelagic & reef fish.
Blue & black marlin, bass and bream, sailfish, 6 species of mackerel, 7 species of coral trout, wahoo, dolphin fish, 11 species of trevally, 4 species of emperor, permit, queenfish, barramundi, cobia, mangrove jack, 7 species of cod, jewfish, kingfish, chinaman, golden snapper, 5 species of tuna……….the list goes on! If it’s pelagic and lives in tropical waters you can catch it fishing in the Whitsundays!
Nearly all of the Whitsunday islands are accessible by boat. Some are National Parks and have affordable beach campsites (some with toilets, tables and other facilities) which puts you right in the action for spectacular tropical sports fishing without returning to the mainland. These can easily be booked through the Queensland National Parks offices or online at: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/experiences/camping/index.html
and of course on eight of the Whitsunday islands there is a variety of types of accommodation available from backpackers, to resorts & ultra-luxury (see the island accommodation section
). You can even moor your boat in their marinas overnight. Bring the family. They can enjoy the resort while the keen fisherman explores the islands or stay in Airlie Beach and make day trips to the islands or the Great Barrier Reef. Hundreds of options, millions of fish, it just depends on the suitability of your boat and your sense of adventure!
If you’re new to fishing or just need to know where the hot spots are there are many fishing charters and guides available locally for island & Great Barrier Reef trips. Shore based fishing is available from the many marina and rockwalls located around the town, including a purpose-built fishing pontoon at Shute Harbour. If estuary fishing is your thing then launch at the brand new Proserpine River ramp off Conway Road and watch saltwater crocodiles while fishing – just be careful to stay in the boat!
Airlie Beach is serviced by 4 public boat ramp facilities all of which have free parking and no launch fees! The newest and best is located at the Port of Airlie marina development; an all tide access, 12m wide concrete ramp and pontoon in the middle of town with parking for 74 cars and trailers. One for each of the Whitsunday islands! From here the nearest island is a mere 11kms offshore in protected, warm, calm, tropical waters. Another ramp at Shute Harbour is literally 500m from the nearest Whitsunday Island. There are also launching ramps at Cannonvale at the VMR, and at the Abel Point Marina complex.
So whether it’s fly fishing on the flats off Hill Inlet, bait fishing from a rockwall or popper casting around the islands, the Whitsundays, with its daily year round average temperature of 27 degrees, can really be described as a fisherman’s paradise. The scenery is spectacular, with sun bleached silica white beaches, palm trees, yachts and clear blue warm water that abounds with fish. In fact if there is any place in Australia that completely matches the picture perfect postcard, this is it!