Hervey Bay coastline on Beachsafe
Great Sandy Marine Park
Fraser Island National Park
Queensland dam water levels
Queensland stocked impoundment permits
Queensland fishing regulations
Hervey Bay offers a huge variety of fishing for a mix of tropical and temperate species.
Hervey Bay is at the top of Great Sandy Strait, a fertile labyrinth of flats and channels fed at the northern end by the Mary River.
The bay is inside the relative shelter of Fraser Island, which provides calmer waters for trailerboats along lee shores.
The bay has several artificial reefs. The best known is the Roy Rufus Reef on the east side of Woody Island, the first component of which was deployed in 1968.
More recently the government installed the Hardie Artificial Reef further east of of Woody Island, and the Simpson Artificial Reef in the far south of the bay west of Moon Point.
The Cochrane Artificial Reef is located 4.4km off Elliott Heads in shallow water in the west of Hervey Bay.
The Woodgate Artificial Reef is located in shallow water just 2km off Woodgate and 15km north of Burrum Heads and the Burrum River.
Both the Burrum and Mary Rivers have barramundi, although blue and threadfin salmon, jewfish, whiting, bream, flathead and mud crabs are the more common catch.
For landbased fishos a highlight of this region is the 800m+ Urangan jetty, a great fishing spot.
Hervey Bay is not noted for substantial natural reef, being mostly a sand bottom, but areas of coffee rock ledges can be found and invariably hold a mix of tropical and southern reef fish.
Pelagic fishing in the bay is often very good for mackerel, tuna and a range of trevally species, with a chance of small black marlin.
This whole region is relatively shallow, with generally clear water except in the vicinity of the turbid Mary River.
The vast beach along Hervey Bay become drying flats at low tide but when the tide comes in whiting and flathead are usually available, along with passing queenfish and trevally.
There are beach jetties at Scarness and Torquay, which are tide-dependent, but Urangan jetty can be fished on all tides.
Some Hervey Bay boat ramps are tide-dependent, but ramps at Gattakers Bay and Urangan Boat Club are useable on all tides.
Because of the shallow clear water there is good sight-fishing throughout this region.
If you want a challenge, try targeting golden trevally and queenfish in the shallows. There’s also a chance of seeing bonefish and giant herring, both of which are uncommon, but they are there.
Longtail tuna caught locally are big fish compared with those found further north.
Fraser Island is famous for its seasonal tailor fishing on the eastern surf side, accessible by vehicular ferry with a 4WD vehicle.
Note that Hervey Bay and Fraser Island are hugely popular during holiday periods.
If you want to try some impoundment barramundi fishing, the nearest stocked dams are Lenthall and Monduran.
Woody Island – easily reached by trailerboat, being just 4km east of Urangan boat ramp. There is a marked channel around the northern end, with the Roy Rufus and Hardie artificial reefs on the east side of the island, with the Simpson reef to the north. Pink snapper and coral trout are best in winter here. In summer, saddletail snapper (nannygai), sweetlip and golden trevally are caught. A great many components make up the total Roy Rufus reef area. The water is around 18m deep, so plan to fish the turn of the tide as strong tidal currents flow. Move your boat if you don’t get bites – placement of a bait on the reef components can be critical.
Moon Point – this is part of Fraser island, located 11km north-east of Urangan. In a boat you must negotiate substantial shallow sandbanks through this area. There are ledges around Moon Point that usually fish well but the tidal current flows hard. Small creek mouths on the island have mostly flathead and whiting.
Platypus Bay – this forms most of the inside of Fraser Island. It has reef, gravel and holes throughout that usually have plenty of fish, but it is a known ciguatera hotspot.
Rooneys Point – this is the north end of Fraser Island, a 60km run from the Urangan boat ramp. The reward for the long journey is small black marlin in summer, with these fish sometimes swimming right into the sandy shallows, along with cobia, queenfish, mackerel and trevally. Another 20km north is the beginning of Breaksea Shoal, an interesting area but very shallow, exposed and dangerous.
River Heads – boats can be launched at River Heads near Maryborough, either to go upstream into the turbid Mary River system to chase barramundi and salmon, or to visit Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Strait. However there is no need to travel far as there are ledges just a few hundred metres from River Heads boat ramp that hold jewfish, barramundi and salmon. Try using livebait or trolling lures at the turn of the tide, or drop jigs.
Great Sandy Strait – this labyrinth of flats and channels has many side creeks. This area is home of flathead, but also with bream, whiting, grunter, salmon, mud crabs and more. It’s not just dusky flathead found in the strait and bay, there’s also yellowtail flathead, longspine flathead, northern sand flathead, bartail flathead, smalleye flathead and southern sand flathead.
Mary River – this is the most southerly river in Queensland where you have a real chance of catching large, wild barramundi, as well as threadfin and blue salmon, black jewfish, bream,, whiting, flathead and mud crabs. Being more turbid than most other nearby rivers, it is well suited to barramundi, which thrive in muddy water. Livebait and lures will catch the fish, with warm weather always best for barramundi. Try trolling rockbars and the channel drop-offs, as well as casting lures to mud drain mouths that are emptying out with the tide. The Mary River also usually has a good stock of mud crabs. The river fishes well up to Maryborough.
Burrum River – Burrum Heads this gives access into the lower Burrum River. This is a broad shallow waterway, with all the usual estuary species, and a chance of barramundi. However the Mary River is a better place chase barra.
Species caught around Hervey Bay include longtail tuna, mack tuna, spotted, spanish and grey mackerel, queenfish, cobia, yellowtail kingfish, golden trevally, giant trevally (and several other trevally species), goldspot cod, red emperor, mangrove jacks, groper, marlin, pink snapper, slatey bream (blackall), bar-cheeked coral trout, tuskfish (bluebone or parrot), grunter, dart, blue and threadfin salmon, barramundi, tailor, flathead and whiting. Bonefish, giant herring and barramundi are also caught occasionally. And let’s not forget the salmon-tailed catfish.
Good fishing can be had all year, but winter weather tends to bring the best boating weather.
Pelagic fish are best in summer.
Warm months are best if you are chasing barramundi in the Burrum and Mary Rivers.
Fraser Island tailor fire up from July to November.
Reef in the bay is generally sedimentary coffee rock ledges. Sound around the various marks to find good spots. Pelagic fish are often found over the reef fishing grounds.
When fishing the artificial reefs, fish the turn of the tide and move if you don’t get bites as bait placement can be critical.
Roy Rufus Reef
This reef is just 1.7km east of Woody Island. It contains a great many components spread over a large area. These are the more significant components.
25 16.182S 152 57.866E
25 16.450S 152 58.154E
25 17.021S 152 58.230E
Hardie Artificial Reef – 5km east of Woody Island
25 17.291S 153 01.550E
25 17.329S 153 01.508E
25 17.277S 153 01.492E
25 17.878S 153 01.814E
25 17.926S 153 01.841E
Simpson Artificial Reef – 10km north of Woody Island
25 11.093S 152 57.613E
25 11.144S 152 57.613E
25 11.337S 152 57.654E
25 11.338S 152 57.711E
25 11.384S 152 57.685E
Cochrane Artificial Reef – 4.4km off Elliott Heads in the west of Hervey Bay
Woodgate Artificial Reef – 2km off Woodgate in the west of Hervey Bay
25 05.546S 152 34.405E
Baitfish gathering area
25 15.537S 152 55 353E
25 16.535S 153 00.488E reef fish
25 17.863S 153 02.097E reef fish
25 Fathom Hole
24 55.246S 152 48.042E
8-Mile off Burrum Heads
25 09.689S 152 43.977E reef fish
25 04.124S 153 04.836E reef fish
Moon Ledge – strong currents
25 12.804S 152 59.098E reef fish
25 10.958S 152 59.911E reef fish
25 11.087S 153 00.886E reef fish
24 57.165S 153 13.297E reef fish
24 57.466S 153 11.831E reef fish
Find local fishing holiday accommodation here.
Fishing gear for southern Queensland
A 3kg spin outfit is ideal for chasing whiting and bream in clear water and in areas that see a lot of fishing pressure and the fish are cautious. This outfit can also be used for freshwater bass. See eBay listings here.
A 6kg spin outfit is otherwise ideal for most southern Queensland estuary and freshwater fishing. See eBay listings here.
A heavy-duty surf rod is needed for surf mulloway and rock fishing, see eBay listings here. A lighter surf rod is better for catching tailor, bream, dart and whiting in the surf.
For boat fishing, a stout rod/spinning reel combo loaded with 10-15kg line is ideal for general reef fishing in water to around 25m deep, and can also be used to cast lures to pelagic fish. See eBay listing here. Rods around 7' long are ideal for boat fishing. A heavier outfit is better in deeper water, especially where sharks are abundant, as you'll need to bring hooked fish in fast.
Metal slice lures are ideal for catching tailor and salmon in the surf, and will also take trevally, bream, kingfish and flathead. There are many types but the simple chrome styles are as good as any. See eBay listing here.
Soft plastic paddle tail lures are popular and effective all-round lures, and these also work in freshwater locations. See eBay listings here.
Weighted jig heads are needed to rig most soft plastic paddle tail lures, although some have the jig head built in. See eBay listings here. It pays to use the lightest jig head possible, and light resin jig heads allow an angler to present a more realistic suspending lure action.
For squidding, standard unbaited squid jigs such as these work well, see listings here.
Baited 'spike jigs' work well on large calamari squid. These jigs are cast under a float and left out until a squid takes the bait. Bait the jig with a small fish such as tommy ruff or mullet. These large baited jigs look clumsy compared with the smaller jigs more commonly seen, but they are effective ... see listings here. The barbed version is even better if you can find them for sale.
Smaller squid can be targeted with baited spike jigs such as these ... see eBay listings here.
The secret for successful squid fishing is to fish dusk, darkness and dawn, when the water is clear. Summer is usually best.
Star sinkers or snapper leads are generally used on a paternoster rig for surf and boat fishing. For most other fishing, ball sinkers are used, as part of a running sinker rig where the sinker slides along the line, allowing a fish to easily run with a baited hook. See eBay listings for ball sinkers here, see listings for star sinkers here and for snapper leads here.
Hooks in mixed sizes (suggest 1# or #2 for whiting, 6# or #8 for garfish, 4/0 for tailor and flathead, 11/0 for large mulloway). Listings on eBay here.
Ganged hooks (joined chains of hooks) are used when fishing pilchard or garfish baits for tailor. Listings on eBay here.
Other items you may need are wire trace to stop fish such as mackerel or sharks biting through your line, see eBay listings here, swivels to stop line twist when using spinning lures here, a filleting knife to clean your fish here, a burley bucket to attract fish to your area here, a waterproof torch here, a sharpening stone for knives and hooks here, bait jigs to catch baitfish such as yakkas for bait here, a sharpening stone for knives and hooks here, and of course a tackle box here.
Lastly, if don't want to use traditional smelly baits, you can try a commercial bait product such as this.
BOATS FOR SALE in Brisbane - current eBay listings here.
Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.
Some external videos filmed around Hervey bay are featured below.
Urangan jetty fishing
iFish at Hervey Bay
Jigging Hervey Bay reefs
Exploring Great Sandy Straits
Fraser Island region boating
Is Hervey Bay a good place to live? ›
It's no surprise that Hervey Bay, Queensland is regarded as one of Australia's most desired places to live— not only are there lots of fun things to do for the whole family; but there's also our perfect weather, stunning Hervey Bay beaches, affordable living and a very wide range of housing options to choose from.What is Hervey Bay best known for? ›
Renowned for its visiting humpback whales, and the close and intimate Whale Watching experiences that the local fleet can offer, Hervey Bay is a popular playground for tourists all year round because of its mild climate.Can you swim at Hervey Bay beaches? ›
Swimming in Hervey Bay is one of the best things to do. The waters of Hervey Bay are calm and rip free, making them safe for kids. The beaches are protected by Fraser Island; this means clean, clear waters perfect for a swim. Try to go swimming in the mornings before 10 am or afternoon after 2 pm.How hot does Hervey Bay get in summer? ›
The summer weather in Hervey Bay can be very warm, with temperatures reaching more than 30 degrees Celsius at times. However, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area that have air conditioning. Also, take note that summer is also the wettest season.Does it get cold in Hervey Bay? ›
The area has a mild, subtropical climate with an average maximum temperature of 26.2° (79°F) and a mean yearly minimum of 16.6°C (62 °F), meaning that extremes of temperature are seldom reached and that most seasons are definitely "t-shirt and shorts" weather.How cold does Hervey Bay get in winter? ›
Temperatures range from 23-32 degrees Celsius during Summer which falls between December and February, 18-28 degrees Celsius during Autumn which falls between March and May, 13-26 degrees Celsius during Winter which falls between June and August, and 17-28 degrees Celsius during Spring which falls between September and ...Can you swim in Hervey Bay all year round? ›
Hervey Bay Beach Water Temperatures
The temperatures are not much different, making the beaches great to visit year-round.
Even with a bit of rainfall, Hervey Bay doesn't flood too often. Flooding can occur from excess rainfall or from rivers. Only low-lying parts of Hervey Bay may experience flooding, particular those in the coastal areas or close to shore. Some flooding can be classed as annoyance flooding Hervey Bay is a coastal town.Why are houses so cheap in Hervey Bay? ›
Queensland has a policy where land valued under $250,000, that is vacant, may not be subject to rates. This can be an attractive prospect to those seeking vacant land in the Hervey Bay area. Even with vacant land not typically having rates, the rates for Hervey Bay have also stayed pretty affordable for its residents.Can you swim in Hervey Bay in Summer? ›
Swimming / Beaches
Hervey Bay sits in the lee of Fraser Island, and hence has a calm and protected 12km long north-facing beach. The stinger-free waters are safe for swimming all year round, with an average water temperature between 21 and 26 degrees – often warmer in than out!!