What a past few months it has been! We have had an exceptional run of black marlin this year with numbers consistent right throughout the season.
We have been absolutely having a ball targeting these great gamefish with guests. Targeting them on the shallow sandflats and along Fraser Island is very unique and the only place in the world such an event takes place.
Through our decades of experience targeting the black marlin, we have refined our approach and are doing well not just hooking but landing good numbers consistently.
The size of the run this year has been interesting. We have had fish from 7kg right through to 40 kg models – quite the variety. Anglers have enjoyed a range of techniques from live baiting, casting lures, fly fishing, trolling and switch baiting.
Fly anglers have had a blast with switching from teaser to fly the best method to get the ultimate hook-up. We do cast at free swimmers and catch them also but the hook up rate is in the vicinity of 1 from 10 or even less where a switch can get much higher closer to 70 % . The flashy profile fly developed by blue water fly fishing pioneer Dean Butler is the ultimate fly for billfish. We may have some availability left this season for black marlin so if you are interested please be in touch.
Other species of late have included Spanish mackerel, queenfish, mac tuna,longtail tuna, giant herring, cobia golden trevally, flathead and more. As we move into the new year we will be targeting these species more on lure , fly and jigs as we move into our tuna season.
Top water action will increase and it wont be long before we are into our longtail tuna action which is a great time of the year. Flats longtails are fun and nothing beats catching them in the shallows.
The past few months have thrown up some challenging conditions, far from our usual winter patterns that we are used to. La Niña has certainly given us plenty of southeasterly winds which have been over 20 knots frequently, combined with the moisture in the air we have seen a huge amount of rain. This has changed up our fishing habits, making us fish closer to port in the sandy straits more frequently.
With all this being said we have seen some great fishing this winter with a great mix of fish species from offshore species like cobia, snapper and big coral trout to inshore queenfish and giant herring. This wide range of species and different styles of fishing is one thing we as guides really enjoy. On the wider reefs we enjoyed some great fishing for coral trout, snapper, mixed trevally species, scarlets, Spanish mackerel and more. We had an excellent run of Spanish mackerel through May and June which has dropped off a little now, but they are certainly there if you target them.
Mac and longtail tuna have been around and were still on the surface through May and June. We now see most tuna feeding deeper on the yakkas, which is still a fun way to target them. We often get species like snapper and golden trevally while working yakka schools.
Coral Trout are always a highlight through winter with the shark presence much lower in the cooler months landing big trophy trout is much easier. Working lures is one of my favourite techniques for trout. When fishing lures you can get away with much lighter outfits than you would with live baits as the trout come out of the reef to hit a lure, and you have the advantage straight away. We often land them on 20 and 30 lb leaders something you wouldn’t try if fishing live baits.
The Snapper season has been an interesting one with inshore turning up a good run of snapper and some of the more traditional grounds a touch slower. It has been a bit of a hit and miss season with fish being much more cooperative on the moons and almost non-existent on the neaps. Should shape up for a good late run with yakka schools in good numbers now we will certainly be targeting them again now the closed season is finished.
Inshore we have enjoyed some good fishing for queenfish, golden trevally, giant herring, cod, grunter, sweetlip, coral trout and more. Working the tides is key and again the bigger tides producing the best fishing.
Our broad bar run was short and sharp as soon as the water cleaned up they arrived and were good over a month period but have now thinned out a bit. That late season rain did change their usual migration a little with the gar also non existent due to the dirty water which they seem to follow about before they spawn.
The queenfish action has been great with a few fish on the flats also for the fly angler. I’m excited about this season on the flats its shaping up to be a good one!
Our black marlin season October – December is filling fast. We look forward to bringing you probably some of the most unique fishing in the world as we see our juvenile run start, and fish move into the shallow waters of the Fraser Coast. We are pumped and cant wait!! If you are interested in dates over the coming months get in quick and don’t miss out on the action!
April 16, 2022
March was a cracking month for the team at HBFSF with some mint weather among a few windier days.
A second round of flooding rains saw a huge influx of bait with big predatory fish in hot pursuit. Big longtails, golden trevally, spanish mackerel, queenfish, broad bar mackerel and more rounded up the bait. Targeting these fish saw anglers get some new PB’s and got to experience the thrill of targeting trophy size fish.
On the reefs we managed to find a few coral trout, sweetlip, scarlet sea perch, cod, red emperor and moses perch.
The small window of calmer days allowed us to get out a little wider and target the reef species.
Inshore we found a few nice sweetlip, cod, coral bream and the odd coral trout. The fresh water flow continued until mid march which effected the inshore reefs and bay islands of the Sandy Straits this has now cleared and is getting closer to normal salinity levels.
The flats fishing season inshore was very interrupted for us this saw the fly anglers choose to stick it out on the tuna schools and northern flats. We had some great sessions on flats longtails with both lure and fly anglers enjoying the hunt.
Thanks to all who joined us and stuck it out in the tough conditions to land those big pelagics!
We still have some dates available for the Autumn run of longtail tuna along with our winter snapper and inshore jigging season. If you are interested in any dates over the next few months, get in early to secure your charter and don’t miss out on a fantastic time of year.
We luckily got a mother shipping trip in for some regulars who had endured multiple reschedules due to weather and covid. It was great to get the guys out on the water finally! We had constant southeasterly winds which made for a nice anchorage and brought some big tunas in closer to the island. We targeted big longtails which was the main focus with everyone in the group scoring a fish over a meter – a great team effort from guides and guests.
February 25, 2022
Well what a past couple of months it has been, and a bit of a breezy start to 2022 to say the least.
Windy conditions saw us lose a fair few days with gusty southeasters, often strong wind warning strength, keeping us off the bay. As we move forward to March and Autumn we should see the weather settle down and transition into those cooler autumn conditions we love.
Over the past few months we have been focusing on the local scarlets, or large mouth nannygais, on many of our trips when conditions allow. This has seen a mix of good reef fish to go along with the scarlets including painted sweetlip, golden trevally, grass sweetlip, school and Spanish mackerel.
Focusing on using jig and soft plastics for these species can be a great way to learn the basics of lure fishing. The stand out lures of late have been the old trusty Zman StreakZ in electric chicken and 40g Nomad Buffalo Jigs.
We also managed a few nice coral trout with guests enjoying the challenges of hooking and landing these prized reef dwellers.
On the surface, we had a few mac tuna moving about along with longtail tuna. Longtail numbers are not plentiful yet but the coming weeks should see more move in.
On the windier days we focused around the Bay islands and Straits targeting small GT’s, queenfish and golden trevally. Fishing with light braid can be exciting with even small GT around 3-4 kg being a handful on light bream/ flathead tackle.
Autumn is right up there as possibly the best season for us when it comes to all out sportfishing. Tunas, golden trevally, queenfish, mackerels and more ramp up and we see some epic days on the water. With recent rains we should have a great season!
With the tuna season upon us make sure you get in early to secure your dates. We are looking forward to plenty of rod bending action with our migrating tuna run!
We experienced some flooding in January with the Mary River catchment receiving over 400mm in some areas which saw the flood level in Maryborough reach over 9 meters. With this flood water we saw a huge amount of large debris swamp the Bay area. The fresh water flowed out for a good week before we started to see it clean up.
It is now a little dirty inshore but mostly cleared up and has certainly provided some great fishing. The flood waters kick many bait species into gear and we are now seeing bait schools throughout the bay with predatory fish not far behind them. We are looking forward to a big tuna season ahead!
December 12, 2021
The past few months have seen some challenging conditions. Very unseasonal heavy rains and easterly wind flow for this time of year has made the pelagic scene tougher than it should be. Short term pain for long term gain will see the coming months fire up and will be better from the rains. We also experience much better fishing long term after big wet events, so I am looking forward to the next few seasons.
We had a good run of juvenile black marlin just before the heavy weather really kicked in. Double digit days were recorded of raised and hooked fish with a few days seeing as many as 6 landed per boat. We fished a range of techniques with fly, trolled gars, trolled live baits, bait-and-switch and trolled lures a few of the techniques used.
Guests enjoyed the thrills and spills of targeting billfish. It was great to see guests get into them and we thank everyone for coming along and giving it a go. Searching for marlin isn’t for everyone but once people get a taste of it they soon understand our obsession.
Marlin on fly was a highlight for our guides who all got among them on days off, with Kurt and Pete catching their first on fly. Although we catch plenty with guests it is rare we have rod in hand so it was great to see our guides getting amongst the action.
This year we began involvement in the NSW DPI Gamefish Tagging Program. With over 50 fish tagged and released we are hoping to see some recaptures of these beautiful marlin down the eastern coastline over the coming months.
Other species we targeted over the past few months were coral trout, cod, scarlets (nannygai), snapper, trevally, queenfish, mac and longtail tuna.
Spotted mackerel didn’t make much of an appearance through November but will ramp up during the next few weeks leading into Christmas. The bait ball action is always exciting for guests as they get to see most of the strikes with many on the rod tip. Golden trevally, tuna, black marlin, cobia and more can be seen at times rounding up the bait.
October 19, 2021
The past few months has seen some of best weather for the year. Combine this with our winter species and we’ve had plenty of happy guests and bent rods.
Snapper season was a little different this year, with the fish spread out throughout the Bay. That made things interesting as we caught many of our snappers in areas where we haven’t seen them for many years, along with the traditional grounds. We targeted them on a range of techniques from soft plastics, jigs and even cut baits at times. It was interesting to see their behaviour lean toward scavenging rather than aggressive bites this season – particularly when trevally are working the same areas.
Working lures often resulted in attracting trevally so a change of tactic is required to single out the snapper.
In the trevally schools we encountered bluespot, tealeaf, diamond, golden, goldspot, bludger and giant trevally. The range of their species through winter certainly makes for some great fishing.
Jigs from 40-60g are dynamite through winter with the Nomad Buffalo and Cast OTD range being our go-to jigs.
On the reefs, grunters, grass sweetlip, coral trout, cod, various perches, scarlets, kingfish, cobia, mackerels and more have kept our guests busy! We had a few excellent sessions on the reefies this winters with the coral trout being the trophy fish for many.
Inshore we had some fun targeting flathead, snapper, trevally and queenfish. Our inshore fishing can be very productive at times and is a great option on those windy days and on our half day trips.
The school holidays were also a buzz with plenty of budding junior anglers coming on board for their first taste of sportfishing. Hopefully we left a lasting impression and they take up fishing as a pastime. It’s always a pleasure to see the joy on their faces when they battle their first decent fish.
The next few months we move into our spring and summer season. With water temps on the way up we have seen more surface action with mac and longtail tuna starting to get around. Spotted mackerel will be next with their arrival due in November which can create some exciting fishing on the bait balls.
Our black marlin season is almost upon us, and in the coming weeks we will begin to seek out the blacks and start targeting them more frequently.
August 5, 2021
June and July brought some tough weather, with this winter one of the worst for wet and windy conditions for some time. We did see a couple of the nice winter glassout days but they were rare. Luckily the fishing on those days was excellent and we saw a fantastic start to our shallow water snapper season, with some big knobby’s landed.
Snapper were caught with a range of techniques but we saw that soft plastics fished around bait schools worked the best. Keeping your approach calm and quiet is the key to getting a good session, as snappers often move on with too much commotion in the areas we fish. Guests were treated to some new PB’s and had a ball on light tackle.
Other species we targeted through June and July were our winter reef species. Coral trout, cod, sweetlip, hussar, Moses perch and more were caught when we could got the right conditions to target them. We are hopeful we will get a few more opportunities through winter to hit the reefs.
Big longtails were also good fun with fish to 20kg landed. Guests love the battle of these brutes with some epic battles had by guests. Mac tuna also added to the tuna count with their blistering runs leaving us wonder if they grew as big as longtails would they fight harder?
Inshore we targeted species like school, broad bar mackerel, cods and smaller snapper with many days too windy to head further offshore.
Trevallies were around as usual with some big goldens falling to jigs and soft plastics. Queenfish also have been about deeper in the water column and often will come up to hit a top water lure. We should see plenty of sportfishing action on the trevally in the months ahead.
Looking forward we should see some stable weather with more of a dry westerly flow in the wind through August. This will bring some stability to the fishing and will be a welcome change to the wet June and July we just experienced.
June 9, 2021
April saw some great conditions for our guests, with glassouts and light winds for the best part of the month. May, on the other hand, brought some big south easterly blows and we lost a few days here and there to strong winds. We did get out a good majority of the days and the western side of Fraser Island was the perfect back drop for some great fishing.
Longtail numbers were solid over the past few months with some quality fish up to 20 kg in the mix. The bigger fish can be a handful but our high quality Shimano tackle with silky smooth reel drags easily get the job done. Casting and hooking a trophy size longtail is a great challenge, with communication between angler and guide being key to landing them successfully.
School size longtails still were abundant, with mac tuna also adding the extras on the tuna tally.
School and Spanish mackerel provided guests with a bit of fun and a tasty feed. Spinning metals under the tuna proved successful when things were a little more difficult on the tuna with a mix of species getting caught this way. Queenfish, golden trevally, bludger trevally and more were all caught under the tuna schools.
On the reefs we enjoyed some great fishing for species like coral trout, sweetlip, cod, moses perch, hussar and more on plastics and jigs. Fishing the reefs is a ton of fun and winter is a great go to option if conditions allow.
Later in May we came across some great snapper bites with the blood moon late in the month producing the goods. Big snapper are a prize capture in the Bay and with their aggressive runs in the shallow water they are a show stopper. Quality snapper also release very well in shallow water which we often do if guests are not after a feed. It’s been a reasonable start to the season so fingers crossed it continues.
We also have started to see our run of broadbar (or grey) mackerel that
we get through winter. Broady’s are an excellent feed and provide some
great entertainment when they are on a hot bite.
Our regular guests enjoyed a 3 day mothership experience. Although the weather was playing a hard game, the fishing was still excellent with all anglers enjoying a mix of pelagic and reef species. We even had a good feed of local mud crab.
It has been a great Autumn season with all the guides really enjoying the fishing we had on offer. It certainly is a great time of year, but now we will start to focus on our winter species and fishing. A big thank you to everyone that joined us throughout the Autumn season and year so far. Covid has certainly made life challenging with many lockdowns and uncertainty with travel. We appreciate everyone’s effort in getting up here and joining us.
We had the pleasure of hosting our good mate Ben Jones, aka the GT Buster, for our new Contender’s first offshore fishing trip. Conditions that day were challenging to say the least – no tidal or ocean currents and the fishing was very quiet. We still managed some great catches with the Buster recording the adventure for his YouTube channel. See the episode here!
Our winter season is filling fast! Species such as snapper, cobia, golden trevally, diamond trevally, coral trout and other reef species are active and available by jigging – a popular way to target these species through winter. With glass-out calm conditions quite common, winter sees some of our best weather for the year. Get in early to secure your dates for our winter season!
April 21, 2021
Longtail tuna are one of the most targeted species at this time of year as we see good schools move into the bay. Working soft plastics, stickbaits and slugs through the schools saw guests get some great fish. Fish over 20kg were landed with plenty over the magic 120cm mark.
Queenfish are also a target species this time of year chasing down poppers and stickbaits and putting on an awesome aerial display once hooked.
The queenies also had the odd Spanish mackerel hanging around feeding on the same bait which makes it exciting when a big spanish gets airborne after your popper.
On the reefs, species such as golden trevally, bludger trevally, tea leaf trevally, school mackerel, nannygai, cod, coral trout and more were caught on a range of methods.
A quick jig on the reef can change the day from targeting rampaging surface fish to bottom dwellers offering great variety for guests.
The next month will see plenty more longtail tuna come across the deck along with queenfish, mackerels, trevallys and bottom dwellers. It’s an exciting time of year as most species are all available at the same time making for some epic days on the water. We still have a few dates available in May so please email us to secure your booking.
March 19, 2021
What a year we’ve had so far! The fishing was very consistent to kick off the New Year, with plenty of mac and longtail tuna showing an early appearance. The tuna have mostly been falling to slugs and soft plastics fished into the schools.
Under the tuna we have found some XL golden trevally and school mackerel as they chase after the leftovers. Sharks continue to a bit of a pest but with our techniques we manage to land plenty of good fish.
Queenfish have also been taking topwater lures, mixed in with a few spanish mackerel, providing us with some amazing surface strikes!
On the bottom, scarlets have been caught along with cod, sweetlip and slatey bream. Dropping down soft plastics like the Zman StreakZ or Zerek prawns have given us great results. Also the new Nomad Vertrex swim vibes have been working well for us in recent weeks on bottom dwellers.
Fly anglers have enjoyed the thrills of tuna on fly with mac and longtail tuna landed. On the flats, goldens have been making a rare appearance but we have had a fair few cloudy days which has seen us target pelagics more frequently on the fly.
We are now offering fresh water charters on Lake Lenthals targeting the mighty barramundi! The dam has been fishing well with most fish in the 75cm range, with a few elusive meter fish being reported. Working lures or fly in the dam is very relaxing and a great way to spend a morning if the bay is blown out.
Looking ahead, our Autumn tuna season is almost here with good numbers of tuna already busting up in the Bay. We also see some great fishing in Autumn for species like queenfish, Spanish mackerel, golden trevally, broad bar mackerel, cobia and more! For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org