The All Aussie Top 10: Page 1 of 3

As a lifelong fishing tragic and former professional fishing guide, Nat Bromhead spent years ‘bumming around in boats’ prior to getting a real job … and a haircut while he was at it. Here he lists the first three destinations of his top 10 easily accessible Aussie fishing hotspots for bait, lure and flyfishing fans. How fortunate we are to live on an island. Girt by sea (whatever the hell that means), water, fresh or salt, is never too far for the majority of Aussie anglers. Where there’s a will there’s a way and where there’s water, most keen anglers will usually be able to find fish. Like many have done over the years, I’ve been fortunate to make many trips up and down our highways and byways. Those one-track minded road trips were driven by the two main ingredients of any fishing trip – anticipation and hope. The good news is anyone can do it! You don’t need a 4WD a towing 6 metre boat – just a reliable vehicle, a small car topper or runabout, a boot load of tackle and the desire to catch fish and have some fun.

1: Borumba Dam.

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Borumba Dam: Total peace and tranquility just over an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Queensland’s booming Sunshine Coast.

The freshwater jewel in South East Queensland’s sport fishing crown. Borumba Dam is one of the prettiest and most pristine freshwater fishing habitats you will find anywhere. Home to hard-fighting saratoga along with bass, yellow belly, silver perch and a few others, the dam remains etched in memory of anyone fortunate enough to have fished the place. Located 20 or so minutes from the tiny township of Imbil (an hour from the glitz and glamour of Noosa), a day spent in the upper reaches of the dam is like time spent in the Amazon. Although difficult to dupe in the cooler months, saratoga can be sight cast year round on the dam. As with many dams, the main basin is an incredibly deep flooded valley, a body of water that bass specialists have worked out how to successfully fish for that modern-day superstar of a species. But it’s the edges, the weed beds, the stands of lantana and the high, upper-reaches banks that hold the attention of sports-minded anglers focused on surface fishing.
A wily Borumba Dam saratoga.

A wily Borumba Dam saratoga.

Camping is available both in Imbil and near the dam however it pays to book a spot early. Freshwater Fishing Permits are also required prior to fishing Lake Borumba. These can be purchased at the general store in Imbil, or online prior to the trip.
Sight casting is one of the most popular ways to target the resident saratoga at Borumba.

Sight casting is one of the most popular ways to target the resident saratoga at Borumba.

A word of warning – Borumba is addictive! Having been fortunate to fish and visit many places across Australia and the world, it’s Borumba I always want to return to.

2: Tin Can Bay, The Great Sandy Straits and Hervey Bay.

If any region was customs-made for drive-in, land-based fishing it would have to be this 100 or so kilometre stretch of coastline that covers the waters inshore of Fraser Island in Queensland. While a small boat, even a car topper is a handy addition for the bait or lure angler, land-based options abound.
Flathead Nat Bromhead

A nice flathead caught in the calm waters of the Sandy Straits, just north of Tin Can Bay.

Starting out at the sleepy little township of Tin Can Bay, sand flats creek and estuary fishing options are plentiful with fishing virtually a mandatory pastime for the town’s thousand or so permanent residents. Bait and lure anglers can enjoy year-round flathead and whiting fishing with bream also on offer. The cooler months bring bigger bream, monster flathead and inshore pelagics such as mackerel and tuna to the region. In calm weather small boat anglers (yes, even car toppers) can access a myriad of local creeks and inlets with anglers then able to target all your bread and butter table fish, right through to grunter, mangrove jacks, trevally, queenfish and even barramundi. Wild barra this far south? You bet. Pop into the local tackle store or boat hire shop and ask how to get to the ‘the powerlines’. The waters north of Tin Can Bay are a mix of shallow sand banks and deep drop-offs. With a variety or estuarine, beach and deep water fishing options, this picturesque waterway winds all the to Hervey Bay. The camping area of Kauri Creek, small townships of Poona, Boonaroo and Tuan are well worth visiting and each contain a variety of land-based fishing options.
Bass are on tap in many areas around the Borumba / Tin Can Bay / Hervey Bay region.

Bass are on tap in many areas around the Borumba / Tin Can Bay / Hervey Bay region.

Be it jetty, bankside, sand flats, or boating out to the channel – there’s certainly something for everyone. And a not for the boaties, make sure you take a few crab pots for not just the resident muddies up the creeks but succulent sand crabs on the channel drop-offs. Hervey Bay region offer anglers some of the most diverse fishing in the nation. We won’t go into details here as that’s been covered elsewhere on the Kaydo website – but for land based and small boat anglers, this place is fishing heaven.

3: The Whitsundays

Of the many road trips I have made along the Queensland coast there’s another destination, a little further up the track, that I’ve never been able to pass without stopping.
Bait netting off one of the inshore Whitsunday islands at sunset ... it doesn't get much better.

Bait netting off one of the inshore Whitsunday islands at sunset … it doesn’t get much better.

There’s a very good reason why the Whitsundays are one of the top tourism destinations on earth – this region would have to be one of the most breathtaking and beautiful in Australia. It’s also one of the fishiest – especially for the land-based and small boat angler. From the freshwater right through to the salt, the Whitsundays offers it all. Like many parts of Queensland it also cops a lot of strong south easterly weather, particularly in the cooler months. That said – the following land-based and inshore locations can be fished even in moderate winds, with all being reasonably fishy when conditions are right. Midge Point is another quiet little coastal town that sits at the bottom of the Whitsunday region. The area offers beach, river and creek fishing but anglers are advised to always keep a close watch for crocodiles that inhabit the area ( and most waters north along the coast). Creeks between the Midge Point turnoff and Proserpine all fish well for barramundi during the wet season ( roughly from November through to April).
Hire boats are available from various drop off points around the Whitsundays.

Hire boats are available from various drop off points around the Whitsundays.

Anglers should take extreme care when fishing anywhere near a roadway, but the next fisherman to land a big barra while casting alongside the Bruce Highway, certainly wont be the first or last. The sugar town of Proserpine is gateway to the well-documented Peter Faust Dam. Like Hervey Bay, this location features in Kaydo Fishing World. It is a ‘must fish’ location and accesible to the small boat angler. A word of warning – always watch the weather when fishing ‘Faust’ Even though it’s a lake it does chop up with some fair sized waves when it’s really blowing. On the saltwater side the Whitsunday region offers many options. Cannonvale Beach and the Abell Point Marina near Airlie Beach are sensational land-based locations. Trevally, jacks, barra and grunter are often caught here. It’s a veritable smorgasbord for bait fisherman with all manner of species on offer. Exxotic speedsters such as mackerel and cobia have been caught by anglers floating lives and pilchards, GTs and queenfish are also a possibility.
Drains and creek mouths are well worth fishing, especially those through the Proserpine River in the Whitsundays.

Drains and creek mouths are well worth fishing, especially those through the Proserpine River in the Whitsundays.

Other rock walls and marinas in the Airlie area are also worth fishing – waters around the sailing club and Port of Airlie are good options, particularly for those who like to fish baits and lives at night time. The Whitsundays can’t be documented without mentioning Shute Harbour. A commercial jetty facility built to service the many inhabited Whitsunday Islands, the Shute Harbour wharf is a well-known local fishing hotspot. Those keen and experienced in floating both dead and live baits often hook mackerel, queenfish and trevally that inhabit the deepwater off the jetty structure. Bream, flathead, grunter, mangrove jacks and even reef fish are caught around the structure. It is also a reliable and regular haunt for the region’s squid so make sure you pack a squid jig or three! Next time round we look at the exciting land-based fishing options of Queensland’s Cape York. Yes – drive-in fishing destinations on the pointy end of the Sunshine State.  
Nat Bromhead

About Nat Bromhead

Nat Bromhead’s fishing journey has come full circle over the course of his life. His father remains adamant that with assistance, a year-old Nat first wet a line while sitting a stroller perched upon Mackerel Beach on Sydney’s glorious Pittwater. An exciting fishing journey lay ahead - one that would include moving to Queensland as a teenager and ‘doing his time’ with lures and bait on the Sunshine Coast.

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