Exploring The Great Sandy Straits – By Nick Thompson
Over the June-July holidays I was lucky enough to visit the Great Sandy Strait in all of its glory. The Great Sandy Straits is located on the western side of Fraser Island. There is some great fishing and some of the best views and scenery in the world, not to mention some isolated anchorages.
We booked our stay on a houseboat and launched from Tin Can Bay. After a flat tyre on the boat trailer, we had a delayed start. A quick tutorial on where everything is located (coffee for the adults) and how to run the vessel and we went with my Mum, Dad, Sisters, Uncle and Aunty and my two little Cousins. We planned our first night to be at Kauri Creek, roughly a 3 and a half hour run away. As we left the harbour we were greeted with an abundance of marine life including a few dolphins who enjoyed the wash our boat had created. The highlight of the drive was definitely when two humpback whales had swam by, with a few jumps during their migration north to breed.
This was an amazing sight and an even better way to start off the trip. We arrived at Kauri Creek around 2:30pm. My Uncle and I spent little time getting around on the tinny and fishing. We had bought my Uncles boat as well as the tender supplied with the houseboat. This meant we could head of for a fish while the others could explore the beaches. The anchorage that we stayed at had a small shallow creek and mangrove lined edges and it looked promising for flathead. We flicked around for flathead with no luck, although I did miss one fish which I suspect was a small lizard but that’s fishing, especially when looking and fishing new areas. Meanwhile, back at the boat the girls and Dad were getting stuck into some small whiting and when we got back my Dad landed a nice 40cm lizard.
We woke up to the sunrise with bacon and eggs for breakfast. We headed towards Garry’s Anchorage. We needed bait as we only bought one packet of prawns and we were running low, so Dad and I went off to what we thought was a yabbie bed. Fresh is always best when bait fishing. Boy we were wrong! The suspected yabby bed was knee deep mud, although we did get some prawns in the cast net. Heading back to the houseboat, we quickly learnt that the Sandy Straits can turn on the swells with the ride home being fairly less than comfortable. A four metre tinnie and huge swell and 25 knot winds do not mix well. We made it back to the house boat looking like drowned rats with limited bait to show for it.
Thankfully once we got near Garry’s Anchorage there was some shelter from the wind. Garry’s Anchorage is basically a gutter with sandy beaches and big lay downs along the bank which accounted for some great fishing. On the beaches the girls were getting some good bream and a nice flathead. Meanwhile I was on the tinny flicking some small plastics up against the logs and I was getting an abundance of Moses perch, which although small they hit hard as well as some grunter and lots of small trevally which were great fun on the light gear I was using. This immense amount of trevally resulted in some fish-filled sessions; it also allowed for the girls to get a few fish on lures. A great way to keep everyone entertained and into lure fishing as the trevs inhaled the lures.
The next day we decided to go for an exploration, looking for the old logging shipwrecks, and some beaches to let the girls explore. Although this was much to my disgust to leave all the fishing behind, the history that you could see with the old washed up logging ships up these tiny little creeks is really a sight to behold. The immense amount of white sandy beaches are also great, the fact you can pull up anywhere and stop for an hour or two and many of these beaches hold some great whiting and flathead. One beach we stopped at, known as great day stopover had a small gutter running out into a sand flat and the size of the flathead lies were huge. Unfortunately we couldn’t connect with any. As the afternoon went on, the wind picked up, meaning we went back to Garry’s to find some shelter from the wind. The fishing was just the same as before with a consistent flow of small trevally.
We left that morning to Pelican Bay which was the closest anchorage to the marina as we had to be back by ten and with the boat only going an average of 9 knots we wanted to get as close to the marina as possible, although we did stop at a lot of the beaches along the way for lunch and morning tea. Along the way there were hundreds of mack and long tail tuna busting up the surface, so naturally my Uncle and I tied on some spoons and started tossing spoons into the schools of fish. We tried to a hook up but the tuna were focused on a smaller sized bait fish profile meaning they couldn’t care less about what we were offering them.
Unfortunately we didn’t get as far north as we had hoped to due to rain. I definitely recommend going for a holiday on The Great Sandy Straits, there are a number of things to do for the whole family and best of all there is some great fishing and big fish to be caught. It is important that if we want the area to keep its beauty we need to be sure to pick up all of our rubbish and make sure all of it returns to shore and gets put in a bin. There is also an abundance of turtles so be careful when boating around, same goes with whales and dolphins – be sure to keep a safe distance from them.