Family Fun Beach Fishing Fraser Island – by Luke Fitzpatrick

Fraser Island, there is certainly something very special about the largest sand island in the world. Some people call it Fraser, others stick to the indigenous Butchulla name for the island, being K’Gari. All I know, is that every time I step foot onto Fraser Island, I experience a complete feeling of relaxation. Time seems to slow down, many of my worries seem to slip into the ‘donot really matter’ basket and the fishing is, well, in a word, ‘awesome’. Our latest trip to Fraser Island was a family affair, we specifically wanted a no fuss weekend away. This included avoiding chaotic preparation at home. We just wanted to pack a few things late on a Friday afternoon, jump in the 4x4and to head off. Our vision was to sleep and stay in comfort and just completely relax without having to worry about camping gear and if we had accidentally forgotten something. Our two boys, being now 6 and 9 years old are really starting to stretch their legs when it comes to adventuring. So, our central theme for the weekend was to introduce them to something new.Beach fishing, something I remember experiencing for the first time as a kid fishing a few of the isolated beaches on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula and something very different from our usual boat-based fishing adventures throughout the Fraser Coast. We decided to take advantage of one of the holiday accommodation deals which Eurong Beach Resort run throughout the year. We booked a spot on the Fraser Venture barge exiting River Heads and heading to Wanggoolba Creek. 45 minutes later we were on Fraser driving gently through magnificent rainforest. The recent end of summer rains meant the sandy tracks were in excellent condition making the journey across the island quick and comfortable. Our first port of call was not reception at Eurong Beach Resort, instead we drove straight through the resort grounds and made our way directly to the eastern beach. Just in time for the last of the days natural light. The combination of sand between the toes, cool ocean breeze and the sound of waves was just what my brain needed after a hectic week at work. Due to the positive power of social media, we had been gifted with plenty of advice for finding fish along the eastern side of Fraser Island. I wanted to keep things very simple and much of the advice we received suggested the same. Small metal slugs, a few stick baits, fresh beach worms and a handful of pillies were the order of the day. We were going to try our hand at finding fresh pipisalong the beach, but to be honest, once my eldest son Liam started landing dart and whiting on beach worms, he was not even going to entertain the idea of switching baits. The first lesson for the boys, was in how to identify locations to fish. Identifying gutters may seem an obvious thing but my boys have spent most of their time fishing and exploring the inside of Fraser Island and throughout Platypus Bay. Locations in which surf does not really exist so for them it was all a bit new. I can say however, after watching Bondi Lifeguards on TV, they were both very good at locating rips in the surf. The great thing about the eastern beach of Fraser Island is the abundance of gutters to fish and it did not take long before we could spot fish surfing small waves in a gutter. With the boys settling in and fishing in close, I decided to start my innings throwing heavier gear out beyond the breaking waves, hopingto find one of Fraser Islands famed tailor. I had with me a new Samurai Ledge 9ft 6inch 20 to 35lb rod matched up with a Shimano Saragosa 6000 spooled with 30lb Platypus braid. At the business end was a Shimano Coltsniper 120mm Rockslide. With a weight of 33grams and the AR-C centre of gravity movement casting system this lure flew achieving massive casting range. However, being late Summer / early Autumn, I was pushing my luck. Although present all year round, the big tailor schools seem to appear more through Winter and into late Spring. I did manage a couple of solid hook ups, against an unknown adversary which I unfortunately dropped. And after an hour of heaving lures over breaking waves I surrendered to the success that my boys were enjoying, simply using light gear in close with fresh beach worms. It was a timely reminder that for kids learning to fish, the size of the fish caught does not matter all that much, they just want to be entertained, have fun, get dirty and feel no pressure.While I was tempted to keep persevering with the heavy gear, knowing I may just land a monster, experiencing this special time with my boys won the day. Liam was having the most success, he was literally casting his beach worm no more than 5 to 10 metres into the water. He was also using a Ledge rod from Samurai, however his was the 9ft 8 to 15lb version. A very light yet robust rod which held up to the abuse from two young boys. A Shimano Ci4+ spooled with 10lb Platypus braid led to a small running ball sinker and then a swivel. Below the swivel was a foot of 10lb Platypus Super 100 with a Gamakatsu size 2 worm hook. We found around the change of the high or low tide the most productive bite times and were amazed to watch 30cm+ whiting and dart come right into ankle deep water to snatch our beach worms with us standing only a few metres away. The boys had an absolute ball and when the bite slowed up, they simply went exploring amongst the sand dunes with Gen or splashed about in some of the amazing rock pools around Poyungan rocks while I tried to save my dignity and play catch up the fishing. We experienced the standard dingo encounter with one of Fraser Islands famous residents dropping by to see if we had dropped some bait for them to steal. But after a few minutes of being ignored the dingo went on its way. Another good reason to follow the advice of the authorities and to keep kids always close by while on Fraser Island. All things considered it was a fabulous weekend away with the family and something we are planning to do more of in the future. While we did not manage to land any monsters of the deep, it did not matter. The boys picked up some great skills, learnt about beach fishing, caught fish, had fun and want to go back, so you must take that as a win. Many of the advantages of staying at Eurong Beach Resort lie in the resort’samenities. A shower or bath with an abundance of hot water, a comfy bed, restaurant, bar and swimming pool are a few of the standouts. But don’t forget the bakery with fresh coffee and jam filled donuts. I guess it really comes down to convenience. But I can assure you, after fishing and exploring all day on an island entirely made from sand, it was very nice to have those amenities on hand. Photo 1 – Liam 30cm+ Whiting Photo 2 – Boys Beach Fishing Photo 3 – See I did catch something Photo 4 – The smile of addicted to fishing