This month we highlight Sid Boshammer and the Golden Trevally of Hervey Bay. Sid has been a guide for many years, one of the pioneers of saltwater fly fishing in Australia. He was instrumental in the development of the flats fishing of Hervey Bay and knows the area like the back of his hand.
SID BOSHAMMER Hervey Bay Fishing Tours - Ph/fax (07)4125
Hervey Bay is located on the East Coast of Southern Queensland between Maryborough and Bundaberg, it is protected on the seaward side by Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island which was world heritage listed in 1993.
Hervey Bay is a favourite holiday destination and is famous for Whale watching between August and October and fishing all year round.
The Great Sandy Straits between the mainland and Fraser Island is regarded as Australia's premier flats fishing.
DESCRIPTION: Golden Trevally is a tropical fish and one of the most attractive of the species.
It is often silvery, but on capture it's flanks turn to a more distinctive golden colour, with greenish hues across the back. A dark stripe runs down through the eye. Each fish has distinctive dark spots.
SIZE: They are common from 5 to 8kg, growing to more than 30kg and over one meter long.
DISTRIBUTION: They are found throughout the warmer coastal waters of Northern Australia and along the Western Australian coast.
HOW TO CATCH: Will take baits of fresh fish, small crustaceans and fish flesh. Is better sport when pursued with lures and flies which they take willingly. Can attack with such ferocity , the rod can be torn from the unwary anglers grasp.
EATING QUALITIES: It is an excellent eating fish
For many keen saltwater fly fishermen, the ultimate thrill is to fish the dazzling flats of the Florida Keys. Shimmering images of this anglers heaven have beckoned the Australian fly fisherman for ages, sending them into fantasies of stealthy casts to distant cruising shadows.
The Keys are a kind of Mecca. The birthplace of saltwater fly fishing, from whence it has spread its influence worldwide. Whole economies have been built around the shallow water fisheries of Florida and the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon are the most prized captures, though many other species are also popular because of the style of fishing.
Here in Australia when you talk of prime fishing we usually talk of the most remote of places, Far North Queensland, Northern Territory and the far north of Western Australia. It seems that the more remote, the better the fishing. You know, places where the fish are so eager to be caught they practically jump into your boat. Its not true of course. There are many other parts of Australia which fish just as well and where the scenery is just as spectacular.
One such place is the area around Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. Just a few hours north of Brisbane (capital city of Queensland) it has rightly earned the title of flats fishing capital of Australia.
Since the interest in flats fishing generated in the States reached our shores it is safe to say that the popularity of saltwater fly fishing has boomed in Australia. And the Great Sandy Straits area of Hervey Bay is getting a lot of attention from fly fishermen. Most fly fishos do not realise the extent of the flats around Hervey Bay, they're huge, filled with Bonefish, Permit, Golden Trevally and many other species which speed over the alabaster white sands. The gin clear, calf deep water is causing more than a knee tremble amongst fly fishermen who for years have sought a shallow water sight fishery here in Australia.
Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island and was world heritage listed in 1993.
Hervey Bay is on the mainland and is a fishing Mecca. Some species found here include Yellowtail Kingfish, Cobia, Tuna, Mackerel, Trevally, Bonefish, Permit, Sea Perch, Red Emperor, Snapper, Coral Trout, Marlin and Sailfish. It is also renown as one of the worlds major Whale watching areas.
The Great Sandy Strait lies between the mainland and Fraser Island.
The mouth of the Mary River and the food rich mangroves are a major influence on the Straits. The East Australian current pushes down the coast and is funneled into the Straits by Fraser Island.
Whilst Bonefish and Permit are there, the major species for our flats fishing is the Golden Trevally. The Golden Trevally is found throughout tropical Australian waters and is a common species with little to recommend it in the culinary stakes. But on the shallow sand flats of the Great Sandy Strait they have become a real glamour fish to rival the Bonefish and Permit.
There is nothing quite as breathtaking as wading these flats and being surrounded by a myriad of golden tails waving in the air. Its not uncommon for a feeding fish to come within a meter or two of the fisherman. Its very hard to counter your excitement at times like these, however taking a deep breath and landing a fly close to the fish will set the angler for a great fight. Goldens make a hell of a first run, they can easily take more than 100 meters of line, a second and third run is also usual, these brutes slug it out to the very end.
The Golden Trevally season runs from early November to late April, coinciding with the warm water of the East Australian current. When the water temperature climbs to around 79 degrees Fahrenheit fish begin to appear. Early season fish are scattered and larger than the later school fish. The average size school fish is between 6 & 8kg with the larger fish 12 to 15kg. Big schools in their thousands have been seen on these flats. Goldens feed voraciously on both incoming and outgoing tides, they are often seen in the company of stingrays, turtles and other fish feeding over the flats.
Feeding Goldens are at times very spooky. Water movement, flashing fly lines and the impact of the fly on the water can all spook these fish. Never false cast over the fish, the fly line in the air can alert them.
Golden Trevally are best fished for with a 9 weight rod with a large diameter reel able to hold 300 meters of 30 pond backing. Use a leader that is as least as long as your rod. Goldens have no teeth and no cutting bits so shock tippets are unnecessary. Most productive flies include, Clouser Minnow, White Deceivers, Pink Things, Seaducers and Baited Breaths, however many different flies are used with great success.
The development of this fishery can truly be seen as a milestone in Australian saltwater fly fishing. It shows that we do have good fishing flats in Australia. The area around Hervey Bay with more development and fishos spreading the word can become a flats fishing area to rival that of Florida and the Mexican Gulf.
Adventurous fly fishos from overseas should check out this exciting new flats fishery. Especially now, take advantage of the low Australian Dollar and go flats fishing with one of its pioneers Sid Boshammer.