High Speed Fraser

Story by David Shelton

The north-west of Fraser Island is increasingly becoming one of those “must fish” places, especially as the flats fishing for small Marlin has been recognised. Since that recognition, an often underrated attraction of the region is the amazing sports fishing for such a wide variety of other high speed predators. This is on top of the truly spectacular scenery that rewards folks in trailer boats, that make the long trip from Hervey Bay, up to the north western end of Fraser Island. It was with anticipation of tangling with some of these other speedsters that Mako sponsored Dave Shelton jumped a plane out of Sydney one Friday afternoon, for a high speed Fraser attack. After meeting good friends Dan Power and Kurt Takayanagi (both from Yamaha) at Brisbane airport, then legging it to Hervey Bay – the boys were on the water at first light on Saturday. It is then a long haul to the north-western tip of Fraser….. Dan has the perfect boat for this trip – with not a seat to be found – angler comfort takes a distant second place to fishing room

With only a few Queenies to come over the Gunwale, the “long” haul back was made even “longer” after the “Long-Tails” proved elusive on the Saturday. After getting belted on the Saturday, the crew on Sunday were pretty weary and struggled to punch through a steep chop to head back out on Sunday – but it was all worthwhile! At the first decent surface bust-up over some wide structure, Dave hooked a horse of a Long Tail that screamed line off – only to end up wrapped around the very same structure that was holding the fish in that area. A bust off was inevitable. Kurt is experienced with this style of fishing and was next to hook up! After some skilful boat control from Dan – Kurt captured a great Long Tail, which was photographed, before being released. That same structure, and some others like it, proved to be a happy hunting ground for the boys – with more Long Tails, as well as numerous Mac Tuna and Spaniards making appearances (plus a few hungry sharks).

The best technique was spotting the surface bust-ups in the distance (which did not last long), made easier by quality polarised glasses, particlarly grey lenses due to the bright conditions – and then following the ever present lead birds in an effort to position the boat in front of the fast moving fish. You need to pay close to attention to the “body language” of those birds and where they are looking. Once you have your eye in – you can tell the difference between the birds that are just cruising – and those that are actively following fish. Dave’s Mako sunnies were sprayed with salt the whole time, which can damage the best glasses – but a quick rinse and they are back to new. The flight back to Sydney on Monday morning was definitely a dreary trip - after that high speed action!