Capricorn Islands – Shoalwater Bay

Remote Islands, huge currents, shallow rock bars, amazing scenery and lots of fish

  • Quality fishing for big and challenging GTs in spectacular surroundings
  • Huge variety of light tackle lurecasting opportunities around headlands, rivers and reefs
  • Big spanish mackerel on the troll or casting
  • Great reef fishing for coral trout, emperor, jewfish and other reef fish
  • Great for family groups with excellent anchorages and secluded islands and beaches to explore
  • Capricorn Islands & Shoalwater Bay are visited as part of our Mothership Drive Out trips.

Capricorn Islands & Shoalwater Bay Report

Check out a recent detailed monthly Capricorn Islands & Shoalwater Bay report.

This area and the surrounding offshore islands, beaches and reefs, is one of the most remote, spectacular and diverse fishing environments that we visit. From the rocky headlands of the bays, to the beautiful reef fringed offshore islands, and the crystal clear water lapping onto the white sand of the islands, this area provides a huge range of different environments from which to catch lots of different species.

The whole area is a military training ground, and as such it comprises a huge stretch of coastal land, with absolutely nothing and nobody here. So while access to the area is often limited, this military closure has kept the area remarkably pristine, and rarely visited. The coastline for about 100 miles north and south of the area is government military land, meaning there is nothing there, except when the army does its exercises there. Most vessels simply avoid this entire area due to the military and the strong currents, and in fact many cruising guidebooks recommend to simply avoid the entire area due to dangerous navigation and strong currents. We don’t visit this area every year due to the military raining schedule, but when we do, it is always an exciting trip

The area we fish around the Capricorn Islands and Shoalwater Bay consists of isolated offshore islands fringed with reef, river mouths and fast flowing channels littered with rock bars. The current flows around this area are enormous, with 9 metre tidal differences experienced around the king tides. It is one of the most isolated parts of the Queensland coast because accessing the area by land is not possible due to the year round closure on the land side of the military training area.

Capricorn Islands Species Guide

The bar chart shows how Capricorn Islands compares to our other locations in terms of the main sportfish that we target. If you want to cast poppers and stickbaits for lots of BIG GTs in one of the most picturesque locations imaginable then this is the place. If you also want to do some of the best light tackle variety sportfishing available, then a trip to the Capricorn Islands will also satisfy you. The fish fight a bit harder here, and while you won’t catch as many GTs here as some of our other locations, they tend to be bigger and everyone is an immense challenge.

The fishing around the Capricorn Islands – is all about BIG GTs and a huge variety of light tackle sportfishing options. There’s a lot of 50-60kg GTs getting around this area, and they are very hard to stop in the nasty currents. As well as big nasty GTs there’s a huge population of spanish mackerel, queenfish, tuna, golden trevally, barramundi, threadfin salmon, coral trout and fingermark, just to mention a few. While the heavy spin fishing for GT’s is amazing, there are so many other exciting fishing options on offer that you’ll be spoilt for choice.

There are plenty of protected areas to fish for GTs, but if the wind blows a bit you can head up one of the many isolated creeks and catch a huge variety of species. The light tackle fishing with small lures, fly or soft plastics is truly spectacular, so when you manage to drag yourself away from chasing the hordes of GTs there’s some less strenuous fishing to be had, but certainly no less exciting.

When do we fish Capricorn Islands?

The best times are March/April or November/December. We do not have any trip vacancies, but if you want to organise a whole boat charter, please contact us. Please check the Rates and Dates page for more information.

Getting to The Capricorn Islands

The Capricorn Islands can be visited as part of our Mothership Drive Out trips. These trips depart Mackay Harbour and travel overnight to reach the fishing grounds. You’ll then have 5 days fishing and another overnight voyage back to Mackay.

Departing from Mackay means that you’ll have easy access to connecting flights, and will be able to avoid staying overnight in Mackay at both ends of your trip.

You can also customise a Capricorn Islands trip if you want to book the whole boat, just contact us for details about this.

Available Dates & How to Make a Booking

It’s Easy! Just Contact Us and tell us what species you are interested in catching, or which trip you like the sound of, and we’ll get back to you with pricing, available dates and all the info you need. Because we have so many trip options available, we like to either talk to you or chat by email before you make a booking so we can be sure that you’re doing the trip that best matches the species you want to catch and the styles of fishing you want to do.

Alternately, you can choose your own trip dates and location from the Rates & Dates page, and then Contact us to confirm availability and trip details.

For full information about all aspects of  a Capricorn Islands trip, or any other trip, please call or email us and we’ll be able to send you a detailed information booklet that covers every question you’ll ever have about any trip, as well as a brochure, and a 2 hour promotional DVD that highlights all of the locations we visit.

Rates&Dates Contact Us Booking Form Information Booklet