North Stradbroke Island is one of the best local locations for spearfishing in the southeast. It presents a myriad of challenges for even the most experienced freediver or spear fisherman, yet can quench the thirst of a total newcomer with some relatively basic dives and species to encounter on your first trip.
North Stradbroke and the waters around its tip are home to some of SE Qld’s best spearfishing target species. Pelagics such as Spanish mackerel, kingfish and wahoo, to reef species like sweetlip, snapper and cod.
To access the waters off north Stradbroke you’ll need a boat capable of crossing the south passage bar located in-between Straddy and Moreton Island. Bar crossing should not be taken lightly and experience is key when crossing any bar. South passage bar is one of the widest and longest bar crossings that Australian spearo’s will encounter. If you haven’t crossed it before you should find someone who has plenty of experience and ask if you can learn some tips. There are generally three different channels you can take and they are constantly moving and evolving as the wind and waves shape the sand throughout the bar. Amity channel is the southernmost channel, there’s a middle channel, which can be fickle at the best of times and finally the northern most channel, which is widely accepted as being the most consistent option.
Once you’ve navigated the bar crossing you’re blessed with a myriad of options at your fingertips. There’s plenty of shallow ground around ‘the group’, which is a series of rock structures that break the surface just off the tip of the main island. The most notable of these is known as ‘Boat Rock’ and is a fantastic option for a number of sought after species. Care should be taken around the group due to strong currents and rolling swells. An experienced boat driver and someone with good local knowledge are paramount for a good first experience. There’s numerous coffee rock reefs around the area and all are worth a look for the possibility of some nice fish.
Dive depths can vary from as little as a couple of meters around the headlands and group to upwards of 25m on deeper coffee rock reefs or ledges.
You can expect to encounter almost anything when diving the waters around North Stradbroke. The shallow headlands can be home to numerous species of trevallies, as well as tailor, dart, jewfish and staple species like bream and morwong. Moving out to the group you can expect to encounter larger species such as giant trevally, kingfish, mahi mahi, mackerel or wahoo moving around with the current. If you look closely around the structure, expect to find cod, various sweetlip as well as snapper, tuskfish, and other reef dwelling species. In the bluewater you’ll likely encounter speedsters like wahoo, Spanish mackerel, cobia, trevally, mahi mahi and at the right times of year juvenile black marlin are fairly common.
As with any spearfishing, sharks are always a concern but one that should not stop you entering the water. Adreno’s Wayne Judge has been spearing for longer than most and believes the key to feeling safe in the water is to assert your dominance to any sharks in the area. Show them you aren’t prey and be sure to stand your ground. Diving the waters off Stradbroke is not for the faint hearted, and divers just beginning in the sport should make sure to always dive with other experienced fishermen.
The waters off North Stradbroke are home to some of the most desirable species to spear fisherman in southeast Queensland. If you’re new to the sport or new to the area, Adreno has the team with the real world experience to get you started on the right track.