Sea to Plate - Fresh Fish for Dinner - Whitsunday Escape™
Skipper yourself bareboat charter company

Sea to Plate – Fresh Fish for Dinner

How many times have you had the pleasure of catching a legal size, tasty reef fish & cooking it up for dinner that same night?

Well, on a bareboat charter in the Whitsundays, you have a good chance of making this an on-board reality!

No licenses are required to fish in the Whitsunday waters. However, you must abide by the fishing zones which have been put in place to protect the marine life within that zone. Hefty fines will apply if caught fishing within any protected zones.

There are many techniques to try & snag yourself a tasty dinner.
Here are the two most popular & successful methods:


Suitable for all ages, bait fishing is fun & easy!

Take the dinghy for a fishing mission along the fringing reefs surrounding your anchorage. Here you have a good chance of hooking onto popular reef fish like Coral Trout, Sweet Lip & Red Throat Emperor, among many more!

Popular bait to use include pilchards, squid or prawns – all of which can be purchased frozen here at the Marina.

Hot tip – Be careful not to rest your hook on the very bottom, as this increases your chance of getting snagged on some coral & snapping your line. Avoid this by dropping the line, feeling it go slack & pulling up just a little bit.

Banner fishing aerial shot


Tie on a lure & have a go trolling for some of the pelagic sports fish on the way to your next anchorage. Depending on the season you could hook onto a Spanish Mackerel or Tuna (both great eating!).  Billfish like Marlin & Swordfish are also known to be around the area from October to April.

Giant Trevally (GT) also love a flashy lure in their face & these fish tend to be around at any time of the year. GT have a wide range of travel, however they generally like to hang around pressure points or reef drop offs where bait are holding.

Hot tip – Ensure you pull your line in well before entering an anchorage. The most common bond deduction issues are when fishing line has been caught around the propeller causing damage.

Once you’ve got the right fish on board, have a look at some of the fish recipes we’ve previously posted for some inspiration. All fish should be scaled & gutted if cooking whole.


If you are unfamiliar with the species you have caught, we highly recommend releasing it.

There are a small number of fish species found in the Whitsundays that are poisonous if consumed.

Additionally, to avoid tropical reef poisoning (ciguatera), a good rule of thumb is to only keep appropriately sized fish, under four kilograms.

Please note, every year in October & November there are two separate ‘coral reef fish fin closures’ for 5 days each, usually around the ‘new moon’ phase. This is to protect these reef fish whilst in a vulnerable part of their life cycle, like spawning season.