A guide to fishing Mackay without a boat

Landed in Mackay and looking to hook onto some amazing fish but you don’t have a boat? It doesn’t matter.

There are rock walls, dams, jetties, boat ramps, bridges and deep water just waiting for you to lob a tasty-looking fish treat into.

This guide to Mackay’s best land-based fishing will give you the insider know-how you need to fish like a seasoned sea dog.

Fishing be dammed!

How to fish Mackay without a boat - Kinchant Dam

So you’re hanging around Finch Hatton Gorge, maybe you went for a hike. Then you get that feeling. That itch. You need to go fishing… NOW!

Your best bet is to hit up one of the stocked dams.

Kinchant Dam is a great start. It’s relatively small compared to some lakes but don’t let that fool you. It’s home to some of the largest barramundi you can get a hook into. Located about 40 minutes west of Mackay, it’s right in amongst the beauty of the hinterland.

Metre-long catches are par for the course in Kinchant Dam as well as its little brother Teemburra Dam, which is about 20 minutes away.

How to fish Mackay without a boat - Teemburra Dam

You may be fishing on dry land but you’ll want to bring your best gear. Stick bait lures are a good start and soft plastics are always handy. If you need to stock up, check out Nashy’s Compleat Angler on Harbour Road in Mackay. They have great advice and the best lures and baits for fishing the area.

Use a 60lb leader with a 10lb line and bring a short and strong rod so you can keep those pesky barra from getting behind structures and snapping you off!

On top of the gear you’re going to need some good weather. Barra are pickier than a 16-year-old on their birthday, so no wind, warm sun, and no clouds are going to be your best bet. Then just pile on the luck and you’ve got a great day of fishing ahead!

There are some good inlets that allow land-based anglers an express pass into the action. You’ll find yourself casting to the same spots a lot of boats are fishing at, which is always a great thing.

Aim for weeds, rocks or any kind of structure, but be careful, lures are expensive and you don’t want to get snagged. Barra fishing takes some finesse but the rewards are well worth it. Especially when those rewards are over a metre long and take two people to lift.

A bit of saltwater action

Mackay Marina | A guide to fishing Mackay without a boatA rock wall that you can drive onto with enough spots to fit hundreds of fishermen AND shelter on a windy day? Yes, and then some!

Mackay’s marina is an amazing piece of man-made fun. You’ve got a pretty good chance at catching mackerel, tuna, queenfish, golden trevally and dart so come prepared for ANYTHING.

That means 60-100lb mono leaders, a big reel, and lots and lots of line. Once a tuna grabs your bait you’re going to love having a few hundred metres of line handy just in case it’s THE BIG ONE.

Timing is important, too. Try fishing when the tide is going out or coming in – that’s when the bait fish are on the move (and so are the hungry predators).

There are a few different spots to choose from and it all depends on the day. If you want a fail-safe, just head out to the end of the rock wall on the eastern point and start dropping in your bait. Your chances are pretty good that you will hook into something with big teeth and a powerful tail.

The river runs wild

How to fish Mackay without a boat - Pioneer River

The Pioneer River is 120 kilometres of fish highway just waiting for your bait. This is a good and bad thing. The good being if you aren’t catching something near the hospital bridge then you can move on to Ron Camm Bridge. Still nothing? Then head out west of Mackay to Marian.

In Marian you can get easy access to the banks of the river (watch the slippery rocks) where you can catch some great sooty grunter and maybe even the odd barra. Once you catch it, throw it straight on the BBQ at Edward Lloyd Park.

Light gear is great here because most of your catches won’t be monsters but with a light line, they’ll be just as fun!

If you keep following the Pioneer River to Mirani you can try your luck there as well. Same fish just new places to hide.

That being said, you can still hook massive queenfish and barra near the mouth of the Pioneer River in Mackay, so bring a second ‘big fish’ rod just in case. Explore the Bluewater Trail while you’re there to give your arms a break.

If you head into the local fishing shops they’ll give you up-to-date info on what’s biting so you can plan your attack.

Are you fishing in Mackay? Did we miss any spots? Let us know in the comments below.