Bait to Plate

Kev Collins

Well known Restauranter and co-owner of Fish D'vine & The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach. When Kev's not working he's out fishing in the amazing food bowl of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in his tinnie in the estuaries crabbing! His blog imparts wisdom, tales and info on all things fishing and food.

Hunter gathering in style

I often refer to our cruiser as our "floating caravan"; a sort of glamping (glamorous camping) where every campsite is absolute waterfront and you can cook at the BBQ on the back deck and have a rod in the water at the same time. We have just spent another weekend "glamping", up “inside the postcard” at my favourite anchorage in Hill Inlet, on the northern end of Whitehaven beach. With so many wonderful spots to anchor, fish and explore it is always tempting to try different spots and yet this part of Hill Inlet is just about everything I enjoy, all in one spot. Calm in all but the roughest of conditions, great fishing for Mangrove Jacks and Grunter. A few tasty mud crabs, and this trip I didn’t even take crabs pots and just scooped one up with a landing net in a clear shallow section of the inlet while out for a bit of an explore. I caught some beautiful big garfish, which are usually just used for bait, but are wonderful to eat once you learn the knack of how to debone them. Straight on the BBQ or panko crumb and pan fry, these are beautiful sweet fish and always worth the effort to clean. Catching the gar, just with a little bit of bread for bait was a ton of fun and gave me prime grunter and jack bait as well as a lovely garfish dinner.

Our dog came out for the weekend and we finished the trip with a night in majestic Nara Inlet on the western face of Hook Island, surrounded by charter yachts and the towering mountains.

The Whitsundays is clearly Australia’s boating paradise and with a little local knowledge the fishing is also first class. One of the phots I have posted is answering the obvious question in any mangrove system, what about the mosquitos and another is a great shot of being interrupted, in the nicest possible way, while trying to cook lunch.