TAILOR-MADE TOURISM: Fish season brings island to life
ASIDE from attracting hundreds of keen anglers to its sandy shores, Fraser Island's tailor season is helping solidify the region as a world-class fishing area.
Fishers from across the state are already flocking to the World Heritage-listed site as the annual season, set to continue into September, gets under way.
For Fraser Island Retreat manager David Jefferies, that means lots of work and plenty of fish to go around.
Mr Jefferies said the island "came alive" with anglers during the tailor season, saying it helped contribute to the fishing atmosphere Fraser had become renowned for.
He said it was important to keep the tradition alive so local businesses, both on the island and throughout the Fraser Coast, could continue to benefit from the visitor spend.
"You'll have a line-up of up to 100 men, shoulder-to-shoulder, fishing until (the fish) disappear," he said.
"At the bar, you get that real old-school drinking scene, larrikins and everything that goes along with fishermen.
"The eastern side (of the island) really relies on the fishermen, there's four venues that are completely dependent on them.
"We wouldn't survive without them."
Mr Jefferies said fishermen would soon be "coming in droves" when the season gets into full swing through August and September and the famous tailor run passes through the island's currents.
"Most of the fishing is done from Happy Valley up to Indian Head and Waddy Point," Mr Jefferies said.
"I came up here in the late '80s for the season, it used to be a much bigger season back in the day... but it's starting to come back now.
"It's a mix-up of people, we've got guys coming here for 50 years, then those next two generations below.
"Sometimes you'll have three generations of people here at a time."
Tailor season, which primarily runs through the winter months until the end of September, is one of the Fraser Coast's major tourism attractions.
Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook said the region should continue to celebrate the fishing industry and the diversity it brought to the region's tourism identity.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons said fishing was a "big driver" for the Fraser Coast that could grow in conjunction with renewed interest in the region's game-fishing industry.
"About 20 per cent of domestic tourists who come here express interest in fishing... and that includes anything from buying a $15 rod to heading out on a charter boat," Mr Simons said.