Backward Glance: Big game fishing at Mooloolaba in the 1930s and early 1940s
  • Wednesday 30 March 2016
From the early years, Mooloolaba was known to have the natural features for big game fishing and unlike most other localities the season lasted all year round.

During the 1930s the Nambour Chronicle newspaper frequently provided action packed accounts of big game fishing trips and showed that record catches were to be made in the big game ground some 20 miles out from Mooloolaba.

In mid-January 1937, AB Carrodus, the then president of the Amateur Fishermen’s Association, officially opened a new weighing station at the public jetty at Mooloolaba.

The scales were suspended on a huge frame and were capable of handling fish up to 1000 lbs (453.6kg) in weight and were promoted as the first of their kind to be erected in Queensland.

In 1939, moves were made for the Mooloolaba Progress Association to purchase the weighing scales and to reconstruct them for use for big game fishing.

At the time, it was reported that a record weight marlin had been caught just off Mooloolaba but the region had lost valuable publicity because it lacked suitable facilities and the fish had been taken to Brisbane to be weighed.

Mooloolaba Progress Association, with the assistance of donations, purchased the weighing scales in November 1939 and the new, remodelled weighing station was officially opened in January 1940.

With these new facilities, catches including striped marlin, bronze whaling sharks, swordfish and hammerhead sharks attracted much attention.

Boats returning with such catches would fly their flag, and on seeing the boats come over the river bar, crowds would quickly gather at the weighing station anxious to see the large game fish and learn all about them. The fish were frequently left on view at the jetty.

Experienced big game fisherman FZ Eager made some of the most notable catches at the time.

In January 1940, Eager and his party aboard his fully equipped boat ‘Wollomai’ made the headlines with their catches of a 243lb striped marlin, a 320lb hammerhead shark and a 765lb bronze whaler shark which was said to be a state record at the time.

In May 1940, Eager landed what was believed to be a world record “white death” shark – a white pointer weighing 1329lb – so large that it had to be weighed in sections at the Mooloolaba public jetty.

By January 1941, the big game weighing station was enlarged and improved.

The first large deep sea fish to be weighed at the remodelled station was a 420 lb grey nurse shark which once again attracted a great crowd of onlookers who gathered with much excitement to see the big fish being weighed.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Hero picture caption:

Fishing boat, 'Wollomai', with a record marlin catch, Mooloolaba, ca 1940.

Carousel image captions:
Image 1:- Swordfish Mooloolaba Wharf, early 1930s.

Image 2: Weighing jetty at the southern end of River Esplanade near the corner of Foote Street, Mooloolaba, ca 1940.

Image 3: Weighing jetty at the southern end of the River Esplanade, Mooloolaba, ca 1938.