SALMON CHAOS ON THE BEACHES
Tried & Tested
Features Catching South Coast salmon • Fighting mulloway on the beach • Preparing with quality hooks •
Strike Pro Guppie • Bone Voyage Rod series •
Boating & Kayaking Stessco Breezaway 460 with Yamaha F70hp • Preparing the kayak for winter • New from Savage
Tournaments WA Bream Classics • Swanfish event • Hobie Australian Championships •
April, 2019 ISSN: 2209-3354
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April 2019, Vol. 1 No. 8
METRO Perth Metro/Cockburn Sound
Swan & Canning Rivers
SOUTH COAST Esperance 17 Bremer Bay
Albany 19 WEST COAST Augusta 20 Busselton 22 Bunbury 24 Mandurah 26 Lancelin 29 Jurien Bay
Geraldton 32 GASCOYNE COAST Shark Bay
From the Editor’s Desk... So if you didn’t see it, last month saw the release of the ‘Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia’. In a first for WA, we now have a dollar value of the spend from the recreational fishing sector, and coming in at what I would imagine is a conservative $2.4 billion, it is certainly not an insignificant amount. In the industry, we all knew the numbers would be pretty high, but this just goes to show that looking after fish stocks is so important, as without good fishing experiences there is no growth. The numbers and the breakdown are all very interesting and hopefully we can expect to see some great outcomes going forward now that we have this vital information.
Using this information, it would be reasonable to presume that if fish habitat was increased and rivers, estuaries and freshwater impoundments were better managed and stocked, then this number could significantly increase as peoples’ fishing experiences improved. This report is a great
milestone, and I take my hat off to Recfishwest for making it a priority and getting done what many have only talked about for so long. April for me kicks off my favourite months of the year for fishing, not just because of the amazing salmon run, but also because of the great fishing weather that is about to come our way. So, if for
Ian Sewell whatever reason your fishing has been lacking for 2019, be sure to get your family or friends out there this month and get amongst some of this amazing autumn weather. In other news the WA Bream Classic series has kicked off, and at the end of this month the ABT qualifying rounds start here in WA, with the first round in Albany on 30 April-1 May, and we have the 4-5 May it is the Blackwood River event. If you are keen to compete or just get along to show your support and watch the weigh-in and see how everyone caught their fish, check out all of the info on the abt.org. au website! As always, if you missed any of the previous issues of the mag, check out issuu.com and search Fishing Monthly!
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Catch some serious salmon in the south! BUSSELTON
Some of my (and I’m sure many other anglers’) earliest childhood fishing memories revolve around the annual salmon run. Chasing huge black masses of salmon along the shoreline, wading out to waist deep water, desperately trying to reach that school that is sitting just out of reach, and heaving them in one after the other for hours on end. It’s not hard to see why Australian salmon are
WHEN Adult Australian salmon begin to make their way westward in mid to late summer and by early autumn large schools will be present along the southern and south western areas of our state. Salmon migrate to the west every year to spawn in our cool, rich southern waters. The Leeuwin current also aids this process, as it helps to disperse eggs along southern Western Australia, right across the great Australian bite, and back into South Australia.
as had been in previous years. This was due to the Leeuwin current pushing an unusual amount of warm water down from the north and into the South West. As a result of this, we saw a far higher numbers of Spanish mackerel in the South West than usual in early 2018. When this occurs, the larger schools of Australian salmon will tend to hang out in deeper water, seeking cooler currents as they head west, and eventually north towards Perth. Despite all of that, Australian salmon will begin showing up along
All muscle and power. It’s not hard to see why salmon are a great sportfish. Photo courtesy of Prototype Fishing.
Baitfish often use these areas as shelter from the rough, surgy surf breaks and as a result this is also where the predators will be. Salmon patrol these deeper sections of the beach in search of an easy feed, as well as using them to seek shelter themselves from the toothy predators that also like to cruise these areas. Keep an eye out for deeper sections of the beach, often surrounded by white water and breaking swell. Another thing to look out for when you are hunting a fishy looking gutter is an entry and exit point. This basically means that the gutter you
areas in our more southern parts of the state include Cheynes Beach, Salmon Holes, Salmon Beach and Yeagarup. Further up the coast between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste, there’s Cosy Corner, Hamelin Bay, Boranup Beach and Injidup Beach. These are all hot spots year after year. Once you’re inside of Cape Naturaliste you will find some of the most popular salmon fishing locations. Bunker Bay, Eagle Bay and Meelup Beach are three of the top locations in the South West thanks to their easy accessibility
year, particular Bunker bay. Ensure you are keeping an eye on other boats around you and that you stay a safe distance from the beach or rocks, as large swells can appear unexpectedly. Being watchful will also prevent tangled lines between beach anglers and boat anglers, as nobody enjoys that. BAITS, LURES AND RIGS When it comes to baits and rigs for salmon, it’s pretty straight forward. A simple surf dropper rig with snelled or ganged hooks (4/0-6/0) baited with mulies, mullet, herring or anything of that variety will produce
Australian salmon of all shapes and sizes give a great account for themselves, especially on light gear! so popular among anglers all over the country. They are widely distributed across the southern parts of Australia, they are a fantastic sports fish, they show up almost without fail every year in huge numbers and in certain parts of the country, they can be caught all year round!
Although Australian salmon consistently show up in our waters every Autumn, every season seems to be different. This may be for several reasons, but it is most likely due to water temperature. In 2018 for example, the presence of salmon from our local beaches in the south was not as great
our South Coast in early March, and given that the water temperature has not risen to a higher than average point, vast numbers should be present around Cape Naturaliste by early April. WHERE One of the reasons Australian salmon are so popular among anglers is because of their wide spread distribution. These fish are found from – at times – as far north as Exmouth, right the way down the Western Australian coastline, across the great Australian bite, and as far up the East Coast as Brisbane. Australian salmon are an easy target for land-based anglers, particularly surf fishers, as salmon enjoy the turbulent coastal beaches that southern Australia is so famous for. Salmon often come as a by-catch for beach anglers targeting species such as tailor, mulloway and silver bream. One of the easiest and most successful ways to target salmon is from the beach. Salmon schools patrol the inshore waters of bays and beaches in search of food and shelter from larger predators. Your best bet is to target areas of the beach that are noticeably deeper than others. These areas are referred to as gutters.
A Richter Plug was enough to tempt this great salmon. are fishing has a noticeable channel of water feeding in from one side, and another feeding out to the open ocean on the other. This is ideal because it allows fish easy access to swim close to shore without having to swim into more open, shallow water, thus, often yielding better fishing results. Here in WA, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to locations to target salmon. Some of the popular
and consistent numbers of migrating salmon every year. Heading further north towards the metro region, beaches such as Myalup and the Bunbury cut are also worth hitting. If you are targeting salmon from the boat, areas such as Canal Rocks and Bunker Bay both produce good numbers of salmon every year. It is worth noting however that these areas can be extremely busy this time of
results. Sinker choice is dependent on the location. A common mistake we see people making is they are using an unnecessarily large sinker, especially anglers who are targeting salmon for the first time. The theory is often that the bigger the sinker, the longer the cast. This is not always true. The main issue people run into when they are using a very heavy sinker in a situation that does not
Salmon require one, is that they are actually decreasing their casting range. By using an excessive sinker, it is going to be much more difficult to cast and often the ‘sweet spot’ of the angler’s rod and reel will be surpassed. A lot of anglers will be fishing areas that are not affected by swell and current , such as Meelup or Eagle Bay, so
the sinker’s main job is to aid casting distance, rather than holding the bait in place amongst big swell and strong currents. A 2-4oz star sinker is generally more than enough for fishing calmer, more sheltered waters such as Bunker Bay, Meelup and Eagle bay Beach. A 4-6oz star sinker is going to be needed if you’re fishing in
more open, swell prone areas such as Injidup, or any beach on the West Coast. An 8oz sinker and above is only necessary when you are fishing an area that is heavily affected by the swell and in particular, the current. Rod and reel setups are once again dependant on the location. As a general rule for land-based anglers, a rod
Injidup Beach is a hotspot every year for salmon, and it’s not hard to see why. The salmon seek shelter and food in the calm waters of the bay.
Richter Diamond series plugs are a great tool for long distance casting.
no shorter than 9ft will be required, preferably 11-12ft if you are fishing in surf conditions. When choosing a rod, look for something that falls between the 6-12kg mark, preferably graphite, as this will be much more responsive, especially when casting lures. Line class will also vary, but braided line around the 20lb mark is a good place to start. Braided line is extremely beneficial when fishing for salmon, as it will greatly improve casting distance. This is due to the
braids very thin diameter, as opposed to the traditional monofilament line that can be 3-4 times as thick in an equivalent line class. As rods get lighter and braid gets thinner, reels get smaller, and more powerful. Spin reels as small as 1000 in size can be used to land salmon, although this is only recommended if you are in it for the long haul! Reels ranging from 50008000 in size will be matched perfectly to a lightweight graphite rod up to 12ft or even 13ft and above. Put all
of this together and you will have a lightweight outfit, perfectly capable of casting baits or lures all day long with ease. Once a school of salmon has been located, a far more economical way to fish is to use lures, and salmon are not fussy. Salmon will eat just about anything when they are on the chew. Metal slugs 50g and above, bibbed minnows, stickbaits, poppers, and just about anything that is shinny and has hooks on it will grab the salmons’ attention. To page 8
Salmon From page 7
From the shore, our favourite lure would have to be the Richter plug in a 3-4oz size. It’s a simple chisel style plug that can be retrieved on the surface, sub surface, or sunk down into a school that may be holding hard against the bottom. It also sports extremely effective casting ability that bibbed lures and even metal slugs will struggle to match. However, the humble metal slug is a staple lure for
salmon. They are a simple, inexpensive option that can be used in a variety of ways. It’s always worth having a few 80g metals in the bottom of your tackle box come salmon season. A scenario that we see every year is a school of salmon sitting hard against the bottom due to 15-20 anglers all bombing lures into the same school, and as a result, these fish tend not to be quite so aggressive. A good solution here is to tie
The cold, rich waters of the South Coast are an ideal environment for Australian salmon. Even small gutters will almost always hold fish!
on a lure that sinks. Even in just 3-4m of water, dragging a popper across a heavily harassed school of salmon will often prove ineffective. The best method is to tie on a heavy lure, ensure your cast lands in the school, and then let your lure sink, sometimes for up to 10-15 seconds. Then a slow, twitching retrieve along the bottom will present an opportunity too good to pass up for the salmon. If you’re targeting salmon from the boat, your options may vary slightly. Trolling 100-120mm bibbed minnows such as Halco laser Pros or Dr Hook School Bullies around rocky headlands and inshore areas is a great way to locate the larger schools of salmon. Once the school has been located, you can then switch to stickbaits, soft plastics, poppers, or whatever else takes your fancy. It is also a good idea to swap out as many of your treble hooks as possible for single hooks. Every year we see people with trebles stuck in their hands, arms, legs… you name it. Switching to single hooks will greatly decrease your chances of an unpleasant days fishing, and it will also help to look after the salmon, as they tend to engulf lures with ease. Thankfully a lot of lure manufactures these days are
A sight that excites every beach angler: a thick school of salmon tracking just behind the breakers! supplying their lures with single hooks straight out of the box, and Dr Hook and Richter lures are a great example of this. SAFETY No fish is worth risking your life for, it’s that simple. Unfortunately, anglers have lost their lives during the annual salmon run, and the majority of these accidents have occurred at Salmon Holes in Albany. This has prompted authorities to take action and as of the 1 January 2019 it is now illegal to fish at salmon holes
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without a type 1 PFD. Fines are expected to be between $100 and $1,000. Though it is now mandatory to wear a PFD at Salmon Holes. PFDs should be worn whenever you are rock fishing in exposed areas. Large swells and slippery rocks can change a situation in the blink of an eye. Type 1 PFDs are extremely slimline and comfortable to wear and they are only inflated once either the release cord is pulled or once they are submerged in water if you have a water activated model,
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which is recommended. Rock anchor points and life rings are also provided by the parks and wildlife services, Recfishwest and local community groups right across the southern parts of our state. From Esperance to Cape Naturaliste, all major rock fishing locations will have tie down points and a life ring on hand. It is always a good idea to tie off to the points provided and familiarise yourself with where the nearest life ring is located in case of an emergency.
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Salmon run heralds a chaotic month of fun METRO/COCKBURN SOUND
As far as sportfishing from the shore goes, April is the time of year when the salmon arrive in Metro waters, and this eagerly awaited migration can vary from just a few small schools to a full on invasion along the coast. The numbers have varied from year to year, but when they are on it is truly an amazing spectacle, and even better if you are actively casting at them.
shops can barely keep up. Considering they are not even rated as a good eating fish, their attraction to the inshore fishing scene is like a magnet, with thousands of anglers flocking to all the well-known locations to fish for them. Be it from a beach, rock wall, jetty, kayak or boat, the masses of salmon will be eagerly targeted by anglers who just canâ€™t get enough of those screaming runs and gill-shaking jumps of these fish. Ranging from smaller 3kg fish up to 8kg beasts, the salmon will often be
feeding frenzy take place as they smash into confused baitfish is a sight not often seen in Perth waters. So as we head into autumn, itâ€™s time to start fishing for these fish, and from the shore you will find they can turn up practically anywhere at any time. Well-known hot spots are the North and South Moles, and these locations not only allow hundreds of anglers room to fish side by side, they are also top salmon locations. Being at the mouth of the Swan River, the salmon will often patrol
along the rocks towards you, and this is when you have to be ready with a bait or lure in the water. Once a pack of hungry salmon spot your lure or
fish by just coaxing them up onto the sand with a wave, saving all the risks involved with fishing from rocks or high up on a jetty. Salmon fishing from a
themselves with a medium spin rod and reel, and just about any baitfish style lure will work. Metal slices, stickbaits and poppers can be cast a fair way out to
Another decent land-based salmon taken from Woodmans Point by casting a minnow lure.
This is the month to put the effort in chasing salmon from the Perth rock groynes, as fish like this can show up in big numbers at any time. These salmon are possibly the biggest, strongest and most dynamic fish many local Perth anglers will ever hook, and in fact they are responsible for such a huge demand of lures, bait, tackle, rods and reels that all tackle
about in big numbers, so competition to chase down a lure or swallow a bait is a sight to get any anglers blood pumping. Smaller species of fish do their best to keep out of the way of the hungry hoards of salmon, and watching a
up and down the rocks, entering up into the Swan River looking for food. The key is to get a spot and put in the time waiting for the fish to show up. Often bent rods and cheering anglers will indicate the fish are moving
bait, then there is a very good chance you will find yourself hooked up to a leaping fish that goes into full panic mode as it tries to rid itself of the hooks. Landing fish from the rocks is easiest with a long handled scoop net, or if you intend to eat it, then a gaff will do the job. The same goes for jetty anglers and any of the public jetties like Rockingham or the Ammo Jetty in Coogee become prime fishing spots, but be warned, space is limited and masses of anglers will squeeze into every available location when the salmon are on. Beach anglers have it best of all, with the ability to land these powerful
beach is the best way to also teach young kids how to fight a strong fish that will pull line from almost any reel. The beaches along Cockburn Sound and all the way up north of the river will all produce salmon in a good year. Most choose to fish whole pilchards on ganged hooks from the beach that is anchored down with a star sinker. From the rocks or jetties the sinker is replaced with a blob float where the bait will hang down on a 40cm length of clear trace. As salmon have no teeth, there is no need to use wire, so a section of 30-40lb mono trace line is ideal. Lure anglers can arm
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reach passing schools of fish. Minnow lures and soft plastics also account for plenty of salmon, as do saltwater fly tackle, which comes into its own if the wind is down and the fish are close enough to get a cast at. Other species are pretty much forgotten about by most anglers during the salmon run, and in fact it can be nearly impossible to catch a feed of herring when the salmon have been about in big numbers. So fingers crossed this year we get a bumper run of salmon and you too can get out there targeting them. When you come across them you will realise why they have such a strong following!
Crustaceans crawling SWAN & CANNING RIVER
The glorious days of autumn are now upon us and it is important to make the most of them, because within a few weeks thing will start to change. Many species will be preparing for the approaching cooler temperatures, which can mean some great fishing opportunities in coming weeks.
very popular, so space can be a problem, with boats weaving and anchoring all through the lower reaches. This all takes place basically from the Fremantle Traffic Bridge through to Bicton where the best catches can be made. If you are going to give prawning a go remember channels are still used after dark and it is essential to stay clear of these, so that boats big and small can still navigate safely.
Some real monster blue swimmer crabs are still holding in the deeper water of the Swan River over autumn. Starting down at the mouth of the Swan where Fremantle Harbour meets the ocean, the anticipated after dark king prawn run will be attracting a few keen anglers. It will be the run-out tide just after dark on a new moon when these tasty crustaceans will make their way to the surface and drift out to sea in big numbers. Armed with a long prawn scoop net, bright lights illuminating the water in front and a quick hand at scooping as they drift past, anglers can gather some great feeds! Mostly done by boat, the trick is to either anchor up just out of the channel or to slowly drive upstream against the tide to intercept any prawns moving through. Good catches can be made on the right night, and once the word gets out it becomes
Tailor will be in good numbers still in the lower reaches of the Swan and up to about the Narrows. Sure, some fish will show up beyond this, but it’s the wide expanse of Perth Water that holds the best numbers through to the Harbour. Flathead are now more common in the deeper sections like Mosman Bay through to Rocky Bay as the cooling temperatures push them off the shallow flats. Drifting these deeper areas with baits or deep jigging soft plastics will bring the best results on flathead, as well as a few surprise flounder and black bream. Speaking of black bream, the bigger fish will now be easier to target around bridge and jetty pylons and all the way up both the Swan and Canning rivers. Still a
very worthwhile lure target, these bigger bream will be putting on condition and still be actively hunting, so any small hardbody or soft plastic should attract their attention. Mulloway are another species that begin to congregate in the deeper water, and although some will still be found well upstream, many will be making their way to the lower reaches near the mouth. This is a time when the E-Shed in Fremantle Harbour can be a dynamite big mulloway spot after dark, as there are plenty of baitfish and prawns about to keep them feeding actively. Around East Fremantle the yellowfin whiting will also be holding in big schools in the deeper water, fishing at night with fresh bloodworms or cut coral prawn baits can bring good results. During the day they can be harder to find, but fishing the deeper water from the traffic bridge up to Rocky Bay can be good for a few fish, but the only problem is the blowfish population will keep you on the move. Crabs are also still in the lower reaches and are best targeted by using drop nets from boats or off any public jetties, especially around Claremont and Mosmans. Although the numbers will be down from the warmer months, the size will more than make up for this. Many big female blue swimmer crabs will start to show up and although it’s not illegal to take them providing they don’t have eggs and are legal size, many choose to release them for breeding stock. In some years big mature Australian salmon have infiltrated the Swan River to pursue food, and big schools of mature 5kg plus fish have been a real spectacle and thrill to catch. You just have to hope they do the same thing this year, and if they do, keep an eye out for them.
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Quality catches between strong wind gusts METRO OFFSHORE
I guess it’s been one of those years. We’ve had more than our fair share of windy days this season, making time on the water
hard work. Apart from the sun-warmed inshore waters, it’s been very disappointing, with the water temperatures being a couple of degrees cooler this year. Spanish and shark mackerel are still being
sighted, with the FiveFathom Bank down to Coventry Reef the best chance. Lure, as always, works best, but if you’re at anchor it’s worth putting a bait out under a float and even better if it’s a live bait. Yellowtail kings, samson and
Queen snapper are another target for the jig anglers. This queen snapper was tempted by the slow pitch method.
A plastic munching snapper that came from near the fish tower.
even greedy snapper will also take a floater. While on the FFB, some diving mates have been talking up the western blue grouper that they are seeing. A big berley session with crabs could bring these brutal fighters around!
On brutal fighters, I had clients recently wanting to break off, as they have called a shark based on the power only to buckle down and land good 90cm+ snapper! A good reminder that on lighter gear and shallow water most captures go hard and this
just brings the sport back into fishing. The mid ground around 30-50m west of Garden Island has produced dhufish and snapper consistently. These plus the breaksea cod, foxfish, pigfish and harlequin put some great eating fish into
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Metro the esky. I had a fair bit of fun in this same area with the southern bluefin tuna, which are flighty little buggers, but great fun on light gear. The Recfishwest fish towers have been getting a workout, with often half a dozen boats or more getting
mulloway and kingfish have all come from the reef system around Rottnest out to 30m. Working your sounder around the lumps and looking for the bait with short drifts is working the best. Berley helps, but a word of caution, sharks have
lighter line classes. A well working team can produce fantastic results, and I would encourage attending game club meetings not only for the social aspect, but also for the lessons and talks that are invaluable and will improve your fishing.
Kids catching fish can make the day. Small hooks with a light rod will keep them occupied for hours. stuck into juvenile samsons and kingfish on weekends, with those fishing the bottom are finding the odd dhufish or snapper jumping on the little jigs or plastics Rottnest has been fishing well. Snapper, dhufish,
been a pest, setting up camp 5-10m under the boat and taking fish as you try and get them past. Some good captures of sharks have come from the game fishers, with huge sharks taken on
Juvenile samson can become a pest at times, but with a light outfit they can also be a lot of fun.
Further offshore the 80-100m area has been fishing fantastically this year. With the currents not as strong this year, the ground has been very easy to fish. I’ve dropped sinker size way down and am finding an 8-12oz more than enough. This makes for pleasurable day out not having to drop and retrieve large weights. Dropping hook size down as well, I’ve been finding that if anything, catch rates have gone up with the smaller hook. Normally I would make the bait rig with a 8/0 hook, but 5/0 with a small length of lumo tube has done the job. I guess, much like us, you can tempt a bite with a snack! With the cooler water this year, fishing out at the FADs has been a bit quiet. The northern FADs are holding the best of the mahimahi – they are out there, but you need to search around and I’ve found some berley helps bring them around. Those with the side scan units will have the advantage being able to hunt the fish away from the FAD. • Shikari Charters is a local Fremantle business running half, full day and game fishing charters catering to small or family groups catering for specialised fishing out from Fremantle. To find out more go to www. shikari.com.au. APRIL 2019
Mulloway: we will fight them on the beaches LANCELIN
Mulloway can be caught in a number of environments such as estuaries, rivers, bays and offshore, but one of the mulloway’s favourite hunting grounds is the ‘surf zone’. Chasing them in each environment requires an understanding on what they are eating and how they are behaving. This article deals specifically with the surf zone and the techniques to target them in the difficult turbulent conditions. Mulloway are the king of all beach fishes, as they are elusive and full of mystique. To beach fishers, they are sometimes known as the silver ghost or the mythical silver unicorn. Rarely do they
change. Most beach gutters will be at their best on an incoming or a high tide. The larger tides of the full and new moon are prime. At low tide many gutters are too shallow for the fish to hunt successfully, and as the high tide comes in fish move into the gutters to feed, narrowing the bite time and concentrating the feeding window within a certain time period. Success during daylight hours will be greatly determined by the tides and conditions. If a gutter is formed well with good depth and creating enough stirred up sand and foam to provide cover for the fish to ambush prey, there will be a chance to capture one no matter what the time of day. On overcast days fish are more likely to be actively hunting.
whole prey, with fish, crabs and squid being some of their favourite baits. Live baits are highly desirable, although they’re not always practical on a surf beach. With a strong swell, current, wind and plenty of seaweed around, it can be very difficult to present the baits in a natural way and lines may need to be retrieved and re-cast frequently. Live baits won’t stand up very well to frequent recasting. If conditions allow, certainly use them, but just remember pick the days when the bait can be presented well and left out for a while if you want to use live baits. Whole dead fish baits or fillets are more commonly used under strong surf conditions, and the fresher the better. Popular baits are squid, mullet, herring,
Mulloway have backward pointing teeth to catch their prey and swallow it whole. come easily! Usually there are a considerable number of hours, missed opportunities and lost fish before finding some success and starting to unlock the secrets to finding, hooking and landing them on a regular basis from the surf. WHERE AND WHEN TO FISH Mulloway like structure and turbulent, aerated water. They are not the type of fish to be reliably found on just any beach. Choose the right beach known to hold fish and concentrate your efforts there. Look for beaches with near-shore reefs and or wellformed holes and gutters and good surf turbulence. Mulloway can be caught at any hour of the day or night, although they are more comfortable close into the beach from when the light starts to fade in late afternoon, early to mid-morning and the hours of darkness in-between. Prime times are dawn and dusk, especially when either coincides with a tide 14
Study the beach structures, reefs, holes gutters and rips and the way the waves and currents interact with them. Think about how the mulloway will use stirred up sand and aerated water as cover to hunt. Place your baits with that in mind. It is not just as simple as cast out and wait. Try placing baits under the foam where a wave breaks over a reef or bank on the outside of a gutter. The near-shore edge of a deep gutter where the sand is stirred by the wave breaking on the shore is another good place to try. The stronger current edges and eddies give mulloway a place to rest while waiting for prey to be swept past in the current. Additionally, look for where the plumes of sand start to disperse and settle at the seaward end of a rip. BAITS, RIGS AND TACKLE Mulloway are an ambush predator, preferring to use low light and murky, sandy or aerated waters to capture
tailor, pilchards and whiting. Mulloway have holding teeth and crushing teeth. They do not cut up their food like a tailor, and tend to swallow food down whole and head first. Whole fish will not slide down the gullet backwards, as the dorsal and anal spines will hurt the fish.
A nice school size fish taken from a surf area. This knowledge is crucial in being successful and determines both how the bait is presented on the rig and fishing technique! Fishing in surf, a long rod of at least 3.65-4m is generally required, although serious fishers may have a range of options up to 4.5m to cater for all conditions. The long rods allow the fisher to hold or to set the rod in a holder, so the fishing line sits above the breaking waves. If the line were to fall into the breaking waves, it would likely pick up weed and be dragged into the surf and the bait would need to be reset each time this happens. Spinning reels are a popular choice, and I prefer to use one with a ‘bait runner’ function. The rod can be placed in a holder with the free spool tension set just so the line remains taught. The fish is free to play with the bait, or run if it picks up the bait, and in this way you don’t lose your setup along with the fish. Line choice is a personal preference and many options will work. Braid gives you a good feel for the bites and the thin diameter gives less resistance to the wind and current to keep the line
tight. Mono can withstand rubbing on rocks, will give a better stretch to keep line tight during mulloway headshakes, and tends not pick up so much weed. My own personal preference is around 400m of 15-18kg braid, with a 4m 35kg mono shock leader to protect it from rocks. Tying the leader to the braid via a FG knot gives near 100% of the braid breaking strain, whereas if you were to tie the braid direct to a swivel you would lose 20-30% of the line’s strength. I find to go any heavier detracts from the experience. Average size fish will give a good account of themselves on 15kg line and test the angler’s skill, while still giving enough reserve should that fish of a lifetime come along. Most mulloway fishers will develop their own variations on refining a rig to suit the type and size of baits they use and beaches they fish. Some people use running sinkers while others will use a paternoster style rig with a three-way swivel. In an ideal world, the mulloway would be allowed to run with the bait to be sure it has swallowed it properly. More often than not in the
This running sinker set-up is another great rig for beach mulloway.
surf, there will be current and probably some weed on the line and the fish will feel considerable resistance. My preference is to have the sinker running so the fish feels the least amount of resistance possible, and on the right day there will be next to none. Sinker weight and design is determined by conditions. A light spoon type sinker can be cast into a rip and fed out with the current, as the bait will drag it along further to sea. Star or grapnel sinkers will anchor the bait against a strong cross current or wind, just try to choose the lightest for the available conditions. The bait will dictate the best method of setting up the hooks. Pilchards are great bait and mulloway love them, they are soft, so a gang of hooks works best and holds the bait on the hooks very well. As mulloway may play with the bait for some time, I prefer a whole tougher fish or fillet bait. Whole fish with firm flesh mean gang hooks stay buried inside the bait when it is swallowed, causing missed hook-ups. To prevent the hooks failing to find a hold, it is best to snell together two circle or octopus style hooks. The length of the snell is largely dictated by the size of the bait. Ultimately, you want the line laying flat along the length of the bait. Thread the bottom hook through the bait’s body 2-3 times before pushing the point in just behind its head and turning it back through the gill plate or eye, so the point is exposed and pointing towards the baits tail end. Then place the top hook either through or around the backbone near the bait’s tail, turning the point back in the same manner. When the bait is swallowed head first, the exposed hook points should find a good hold. As you are putting the bait on upside down, there is potential for the mulloway to
Mulloway pull the bait off the tail end hook quite easily, so the use of some elastic bait string will help hold the bait onto the soft tail better. For my own go to rig, I use a hybrid rig consisting of two ganged hooks and a snelled octopus style for my whole fish baits. It gives an excellent hook-up rate on both tailor and mulloway, and having double the hold on the bait’s tail end it can’t be pulled off the hooks so easily. There is no need to thread the first hook through
the fishes’ body, so all three hooks are effectively holding the weight of the bait evenly. Hook size will be best chosen once you’ve decided what bait you use. A 6/0 is a good size for fillets such as whiting and pilchards, where you may want to go up to 8/0 for larger mullet and herring baits. I like to incorporate a little lumo tube near the hooks for that little added attention when fishing on dark nights. Casting heavy whole baits strung backwards any
distance is challenging. To get more distance out of the cast, remove the tail and pectoral fins with a set of sharp scissors, as this lowers the wind resistance. Additionally, use a breakaway sinker or clip to attach the bait directly to the sinker during the cast so it does not flail behind like a parachute. On the topic of wire traces, I do use one when snelling two hooks together and don’t seem to catch any less fish than the person next
Set up for a night’s fishing on a beach gutter, the favoured hunting ground for beach mulloway.
to me. This is because the majority of bites where I fish chasing mulloway come from tailor, and they will quickly damage the line between the snelled hooks. You need to check and re-tie hooks if the line is damaged after every tailor bite, wasting time or risking missing the next mulloway to swim into the zone. Try to keep the wire as light as possible, and use a plastic coated one if you can. I find if tying snelled hooks with wire, 30kg is a minimum and the wire must be replaced after every session. Otherwise, the point where the second hook swings off the first the wire will weaken and will eventually fail, especially if you’ve been catching a lot of tailor, which shake and rattle around on the hooks. If you choose not to use wire, then be sure to use a heavy leader of around 50kg to reduce the tailor bite-offs. Mulloway will respond well to berely, but you must read the situation well. Poorly-applied berley on a surf beach will move the fish away from where the baits are. If you have a nice eddy in a hole your baits are in, then throwing in handfuls of chopped pilchards will work well to attract and keep fish near the baits. There is no point throwing handfuls of chopped pilchards into a
The author’ s go-to rig for whole fish baits. strong rip, as the pilchards will be washed out to sea with any mulloway following along. In a strong rip your best to use a berley bag anchored in the surf to create a scent trail that the mulloway can follow to your baits. Study the currents well and position your berley bag so the scent will pass the baits, it may need to be positioned down current to your fishing location. THE TECHNIQUE There is no classic ‘textbook’ bite, as each one will be perceived differently at the fishing rod. The main idea is to give the fish the time it needs to eat the bait and not spook the fish with a harsh jerk on the rod to set the hook until you are sure the bait has been taken
properly. Mulloway may pick up the bait and crush it, as if to kill it, then if it is happy with the hold it has, it may swallow the bait head first while moving off. If it feels resistance it may spit the bait out, but still return and try again. This may take minutes. Sometimes it will need to suck it in and spit it out several times before it is happy the bait is positioned right to swallow head first! You must resist the urge to do anything until the fish starts to move away and the rod tip starts to load up with the weight of the fish before attempting to set the hooks. Other times you may not notice anything until the rod is almost wrenched from your hands. Presume To page 16
Mulloway From page 15
everything is a mulloway until you know better, and resist the urge to strike. Keep in mind, a large fish may crush the bait and then take several minutes to turn around and come back to swallow it down. If it is calm enough to properly feel what the fish is doing and you have a running sinker walk towards the fish as it moves off with the bait, it will give the fish slack line to swallow the bait down well. The reality on a surf beach, with current most the time, is that it’s best to just let the rod tip load up before setting the hooks. When using pilchards, baits won’t stay on the hooks for long, so it is best not to let the fish run with the bait, but rather to strike as soon as the fish has the bait in its mouth. Once a fish is hooked, it will become obvious if you have a mulloway on, as they have a classic head shake rattle as they try to dislodge the hooks, and often they may just stop on the spot and shake from side to side. Mulloway will change direction in a fight, so be on your toes! If you think it is gone, don’t give up, wind in quickly, because it is just as likely the fish has turned and is heading straight for you. Try to keep the line tight throughout the fight, or it
may be successful with those head shakes at throwing the hooks free. As the fish comes into the surf break, it may be picked up in the breaking swells and rolled in a wave, so wind fast and walk backwards at the same time to keep that line taught. Once you finally have the fish beat at the shore, time it with a wave to pull the head around. As the wave hits the fish, you should be able to surf it in
head first, bringing it up as far and as fast as you can and beaching it high and dry. Run to the fish and grab it before the next wave comes in. To pick up mulloway you can put your fingers inside the gill opening and slide towards the throat before lifting with a hand under the belly to support the fish. Only put your fingers just inside the gill opening and not into the gills themselves. If your fingers
do go inside the gills, the rakers won’t easily let your fingers back out without some damage. If you got to this stage however, I am sure you won’t really care, as it is going to take more than losing a little bark to wipe that smile off your face! If you want to let the fish go after some quick pictures, wade out to some deeper, clear water to swim the fish and make sure it has a strong enough kick to swim off.
The author with a whopping 147cm mulloway.
Avoid swimming the fish in the sandy surf at the waters edge, as the gills can slime up while they are out of the water and the sand sticks to the gill slime, suffocating the fish. A FEW OTHER NOTES I recommend you keep a diary recording when you go fishing for mulloway, not only when you catch or drop a fish, but also the occasions when you don’t get any bites. Take note of baits, times, dates, moon phases, tides, conditions and any the specifics of each capture or missed take. Over time you can build up a picture that will greatly help increase your successes. Become something of a perfectionist! Considering the amount of effort and time that can go into just getting a mulloway to take a bait, each lost opportunity may be the difference between a successful fishing trip or a failed one. Take note every time something goes wrong and implement a plan or strategy to prevent the same thing ever happening again. You can believe me, there is nothing worse than losing a hard-earned fish to a stupid mistake. Learn from each experience, as it can be the difference between a good fisher and a mediocre one. Mulloway can travel in small or large groups, so be
quick to get bait out after catching one. Don’t go flashing about bright LED headlights to sea, as they will spook the fish. I leave on an overhead downlight light on the beach hung from the top of a fishing rod. You can clip chemical light sticks to your rod tips to see the bites. Test all your knots and rigs and be aware of what the breaking strains are and where the weakest links are, and be prepared to adapt and change your knots or materials to reduce any weaknesses. Have all your rigs pre-made. You don’t want to have lines out of the water at the best bite time just because you needed to re-tie a rig. I will even have an extra rod rigged and ready to go. Don’t reuse old rigs. After a trip, re-tie all your gear, including any FG knots and replace shock leaders. Check hooks after getting snagged for broken or burred edges and re-sharpen as required. And finally, tailor can bite shiny sinkers or swivels, instantly cutting the mainline when the line is stretched taught while battling a mulloway. Put sinkers on droppers and use small black swivels to avoid this! Good luck and tight lines on your next mulloway fishing adventure!
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It’s salmon for Easter! ESPERANCE
The Easter Bunny is coming and this year he isn’t bringing chocolates! He is delivering schools of thumping Australian salmon! If you are planning to travel to Esperance for the April period, this is usually when we start to see our Australian salmon coming through. The large schools tend to congregate in the shallow water, making it perfect for the keen salmon fisher. The bait rig is usually fairly simple. A paternoster rig consisting of either a star sinker at the bottom for sandy ground or a spoon sinker on rocky ground, then around about 50cm to a loop in the line with a single hook and another 50cm to a second loop in the line with a gang hook, before capping it off after another 50cm with a decent swivel. On the single hook I usually have squid, and on the gang hook I put a whole fresh pilchard. If bait isn’t your thing then I would recommend a 30-50g metal lure. Casting directly into the centre of the salmon school is just about guaranteed to reap rewards each and every time. Australian salmon are great fighting fish, but they aren’t always the best to eat. A good tip if you want to eat them is to ensure you bleed them out almost straight away. Then you can either smoke them or use something like lemon pepper to assist in the flavouring when you cook. Taylor Street jetty is always offering up decent size herring, squid, garfish, whiting and skippy. I always recommend heading down there with
some premixed to berley to help attract the small fish and I feel coral prawns is a good option for bait. Heading out into the bay on your kayak or small vessel you can troll with a
If you are keen to take a bit more of a relaxed approach and let someone else worry about the bait, ice, tackle, BBQ lunch and everything else required for a day out, then perhaps a fishing charter
Nathan Jones with a nice salmon taken on a quiet South Coast beach. squid jig to entice some of the larger squid that we catch around this area. There’s good news for all of you who don’t have a kayak or boat. The Heritage Council has just approved the replacement design for the Esperance tanker jetty. There’s no set start date yet, but at least it is a step in the right direction. Out east of Esperance, there is a great opportunity to get mulloway at night time and also some larger skippy, as opposed to the smaller ones that we catch off of the jetty. Bream are also being caught regularly around our lakes, and river prawns are ideal for bait.
is ideal for you. Regular catches offshore include red snapper, queen snapper, breaksea cod, harlequin fish, and swallowtail. In April there is also a good possibility that we will still have tuna around. Whatever you decide to do, the conditions are usually fantastic in April, as we get very little sea breeze in the afternoon, making it ideal conditions for a full day out on the water or on the mainland. • If you need any information or need to top up on tackle gear pop in and see us at Esperance Diving & Fishing at 72 The Esplanade, or call 9071 5111.
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Rock on with beach fish BREMER BAY
With calm winds and low swell days on offer this is the time for serious rock anglers to load up their backpacks and test their fitness by walking and climbing to some of the best spots. Many of these spots fish so well because for most of the year they are too dangerous and rough to get to and fish from due to strong winds and big swells.
people being swept off the South West rocks to their death when it could have been avoided due to a few safety precautions. Once you have the weather on your side and have managed the walk to a spot, you stand the chance of hooking some decent fish. Big samsonfish, yellowtail kingfish and blue groper will not only test your tackle, but your strength and stamina from the stones as well. Baits fished deep will also pick up some prize demersal species like dhufish, pink and queen
If beach fishing is more your style, there’s no long hard walks out to remote rock ledges for them, just a bit of boggy beach sand to deal with and you can fish right next to your car! Most of the popular beaches like Fosters or Reef beaches will attract plenty of 4WD anglers, and rightly so, with excellent catches of salmon, mulloway, skippy, tailor and sharks on offer. Smaller species like herring and whiting are also on offer in the surf when the salmon are not about. The small land-locked estuaries are full of black bream that are easy to catch on lures and bait.
This is one of the best by-catches along the South Coast – big blue spot flathead! I can’t stress safety enough. Never fish on your own, never fish if the conditions are not safe and wear a PFD at all times. It sounds like common sense, but it saddens me to hear of
snapper, breaksea cod and harlequin fish. Take care landing and gaffing fish, never turn your back on the ocean and have a safety plan in place should one of you get washed in.
Salmon fishing is probably the crowd pleaser for most, and although big numbers of fish have migrated past and around the capes further west, there will still be plenty of fish
getting caught from the surf and rock locations. Any deep gutter along a beach will turn up anything from an occasional fish every few hours to non-stop fishing where every cast results in a hook-up. Most prefer to use baits of whole pilchards for these salmon, but a metal slice lure cast out and wound back through the surf is hard to beat. The more sheltered bays and smaller beaches are also a good place to spend some time with lighter gear catching a feed of herring
or whiting. Often a good size blue-spot flathead will show up as a very welcome by-catch. The squid numbers will be improving from now on, and the calmer conditions mean if you have a small tinny or trailer craft then it would pay to drift the weed beds and broken ground closer to shore with a few squid jigs. Many of the land-locked estuaries like Beaufort will now be very shallow and salty and the black bream population will be eagerly
waiting for the first rains to flow in and raise the levels. Fish can be very aggressive towards any small lure fished through the shallows, but their condition will not be so good. Due to the shallow water the only safe way to fish is by kayak or from a few chosen shore locations. Wading can be impossible due to deep silty mud that will see you sink up to your knees or deeper and outboard motors will run the risk of hitting numerous hidden rocks, so kayaks are ideal.
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Beaching about tailor ALBANY
The fish will be in need of a break after a frenzy of tourist’s descend on town to wet a line over the Easter holidays. Experienced anglers willing to put in the hours after dark from the beaches have had great results, with solid gummy sharks and bronze whalers coming in close with the salmon run. Meanwhile, whopper South Coast tailor, tarwhine, sea bream and schools of salmon were easy pickings holding up in the shore gutters. The beaches around town are really turning it on, with places such as Sand Patch, Lowlands and Salmon Holes holding the entire food chain of southern fish! This just shows that the conditions are absolutely prime at the moment for our southern beaches. Inshore boat anglers are starting to consistently catch King George whiting. A huge advantage is the use of fluorocarbon leaders. Around 1-1.5m of light 8-14lb line with a light sinker, long shank hook and a small piece of squid is a great combination to start. Fish have been found in 3-4m of water with plenty of weed clumps close by. Whiting do move around a lot, and I believe they travel along the weed edges to feed on the isolated sand holes. For the hardcore whiting anglers, Michaelmas and Breaksea islands hold the true kidney slappers. Fish up to 60cm have been captured recently from the sand in 20-30m of water. A bit of patience is required, but the
Huge South Coast tailor have been thick on many of the beaches. look on your jealous mate’s face makes the effort worth it. The dry spell of herring is over, with great reports of big numbers. The size is worth noting at the moment as well, and I caught a fish not far from the state record and kept my dad full for a couple of nights! It went 38cm in length. Convinced it was a juvenile salmon, I was stunned when it came boat side, and I think it’s the first time I have ever netted a herring! John and mirror dory are starting to become common for the deep sea anglers. It’s hard to determine if improved angling techniques and presentations are winning them over, or if the species is on the rebound, as they are hot property for the local professional fishermen. It can seem like it’s impossible to target them, as they are tough to track. Jigs kept close to the
bottom will give you the best results. Lewis Broad was lucky enough to catch two of these fine eating specimens on a recent trip out. May and June are Albany’s premier months for good conditions. The easterlies vanish and we are left with light winds and small swells. There is usually plenty happening in all forms of fishing, with black bream starting to transition up the rivers, pink snapper coming in close to the rocks and even the odd school or Spanish mackerel coming down in the Leeuwin Current. I am aware of four school mackerel caught on metal slugs cast from the rocks close to town, and local spear fishers having encounters with Spanish macks. They’ve been scattered over the past few years, but all captures have come within these upcoming months. Good luck!
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This 38cm herring went close to the state record, and was a PB for the author. APRIL 2019
Sample the salmon goodness this month AUGUSTA
Summer way for food as summer
icecream makes autumn comfort surely as the fishing makes
way for the hype of the impending southern salmon run. The end of summer came with a burst of heat and humidity, resulting in some great fishing weather. Many took advantage of the chance
Blake Gillam was very happy with this typical-sized salmon caught at Cosy Corner during the annual run up the coast.
at shore-based, inshore or offshore excursions. The Blackwood River whiting run is in full swing and catches of yellowfin and King George whiting have been the best seen for a number of years. One of the reasons appears to be the inflow of sand from The Cut at Colourpatch, resulting in several very large sand bars and flats appearing around Duke Head, Point Frederick and the Deadwater. A number of kayak and small boat fishers have been taking advantage of the clear shallow waters of the flats to hone their lure flicking skills on the abundant yellowfin whiting, while the King George aficionados have generally stuck to the tried and true bait fishing staples of blood worms, cockles and squid in the channels. Beach fishing has been a pleasant experience, with the warm weather and multiple calm days resulting in families packing the premium beach fishing spots every opportunity. Sand whiting numbers have continued to be excellent, and as usual are providing plenty of â€˜first fishâ€™ experiences for the budding Rex Hunt of the family.
Georgia Gillam brings the challenge to her sibling with this great-sized salmon on light gear. Rock fishing has picked up, with the numbers of herring caught climbing rapidly as summer faded away. Leatherjackets have
been everywhere and provide an excellent addition to the table if you get onto some of the large horseshoe variety that abound in the
area. They love squid strips and unfortunately soft plastics as well, which tends to cause some consternation with the budget conscious amongst us. Boating weather remained very good, with many chances to get out wide to some of the less accessible spots. Dhufish and pink snapper numbers remain exceptional, and bag outs have been common. Bight redfish, harlequin and Breaksea cod have often rounded off catches. Large soft plastics are proving to be extremely deadly on all the demersal fish, however fresh cuttlefish and squid heads have also accounted for some very large dhufish and blue groper. Autumn may spell the end to the lazy summer days, but there are those of us who relish the thought of March rolling into April. This heralds the return of the much revered and equally as maligned West Australian salmon, as they complete their annual run up the coast to the metro area. Augusta starts getting the schools sporadically at first during the middle of March, and by the time April rolls in there is a constant
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West Coast stream of fish pulled along by the innate need to spawn no matter what. This also results in an almost constant need to fuel the engine and it is that irrepressible compulsion that results in the spectacular feeding frenzies that can be witnessed from the great
with the advent of superior braids, rods and reels, people are now realising the angling potential of these musclepacked torpedoes. As the salmon has a hard mouth, and on light gear tend to do a fair bit of tail walking and head thrashing, it is very important to ensure
Riley McKinnon was stoked to land this nice little samsonfish while taking advantage of glassy conditions on Flinders Bay. Australian Bight right through to north of Perth. Anglers can take advantage of the fact that the salmon will hug the coastline in schools varying from several fish to several thousands of fish, and will snap up anything that remotely resembles food. Although rock and beach fishing during the salmon run can be equally as productive, it is generally a good idea to stick to the sand. High adrenalin, slippery rocks and fast-moving fish are dangerous enough as it is, but throw in the odd rogue wave and it can be a recipe for disaster, so please take care. Bait fishing is very effective when numbers are sporadic, and a simple paternoster rig with a mulie or herring hung off it will often pick up the single fish that have been separated from their schools. When the schools are tightly packed and on the hunt it is much more effective to throw a lure at them. Not only will they compete with each other to have first bite at the cherry, but the resulting hook-up on a fast-moving lure is nothing short of breath taking. There has been a tendency over the years for people to fish heavy gear and skull drag the salmon in to shore as quickly as possible. Recently however,
that terminal tackle is up to the task. Treble hooks need to be sharp and strong, or preferably replaced with single inline hooks, which are not only much stronger but also allow for a cleaner and easier release. Of course, there is no point in replacing these without also ensuring that rings and swivels are also upgraded as well.
urge are many, but on the west side you can’t go wrong having a try at Hamelin Bay, Cosy Corner, Deep Dene or Boranup. For those who prefer to fish close to town, any of the beach areas off Leeuwin Rd from the boat harbour to Skippy Rock will produce schools of fish that are easily accessed off the beach. For relatively safe rock fishing, the boat harbour rock wall is the go, as many schools will travel within a casting distance. On 30-31 March the Salmon Sport-Fish Weekender is held between Busselton and Augusta, raising funds for the Owen Francis Foundation. This very popular event culminates with presentations being held at Hamelin Bay at 4pm on the Sunday afternoon. Registration and competition details can be found online simply by searching for ‘The Salmon Sport-Fish Weekender’. Many people catch these dynamos simply because they are the best fighting fish in the 5-7kg range that can be accessed from shore and released to fight another day. Should you be a bit more adventurous the humble salmon also makes a wonderful eating fish if treated with respect. If caught and placed on ice quickly, you would be surprised at the quality of the flesh, especially when smoked or cooked in cutlets on the BBQ. Why not give these little champions a go this season? You could join thousands of others who spend 11 months of the year waiting for the next run to start. • If rock fishing, wear a life jacket and tie off to something solid. You can hire one for free from Augusta Xtreme Outdoor Sports at 66
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The result of a school of leatherjackets taking a liking to a 7” soft plastic. Every angler you speak with will have their favourite lure that works for them, but some days you could throw a double plugger thong at them and still be able to elicit a bite. Chrome slices, poppers or bright soft plastics are a certain winner but any of the plugs, flies or hardbodied surface lures will also do the job admirably. Popular spots in the Augusta area to hone your skills and satisfy the salmon
Blackwood Avenue, Augusta, the local tackle shop and font of all local fishing knowledge. It’s right next to the Better Choice Fuels Service Station. • The locations mentioned are all well-known and are marked on most vehicle GPS units, especially if they have HEMA maps or a list of locations can be obtained from the local tackle store, Augusta X-Treme Outdoor Sports.
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Changing season brings new opportunities BUSSELTON
Fishing in the South West over the past month has been very consistent. WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING? Anglers picking the gaps in the weather and venturing offshore have had no trouble finding good
15kg mark becoming especially common. Most anglers have been hitting success in the 35-45m range. These areas range from north of Cape Naturaliste, Coral Lumps (west of Cape Naturaliste) and areas south of Gracetown boat ramp. Back on the shore, salmon sightings have been patchy, with no large schools yet, however reports from
Red head glow squid jigs are the local go-to squid jig from the jetty. numbers various species, namely dhufish, breaksea cod and harlequin fish. Dhufish numbers have been far higher than in recent years, with fish over the
further south around Albany and Walpole have been positive, with large schools spotted moving westward. Targeting whiting from the shore has still been a
worthwhile endeavour, with reasonable numbers of yellowfin whiting coming from Wonnerup Inlet. Spanish mackerel have been a little more elusive this year thanks to slightly cooler than usual water temperatures, but some sightings have been confirmed in Geographe Bay as well as only one or two captures that we have heard about. UPCOMING The most significant change we see in April is the weather. Cold fronts will begin to cross our coast, and with it they will bring a change in the fishing. The first noticeable change we will see is in squid numbers. Already this month and even in late March the squid have been slowly beginning to come out of hiding. As the weather begins to decline and stir the ocean every now and then, the squid numbers should increase. Early April last year saw solid numbers of squid show up along the Busselton jetty, and I can recall bagging a dozen within an hour on one evening last year. Size 3.5 jigs in glow patterns are always my go-to. In particular, glow white, pink, red head, orange and lemon lime are great colours. Pack at least a few of these colours in your tackle bag and you should be in with a decent shot at bagging a feed. I have always found the best time to target squid around this time of year is an hour either side of sunset, and having a fresh yellowtail
A chunky little dhufish taken on a jig in shallow water off Cape Naturaliste. out while you throw jigs isn’t a bad option either! Coinciding with the return of the squid should be the herring. Herring become difficult to find at times over the summer period in the bay, but as the weather stirs, so
passing by our coast as they make their way north. Injidup Beach, Canal Rocks and in particular Hamelin Bay, were all hot spots. When it comes to salmon, 90% of the time they will eat just about anything.
school is being targeting by multiple anglers, often the salmon will hug the bottom and become strangely hard to tempt into taking a lure. This is where a wellweighted lure will come into its own, as it will allow you
There’s nothing quite like the first light of the day shining on a nice dhufish!
By far one of the more interesting looking fish in our waters – but also one of the tastiest – the harlequin fish is a welcome by-catch.
too will the herring. An hour or so before sunset is a great time to target herring from the Busselton jetty by introducing a berley trail of bread and fish oil. A small metal slice around 5-15g or the classic float and lumo tube setup will be enough to bag a feed of herring with ease. April is when the salmon numbers should definitely begin to ramp up. Again, going by last year’s experiences, early April should see proper schools
However, there are a few tips that will help to increase your catch numbers. Firstly, use a heavy lure. Of course, you must pick some that suit the rod and reel outfit you are using, but a common mistake made by anglers is they use lighter poppers and bibbed minnows in the surf. These lures are certainly effective on salmon, but will often fail to provide you with the weight needed to cast the required distance to the school. Furthermore, if one
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to sink the lure down into the school and persuade a fish into a strike. Try using metal slices ranging from 60-100g, depending on your rod and reel, or Richter Plugs in a 3oz size or larger. • 2 Oceans Tackle is the south west’s premium fishing tackle outlet. Drop in and see our friendly staff for professional advice and choose from our massive range of fishing tackle that is sure to keep you fishing for longer. 2 Oceans Tackle 14 Albert St, Busselton WA.
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Experience the sights and sounds of salmon! BUNBURY
This has to be my favourite time of the year for a landbased assault. Whether you’re fishing the local beaches, The Cut or inside the marina, our famous Australian salmon can pop up out of nowhere and in huge schools. I’ve spent many mornings and afternoons chasing the salmon up and down jetties, rock walls and beaches around Bunbury just to feel that screaming run
on light gear that we don’t always have the opportunity to experience fishing land-based. If you’re fishing the jetties and rock walls, I’d suggest a well-balanced soft plastic around the 6” length, as I find those areas to have more sharp drop-offs or ledges that benefit from having your lure get close to the bottom, something a diving lure can’t always accomplish. While fishing the beaches I’ll take the heaviest metal slug or minnow profile hardbody lure that my rod
Anthony Sexton puts the finishing touches on a South West salmon.
will allow. Having that bit of extra weight with a well matched line can be the difference of 20m on your neighbour’s cast and ultimately first punt at the school of bruisers. As always, the crabs are still in the marina on the drop-offs, with plenty of locals still coming in to report bag out sessions. We even have the odd few that swim their nets off the beaches to some pretty impressive honey holes. Local rock walls and jetties are also holding some tasty flathead that are on the dropoffs. Flathead are one of the easiest and most enjoyable fish to catch on lures. Both boaties and landbased fishers have been collecting some impressive numbers of herring both for their breakfast toast and as excellent bait for their bottom bashing. Half the fun of the trip is the bait collection beforehand. Boaties are experiencing some pretty hefty-sized squid that are pillaging their drift baits around the 15m mark while baiting for hungry snapper, and there’s also a few fat skippy and tailor showing up in the shallow waters.
F F U T 0 0 3 E S A E L E NEW R
As always there’s plenty of dhufish to be caught in Bunbury waters when you’re happy to put in the
catches have increased lately with the salmon running up the coast. Plenty of tigers and bronzies have been taking the
ramp up. Local fanatics are fishing the higher ends of the Collie chasing the 40cm models, with a few being
This is what the Bunbury area is famous for at this time of year. time and effort sounding up new grounds. King George whiting quite often haunt the same grounds as the dhufish, and that’s been evident lately, with some solid specimens taking unsuspecting fishos dhufish baits. What a problem to have! With no surprise, shark
baits recently, particularly around Dalyellup Beach, making for some exciting sports fishing. A slab of stingray is the most popular bait, otherwise the Mandurah mullet we have delivered weekly to the shop has been enticing them as well. Black bream catches at this time of year start to
successful both in catching and releasing some slabs. • The crew at Whiteys Tackle and Camping are always more than happy to share their knowledge of the South West and fishing techniques, so don’t be shy, come on in and say hi, show off your catch and ask any questions you may have!
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More than just salmon to keep you fishing MANDURAH
March has been filled with anglers getting out offshore targeting snapper and dhufish from both kayak and boats. These fish have been getting caught in various depths, from 8-60m.
the water column and rapidly burning it back to you, or by running your lures through the schools without showing too much of the boat or vessel you are trolling lures from. Minimising your presence will fool these fish into thinking it is all natural and give you a much greater chance at landing a few of these rockets.
and it also marks the time of the year where land-based anglers around Mandurah are able to get stuck into some fun fishing with the family. Salmon are relatively easy to catch. They will happily take an artificial or a pilchard, and you don’t really need to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch one. Of course, like with any sort of fishing, if you want to increase your capture rate, you probably do want to fish that early or the evening bite period to maximise your chances. Good places to start are the rock walls littered throughout Mandurah, whether that be at the breakwater, slightly south at Dawesville or any of the spots between. When fishing with pilchards, you can fish a multitude of different weights and rig styles. A favourite
Rainbows can offer a bit of excitement, particularly when you catch them from local streams like this one was. often result in some lost gear. Fishing for salmon in this way is great, as it gives the fish ample time to look at the bait before committing. Quite often these fish can
Rene got stuck into a couple of dhufish just off Mandurah on his first bluewater mission from his kayak. There have been reports of the odd Spanish still showing up, but as the transition months pass, the cooler water reduces your chances at catching one of these speedsters of the ocean. We’ve all been out fishing and caught something odd where we think we shouldn’t have, so it really does pay to have a line in the water – you never know what might happen. There have been plenty of tuna schools sighted relatively close to the Mandurah shorelines, with anglers having some fun with smaller-sized artificial lures like casting metals, small heavily-weighted plastics and skirts. These fish can be caught by sinking your small presentation down in
Herring and whiting are regularly being caught in the estuary, as well as at the Dawesville bridge, with plenty of success coming on small floated baits and even the old green straw. It’s not uncommon, to pick up squid at night on a tide change, particularly where the edge of the dark meets the light coming from the bridge. Glow jigs are a deadly weapon in low light scenarios, and can often be the difference between them being able to home in on your jig or not. April is a very exciting time for many people, particularly those from Mandurah to Perth. April marks the time of the year where the Australian salmon make their way up our coast
All stream trout have beautiful colours, but there’s something special about the dots on a big brown. amongst anglers where the current is not overpowering, is to fish an un-weighted gang hook rig. If you are fishing areas where there are plenty of rocks, this is also a good option, as you do not have the lead dragging around, which can and will
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be observed swimming tight up against the rocks and presenting your bait in such a way means you will have your bait in the zone for longer and it won’t be plummeting down past their face where they cannot see it. Quite often people use lures to great effect when chasing salmon since they are so ferocious and partial
to an easy meal. An artificial will quite often out fish a bait, since you are working the lure and imparting an action. Doing this fools the fish into thinking there is a wounded bait nearby, providing an easy meal, which isn’t going to use up a large amount of their energy to catch. The freshwater will really begin to fire up as we work our way through April further into the year. The dams surrounding Mandurah only get better as the cold weather takes over, as these fish thrive in cooler temperatures and will quite often be a lot easier to catch than in the warmer months. Not only do they thrive in these conditions, but it also brings the fish out of the depths more often, allowing them to sit closer to the shoreline without feeling like they are in water conditions too warm for their liking. If you are lucky enough to be mobile in some of these waters during the warmer months, locating and landing fish is not as difficult. Knowing that the fish are not holding deep in these cooler months, however, allows anglers fishing from the banks to get stuck into these fish a bit more often.
Spinnerbaits, medium-diving hardbody lures, blades and lightly-weighted plastics are all great options when going out and will cover most of your bases out on the fresh. You have the option of fishing heavier weighted plastics if targeting the fish in deeper water, but quite often a lightly-weighted plastic pitched to a rise will convert. Fishing plastics too heavy will just mean that the fish doesn’t get much time at all to consider eating the presentation. Crabbing in April will be steady, with people still able to get amongst a few and bring home a feed. Things will begin to slow down as the colder months approach, but as with any sort of fishing, a fresh bait is going to help you a bit more when the going gets tough. If you are scooping, then you might need to pay a little bit more attention to the conditions and use them to your advantage in order to get some results. Wind can quite often disturb a day of scooping for crabs, but it can also mean that the crabs are pushed with the wind, forcing them into a particular part of the estuary, which will fish better under these conditions. Around May, we can expect to still see a few tailor getting around the beaches and mulloway not far behind. Using a legal size live tailor or a fillet of one will often entice a ghost onto your hook if there is one nearby, and it is well worth giving it a crack, especially if you are still casting for your tailor at the same time. Madora Bay, San Remo and Singleton are all prime locations to have a go and are best fished at dawn and dusk. Herring, whiting and bream action will continue for those in the right locations and there will still be plenty of salmon to get stuck into when you are getting out on the water!
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This salmon was caught on a small curl-tail grub intended for species much smaller!
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A few tips for playing fish NSW STH COAST
Steve Starling www.fishotopia.com
Landing that whopper is about keeping your cool, having a game plan and understanding exactly how your gear works. I’ve detailed the basics of hooking, fighting and landing
the ‘high’ that keeps bringing us back for more — but it’s what you do in those vital seconds or minutes after setting the hook that will ultimately spell the difference between landing a good fish, or adding another sad story of the “one that got away” to your growing collection! If the fish you’ve just hooked is relatively small
extreme cases, your rod might even snap! Strong, active fish like tailor, salmon, snapper, trout, barra or tuna are all capable of breaking a line with a rated strength greater than their actual body weight. Many anglers are surprised to learn that a fish of less than 3kg can easily snap a 4-5 kg line in a direct pull, but they certainly can! That’s exactly why larger, more active fish need to be ‘played’. ‘Playing’ a fish doesn’t mean mucking around simply
slightly more. Game fishers chasing line class records often set their drags against calibrated scales. But very few of us carry spring balances or weights around to test our drags. Instead, we develop a ‘feel’ for the right setting, and learn how to sense when the drag is too tight or too loose. If the line whistles and sings in the breeze, there’s a good chance your drag is set too tight! If in doubt, it pays to err on the lighter side. On the other hand, if the drag’s too loose, the fish may be
This is about as high as you should ever lift the rod when pumping and winding to recover line.
Even a modest trout like this could snap light line or tear free of the hooks if your drag is set too tightly. fish a couple of times over the seven years I’ve been writing this column (yes, it’s really that long!). However, it’s one of those critical but often overlooked subjects that’s always worthy of a quick refresher, especially considering the fact that
in relation to the gear you’re using, you can simply raise the rod to about 45º above the horizontal and crank smoothly on the reel handle to bring it in. However, landing bigger, stronger fish require a bit more thought and skill. Attempting to use sheer
Your rod acts like a giant shock absorber to soak up the lunges and dives of a hooked fish. This is fly gear, but conventional tackle works much the same. new readers are constantly coming on board. As I’ve explained here before, hooking into a fish is one of the most thrilling moments in angling — it’s
muscle to haul in a fish that’s heavy and strong in relation to your tackle is very likely to result in disaster. The line might break, or the hook could tear free or straighten out. In
When a big fish is running hard and taking line against the drag, keep a bend in the rod but don’t try to crank the reel. Wait until the run comes to an end, then smoothly pump-and-wind. to prolong the fight for our own entertainment. Instead, the term means taking your time and bringing the fish in slowly and smoothly while using the flex of the rod as a shock absorber to protect the line and hook. It also means, if necessary, allowing the fish to run, or take line against the reel’s drag mechanism, which you should set every time you go fishing. As a rough rule, your drag should be set somewhere between a quarter and a third of the rated breaking strain of the line, measured in a direct pull from the reel. In other words, if you’re using 4kg breaking strain line, the pre-set drag pressure at the reel should be around a kilo or
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angle, begin turning the reel handle as you smoothly lower the rod towards the horizontal. Repeat this process to bring the fish in. Be careful to maintain tension at all times. If you don’t, loose line can wrap around the rod tip, or create slack that might allow the fish to throw the hook. The best way to avoid slack is to start turning the reel a split second before you begin lowering the rod. Maintain enough pressure to keep at least a slight bend in the rod right through the down stroke. Most importantly, stay cool and have a game plan in mind… It’s amazing just how large a fish can be landed on light gear if you keep your head!
Lift without winding until the rod butt is angled about 45º above horizontal or a little higher, then wind the reel as you smoothly lower the rod to recover line.
impossible to bring in, or it may even strip all the line from your spool. It’s about finding the right balance. As soon as the fish you’ve hooked stops pulling line from your reel against the drag, you need to begin recovering lost line and bringing that fish in. The best way to recover line is to ‘pump-and-wind’, which means lifting the rod without cranking the reel, then lowering the rod while turning the reel. Begin by smoothly lifting the rod from just above the horizontal until the butt or lower portion is angled up at least 45º above the horizon. Don’t crank the reel as you lift or pump, because that’d put unnecessary strain on your gear. When the lower portion of the rod passes that 45º
Big bites get locals excited LANCELIN
April will bring with it the last good month of our short game fishing season. At this time of year there are chance encounters with some great fish. Wahoo and marlin are a possibility out wide, while inshore you should keep an eye out for large animals like sharks or turtles. Cobia swim along below these fish and, in recent years, more cobia
be caught, and they can be a good size. One near 30kg was caught recently. You are more likely to encounter the big ones around 30-40kg out wide. I have caught smaller fish up to 20kg within a few hundred meters of Edwards Island trolling along the edge of the feeding school. Don’t troll through the middle or you will put them down deeper. They are certainly a sight to see when they come up to the boat with all their beautiful colours. If you are into sashimi, they are
found in good numbers from depths of 25m or more. We also expect some big dhufish in quite shallow depths while they are spawning. Pink snapper have been more abundant inshore. Each evening they move in closer to feed, allowing for land-based or inshore boating opportunities to take advantage of their evening movements inshore, and in the morning they return to deeper waters. Laying a berley trail along the areas they are feeding or moving
Once the skippy turn up the baits can’t easily get past the frenzy, so a whole skippy on a balloon at the back of the berley will find any kings or samsonfish and a fresh fillet on a 9/0 circle hook with a small ball sinker will set a bait below the skippy school where the pink snapper are likely to be. Land-based we have plenty of options, with big fish in close and at this time of year we get some great weather, so it is time to put out some big baits. Pink snapper, samsonfish, sharks and some really good size tailor and mulloway are all within casting distance from the beach. Getting those big baits out is always a problem. If you have ever tried to cast a whole legal tailor out you know what I mean! You don’t necessarily need a huge bait to catch a big fish, but once you get that big bait out there you know if something eats it, it’s going to be a special catch to brag about!
Craig Stevens was getting amongst dart and tailor in the northern beach gutters. Whaler species have been caught from both shore and boats. Some of the whaler sharks have been a good size to make into fish and chips. If you catch a nice little one, bleed and gut it straight away and wash it down well in seawater to avoid that ammonia taste. ANZAC Day has always heralded the start of herring season, although there are always plenty around for
have been seeing plenty of big bull herring (2-year-old fish) and the way this season started it is looking to be more of the same. During the summer months it can be difficult to get a decent size sand whiting from the beaches. This time of year the bigger ones become easier to find. Have a couple of trial casts to assess the size of the fish. If they are small, be
Sharks like this tiger taking a bait intended for mackerel have been a problem at times. have been turning up at this time of year and some have even been caught land-based. When these opportunities arise, you need to be able have access to a suitable lure ready to cast quickly. The cobia travel below the larger animal and peel off when they see a feed. The cast needs to go ahead of the turtle, shark or ray, so the lure sinks down below before commencing the retrieve. You can mix it up with a few skirts moving between fishing locations. At this time of year, yellowfin tuna can
pretty good to eat. Make sure to brain spike them, bleed them and chill down the fish quickly, which means you need plenty of ice for a large fish! April is one of the less windier months of the year. Deep droppers will be looking for some of those calm days to get out to fish depths 150m or more for eight bar cod, trevalla, bass grouper and hapuka. Bass groper well in excess of 50kg have been landed recently from the local charter boat operators. Closer to shore with the warm water, baldchin are
through can make for some hectic fishing. I rate pink snapper as one of the more powerful demersal species and they don’t tend to fight dirty, so you can have a ball on relatively light gear chasing them. Skippy, samsonfish, yellowtail kingfish and snapper are all closer to shore at this time of year and quick to find a berley trail, so it is a great strategy to be using. I cast half or baby mulies into the berley to start catching skippy first. It tends to be that this little bit of action will bring on more.
Alex Franklin loves it when a snapper trip goes to plan, catching four fish to 77cm land-based and only keeping one for a feed.
Stuart Kenyon got more than he bargained for with a large lemon shark on his tailor gear. Try putting the bait on upside down so it casts head first. Use a sinker clip or cast shield so the sinker hangs of the last hook at the bait’s head so it’s balanced for a good cast. Balloons work well with offshore winds. You don’t need helium unless your chasing mackerel or other gamefish with skip baits and even then, one of those won’t say no to a well presented live bait under a party balloon. A party balloon can take a lightly-weighted whole tailor or herring to a reef edge where you can have it near samsonfish, mulloway or snapper suspended a meter or so off the bottom. Sharks have been a problem recently, taking baits intended for other species. There have been plenty of hammerheads annoying the boat fishers and guitarfish have been stretching the arms of many shore anglers.
the whole of April. We have already been catching plenty in the past few months from the beaches. A good way to hedge your bets is to downsize tailor baits to small mulies, blue sardines or whitebait for a good mixed bag of tailor and herring. The last few seasons we
prepared to move about until you start catching some bigger ones. Big open sandy beaches mostly hold small fish. Try baits in gutters, areas of surge or near reefs or seaweed. In the early mornings you also generally get a better class of fish.
The author and Kirk Dewar with some tasty fish. APRIL 2019
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The main town jetty continues to produce good squid catches, with late afternoon and evening being the best times. Squid jigs in the pinks and greens have been doing best. There have been some herring around and yellowtail around, and into April we should start to see largersized skippy showing up. Tailor are still running along the beaches, with night time producing the best results. If you plan to fish around dawn, look for the reefy patches near the shore. Remember that the berley and fishing action for the tailor can attract the attention from some mulloway. They have been around, so itâ€™s good to have a bait out.
Mitch took this squid using a green squid jig in the late afternoon down at the jetty. cod, baldchin groper, and some big dhufish, all around the 30m mark. Trolling a bit wider in 40-50m is producing yellowfin and some bluefin
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This bluefin was caught by Gordon trolling a Rapala Clackin Magnum. Fishing in the bay is expected to improve towards April, as the crayfish start moving back in. This will bring the other fish in as well, with dhufish, baldchin groper and snapper are all moving in close. The crabbing in the marina has still been going strong. Large males and the odd berried females are around. The best time seems to be later at night. Lots more activity has started up with the fishing too. There have been lots of small squid and baitfish, and this is starting to attract the predators. Herring numbers and size is improving, and the occasional good size tailor being caught. The calm evenings through April and May should provide lots of opportunities. The offshore action has been best out wider in the 30-50m range. Kane from Turquoise Safaris report that there are plenty of break sea
tuna. Tuna have been bigger out wider, but smaller tuna are working bait schools in close. Just follow the birds and you should find them. There have been an unusually high number of undersized pink snapper being caught, particular in
close. Shane from Seasport Tackle suggests doing a slow retrieve to help improve the survival chances of the fish. Take it easy on the retrieve if you have something on and there is not much weight to it. The fish will go back in the water healthier for it. Shane also suggests keeping a lure out when moving from spot to spot, or looking for new ground. Even when there are no birds or other signs of life, you can still be surprised by a tuna. They are liking the Rapala Clacking Magnum in the dorado colour. Spanish mackerel have been hard to find of late, but by April they should be in close. Trolling around the 20m mark is your best bet. The crays around the bay have been a bit patchy, with numbers going up and down all the time. Some people are getting heaps one day and then nothing the next. Trust fishing to take you from hero to zero that quick! There are still some tar spot and berried females remaining in the mix, but lots of males and clean females in the pots too. By April the breeding should have stopped and the crayfish should be moving into the bay. Spots inside the bay include Wire Reef, Favourite Island and Pumpkin Hollow.
Shane managed to troll up this Spanish mackerel out around the 40m mark using a Rapala Clackin Magnum in the green dorado colour. APRIL 2019
Pelagic season hanging on GERALDTON
Graham Maunder & Michael Triantopoulos
Land-based fishing this season started well last September, and has continued longer than usual into autumn.
Fishing has many mysteries, one of which is why some spots are better in the morning and others better in the afternoon, and sometimes the same spots produce more of one species than any other at different times of the day!
Cove, Explosives and Morning Reef can be very different and have more of a particular species from morning to evening. Tarcoola Beach and the reefs at Southgates are particularly good for tailor, herring and whiting in the
Chris Volmer with a nice Abrolhos Islands wahoo caught on a Richter Soft Oscar lure. BEACH FISHING Tailor fishing is at its best for many years and even though we have had to travel a bit to reliably catch the larger fish, the strong run of choppers has been very good in all the local spots from Greenough to Drummonds Cove.
Local spots like the rocks at Cape Burney, West Bank, Flat Rocks, and the bays at Coronation Beach, Bowes River and Port Gregory are generally good spots in the morning or evening. The reefs and beaches at Tarcoola, Southgates, Drummonds
early mornings, and while the same species are caught in lesser numbers in the evenings, the area is wellknown for regular catches of big mulloway and sharks from sunset until after dark. Explosives Beach between Point Moore and Pages Beach is a shallow
sea grass filled bay, surrounded by inshore reefs that produce excellent tailor and herring fishing most evenings, but for some unknown reason it’s far less productive in the morning. The SFT Fisherswift 90ST and Damiki DJ Minnow 85 in green, blue, purple and pink have been standout lures in the area. The southern reef at Drummonds Cove and appropriately named Morning Reef, about 4km north of Drummonds Cove, are great tailor, herring, whiting and striped sea pike spots that are much better in early mornings than the evenings, whereas the beaches in and on the northern side of Drummonds have their best results in the late afternoon through until after dark, when mulloway, sharks and larger tailor are more likely. As with most fishing local knowledge is very helpful! Blue swimmer crab catches are improving, with the local town beach, Fishermans Wharf and Batavia Marina the most accessible by car. If you have a boat, getting the nets a little further offshore along the local beaches and
A nice Spanish mackerel for Shane Morris caught aboard a local charter boat drifting a pilchard. groynes is beneficial. Squid catches have improved, and at the northern side of the Batavia
Marina (formerly known as the Handicap Platform) there has been reports of some nice squid landed.
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West Coast Late evening into dark once the light comes on is the most productive time.
some nice tailor, mulloway, herring, whiting, and Spanish Mackerel and
fishing. The water has slowly started to heat up and so have the pelagic species such as mackerel and various species of tuna. The Pensioners Bank edge has been producing mackerel, with early morning and late afternoon bite times being more successful. Trolling deep diving
snapper, estuary cod and sweetlip emperor. The lumps and ground between Coronation and Horrocks has been fishing well for species such as Spanish mackerel, dhufish, coral trout, spangled emperor, pink snapper, baldchin groper and sweetlip emperor.
has been good out from the Light House, with dhufish, coral trout, pink snapper, baldchin groper and sweetlip emperor, coming aboard, and closer around the islands there has been good numbers of baldchin. SMALL BOATS/INSHORE Squid have been about in reasonable numbers around the sea grass beds along Pages Beach to Separation Point. There has been some solid herring, skippy and whiting
It is also protected from the port and with the Francis Street boat ramp close by, you don’t have to travel far. This area fishes very well for herring, whiting, skippy, flathead, pike, tailor and occasional the pink snapper and mulloway. • Geraldton Sports Centre is the Mid West’s specialist fishing tackle store. Drop in and see the friendly professional staff for local advise and knowledge and browse the extensive range of fishing equipment
Shane Morris with a nice spangled emperor caught drifting a pilchard. Squid jigs of choice have been 3.0 sizes in olive/ red tape, orange glow and pink glow. The Lucky Bay/Wagoe area has been producing
longtail tuna have come to those ballooning. BOAT With the weather starting to improve anglers have been able to get out
John Hutchinson was able to troll up this lovely coral trout.
Local barber Pino Faugno with a healthy dhufish caught out off Geraldton.
lures has accounted for most of the fish, but the shallower water on top of Pensioners Bank have been producing some nice coral trout and the occasional dhufish. longtail and striped tuna have been balling baitfish up and causing some massive bust ups. Getting close and sneaking up to them without spooking the school then casting small stickbaits and metals into the erupting fish has been successful. The fishing northwest off the Batavia Marina 6-10nm in 30-40m has been producing a nice mixed bag off dhufish, baldchin groper, pink
Greenough River Mouth south to African Reef has been fishing well for dhufish, baldchin groper, pink snapper, coral trout and samsonfish, with the shallower water around 9-15m being more productive. The drop-off behind big African Reef has been good for Spanish mackerel. Around the Abrolhos Islands (Southern Group) the trolling around Wreck Point has been great, with lots of Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna, shark mackerel and yellowtail kingfish, but unfortunately the sharks have made landing fish a real nightmare at times. The bottom fishing
This coral trout ate Clint Hutchinson’s Nomad DTX 200 lure. around these areas as well. Early morning seems to be the most productive time for them. The area around Seal Rock is a great late afternoon and evening spot, and it’s easy fishing with the kids and family and great fun with light tackle.
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Exmouth set to fire right up this autumn EXMOUTH
The summer came late in Exmouth, with cool temperatures right up to
the last week of February and into March. It was a pleasant time with the cool nights, although there were some strong windy days that frustrated a few anglers in boats. Having
said that, there were many good weather weekends that kept locals happy. When the heat kicked in, so did the small black marlin in big numbers with many boats recording
Pete and Lachlan Norris with a solid mahimahi.
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double figures for tagged fish. The beauty about this fishing is that you don’t need a big boat, with the fish close to the back of the reef at Tantabiddi. Fishing this area is easily tackled in a small vessel with medium spin gear or tolling outfits like the Penn Slammer, Shimano Stradic, Shimano Talica or Daiwa Saltist. You can simply troll skirted lures such as the Bluewater 8” Pop or Moldcraft soft chuggers with single hooks and have success. We believe that more people catch their first billfish in Exmouth than just about any other destination in Australia, as there are many options for billfish all year round. Plus, the grounds are close to shore and fish are often abundant. If you want to use bait, you can troll garfish with pink skirts using circle hooks
and DuBro clips on spin gear. Or, if you prefer to be challenged, then running lures with no hooks, along with a swimming queenfish as bait, to switch back a bait to a raised fish is a great option. Of course, we do recommend using teaser, dredges or spreader bars to help attract fish to your spread and ensure you raise more fish. The town of Exmouth is relatively quiet through mid January to mid February, but there are heaps of anglers who come for the great fishing on offer and avoid the crowds of retirees (or whale shark operators) that start to flock in from April. If you wish to come for April, my suggestion is book well in advance. I must admit that April is my favourite month, with the weather still warm, but (hopefully) cooled slightly from the summer heat, not to mention, the days of calm weather compared to other months of the year. The fishing can be sensational out wide in autumn, with memories of warm nights and wine glasses resting on the gunnels while slow trolling and phosphorescence trailing behind. It is also a great time for camping on the beach and many locals take this opportunity through the school holidays to get into the fabulous coast we have here for
Hunter Anderson was the winner of a Valentine’s Day competition at Exmouth Tackle World. camping overlooking the water. If you were to come
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Dean Gates (4yo) with his first sailfish – he’s already got a marlin!
here for the spearfishing, then the neaps through April are usually very tempting. Luckily we get such a variety here for crews wishing to spear red emperor, green jobfish, mackerel, trout and bluebone. If you are good with a cray loop, the new season is 12 months of the year and we have five different species of rock lobster on offer in our waters. Fly fishing from the shore is another great option for anglers visiting Exmouth during autumn, with permit in the gulf and bonefish around the west side. Of course, there are plenty of small trevally that cruise the shoreline and the large queenfish that patrol the shallows in numbers in search of bait. The other great area to see a variety of fish is within the Exmouth marina. This area can have loads of bait and predatory fish such as mangrove jack, trevally, queenfish, cod and the odd shark. • For more up to the minute information on what is biting and where, drop into Bluewater Tackle World Exmouth and have a chat to the friendly and informative staff. They are located at 3 Maley St Exmouth and can be contacted at (08) 9949 1315.
No better time to hit these fish-rich waters SHARK BAY
This is the best month to be in Shark Bay as far as I am concerned, with warm water from the previous summer heat, calm seas from the light winds that are now more common,
April, and Easter sees the tourist numbers swell in the area. Most choose to tow up a mixture of trailer boats from small tinnies through to the larger oversized craft that can reach further out, so be prepared to cue up at the ramps some mornings. Getting accommodation can be nearly impossible if
trip well in advance. If you are one of the lucky ones who have booked, then like me you are probably finding it hard to sleep knowing how good the fishing can be! Most visiting anglers will still target the pink and black snapper out in the channels, and by anchoring up and using a good berley
The shallows around Denham are full of big yellowfin whiting, and these fish were taken casting small lures. and plenty of fish species still about in good numbers to be caught. Boat anglers will flock to this part of the world during
you haven’t booked well in advance for this time of year, so don’t just rock up and expect to find somewhere, be prepared and organise your
trail you will usually be rewarded with some quality fish on lightly-weighted baits. Whiting heads are a local favourite, and you
can spend some enjoyable hours catching a feed of big yellowfin whiting knowing that the heads will be great snapper bait! Other species will also show up when chasing the snapper with mulloway, cod and sharks all on offer to keep you entertained once the berley starts working. Heading further out towards more remote spots like Dirk Hartog Island will open up the chance to add more variety to your catch. Just remember your bag limits and don’t get greedy, as the Fisheries are on full alert in Shark Bay at this time of year. On the Monkey Mia side of the Peron Peninsula, you will also experience some great boat fishing at this time of year, with pink snapper and mulloway being the prime targets. Keep an eye out for any big tiger sharks or dugongs cruising past, and be ready to cast a lure at any cobia swimming with them. The world record for cobia, which still stands from several decades ago, was caught in Monkey Mia, and big specimens are still very common. Don’t forget to bring a few crab nets as well, as
Ideal boating conditions mean that anglers will be catching some decent fish in Shark Bay like this pink snapper. good numbers of blue swimmer crabs are still about to be caught. Not as many recreational holiday anglers target the crabs in Shark Bay, as they are mostly interested in spending their time chasing fish, but if you want a relaxing few hours catching a great feed then throw in a few drop nets and give it a go, it’s very rewarding. Shore-based anglers will also be taking advantage of the lighter winds out on the western cliffs from Steep Point and spots further south. Spinning from the high rocks early in the mornings should still produce some
decent pelagic action, with Spanish mackerel, various tuna species and cobia all showing up. Bait fishing at the base of the cliffs is also a good way to get into quality species like pink snapper, spangled emperor, cod and trevally. The shallow and protected bays are enjoying warm water still and as a result, good catches of flathead, yellowfin whiting and yellowfin bream can be made in only knee deep water. In all the area is at its best, so do yourself a favour and spend a week or so there to see what I mean!
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331 Great Eastern Highway, Midvale WA ph 08 9250 3339 fax 08 9250 8339 www.aquasportsmarine.com.au APRIL 2019
Are you ‘thready’ to go fishing this month BROOME
This time last year the Roebuck Plains were only halfway through emptying their record
barra have been around in cracking numbers. With last year’s big wet and a couple of good seasons of rain before it, local anglers are enjoying the fruits of the weather’s labour. Barramundi depend
region are fantastic with consistent fish over 80cm being caught and many anglers this year snagging that prized metrey. Local angler, Josh Meeuwissen recently caught two threadfin
long before his rod loaded up and after a short fight he landed his first Willie Creek threadfin. Then, on only his third cast of the day Josh hooked-up to another solid threadie. This just highlights how good the threadfin fishing in the Broome region is at the moment. Also, changing things up a bit in regards to tackle and tide are well worth exploring when targeting these fish. On that note, one cannot go past the best year I have ever known for the threadfin salmon. Roebuck Bay, as well as all of the creeks right up the Dampier Peninsula, have been on fire the last few weeks with what can only be described as buckets loads of monster threadies. For anyone who has never caught or even pursued a threadfin, now is certainly the time to add
one. Boat anglers trolling lures in the northeast of the bay, mostly around the fingers and Crab Creek, have been enjoying good catches of thready and barra. Meanwhile, the landbased anglers using mullet (both live and strip) as well as prawns have had the most success. Fish the incoming tides amongst the dirty water for best results but also target spots where the tide is channelling into gutters on the outgoing tide, as this is where the predatory fish will be waiting to ambush the live bait being flushed out of the creek systems. For the holidaymakers without a boat heading up in April the local fishing charters will all be kicking off for reef fishing now that the water temperature is cooling and the demersal species begin to move
2-3nm out and then move in fast to the predetermined distance and angle out from my marked spot then drift over it. I only ever drift back over a spot if there are no signs of sharks on that day. After no more than three drifts I move on to my next spot at least 1nm away. This method of keeping ahead of the sharks has served me very well in recent times. Especially considering fellow anglers in this region have stated how hard it has been to escape the sharks of late, whereas I have not seen a shark for months of fishing at a time. If you find yourself offshore from April it is worth putting in some of the time trolling for mackerel and sailfish that will be starting to make their presence known. At this end of the season the
Broome is enjoying the fruits of the previous year’s great wet seasons with many barramundi of good size being caught in Roebuck Bay and the surrounding creeks, like this beautiful specimen Liam Dimascia landed recently. floodwaters into Roebuck Bay, and with it the many barra that had enjoyed venturing out to new pastures where the cattle normally roam. It was an epic wet season with videos of barra being caught on the highway going viral on social media and the news. Although the big wet this year has been nowhere near the records of last year, the
on big wets to assist with their breeding cycle by laying eggs far up the creeks and out on the plains. This creates an environment for the hatchlings to have a far greater chance of survival. Those good few years of wet seasons are showing their produce with the endless stream of barra photos popping up every day. The size of barra around the Broome
salmon in Willie Creek just north of the Broome Township while land-based fishing on the fall of tide just before the low. Armed with a Shimano Stradic 4000XG with 30lb Daiwa J Braid, matched with 40lb Sunline FC leader rigged using the smallest vibe in his tackle box and casting it just over the bait school that was being pursued in the shallows. It wasn’t too
Josh Meeuwissen found fishing a falling tide was the best way to guarantee success on these fish, and they are around in numbers this month.
Fishing the majestic banks of Willie Creek, a short drive north of Broome, local angler Josh Meeuwissen found fishing schools of baitfish the key to hooking onto the prized threadfin salmon. 36
this species to your catch list. Many local anglers are currently catching fish that are exceeding their PB, with other anglers catching their first ever threadie after many attempts in previous years. Threadfin fight hard, especially the larger fish and they are renowned for their bull runs upon hook-up. The beautiful thing about targeting threadfin in Broome is the by-catch, which can be anything from barra through to northern jewfish, trevally and queenfish. In other words, a day fishing for threadfin is very often a rewarding
closer to shore. The pesky small sharks are less active in the cooler waters, which is always a plus at this time of year when targeting demersals. A key to finding good fish and less sharks in the Broome region is to find less commonly fished ground. This may not always mean you have to travel far, but being strategic in searching for ground can produce good fish. Sharks will follow your engine noise. I like to ensure I am rigged and ready to drop before moving into an area, have checked my drift direction
Spaniards are generally smaller in length and therefore prefer to attack smaller lures. Lures around the 120-140mm will work well, with the larger lures around the 200mm mark proving the go to size from June onwards. There are plenty of options on offer to make the season change from wet (if you can call it that this year) to dry one of the best times of year to fish Broome. From the creeks and bay through to the many lumps and reef areas offshore, you are bound to come home with plenty of memorable photos.
Variety puts Karratha on the fishing tourists’ map DAMPIER/KARRATHA
I have been lucky enough to fish all over Australia with only the icy waters of Tasmania remaining on my bucket list. Over the years I generally chose a fish I wanted to target and then travelled to the region best known for that species. On other occasions the trip would be more about a holiday with a few days of fishing in. Both were met with either great success or a very expensive way to go on a boat cruise.
away from such locations, which all offer sensational fishing and sites to see, the Pilbara region of Karratha, Dampier and through to Point Samson is surrounded by an abundance of bays, creeks and islands. Not to mention the short drive to the renowned Karajini National Park – Karratha is a destination not to be over looked when choosing your next fishing trip. Throughout February and March the array of fish that was caught was nothing short of an anglers dream. Whether it is trolling for the big boys such as sailfish or
Little Sherlock River feeds into, while flicking a lure around on light tackle. The bay had all but drained on the 0.8m tide except for a slight trickle of water coming from the trench that follows the southern side mangroves near the boat ramp. Upon arrival at 6am and jumping out of the 4wd I was immediately met with sound of predators busting up on bait fish that were being pushed out of the channel into the deeper water. I couldn’t start casting quick enough. Fishing my Shimano Zodias 7’3” matched with a 3000-sized Stradic and
The flats around the islands in the Archipelago are the perfect spots for targeting bruising GTs on poppers. Angler Dylan Munn has been having great success in trying to tame these beasts.
Marni Alexander turns a couple of cooked mud crab legs into another delicacy after going toe to toe with a solid bluebone from the rocks up the Burrup Peninsula. It is not often you hear people talk about taking a holiday to Karratha. If someone does speak about one it is generally driven by the fact they have family or friends living here and it is mainly for a visit. Many anglers make the annual mates pilgrimage north to escape the colder climate of the south from April to September each year to iconic fishing locations such as Exmouth, Steep Point, Kalbarri and Quobba. Without taking anything
marlin, reef fishing for red emperor, rankin cod or coral trout, popping and fly fishing the flats for GTs or chasing the crown of becoming a metre club barra member – this region has it all. Without ruling out some of the most pristine islands that the drone photographers simply can’t get enough of. A couple of weeks ago I thought I would spend a morning following down a spring tide low in the bay at the northern end of the Cleaverville Campsite that
loaded with 20lb Shimano Kairiki 8 braid in mantis green colour, I knew I was set for everything this bay could throw at me, or so I thought! Not knowing where to start in terms of lure I chose my trusty Jackall Squirrel 61SP in brown Suji shrimp colour. In a previous life, these were my go to lure for fishing the flats in the Swan River in Perth when summer was all about chasing flathead. I knew there were flathead around this area and conditions were
The Karratha region has an array of creek systems holding good fish such as these jacks caught by Dylan Munn.
perfect for targeting them on this day so I was keen to see what this little lure could produce here at Cleaverville, especially with fish attacking anything that moved right in front of me. What a morning it was. Being there for catch and release only I was met with a mixed bag of fish species that would have to be my best that I can remember, adding to the fact in only 2 hours of fishing. Everything from whiting, flathead, shovelnose shark, queenfish, small barra, mangrove jack, trevally, cod and even a solid little bluebone, which decided to have a crack. All of these were caught on the same lure. To be honest, I don’t think it would have mattered too much what lure I was using, as long as it was passing through the baitfish it was going to be attacked. In the end, with the sun heading high on a 40º+ day, I was just about to call it even though fish were still coming in when something rather large decided my lure’s time was up. Right on hookup my line peeled and no attempt to slow it down was working. After losing a hefty 100m of line it was time get serious by putting the hurt on. After a nice silver flash from a small leap in the distance that was the last time I will ever be able to use my old faithful lure again. My take from that morning was just how good this fishery is. Over 30 fish in under 2 hours, that’s at least one prized target species in less than every 4 minutes and all on the same lure. I even picked up a couple of very nice size octopus by hand to take home and enjoy marinated. After fishing endless coastline around Australia I firmly
believe with both the beauty of this part of the world and the fishing it has to offer, Karratha is up there with the absolute best of them. For the coming month of April, the waters offshore are cooling and with it the large pelagics such as mackerel and sailfish will be building in numbers. There have been some fantastic Spanish mackerel caught through February and March from the Dampier Archipelago right up past Point Samson. We will be targeting these through April as a group old school mates are heading up for a fishing trip and are keen to get in on the trolling action. The reefs and bombies out wide from the islands
rewarded. On the larger tides the weight and streamline design of the metal jigs really help to get down on the bottom. Whereas soft plastic jigs tend to create more resistance in the water resulting in a situation where larger jig heads need to be used, which reduces both feel and action. As a general rule I will use soft plastics on the neap tides and metal jigs on the spring tides but that is not to say as the tide is turning on either tide, both can be just as successful. No irukandji have been reported in the area this wet season, but stings did occur in April last year so you still need to be vigilant when retrieving fishing line
Cobia can turn up anywhere, from the deep waters while jigging, to casting lures over shallow reefs around the islands. have been producing well with good examples of red emperor, coral trout and cobia all being landed for those fishing the 30m+ zones. Metal jigs seem to be the most popular around town and anglers using these on the reefs are being well
as well as swimming and diving. The strong winds are not to be seen with only the odd few hours a week above 15 knots, so now is the time to head out in search of the prized demersals and enjoy less travel time to and from the fishing grounds.
Fresh options to brighten up your fishing FRESHWATER
After a mild summer, things are looking great for the start of autumn and what seems a better time to target trout. Redfin also start to school up, making it an exciting time for freshwater anglers. Most of the dams
of around 120 brown trout that were two years old at around 40cm long. These fish were a surplus to what was required for their breeding program at the hatchery, so they were put up for public stocking. Long thought was given to the final destination of these rare fish and our stocking committee in conjunction with the staff at Pemberton
drop resulted in a number of these browns being stranded in the shallow pools to the rear of the dam. A few anglers fishing at the time frantically netted some of these fish and moved them to the main dam, but unfortunately some remained and died in the following days. After this was posted on social media the blame
This water has recently received some negative publicity on overcrowding and antisocial behaviour, with a local paper writing a long column on some
on a sounder, if you are fortunate enough to have one, but if you are limited to bank fishing then keep moving around until you find where they are sitting,
the Sticks adjacent to the Cattleyards. Other areas worth a go are around the vast array on drowned trees to the back of the dam towards
Irrigation water being let out of storage dams provides a perfect environment for trout when it’s warmer. Murray cod are becoming more common in WA. This one put up an excellent fight on light gear. are well up on last year, and while the rivers are low, they’re no lower than what is to be expected at this time of year. The big story that flooded social media
Hatchery decided the local dam would be the most suitable location for a late spring stocking. Things were going well, with a number of these browns being caught
Having a good sounder is a must if you want to succeed in our larger dams. recently was the unfortunate situation that took place at Big Brook Dam in Pemberton over summer. For those who aren’t aware, this water received a historic stocking
through the Christmas period until we were notified that the dam was to be drained for maintenance to the area around the wall in January by Watercorp. The sudden water level
game started and some anger was directed at Recfishwest and even our state Fisheries Department didn’t escape the criticism for not having a protocol in place to avoid this happening. This will change in the future, with Watercorp willing to work with other departments so we can make better decisions in the future. I personally know staff at Recfishwest and have known the people at the Hatchery since the ‘80s and can say that they are very concerned this had occurred. We need to move on and work with our governing body to improve freshwater fishing in this state both now and in the future. DAMS Waroona Dam Some fantastic redfin fishing took place over the last few months and hopefully the trout activity will pick up in April.
Trolling can be one of the most productive techniques, allowing anglers to cover lots of water. Finding the right lure is crucial to success. 38
unpleasant situations. I have reported in the past that if you want to fish here over the warmer months then try to avoid the weekends and most definitely the holiday periods, as the boat activity makes it unpleasant (and in some situations dangerous) to be on the water. It was reported that up to 5000 people visited the dam on a long weekend recently, with very little policing taking place. The March round of the Redfin Kayak series was unfortunately cancelled due to it not reaching the minimum 20 entries require. Was this the case of being very hot in March or the huge crowds they get there on most weekends? Still, this dam can be a nice water to fish in the cooler period with some nice catches being had by those in kayaks and boats fishing the deeper water. Drakesbrook Weir A recent report of a very large brown trout head found on the bank by an angler suggests that at least some have survived through the summer period. This has caused a number of anglers wanting fisheries to list brown trout as a catch and release species here in WA, as they have proved to be more tolerant than rainbows in our harsh conditions, and the fact that they are known to prey on small redfin, making this argument even stronger. I feel that it would benefit our fishery and will bring this matter up at the next FFRG meeting at Recfishwest. Redfin catches have been consistent over the warmer months and it will be interesting to see if the larger models turn up with the cooler weather in April. Look for the schools
which is usually in the deeper water. Logue Brook Dam There’s been no reports, but there are always trout to be caught in the cooler months Harvey Dam Reports of a few trout being caught in March has given hope to the fact
the Harvey River causeway. Flicking soft plastics in around the timber has been productive, but it’s a sure fire way to lose a few to the timber. Wellington Dam Inconsistent catches have been reported recently, with some anglers catching nice bags while others are
Simon Holland with a nice brown prior to the drama at Big Brook Dam. He is a hero in the eyes of many freshwater fishers for rescuing a number of browns. that they have survived a somewhat cooler summer again this year. I have not fished this water since November, but those who have are finding some nice redfin in both the main basin around Quarry Bay and the area known as
coming away wondering if any fish reside in this water. As I have reported previously, the secret is to move around until you find the redfin, as they can be elusive at times. Trolling is the most productive method, with
deep-diving lures capable of achieving depths of 8m being preferred. Big redfin lurk in this dam,
have been put in place to stop the unfortunate situation that occurred in January happening
Another hero Callum Madden helped move stranded browns to the main basin. It’s the dedicated anglers like Callum that report incidents to our authorities. but numbers are lower than other waters for some reason. Glen Mervyn Dam This small water can turn up some nice redfin at times, but most are only 30cm in length, offering limited sport but suburb
again in the future. Some great brown trout fishing occurred up to January when this dam was drained for wall maintenance, so the cooler weather approaching will see just how many trout survived the extremely low water over summer.
RIVERS Serpentine River There have been no reports of late, but it’s worth a visit in the cooler months ahead. Murray River Only redfin have been caught by those that brave the crowds on the weekends. Try heading away from the well-populated areas casting soft plastics in the long still pools looking for the overhanging banks and fallen timber that abound in this river. There have been reports of large redfin being caught in the vicinity of Boddington, so an exploratory trip would be on the cards if you have the time. Collie River Below The Dam Some nice rainbows have been caught by those flyfishing the fast water, although they are being tight-lipped about location and method. A nice size brown was allegedly caught and released in March, but I have not been able to confirm this report. If you do happen to fish this stretch, the secret is to get your lure or fly down deep in the fast water and keep moving locations until you have success. A word of warning is to be careful of the slippery rocks on this water, especially when they lower the water in late April. Collie River around the townsite of Collie This section always fishes well from the little weir downstream right
There is a strong push to get bass stocked into some of our impoundments, but it’s being blocked by a few individuals that consider them as a feral species. and soft plastics. Anything with red seems to excite fish into striking in this river, so be prepared. Blackwood River There have been no reports of trout this year, although the ones that I have seen have been of a
The few rainbows that have been landed suggest that they had done well over summer and plenty food has been available. Lefroy Brook Good reports of trout have come from down near the mouth by those willing
unlikely places. We are still waiting on the official decision by our authorities on whether they are going ahead with a trial stocking into one of our dams. It seems the excuse of ‘no funding’ is used even though freshwater anglers
Waroona Dam can be peaceful at times, but holiday periods are hectic, with antisocial behaviour common.
Hayden Beerkens with a superb 51cm redfin from Harvey Dam. Fish of this calibre are sought after by many keen anglers in WA. eating. Soft plastics seem to be the most popular method at the moment, but any hardbodies work in this dam Big Brook Dam There’s not much to report, other than measures
As with any other water, the unofficial recommendation is to release any brown trout caught, as they are harder to produce at the hatchery and show a higher tolerance to our conditions here in WA.
up to the junction of the two rivers and even above this point. Redfin are the only option and some nice specimens have been caught through the entire length on lures, spinners
decent size. The Nannup area seems to be the best area, but after the recent fires down that way things could change. Warren River Unfortunately this river is extremely low, making the trout very wary and reluctant to come into the open. Lots of the feeder streams have dried up and the blame has been laid on the huge avocado plantations in the area requiring a large amount of water. I’m not sure if this is the case, but my last visit to the area revealed a number of very large dams on spring fed creeks that weren’t there a few years ago. Low rainfall is another reason this once mighty river now stops flowing so early and in some cases by Christmas.
to put the legwork in. Other areas are the Cascades, Thompson Flat and between the Hatchery and town Weir all worth a look. Donnelly River April is the time to put in at Boat Landing and fish your way both upstream and down as far as you are comfortable with. AUSSIE NATIVES Not as much action has been reported as previous months on the natives, but some trophy size fish are still showing up in the most
contribute vast amounts of money, with approximately 11,000 licences issued every year! Plus the fact that other money is allocated for projects and stocking has caused a number of people to become inpatient with our system here in the west. I’m hoping this long time dream will become a reality for a number of dedicated and passionate people who have worked hard to make this happen both in the past and the present.
DAM LEVELS Waroona Dam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71% Drakes Brook Weir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80% Logue Brook Dam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64% Harvey Dam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49% Glen Mervyn Dam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59% Wellington Dam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57% APRIL 2019
/ W I T H PA U L L E N N O N
Prepare well with quality hooks When it comes to fishing regardless what of your target species is it’s often the little things that add up to make huge differences in success. Hook choice is certainly one element that if overlooked, it can be detrimental to a successful day fishing. QUALITY HOOKS There are many different things that need to be thought about when determining what size and
hooks that have never let me down are black magic as they are all made in Japan and have a hook to suit every purpose. Suicide hooks (also known as octopus hooks) are one of the most popular styles of hooks for a range of species. Starting from smaller sizes in #10-#8s for luderick to 1- 2/0s for bream, 3/0-6/0 for snapper then 7/0-10/0 for mulloway. Larger sizes are also the go to choice when it comes to
snapper and hooking fish through super tough top jaw molars, which is an area where I’ve seen other hooks tips fold over on numerous occasions. LIVE BAIT HOOKS Live bait hooks are ‘J-style’ hooks and are generally heavy duty with a short straight shank. They are particularly popular in sizes 6/0-8/0 when for live baiting for pelagic species such as tuna, kingfish and cobia – using baits such as slimy mackerel, yellow tail or bonito. When fishing this way, live baits are pinned lightly behind the shoulders, meaning there is plenty of hook being exposed so no need to go overboard on hook size. Another benefit of these hooks is you can seriously lock up on fish trying to bury you into structure without the fear
fish in the corner of the jaw, eliminating the result of a gut hooked fish. The best hook sizes for billfish are 6/0-7/0, whereas 8/0 is better suited for the fish inshore and anything above 8/0 to be fished wider. Slow trolling bridle-rigged live and skipbaits or dropping them down into bait schools with a sinker attached to an elastic band is the preferred rig when fishing this way. If you’re fishing tournaments remember your circles need to be non-offset to be legal. Black magic KLT range are the ultimate tournament hook for this kind of work. These hooks (especially the 7 and 8/0s) are also starting to gain a cult following for anglers who are livebaiting for mulloway – fishing straight up and down in deep water from boats. Black magic also does
Bait holder style hooks are great for bread and butter species, making it perfect for the kids. pattern of hook to use. Things that need to be considered are the target species and type of bait you’re throwing. Knowing what to choose will greatly improve your hook up rate, resulting in catching more fish. Before we get into the nitty gritty, first and foremost I recommend the use of quality hooks to be vital. I can’t believe how many anglers have all the best gear, lines and leaders but then put less thought into quality hooks that cost a couple of bucks a packet extra. This blows me away as the hooks are your last first and last link to that potential fish of a lifetime. It’s crazy to risk missing the hook up or losing the fish through a cheap hook straighten or bend. By far my favourite
snelling two hooks together for kingfish or mulloway when using livebaits and squid. They are a perfect hook for cut and stripbaits, and take the shape of a prawn nicely. Hook size depends on bait size and you need to find the sweet spot as too much hook exposure will turn fish off and to little hook exposure will severely impact your hook up rate. A good rule is to make sure you always have the point of the hook to past the barb out of the bait. Black magic C point are by far the cream of the crop when it comes this hook pattern. They are super strong and have a three-point cutting edge that provides maximum penetration during the hook set. The difference is particularly evident when fishing for bream and
Black Magic C Point hooks are perfect for snelling squid for mulloway, kingfish and snapper. 40
Bait presentation is important for best hook-up rates. of the hook straightening. This is particularly useful for big kings and also why the smaller sizes in these hooks are popular for coastal brutes like drummer and grouper. Size 1/0 hooks suit a large peeled prawn or conjevoi for drummer, whereas the 3/0-4/0 sizes are ideal for a crab when fishing for grouper. For the smaller sizes I use the black magic KS range and larger sizes above 6/0 for live baiting I use the black magic DX hooks. CIRCLES While circle hooks can be used for a range of fishing situations, they really come into their own when livebaiting for billfish or bottom fishing. The use of circle hooks has revolutionised gamefishing over the last 20 years, where they haven’t just improved the hook up conversion rates but also drastically aiding in catch and release survival. This is due to the hooks almost always hooking the
the KL series which are based on the same pattern but go down to much smaller sizes – making them perfect for bottom fishing species such as snapper, flathead, nannygai, pearl perch and
Black Magic KLT hooks are lethal on deep water mulloway. trag. Circle hooks also need to be fished differently to normal hooks, as the point needs time to find its mark and roll into the corner of the jaw. If you strike a fish and you’re using circles, you will almost certainly miss that fish. When bottom fishing, a slow vertical lift up on the rod until you feel weight is all you need to do to set the hooks or you can leave it in the rod holder and let the fish hook themself. When live baiting, it’s best to fish the reel in free spool and when you get a hit be sure to point the rod at the fish and gradually increase drag pressure, then slowly lift the rod tip once you feel the fish’s weight. LONGSHANK/ BAITHOLDERS These style of hooks are great for bread and butter species such as bream, whiting and flathead, fishing from the beach and local
estuaries. The most popular sizes for this type of hook are from size #6 through to #2, which are perfect for delicate slender baits such as small peeled prawns, live nippers or worms. These should be carefully threaded up the inside of the bait before coming out and leaving the barb and hook point exposed. The longer shank allows you to perfectly present these sorts of baits with the tiny small barbs on the back of the hook shank helping it hold it in place. This really helps the bait hang on the hook and not be flung off during the cast – a common problem with those delicate baits. They are perhaps the best hook to use for taking the kids fishing as they tend to catch smaller fish as well as hanging in there if a big flattie or bream comes along!
Choosing the right hook for the job is critical for success.
FUN PAGE AND COMPETITIONS WHITING DORY SNAPPER PIGFISH MAHIMAHI FLATHEAD SALMON MACKEREL LUDERICK CUTTLEFISH
BEST EATING FISH IN TIME FOR EASTER
DTD - REAL FISH OITA
BOARFISH TILAPIA TROUT FLOUNDER COD KINGFISH AMBERJACK TUNA WAHOO GROUPER
The first correct entry at the end of each month will win the prize pack. SEND ENTRIES TO: WA Find-a-word Competition, PO box 3172, Loganholme Qld 4129
WA APRIL 2019
FINS SCALES & TALES by A. Both
The ‘Real Fish Oita’ is an incredible, award winning squid jig manufactured in Europe by leading Croatian company - DTD. Taking out the coveted ‘best new product’ in its class at the EFTTEX 2015 Expo in Warsaw, this wonderful range is now available in Australia through Dogtooth Distribution. The product imitates real fish species. This coupled with DTD’s use of only the highest grade materials available, ensures great balance and results in superior catching ability. With the unique ‘fish parasite’ feature, aimed at luring predators in for an ‘easy kill’, these truly unique jigs are set to explode into the Australian market. FEATURES - Double weight system with inner weight designed to produce sound while squid jig is in action. COLOURS - 7 different designs representing popular fish species. ADDITIONAL - Luminous body, fish parasite, great balance, sound effect, quality stainless steel hooks SIZES - 5 Sizes available www.dogtoothdistribution.com.au
GEORGE & NEV by Michael Hardy
Congratulations to, Chris Carey who was last month’s winner of the Find-aWord Competition! Monthly winners receive a Fishing Monthly prize pack. Prize delivery can take 8 weeks. – WAFM
The subscriber prize winners for February are P and S Hutton of Kununurra, B Bizjak of Boddington and M Cruishank of Yokine, who each won a Salt-Away kit valued at $99.90. All subscribers are entered in the monthly subscriber prize draws. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – WAFM
for February were: A Johansen of Collie, N Metcalfe of Falcon, G Uren of Ballajura, N Evans of Allanson, B Jacobs of Safety Beach, J Ainslie of Warnbro, R Taylor of Rockingham, L Gibbs of Boulder, J Maiolo of South Yunderup, R Coddington of Hillarys, G Shute of Claremont, P Baskerville of Broome, J Waddingham of Exmouth, C
Carey of Bentley, L Rojahn of Banyo, S Ellis of Attadale, D Elkerbout of Dunsborough, M Carroll of Kingsley, A Hogan of Parmelia, K Lockwood of Rockingham, J Bremmell of Brunswick, C Morgan of Brentwood, L Nagy of Mullaloo, N Martin of Winthrop, and J Addenbrooke of Maddington. Prize delivery takes up to 8 weeks. – WAFM
LAST MONTH’S ANSWERS
© A Cordelia Adams original artwork. Instagram: clausdoesart
GUESS THE FISH?
FIND THE GAMAKATSU LOGO
The Find the Gamakatsu Logo prize winners
This month’s Guess the Fish Answer: Spanish Mackerel
The answers to Find the Gamakatsu Logo for February were: 9, 12, 15, 19, 22, 28, 31, 65, 67, 70, 73, 83, 85, 89, 95. – WAFM
Answer: APRIL 2019
WHAT’S NEW FISHING NEW NEDLOCKZ COLOURS
With the growing popularity of the Ned Rig in Australia, the TT Lures NedlockZ, ‘mushroom’ style stand-up jighead is now available in two new colours, chartreuse and orange. Originally available in black and green pumpkin colours, anglers were looking for a couple of strike trigger colours. Chartreuse and orange are popular highlight colours on hardbodies and blades, and are the perfect fit for pairing up with plastics to attract fish and trigger strikes. The orange head is particularly good for teaming up with natural coloured plastics. The team from TT’s say that the NedlockZ combine perfectly with the buoyancy of ZMan ElaZtech plastics to create a presentation that is either fleeing when retrieved or standing up vertically in a feeding or defensive pose when paused, much like a crab, yabby or prawn. NedlockZ are available in four weights: 1/15oz 2H, 1/10oz 1H, 1/6oz 1H and 1/5oz 1H. Price: SRP $9.95 (5-pack) www.ttlures.com.au
SHIMANO REVOLUTION TRAVEL 2 Shimano have refined the travel rod concept even further, with this excellent seven rod Revolution Travel series that are perfect for the highly mobile angler. Travel rods aren’t necessarily just for jet setters though. In the car, on public transport – even people who don’t know have a lot of storage space at home shouldn’t miss out on using quality fishing tackle. Like the standard Revolution series, the Revolution Travel line-up now feature soft touch reel seats for greater comfort in the hand, full and split custom shaped EVA grips where applicable, and Fuji O Ring Guides, where the insert is protected by the frame from knocks and scrapes. Most importantly in a travel rod though, the ferruling system is pretty well undetectable, and in no way diminishes the feel and performance characteristics of these great baitcast and spin rods. They all break down in to three pieces, with the 904 Spin into four. www.shimanofish.com.au
DAIWA EMERALDAS LT
Light as air and strong as steel, the famous Emeraldas name receives the LT treatment with the release of the new Emeraldas Air LT spin reel. Gifted with Daiwa’s latest design innovations, and featuring the famous Emeraldas styling the new Emeraldas Air LT is the ultimate combination of technology, looks and performance. Daiwa’s new LT Concept heralds a new age of lightness and toughness, and the new reel also benefits from Daiwa’s famous Real Four design. The Emeraldas’ Tough Digigear heralds a revolution in gear design, with its high-precision cutting technique achieving perfect gear meshing and ultra smooth performance. MagSeal protects from the elements, while Air Rotor, ATD, LT’s new Longcast ABS spool, Perfect Line Stopper, and Air Bail combine for unrivalled performance, power and precision. Loaded with Daiwa’s latest design innovations and the legendary Emeraldas swagger, the new Emeraldas Air LT is the perfect combination of style, technology, and performance. www.daiwafishing.com.au 42
Bassday’s expertise in the surface lure market is second to none, with the Sugapen one of the deadliest surface lures available. Bassday’s newest creation, the Backfire, was originally designed for black porgy (sea bream) in Japan, but it has proven itself in our local conditions already. And like the Sugapen, this new lure is set to be a runaway hit. The Backfire is 65mm long and through wired, making it strong and dependable. It weighs 7.5g and casts exceptionally well for a small lure. The large cupped face is capable of both dramatic pops, and subtle, rippleinducing pops, when using a slow and light touch. The slim profile produces little wind resistance. The action is that of a classic popper and will be excellent for bass, bream and other surface feeders. It works best with a ‘pop, pop, pause’ technique. The new model comes in eight colours, and all but one have been designed exclusively for Australia. For more information visit the Bassday website or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BassdayAus. www.bassday.com.au
Brisbane inventor Creig Adams has set out to change the way Australians go fishing with his new AnySink. The AnySink lets you change sinkers easily and quickly with out having to cut and retie your line. The invention also allows anglers to change from using toxic lead sinkers to anything that sinks – hence the name ‘AnySink’. “As I entered my 40s and my vision started to deteriorate, I found that cutting and re-rigging was becoming more and more difficult,” Mr Adams said. “I set out to find a better system.” After experimenting with different designs, Mr Adams settled on a spherical plastic design that splits in half and allows the angler to place a weight inside it. “This weight can be a lead sinker, a pebble, nut, bolt or even berley,” Mr Adams explained. “Once you are ready to drop down your AnySink, you can also crush berley into the grated casing of the device, where it will slowly break off and attract fish.” Price: SRP $10 (pack of 10) www.anysink.com.au
RHINO-RACK GRAB HANDLE
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Rhino-Rack’s Pioneer range continues to grow, and the latest release is the Pioneer Grab Handle. It has been designed to aid in loading, unloading and securing your gear onto all Rhino-Rack Pioneer systems. We’ve all been there – you’re shifting item upon item up onto roof racks, tying your load for the trip and being left with nothing to hold onto while you make your descent. The new Pioneer Grab Handle solves this problem. Its large and sturdy form allows for a sturdy grip when used as a handle, and provides a strong anchor point when securing gear. Made from diecast aluminium that is powder coated to prevent rust and corrosion, the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Grab Handle has a 120kg load capacity, and installation is quick and easy. For more information on this and other products in the Pioneer range, visit the RhinoRack website. Price: SRP: $59 (2 pack) www.rhinorack.com.au
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ECOODA BLACK HAWK ROD V2
WHAT’S NEW FISHING
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The Ecooda Black Hawk V2 puts Ecooda in the middle of the battlefield. The fast matt black blanks are ideal for lure casting off the banks or in the boat. With striking red aluminium anodized details, the cosmetics are appealing to a variety of anglers. The ultra-hard EVA grips and custom locking rings are comfortable in the hand, while stainless steel framed guides are light enough for blank reaction and smooth enough to let your line cast effortlessly through the insert. Whether you’re targeting bream or flathead with vibes or reef species with a plastics, there’s a Black Hawk II that’s perfect for the job. It’s available in five spin models (6’10 light, 7’0 Medium Light, 6’4 Medium, 7’0 Heavy and Extra Heavy) as well as two baitcast models (6’0 Medium Heavy and Heavy). Visit the new Ecooda website for more information and stockists, or check them out on Instagram and Facebook. www.ecooda.com.au
Back by popular demand is the world’s most famous trout spinning lure, the Rublex Celta. The Celta has been retooled, and is now stronger than ever before. Of course, it still offers the legendary fish-attracting butterfly spinning action that has enticed thousands of rainbow and brown trout captures worldwide. The Celta has an inbuilt, anti-line twist system that rotates on the main shaft to prevent your line from twisting while fishing. Armed with VMC trebles, Celtas come in 10 natural fish-catching colours and three sizes, incorporating 2g, 3.5g and 5g weight variations. For more information visit the Rapala Australia website, or check them out at your local tackle store today. www.rapala.com.au
SILVER CREEK LT
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Trout fishing perfection has arrived with the release of the new Silver Creek LT spin reel. Loaded with style and gifted with many of Daiwa’s most advanced technologies, the newest addition to the famous Silver Creek family features LT design, making it feather light and ultra strong. A Zaion body houses Daiwa’s high performance, ultra-strong Digigear II gear system, while Magseal provides unrivalled protection, ensuring ultimate durability and optimum performance. The Silver Creek’s Air Rotor enhances reel balance, strength and support courtesy of the highly sensitive, ultra-light, precision engineered Zaion rotor, while a lightweight aluminium spool, ABS, Air Bail and Twist Buster technologies combine for ultimate spool performance and line control. Other features include ATD drag, washable design, and a machined ‘screw in’ aluminium handle. www.daiwafishing.com.au
BONE FOCUS 130
The Bone Focus 130 is a multi-towpoint glide bait that is an ideal size for many fish throughout Australia. Featuring 4+1 towing eyelets, each with its own unique swimming action, this lure is truly revolutionary. The ability for anglers to choose the desired swim depth when fishing in different terrains is the focus of this lure. The first eyelet serves to create a swimbait with a seductive wide wobble and roll action, mimicking a lifelike swimming action. Attaching your line to the second or third eyelets gives the lure greater diving capability. A vibration mode can be imparted when the line is attached to the fourth eyelet, as it swims in a forward position with internal bearings knocking against the body. Additional weights can also be attached to the chin eyelet without impacting on the lure’s action, allowing the Focus to reach deeper in search of your prey. www.wilsonfishing.com
SAMAKI MAHIMAHI SHIRT
Bright, bold colours erupt from the water as this big bull mahimahi swims and attacks the baitfish and lures surrounding the FAD, revealing the true nature of the species. Capturing all the attractive elements of the warmer climate, with volcanic islands in the background, crystal clear waters and abundance of wildlife above and below the water, this new Samaki shirt has been a winner with all anglers. Samaki designs are brought to you by Australian anglers. These shirts feature lightweight fabric that’s perfect for all outdoor elements, protecting you from the harsh sun with Samaki’s UV50+ technology. The soft touch 100% polyester material is comfortable and very breathable, keeping you cool and dry. Samaki fishing shirts are available in adult, youth and kids sizes from a size 2 through to a 5XL, allowing the whole family to get in on the action and out onto the water. Price: SRP $59.95 (adults), $49.95 (kids) www.samaki.com.au
The Bone HoverJet brings together two topwater concepts in the one lure, and is unlike any other topwater bait on the Australian market. This multifunction lure is 130mm long and weighs an easy casting 28g. Its specially designed aerodynamic shape allows the plug to cast like a bullet and reach distant targets where wary fish hold. With its flaps closed, working the HoverJet as a topwater pencil bait on the surface is effortless as it slides from side to side, creating small splashes. With the flaps open, the HoverJet transforms into a topwater prop bait that can be worked with a variety of retrieves to produce aggressive strikes. In fizzer mode, a straight retrieve creates that classic chop of the blade on the water’s surface that drives fish like jacks and barra crazy. If a louder fizz is needed, sharp rod tip rips produce a distinctive fizzing chop which will draw fish from afar to investigate. wilsonfishing.com APRIL 2019
WHAT’S NEW FISHING BLACKWOLF DIRECTORS CHAIR
BlackWolf’s new Compact Directors Chair has a strong, supportive frame, non-slip foot design for all surfaces and a solid weight capacity of 130kg, the Directors Chair is safe, reliable and able to withstand almost any environment. The chair has padded seating, wide armrests and high back support for maximum comfort, and it also features a convenient foldaway table with a drink holder. The chair also boasts an accessory pocket with a safety zipper for stashing much-needed items such as your phone, keys, camera, sunscreen, or other gear, meaning you don’t have to get back up to get them. You can set up the Directors Chair in under a minute, and when you are ready to pack up, all you need to do is fold it down flat to its very compact size, and store it away for next time. Price: SRP $139.99 www.blackwolf.com.au
NEW BOMBER COLOURS
JM Gillies has just released new colours in the Bomber Long A and Longshot models. Bomber’s original Long A design is one of the most effective lures on the market, and is arguably Australia’s most popular barramundi lure of all time. The larger BSW16A (150mm) and BSW17A (175mm) sizes are the preferred choice for anglers chasing 1m+ barra in the big saltwater rivers of the Top End, and are also extremely effective in the impoundments throughout North Queensland. The new Long A colours are BMDI (brown back, pale blue belly), and ABM3 (orange head, green body, black stripes). The Longshot range of lures feature a weight exchange system that assists in super-long casts. The body is tough and durable as well as sporting saltwater hooks and hardware. It’s available in three sizes, 125mm, 150mm and 175mm. The new XM7 colour (black back, green body) is the perfect addition to the existing premium colour range. www.jmgillies.com.au
A lighter tent shouldn’t mean sacrificing a good night’s sleep. Trusted outdoor equipment brand NEMO have developed the master of ultralight hiking tents to save your back, without skipping on quality, comfort and livability. The NEMO Hornet is the ultralight hiking tent for adventures demanding a lighter load. The NEMO Hornet is the ultimate lightweight tent, weighing-in at a mere 900g for the 2P edition, and an even lighter 765g for 1P. The Hornet 2P is equipped with two doors and two vestibules, for ultimate comfort for sharing the space. And better still, the Unique Divvy dual stage stuff sack makes it easy to divide the load with your travel partner. The single-hubbed pole intersections of the Hornet allow for quick setup and spend less time setting up. The Hornet can be erected without the need for ropes and a fly. If you need more space, you can also pitch the triangular shaped cords for 15% more interior capacity. Price: RRP $549.95 (1P), $621.95 (2P) www.nemoequipment.com
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150LB PINK SHOCK 17 LEADER Pink leader has been popular with bluewater anglers for some time, given that it is seen as less visible in certain water conditions. Although fluorocarbon options are common, Black Magic’s Pink Shock Leader is produced as a copolymer trace. This provides great value for money but still gives robust performance under stress – and Black Magic has now expanded the range up to 150lb. Features include: retains the high performance in abrasion resistance and knot strength seen in Black Magic tough and supple trace; coloured pink to provide less visibility, particularly when water conditions are a little murkier; and provides a more affordable option to anglers than fluorocarbon. Current breaking strains are 20lb, 40lb, 60lb, 80lb, 100lb and 150lb. www.blackmagic.com
OKUMA DISTANCE 15 SURF ARENA
Whether you’re bottom fishing for reef fish or trolling for pelagics, the latest Shimano Tekota is a great all-rounder. This enduring levelwind overhead has just undergone a big upgrade, with a number of new features that includes a main gear upgrade that is 50% stronger than its predecessor. The Hagane Body, coupled with the S-Compact Body Design, makes it comfortable to hold while waiting for a bite or fighting a fish. Gear size has been dramatically increased, and with it comes a super fast retrieve ratio of 6.3:1. A larger handle knob than its predecessor also helps in this regard. The CoreProtect system of seals keeps saltwater away from the internals, which includes three A-RB bearings and one roller bearing, and 11kg of drag will keep those reefies’ heads up and continuing towards the surface. Shimano recommends matching the Tekota to the Taipan 661 Overhead. It has quality Fuji componentry, and its graphite integrated fibreglass tip (G.I.F.T) construction can take the knocks. www.shimanofish.com.au 44
Okuma continues to offer anglers quality and excellent value for money with the release of the new Okuma Distance Surf Arena spinning reels. Features include a Slim Blade corrosionresistant graphite body, Worm Shaft transmission system, and a Hydro Block drag system (designed to ensure water and foreign materials do not enter the system and the drag washers perform to their optimum level), and FPD (Fast Progressive Drag). Designed for casting distance and handling big fish, with their lower gear ratios and 16kg max drag, Distance Surf Arena reels hold plenty of line on their machine cut aluminium spool, with the Even Flow line roller designed to reduce line twist. Other features include 3BB+1RB, Quick Set infinite anti-reverse system for rock solid hook sets, Rotor Equalizing System for precision balance and smooth cranking, Rigid Metal Handle and TPE T-shape handle knob. Built to take on the surf and its hard fighting species, the Okuma Distance Surf Arena is available in 60 and 80 sizes. Price: SRP $119.90-$139.90 www.okuma.com.au
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WHAT’S NEW FISHING
Strike Pro Guppie sinking glidebait Cooler nights and shorter days mean that the prime time to target big Murray cod on large lures is almost upon us. More and more anglers are getting out there and giving it a go using a growing range of lures, and I would like to add one to the list: the Strike Pro Guppie. This lure isn’t new but it’s very effective, and it’s well worth considering if you enjoy this style of fishing. Everybody notices I was lucky enough to receive a box of Guppies, and everybody I showed them to commented on the quality of the finish on the lures. It is exceptional. There are seven colours available and each has the ‘I would like to swim that’ appeal. The layering of
pattern and paint gives them an almost 3D effect, and also increases the durability. They are an outstanding looking lure. Strike Pro Guppie 101 The Guppie is a wooden sinking glidebait with an interchangeable soft plastic tail. The lure comes with a soft plastic paddle-tail and a curl-tail that you can interchange using the wire corkscrew on the end of the body. It is simple and easy and also allows you customise the tail if you like. On a slow, constant retrieve it glides from side to side and screams “eat me”. Changing the plastic tail doesn’t change the lure’s action, but it does give it a different feel through the rod. The paddle-tail definitely sends more feedback
At 120g and 13.5cm long it is important to have the right rod and reel to cast the Guppie.
The Guppie comes with two soft plastic tails that are interchangeable using the wire corkscrew on the rear of the lure. through the line and the rod. The other thing to note with the Guppie is its hardware. From the packet it comes with sturdy hooks and strong split rings – there’s no need to upgrade anything, just tie it on and fish it. At 120g and 13.5cm long you will need a rod and reel suitable to cast the Guppie, otherwise casting something of this size and weight will be daunting. Field Testing I haven’t yet had many opportunities to swim the lures I was sent, but I did get the chance to try them out at Lake Mulwala when I visited. There are huge expanses of water with lots of structure and Murray cod in Lake Mulwala. I quickly learnt that long casts were not the go; the hooks of the Guppie grabbed the structure, which was quite frustrating. The hooks are sticky sharp, and with how the lure swims, if they touch structure they grab it. However, adjusting my technique and throwing shorter casts beside and along the structure made all the difference.
In a matter of minutes a 52cm fish snaffled my Guppie as it snaked along a laydown. Wind and weather cut short the fishing that day, but with that initial success in mind, I can’t wait for my next opportunity to swim the Strike Pro Guppies. Check them out yourself To find out more about the Strike Pro Guppie and the other Strike Pro lures available, you can go to www.jurofishing. com or ask for them in your local tackle store.
Success! It may not be a big fish, but it’s guaranteed to be the first of many cod caught on these lures.
The sky is the limit with the Bone Voyage rod series In 2017 Bone fishing rods were introduced to Australia through the team at Wilson Fishing. There are a number of ranges and models available but my interest was sparked by the Voyage series of rods. It’s a travel rod series designed for the angler who doesn’t want to compromise with the gear they use while traveling. In my mind, the words ‘travel rod’ and ‘compromise’ have always gone handin-hand. In years gone by, we travelling anglers have been content to use rods that weren’t ideal, just so that we could go fishing. Having to compromise was a necessary sacrifice when venturing far
from home, but not anymore. My interest in the Bone Voyage BVC704 XXH was twofold. Firstly, I wanted to jump on board the swimbait/big lures for Murray cod revolution, and secondly, I knew that my only opportunities to do this type of fishing would be travelling. The technology behind the rod The blanks used for the Bone rods, including the Voyage series, are Toray hi-modulus graphite. The key with the Voyage series is keeping the integrity of what is an elite level blank in a travel configuration. The designers have achieved this. When loaded, the rod has a smooth bend (no flat spots) in a fast taper format. Fuji K-Alconite guides
The heavy-duty soft carry case makes storage and transport easy.
barramundi on similar sized lures to really put the Voyage through its paces. Where can you find them? Bone rods are built to a high standard so they’re not cheap. The Voyage series rods start from around $350 depending on the model you choose, and in my opinion they are worth every cent. To see the full range of rods you can go the Wilson Fishing website at www. wilsonfishing.com, or you can check them out at Tackle World Broome. - Peter Jung Taylor McKinney Smith has been using the Bone Voyage rods since they’ve been available and absolutely loves them. complete the package. There are 12 rods in the range in spin and baitcast configurations. Field Testing I have had the rod for over 12 months and it has gone to Lake Eildon, Lake Mulwala, Canberra and Glenlyon Dam with me. I cannot tell you how many big lures I have cast with it, from large swimbaits to 3oz spinnerbaits. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have not compromised with this rod. It is well suited to the fishing I have used it for, and on each trip it has gone into a mediumsized suitcase (the heavy-duty soft case it comes with is great). Having said that, I haven’t yet caught a big fish on this rod. You can see a photo of my most recent catch in the review above (a Murray cod at Mulwala), but I am yet to really test the Voyage BVC704 XXH on a better quality fish. I will continue to try, and am planning a trip north targeting
Just a few of the lures the author has been casting with the Bone Voyage BVC704 XXH.
Good weather doesn’t always make for good fishing The 2019 WA Bream Classics Kayak Series began in Mandurah on a fantastic day; a day that the 33-angler field thoroughly enjoyed. It
they did they took lures as souvenirs. This left a lot of anglers thinking about the one that got away. Yet, these talented competitors weren’t going to give
Fishing Monthly writer, Jesse Choy, is a gun on the Mandurah waterway and he proves this once again with a couple of decent Mandurah bream. wasn’t too hot, with a maximum temperature of 29ºC. A light breeze created a nice ripple on the surface, which the black bream in Mandurah
up easily, and they still brought back 33 legal-sized bream to the scales. In the spirit of not giving up easily and proving that determination pays
fish the Murray River’s canal system. Slowly, but surely, Brad put together his bag of fish using Ecogearaqua Bream Prawns in the salt and pepper colour by throwing them amongst the artificial structures that border the canal system. By rigging them on a size 4 Decoy Worm Hook, it allowed Brad to present them in a very natural way. This was vital, as the sunny weather and low tide had made the fish too gun shy to have a look at much else. Opting to downgrade his leader size to 3lb Sunline FC Sniper was another contributing factor to his success. Sure he only managed to land three of the eight fish that he hooked, but without using such light line in these conditions, he may not have gotten the bites he needed to take out first place. It really was a smart, gutsy and skilful performance and as a result, it earned him his second victory in Mandurah. Brad used an Atomic Arrow 3-6kg 7ft Estuary rod, which was matched with an ALX Abu Garcia Revo 2000 reel to do most of his damage. Spooled onto this reel was 4lb Tournament Exceed Berkley braid and tied to his braid he ran a 7ft length of 3lb Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon leader.
Winners are grinners, and Brad Grange is no exception to that in the first round of the Getaway Outdoors & Hobie Polarized WA Bream Classics Kayak Series. Outdoors, Pure Fishing and Frogleys. He also praised the WATA team and the series sponsors.
upriver to the Ravenswood region to compile a bag by 10:30am. By rolling ZMan
Bream Crank rod matched with a 1000 Shimano Ci4 reel that was spooled with 4lb Berkley X9 braid.
Joseph most definitely got his big bream catching abilities from his mother, Jenny Gardner, who happily holds her big bream trophy and cash reward to the camera.
Seventh placed angler, Collin Peasey, a veteran to the kayak tournament scene in WA is chuffed with his pair of black bream. do prefer, and on top of that there was an incoming tide for majority of the day. The scene was set and the anglers were anticipating a good bite, but the bream had other ideas. They didn’t want to bite, and when 46
dividends, Brad Grange skilfully put together a full limit of three fish for 1.6kg to take out the first kayak event for 2019. Despite winning by a comfortable margin of 200g, the going was far from easy for Brad, who chose to
For his efforts Brad took home $500 in cash and a Hook 2 Tripleshot Lowrance sounder, which was the perfect way to top off a hard-earned victory. At the presentation Brad finished off by thanking his sponsors Getaway
MCCARTHY SWIMZ HIS WAY TO SECOND PLACE The going was so tough that only three anglers brought back full bags and Stuart McCarthy made sure he was one of them, finishing in second place. He ended up weighing in three fish for 1.4kg. Stuart didn’t start very far from the launch site. In fact, it was just on the other side of the river. The move proved to be a success, although it could’ve been a dream start had he not lost a cracking bream on his first cast using a ZMan Slim SwimZ in the bloodworm colour. The disappointment of losing that fish didn’t put him off his game, as his next cast using an Ecogearaqua Bream Prawn brought him into contact with a nice 32cm fish to start the day. With the momentum on his side, Stuart switched back to using his trusty ZMan Slim SwimZ and GrubZ to make the most of the morning bite, and continued to work his way
GrubZ and Slim SwimZ on a 1/16oz Headlockz TT jighead amongst the snags, jetties and drop-offs, Stuart tempted a good number of fish throughout the day. This technique was best achieved by using a 7ft Atomic Arrow
Connecting to his braid was a 6m length of Sunline FC Rock fluorocarbon leader line. Stuart took home $250 in cash, a Quantum Escalade spinning reel and a prize pack of sponsor provided products. Stuart
All in a day’s work! A very happy Stuart McCarthy displays the fruits of his impressive effort on the water.
also thanked the event organisers, the major sponsors Getaway Outdoors and Hobie Polarized and the rest of the series sponsors.
canals, he had two small fish, but it could’ve been three fish had he too not lost a cracking bream in the first ten minutes of fishing.
for the most part a good one, despite copping a hook through the thumb, but $150 cash, a Watersnake PFD and a prize pack of sponsor
Brad Grange is a busy man and once again he has his hands full! These are the three bream that netted him first place, $500 and a Lowrance sounder! Coming in third, Alex Greisdorf with two of the bream that helped make up his bag. Despite tough going, including a hook in the hand, Greisdorf still managed to pull a decent bag together. GREISDORF CRANKS UP THE HEAT Rounding out the podium – and someone who isn’t a stranger to the podium – was Alex Greisdorf, who finished in third place with a full limit of fish that weighed 1.35kg. Alex worked his way upriver towards Murray Bend, fishing the timber snags
Alex’s game plan to move to the canals was the right choice, because it was there that he picked up his third keeper for the day. Alex stuck with the Atomic Crank in ghost gill in the canals proving that persisting with a technique he was confident with would eventually reap the rewards. His weapon of choice today
provided products would surely sooth the pain. At the presentation, Alex firstly thanked his fellow organisers, the series sponsors and his personal sponsors Lowrance and Tackle Tactics. If you’re only going to catch one legal size bream for the day, then you’re going to want to catch the biggest bream for the event and that’s exactly what Jenny Gardner did. This fish pulled the scales down to 840g and while it’s no monster by Mandurah standards, it was well and truly bigger than what most of the anglers caught that day. She took home $500
cash for her effort! Last but not least, the Guess the Weight winner went to Paul Siemaszko who guessed that the winning weight would be 1.83kg. This was closest to Brad Ganges winning weight of 1.6kg and because of that he took home
an easily earned $50. So, that wraps up an enjoyable first event for the 2019 WA Bream Classics Kayak Series. On behalf of WATA (West Australian Tournament Anglers) we would like thank all the support from the anglers who
took part in the event. Plus, another big thank you goes out to our series sponsors, Getaway Outdoors, Hobie Polarized, Compleat Angler, JML, Tackle Tactics, Razor Edge, Challenge Batteries and Gladiator Tackle. –WA Bream Classics
ROUND ONE WINNERS Place Angler
Total Total Fish Weight (kg) Prize
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 2 2
Brad Grange Stuart McCarthy Alex Greisdorf Jesse Choy Travis Newland Andy Mitchell Colin Peasey Jenny Gardner Hamish McNabb Rene Van Doorn
1.60 1.40 1.35 1.33 0.97 0.96 0.88 0.84 0.81 0.76
$500 + Prize Pack $250 + Prize Pack $150 + Prize Pack
TOURNAMENT CALENDAR APRIL
30 Apr-1 May ABT BREAM Rnd 4 Albany
ABT BREAM Rnd 5 Blackwood
WA Bream Classic Kayak Series Round 2 – Swan River
WA Bream Classic Boat Series Round 2 – Murray River
WA Bream Classic Kayak Series Round 3 – Moore River
WA Bream Classic Boat Series Round 3 – Blackwood River
Jenny Gardner proudly holds her bream to the camera that won her the big bream prize for the event. with Atomic Hardz Cranks in ghost gill for most of the morning, before making a move to fish the boats in the Murray River canals for the rest of the day. By the time Alex decided to make the move to the
was a 7ft Duffrod, which was loaded with a Daiwa 2500 Exist and spooled with 10lb Daiwa Evo 8 braid. Connected to his braid, Alex ran 3lb Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon leader. Alex Greisdorf’s day was
Add your tournament or competition to this list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07 3387 0800 in office hours. Just supply a date, venue, tournament name and a telephone number and contact name. APRIL 2019
Bream Classic Social brings anglers together At the Maylands foreshore, 35 anglers gathered to take part in the Getaway Outdoors and Hobie Polarized WA Bream Classics Social day. The anglers were treated to beautiful weather while fishing and so too off the water as they socialised amongst each other.
event was made up of three divisions. These divisions were boaters, non-boaters who fished from a skipper’s boat and lastly, kayaks. Each angler competed amongst each other in their respective division that they entered into and for the next five hours they had a heap of fun doing so.
people making new friends and sharing stories about how their day panned out. It wasn’t hard to understand why most of this took place around the pizza table. As this event was a social, prizes to a large extent were absent but we couldn’t let the anglers who performed the best in their
The smile says it all! The Social was a great opportunity for anglers to connect and share knowledge.
Andy Mitchell took out the kayak division for the Social. While the weather was perfectly suitable to spend a day outdoors, it did create some rather tough fishing conditions. Yet that wasn’t the sole focus of the event. The social event was a chance for anglers to make new friends and also for
Despite what ended up being a tough bite, many of the anglers still caught fish and brought their catch to the measuring station to see what they scored. Some anglers didn’t have a livewell to keep their fish alive in, but as this event is catch and release
division go home empty handed. The winner of each division would receive a free entry to the Pro/AM event in Albany on 23-24 March. The Pro/Am event is an event that randomly pairs non-boaters with a different boater for the two
with for the following day they will repeat this process to decide a winner. The anglers, in their respective division, that compile the most weight of up to ten bream take home the chocolates. What’s best about this event is that anglers are able to fish with someone new each day and because of this they come away with a wealth of knowledge that they share between each other. The anglers who earned themselves a free entry into the Pro/Am were Jeremy Jasinski, who took out the boater division by a mere margin of 1cm, and for the non-boaters it was Tim Stylianou who brought back a cracking 39.5cm bream and lastly Andy Mitchell took out the kayak division. All up it was a fantastic day of socialising and having fun on the water. The West Australian Tournament
Anglers organisers were very pleased with the turn out, especially with the amount of new faces that took part and had a good time doing so.
To keep up-to-date with West Australian Tournament Anglers check out our Facebook page. –WA Bream Classics
Tim Stylianou holds aloft his two bream, notably his 39.5cm capture that would eat the other guy for breakfast!
Tim Stylianou cemented his non-boater win by bringing back a 39.5cm bream. anglers new to the scene to get a taste of what it’s like to compete in an event in a relaxed environment. Due to the relaxed nature of the event, the rules were simple. Each angler could catch up to two legal sized bream in which the combined length of those two fish would be their score at the end of the day. The social 48
only, they were allowed to take a photo of their fish on a ruler before release. While the competitors were having their fish measured, pizzas were delivered to the event site to satisfy the many hungry bellies. Ice cool soft drinks and water were in abundance to help wash the pizza down as well. It was fantastic to see
days of competition over the weekend. Each day both the boater and the non-boater have seven hours to work as a team to compile a bag of their heaviest five bream. The two anglers in their separate divisions share whatever weight they compile on the first day and then take this weight into the second day and whoever they’re paired
Jeremy Jasinski took out the boater title by a close margin of 1cm.
Swanfish sees lots of kids, fish and fun! Well that’s a wrap! Swanfish organisers would like to thank everyone who joined us over the weekend for the annual family friendly fishing event.
and released from all parts of the river by people of all ages and abilities across the weekend, giving Swanfish a real community feel,” he said.
couldn’t have been better. Communications Coordinator Alanna Hubbard said he was amazed to see so many families on the water with many children catching
Tom Schuiling’s mega mulloway was a highlight of the competition.
Heaviest mulloway winner Tom Schuiling receiving his prize. Swanfish is Perth’s biggest community fishing event on the Swan River. Now in its 34th year, Swanfish encourages families to get outdoors and enjoy the Magnificent SwanCanning River. From first time participants to people
Hundreds of families registered this year, with over 188 adults and 84 children fishing anywhere between the Fremantle Traffic Bridge right up past Guildford. Fishers targeted 19 different species, including blue swimmer crabs around the
their very first fish over the weekend. “Everyone who participated had a chance at winning something and you didn’t have to be an expert to do it,” he said. “There were participants as young as 4 years old
each species had been caught. This app has been used in fishing events throughout Australia, including in barramundi tournaments in Queensland, and has proven to be extremely useful for competitors. The app turns all competitors into citizen scientists for the weekend, as each logged catch goes into a database, which will be built on over future events. Longterm data such as this is vital in providing insight to guide decision making around the management of our fish stocks in the Swan River. A healthy river means healthy fish stocks and with more than 270 fish caught and released during this year’s event, the river showed why it is a favourite with fishers. Noteworthy catches included the heaviest mulloway at an impressive 16kg for Tom Schuiling, a superb 46cm flathead for Junior Tully Hubbard, a nice 27cm herring for Junior Alana Lister, a 36cm whiting for Junior Jackson
Lucas, a great 40cm tailor for Junior Anton Pope, five bream catches above 35cm in the open category with a 44.5cm taking out top place, a 58cm mirror carp for Michael Savva, a 55cm flathead for Linc Oliver in the Senior section, a 32cm
community and sponsors MOB Fishing, Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions and Get Hooked Fishing, along with supporters Shimano, Getaway Outdoors, Fishability, Department of Primary Industries and
Tarwhine made up a lot of the overall catch in the competition. herring for Senior Richard Storm and lots of tarwhine caught above 30cm. To view the full results and Swanfish leader board, go to www. swanfish.com.au. This event wouldn’t have been possible with the support of the fishing
Regional Development, TrackMyFish, and Department of Local, Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. Follow the Swanfish Facebook page to see when next years event will be held! – Swanfish
The first time fishing for Tully Hubbard was a success, with her even winning a prize! who have been fishing the competition for decades, this year’s Swanfish had something for everyone. Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said often we can take for granted what’s right in front of our eyes, but hundreds of people joined in on the weekend, showing just how important the river system is to our community. “There was such a diversity of species caught
old swan brewery, herring and flounder in the lower reaches around Fremantle, along with tarwhine around the channel drop-offs. Some fishers ventured out in the dark to target mulloway in the deeper holes of the river, or braved the early mornings for bream amongst the snags, while some chased flathead on the flats. There was a fish for everyone in this year’s Swanfish, and the weather
right up to 80 years old just having a crack, and it was fantastic having the fishing community get behind what we do and support us in our 2nd year of the ‘Catch, Click and Release format.” The Swanfish App, built by the team at TrackMyFish, allowed fishers to take a photo of their catch and enter it into the competition with only a few simple clicks. The app includes a live feed showing how many fish of
There were many great prizes throughout the comp, such as the Junior Lucky Entrant. APRIL 2019
Ten years of champions for Hobie Day one of the Hobie Kayak Bream Series 10 Australian Championship presented by Daiwa, blasted off from the Power-Pole Starting line, in Forster, New South Wales, at 7am. It was a level playing field for all anglers who were each in brand new 2019 Hobie Outback kayaks with a forward and reverse MirageDrive 180 pedal propulsion, a remote control Power-Pole Micro anchor system and Lowrance Elite Ti2 7” sounders with triple shot transducers. The 45 elite kayak anglers competing in the 10 year anniversary Championship came from all over the country. They had all qualified for the
the top two in the world. Somerton tried to move around as much as possible, he checked out a few of his favourite spots but they didn’t work for him because of the tides. So, he decided to check out a few spots a friend had recommended when he was researching the fishery and they seemed to work. The overcast day they had on the pre-fish gave him a lot of confidence, but unfortunately the skies were clear throughout the competition and that made it tough. Somerton spent most of the time in some pretty close paddocks, but he did have a couple of runs up the Wallamba River to hit a spot. He was really struggling
Jack Gammie won the Atomic Big Bream on day one, and it wasn’t enough for him to take the title but he still secured second place. championship by competing in eleven qualifying rounds held across Australia in 2018. SOMERTON REACHED THE SUMMIT AGAIN At the end of a massively close contest the 2013 World Champion, and 2016 Australian Champion, Richard Somerton from Victoria won his second Australian Championship with a day one bag of 1.98kg, a 2.41kg bag on day two and 1.94kg on day three, giving him a nine fish bag weighing in at 6.33kg, the only angler to go above the 6kg mark. The championship was Somerton’s swansong to Hobie tournaments, after a career that has earned him the reputation as an all time outstanding performer in the Australian kayak fishing tournament scene and one of
late in the final session, sitting on about 1.3kg, which he knew wasn’t going to be enough. He had been destroyed in one of the big fish spots that he goes to. He was onto a very big fish and the braid snapped as it was under so much pressure. When he lost that one he started to get a bit worried, but he then put a 500g fish in the well and then he finally bagged out, but the final fish was only 26.5cm. Somerton kept him because he wasn’t sure how the rest of the session was going to go. Luckily, he upgraded both of these, but after that everything went dead. Richard Somerton mainly used the Daiwa Certate 1000/2000s reel. He was using a Duff Rods rod and primarily used a Cranka Crab in light. If
RESULTS Place Angler 1 Richard Somerton 2 Jack Gammie 3 Alex Greisdorf 4 Paul Burton 5 Simon Morley 6 Tyson Hayes 7 Richard Patterson 8 Kane Terry 9 Danny Jobson 10 Tony Pettie 50
Total Fish 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9 9/9
he had brought his heavies he probably would have smashed the bridge, as there were plenty of fish around there but the tide was just raging in. He was mainly throwing the Cranka Crab Fish Fiddler lure, which caught him a few, and a couple of different Berkley Gulp products such as the Camo Crabby and the Shrimp. He was using J-Braid line with 12lb FC Rock leader. When Somerton uses a Cranka Crab, if it doesn’t get a hit on the drop he usually leaves it on the bottom for a little bit and then gives it a bit of a shake, anywhere from 10-60 seconds usually. The fish sit there and watch the crab or they may be swimming by and see a bit of movement out of the corner of their eye and then hit it. He mainly throws into structure and not as much into the flats. He says that every year the competitions are getting better and better, the level just keeps going up. GAMMIE GRABS SECOND Jack Gammie ended day one with 2.44kg, day two with 1.37kg, and day three with 1.93kg. This gave Gammie a nine fish bag over the three championship days and a total weight of 5.74kg. Gammie was leading the championship on the first day and dropped down to third place on the second, and in the end that is probably what cost him the title. He pulled in the largest fish of the tournament on day one and just couldn’t get the repeat that he was hoping for after that. During the pre-fish day he went and tried a few different areas. When he went up the Wallamba River on the Tuncurry side he found some good fish, so he thought he’d leave them alone and went to other areas to look for more fish. On competition day one he went back up the Wallamba and saw some big birds cruising up between the racks, so he decided to give that a go. He had a bit of a cast and that is where he got his big fish on day one, weighing in at 1.4kg. It was a big clunker and he was very lucky to have landed him. He moved on to another area of abandoned Total Weight (kg) 6.33 5.74 5.73 5.48 5.19 4.86 4.76 4.68 4.66 4.63
racks and managed to land another 40cm fish. He didn’t get that kicker fish or even a kicker bite on day two. He was fishing up the Wallamba River in a stretch from the channel markers along a bank that has about 1km of racks just covered in oysters. He was mainly throwing a Hurricane Fat 37 Shallow in camo crab colour and it produced every singly one of the fish that he bagged in the three days of the championship. On day three he went up the Wallamba again and got his bag, then he came back down to the paddocks to try and upgrade, but that didn’t quite work. For majority of the weekend he was fishing 8lb with 8lb braid using a 1-3kg rod with a locked drag. But, on the final day he dropped down to 6lb just in case the system was shut down. The weather was good, the tides were perfect and the fishing was great.
Richard Somerton won the Championship as the only angler with a combined bag weight over 6kg. in a brown suji shrimp colour. Greisdorf ran it on a 7ft 1-5kg Duff rod with a 2500 size reel on 5lb leader and 10lb braid. Unlike other anglers, when fishing for yellowfin bream Greisdorf doesn’t let them run, he keeps them up high and winds them in to keep them away from the weed. This worked a treat for him during this tournament.
Alex Greisdorf missed out on second place by 10g, but for his first time fishing this water he really showed his skill and managed to hold onto third place with a 5.73kg bag. GREISDORF GETS TOP THREE Alex Greisdorf (WA) finished day one with a total weight of 1.68kg, day two with 2.35kg, and day three with 1.70kg. This gave Greisdorf a nine fish bag with an accumulative weight of 5.73kg, which put him in third place in the Australian Championship. Greisdorf had finished a close second place in the last championship to fellow Western Australian, Paul Burton (fourth this year) on his home waterway. But to perform so well in a completely new arena he’d never fished before showed that this WA angler is a true gun. He tried different stuff over the course of the three days, but the only thing that was consistently catching fish was the Jackall Chubby
He found a spot where there were lots of big ones cruising around, but they just did not want to play the game. On his last upgrade on day three he lost two
possible 40cm fish when a smaller one took the lure instead. Greisdorf was very happy with the tournament and his performance. Only one angler missed out on catching fish on day three, Adam Costa took home but Peter Cook from NSW still bagged himself $100 in Donut Dough. On day two there was no Cranka Donut Dough as all anglers caught fish, but on day three the Cranka Donut Dough went to Adam Costa. Jack Gammie caught the Atomic Big Bream, the largest fish of the session, on day one weighing in at 1.40kg and picking himself up $250 from Atomic. The $250 on day two went to Richard Somerton with a 1.12kg fish, and finally on day three Jon Clisby from Victoria took home the prize from Atomic with a 960g bream. A lucky local won themselves a Hobie Lanai kayak after entering a competition sponsored by Hobie Asia Pacific, and was presented with the kayak and an amazing package of Hobie products, worth around $1500, at the event site before the main presentation. For a review of what was happening on the water during the event, and event at the event site weigh-in each day go to Facebook.com/ HobieFishingAsiaPacific. – Hobie
The 45 anglers were competing on a level playing field, as all were supplied with a 2019 Hobie Outback kayaks to fish the tournament.
Estimating the economic value of salmon in WA As the days shorten and the weather cools, tens of thousands of west aussie anglers begin preparing their fishing gear in eager anticipation of the arrival of schools of West Australian salmon. Keen fishers spend hours researching and trawling through social media, trying to get the
chasing individual species such as salmon. While the economic report didn’t delve into great detail around individual species, early indications suggest that West Australian salmon could be worth as much as $100 per fish to the Western Australian economy. To better understand just
from the annual salmon runs and a whole variety of other businesses in these areas also eagerly look forward to the annual influx of recreational fishers. A single post on social media can result in a multitude of fishers descending on a location overnight. There is no doubt salmon is big business and
Surface lures are a great way to get the heart racing when targeting salmon. latest information on the whereabouts of salmon schools as they approach key landmarks and major population areas. While we know this fishery offers some of the world’s best sport fishing on the world’s best beaches, we don’t know how much money anglers inject into
how much people spend in their pursuit of salmon, another project using your fishing licence fees has been funded from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund. The primary outcome of this project will be to acquire a well-documented estimate of the non-market sport and recreational value of fishing
chance of catching a 6kg+ fish from the shore. Whether people catch salmon purely for the sport fishing fun or keep them to eat, salmon underpin one of Western Australia’s most treasured fishing experiences. Not to mention the abundant salmon stocks, it is one of the few fish species in Western Australia that could see a substantial growth in the number of people recreationally fishing for salmon without impacting on the sustainability of salmon stocks or individual bag limits. It is the perfect fish to use when introducing your family, friends or neighbours to the joys of fishing. Fishing for salmon is an experience in itself, whether you catch and keep your fish, or release them after the fight. Just to be able to bring your fish onto the sand and take some snaps with the kids salmon
Salmon beach fishing is the perfect way to get the family involved, especially in pristine conditions such as this. Photo courtesy of Joachim Azzopardi. Recfishwest believes the pristine white sandy beaches of the WA coast combined with the splendid sports fishing qualities of this species truly makes this the world’s best sports fishing on
Keep an eye out on the Recfishwest website for your chance to have your say and complete the survey. Your participation in this survey is much appreciated and the results of the survey
soon we will have an idea of just how big it is. The information obtained by this project will be incredibly useful in advocating for recreational fishing. If decision makers know recreational fishers chasing salmon are injecting tens or hundreds of millions of dollars into our local
Sam Thompson with a cracking fish taken on spin gear, making for plenty of fun. fishing is something that is ingrained in West Australian culture. Beach fishing for salmon provides a safe and enjoyable form of fishing for families, where kids have the opportunity of fighting a big fish and creating a memory that will last a lifetime.
the world’s best beaches. So, if you haven’t caught a West Australian salmon before, why not give it a go. It’s a great opportunity to explore the southern coastline of our state, experiencing amazing fishing and make lasting memories with family and friends.
will allow Recfishwest to continue to fight to ensure the great fishing experiences provided by Australian salmon are forever protected. Remember ten minutes of your time can help ensure a lifetime of great fishing for everybody.
Nothing beats a quality Esperance salmon with a view. the economy each year chasing salmon or where they spend this money. A recent study conducted into the ‘Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia’ found that the direct economic contribution to the WA economy from recreational anglers every year is estimated to be $2.4 billion. This report took a broad helicopter look at the amount of money anglers spent every year on trips, boats and fishing gear and was not designed to ascertain how much money was spent
for salmon in Western Australia, while providing an estimation of the economic contribution of recreational fishing to local communities from both fishing activities and associated tourism activities. Put simply, it will estimate how much money people spend in their pursuit of salmon and where they spend it. A quick look in most tackle boxes will reveal a vast array of salmon lures, spinners, plastics ect. It has long been known that some tackle stores in the South and lower West Coast of WA derive most of their business
economies every year, they will be more likely to support management measures that ensure people can continue to have great fishing experiences and continue to spend their money in regional towns. Australian salmon are an amazingly good sports fish. They come within casting distance of shore, are more than happy to accept most lures and baits and also provide a great fight and thrilling aerial display as they try to shake a line loose. There are not many other fisheries where shore-based anglers have a more than reasonable
April is set to be a fantastic salmon run! Photo courtesy of Joachim Azzopardi. APRIL 2019
Trades, Services, Charter BAIT & TACKLE METRO
KALBARRI Kalbarri Sports & Dive (08) 9937 1126
TackleHQ Kingsley (08) 9309 4200 WA Bait Supply O’Connor (08) 9314 1755 Castaway Tackle Malaga (08) 9248 3800 Gun-Mart & Tackle Midvale (08) 9274 5699 Earlybird Bait Rockingham (08) 9527 3333 Tackle West Beckenham (08) 9350 6278
Tackle World Exmouth (08) 9949 1315 Exmouth Tackle & Camping Supplies (08) 9949 1179
BUSSELTON 2 Oceans Tackle (08) 9752 4924 Geographe Camping & Tackle World (08) 9754 2909
BOAT HIRE BlueSun2 Boat Charters Ardross 0405 353 353 Boating West O’Connor 0429 887 798 Boat Hire Perth Mindarie 0403 095 868
Bluewater Tackle World Morley (08) 9375 9800 Bluewater Tackle World Myaree (08) 9330 7766 Bluewater Tackle World Joondalup (08) 6244 0344 Bluewater Tackle Mindarie (08) 9407 9766 Tim’s Tackle Plus Guildford (08) 6161 0044 Baitmate-Bricap Wangara (08) 9309 5474 Compleat Angler Nedlands (08) 9389 1337 Anglers Anonymous Fishing Tackle Supplies Canning Vale (08) 9455 2521 Tackle World Miami (08) 9534 5533 Dawe’s Bait & Tackle Mandurah (08) 9534 6661 Fishing WA Pro Tackle Wangara (08) 9409 2253 Hillarys Boat & Tackle Hillarys (08) 9401 4331 Sportsmarine Bunbury (08) 9721 4961 Anglers Fishing World South Fremantle (08) 9433 4768
Apache Charters South Fremantle (08) 9339 2432 West End Charters Winthrop WA 6150 (08) 9332 4303 Blue Juice Charters (08) 9401 4666 Mills Charters Hillarys (08) 9246 5334 Achievement Charters Fremantle 0418 655 188 Port Bouvard Charters Wannanup 0477 347 465 Blue Horizon Fishing Charters Exmouth 08) 9949 1620 Fly Fishing Frontiers Exmouth 0427 366 142 Top Gun Charters EXMOUTH 0418 925 131 Diversity Bluewater Adventures Exmouth Exmouth 0488 009 989 Set The Hook Exmouth 0433 049 988 Esperance Diving And Fishing Esperance (08) 9071 5111 Duke Charters Condingup (08) 9076 6223 Black Jack Charters Bandy Creek 0429 106 960 Spinners Charters Emu Point (08) 9844 1906 Great Southern Discovery Albany 0455 105 127 SHIKARI Charters Fremantle 0412 131 958 Evolution Fishing Charters 0477 901 445 Kalbarri land Based fishing Carters 0418930695 Tailored Treks - Lancelin 0427 941 126 Perth Fishing Safaris 0422 686 363
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(08) 9433 4768 www.anglersfishingworld.com.au Tackle World & Outdoors Mandurah (08) 9581 6953 Getaway Outdoors Balcatta (08) 9344 7343 Getaway Outdoors Cockburn (08) 9417 4644 Getaway Outdoors Joondalup (08) 9300 1330 Getaway Outdoors Kelmscott (08) 9495 4444 Getaway Outdoors Mandurah (08) 9581 8877 Jet Cycles & Compleat Angler Gosnells (08) 9398 2359
ROCKINGHAM Compleat Angler & Camping World -Rockingham (08) 9528 5255 Port Kennedy Cycles and Fishing (08) 9524 6774 Whitey’s Tackle & Camping Australind (08) 9797 0762
ALBANY Albany Rods & Tackle (08) 9841 1231 Trailblazers Albany (08) 9841 7859
ESPERANCE Tatey’s Bait ‘n’ Tackle Castletown (08) 9071 5003 Esperance Camping & Workwear Esperance (08) 9071 2142
DONGARA & GERALDTON Dongara Sport & Tackle Dongara (08) 9927 1196 Geraldton Sports Centre (08) 9921 3664 Getaway Outdoors Geraldton (08) 9965 3766
CARNARVON Carnarvon Tackle & Marine (08) 9941 4161
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SEE IT! .. BUY IT! .. www.fgwizz.com.au HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION ESPERANCE Esperance Bay Holiday Park Esperance (08) 9071 2237 Bathers Paradise Caravan Park Esperance (08) 9071 1014 Pine Grove Holiday Park Esperance (08) 9071 4100 Pink Lake Tourist Park Nulsen (08) 9071 2424 Esperance Seafront Caravan Park Castletown (08) 9071 1251 Ocean Beach Holiday Units Esperance (08) 9071 5942 Esperance Chalet Village Bandy Creek (08) 9071 1861 Esperance Beachfront Resort Esperance (08) 9071 2513 Munglinup Beach Holiday Park Munglinup (08) 9075 1155
HOPETOUN – BREMER BAY Wavecrest Village & Tourist Park Hopetoun (08) 9838 3888 Hopetoun Caravan Park Hopetoun (08) 9838 3096 Bremer Bay Caravan Park Bremer Bay (08) 9837 4018 Bremer Bay Beaches Resort & Tourist Park Bremer Bay (08) 9837 4290
ALBANY Cheynes Beach Caravan Park Cheynes (08) 9846 1247 BIG4 Emu Beach Holiday Park Albany (08) 9844 1147 BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park Middleton Beach (08) 9841 3593 Albany Happy Days Caravan Park King River (08) 9844 3267 Albany Holiday Park Albany (08) 9841 7800 King River Palms Caravan Park Willyung (08) 98443232
Two Peoples Caravan Park Kalgan (08) 9846 4024 Emu Beach Chalets Emu Point (08) 9844 8889 Albany Holiday Units Middleton Beach (08) 9841 7817 Havana Villas Albany (08) 9844 1085 Lilacs Waterfront villas & cottages Robinson (08) 9841 2390
DENMARK Denmark Rivermouth Caravan Park Denmark (08) 9848 1262 Denmark Ocean Beach Holiday Park Denmark (08) 9848 1105 Karri Aura Caravan Park & Motel Suites Shadforth (08) 9848 2200 Denmark Waterfront Denmark (08) 9848 1147
WALPOLE – MANJIMUP – PEMBERTON Peaceful Bay Caravan Park Peaceful Bay (08) 9840 8060 Peaceful Bay Chalets Peaceful Bay (08) 9840 8169 Rest Point Holiday Village Walpole (08) 9840 1032 Coalmine Beach Holiday Park Walpole (08) 9840 1026 Riverside Retreat Walpole, (08) 9840 1255 Nornalup Riverside Chalets Nornalup (08) 9840 1107 Pemberton Caravan Park Pemberton (08) 9776 1300 Warren Way Caravan Park Balbarrup (08) 9771 1060 Manjimup Central Caravan Park & Deli Manjimup (08) 9777 2355 RAC Karri Valley Resort Beedelup (08) 9776 2020 Big Brook Arboretum Pemberton (08) 9776 1207 One Tree Bridge Chalets Manjimup (08) 9777 1196
AUGUSTA Flinders Bay Caravan Park Augusta (08) 9780 5636 Molloy Caravan Park Kudardup (08) 9758 4515 Turner Caravan Park Augusta (08) 9780 5633 Hamelin Bay Holiday Park Hamelin Bay (08) 9758 5540 Sheoak Chalets Augusta Augusta (08) 9758 1958
MARGARET RIVER Prevelly Caravan Park Prevelly Park (08) 9757 2374 Gracetown Caravan Park Gracetown (08) 9755 5301 Riverview Tourist Park Margaret River (08) 9757 2270 Margaret River Tourist Park (08) 9757 2180
YALLINGUP – DUNSBOROUGH Caves Caravan Park Yallingup (08) 9755 2196 Yallingup Beach Holiday Park 1800 220 002 Dunsborough Lakes Holiday Resort (08) 9756 8300 Dunsborough Beach Cottages (08) 9756 8885
BUSSELTON RAC Busselton Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9755 4241 Busselton Villas & Caravan Park Busselton (08) 9752 1175 Geographe Bay Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9752 4396 Lazy Days Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9752 1780 Amblin Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9755 4079 Four Seasons Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9755 4082 Busselton Holiday Village Busselton (08) 9752 4499 Sandy Bay Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9752 2003 Fourseasons Holiday Park Busselton (08) 9755 4082 Busselton Beachfron Busselton (08) 9755 2607 Busselton Jetty Chalets Busselton (08) 9752 3893
BUNBURY Bunbury Glade Caravan Park Bunbury 1800 113 800 Discovery Parks - Bunbury (08) 9795 7100 Binningup Beach Caravan Park Bunbury (08) 9720 1057 Riverside Cabin Park Bunbury (08) 9725 1234 Leschenault Caravan Park Bunbury (08) 9797 1095 Waterloo Village Caravan Park Bunbury (08) 9725 4434 Brunswick Junction Caravan Park Bunbury (08) 9726 1544 Taralea Farm Bunbury (08) 9728 1252 Australind Tourist Park Bunbury (08) 9725 1206
MANDURAH Pinjarra Caravan Park Mandurah (08) 9531 1374 Mandurah Caravan & Tourist Park Mandurah (08) 9535 1171 Belvedere Caravan Park Mandurah (08) 9535 1213 The Dwellingup Chalet and Caravan Park (08) 9538 1157 Waroona Caravan Village (08) 9733 1518 Timber Top Caravan Park (08) 9535 1292 Lake Clifton Caravan Park (08) 9739 1255 Miami Holiday Park (08) 9534 2127 Tathams Caravan Park (08) 9537 6844 Peel Caravan Park (08) 9535 4343 Lake Navarino Holiday Park (08) 9733 3000 Estuary Hideaway Holiday Park 0407 838 061 Pinjarrah Holiday Park (08) 9531 1604 Waters Edge Caravan Park 0427 281 622 Mandurah Ocean Marina Chalets (08) 9535 8173 Murray River Caravan Park (08) 9537 6140 Footprints Preston Beach (08) 9739 1111
This section in WA Fishing Monthly consolidates the trades and services in your area that are relevant to your fishing and boating. Whether you’re a local looking for more options or a travelling angler fishing around the state, this guide will direct you to reputable businesses in the area you’re searching. 52
Boats & Guided Fishing Tours Directory MOORE RIVER – LANCELIN – CERVANTES Guilderton Caravan Park (08) 9577 1021 Branchys Holiday Homes Guilderton (08) 9577 1321
JURIEN BAY – GREEN HEAD – LEEMAN Jurien Bay Tourist Park Jurien Bay (08) 9652 1595 Green Head Caravan Park Green Head (08) 9953 1131 Leeman Caravan Park Leeman (08) 9953 1080
DONGARA – GERALDTON Seaspray Beach Holiday Park Dongara (08) 9927 1165 Dongara Tourist Park Port Denison (08) 9927 1210 Leander Reef Holiday Park Port Denison (08) 9927 1840 Port Denison Holiday Units (08) 9927 1104 Double Beach Caravan Park (08) 9921 5845 Batavia Coast Caravan Park (08) 9938 1222 Drummond Cove Holiday Park (08) 9938 2524 Horrocks Beach Caravan Park (08) 9934 3039
DERBY Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park (08) 9193 1055 West Kimberley Lodge & Caravan Park (08) 9191 1031
KUNUNURRA Town Caravan Park (08) 9168 1763 Wyndham Caravan Park (08) 9161 1064 Lake Argyle Caravan Park (08) 9168 7777 Discovery Parks - Lake Kununurra (08) 9168 1031 Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park | Kununurra (08) 9168 1280 Ivanhoe Village Caravan Resort (08) 9169 1995 Lake Argyle Resort (08) 9168 7777 Hidden Valley Caravan Park (08) 9168 1790 Kununurra Lakeside Resort (08) 9169 1092 El Questro Wilderness Park 1800 837 168 Kona Lakeside Caravan Park (08) 9161 1139
KALBARRI Murchison River Caravan Park Kalbarri (08) 9937 1005 Kalbarri Anchorage Caravan Park Kalbarri (08) 9937 1181 Kalbarri Tudor Holiday Park Kalbarri (08) 9937 1077 Murchison House Station Kalbarri (08) 9937 1998 Kalbarri Beach Bungalows A & B Kalbarri (08) 9937 0400 Murchison caravan park Kalbarri (08) 9937 0400 Kalbarri Blue Ocean Villas Kalbarri (08) 9937 2442
Aquasports Marine Midvale (08) 9250 3339
MARINE ACCESSORIES Challenge Batteries Osborne Park (08) 9446 6122 JPW Marine Wholesale Distributors Perth (08) 6253 3000 Whitworths Marine & Leisure - Leerderville (08) 9381 1442 Crackpots Marine Supplies O’Connor (08) 9337 2211 Hydrowave – www.hydrowaveaustralia.com
SHARK BAY Denham Seaside Caravan Park, (08) 9948 1242 Shark Bay Caravan Park (08) 9948 1387 Blue Dolphin Caravan Park and Holiday Village Denham (08) 9948 1385 Oceanside Village Denham Shark Bay (08) 9948 3003 Bay Lodge Denham Shark Bay WA (08) 9948 1278 RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort (08) 9948 1320
CARNARVON Wintersun Caravan and Tourist Park (08) 9941 8150 Capricorn Holiday Park (08) 9941 8153 Outback Oasis Caravan Park (08) 9941 1439 Carnarvon Caravan Park (08) 9941 8101 Norwesta Lifestyle Park (08) 9941 1277 Coral Coast Tourist Park (08) 9941 1438
CORAL BAY Peoples Park (08) 9942 5933 Bayview Coral Bay (08) 9385 6655 Ningaloo Club (08) 9948 5100 Ningaloo Reef Resort (08) 9942 5934
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Ningaloo Lighthouse Holiday Park (08) 9949 1478 Yardie Homestead Caravan Park (08) 9949 1389 Ningaloo Caravan and Holiday Resort (08) 9949 2377 RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park 1800 871 570 Exmouth Escape Resort (08) 9949 4800 Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort, Exmouth (08) 9949 0000
ONSLOW Discovery Parks - Onslow (08) 9184 6007 Ocean View Caravan Park (08) 9184 6053
DAMPIER Dampier Transit Caravan Park (08) 9183 1109 Discovery Parks - Pilbara, Karratha (08) 9185 1855 Karratha Caravan Park (08) 9185 1012 Discovery Parks - Balmoral, Karratha (08) 9185 3628 Harding River Caravan Park (08) 9182 1063 Aspen Karratha Village Baynton (08) 9185 2726 Karratha Apartments Karratha (08) 9143 9222 Searipple Village Karratha Bulgarra (08) 9158 7400 Karratha Village Karratha 1300 321 669
PORT HEDLAND Discovery Parks Port Hedland (08) 9173 1271 Port Tourist Park Port Hedland (08) 9172 4111 Blackrock Tourist Park South Hedland (08) 9172 3444 Landing Resort Port Hedland (08) 9172 4111
BROOME Broome Caravan Park (08) 9192 1776 Discovery Parks - Broome (08) 9192 1366 Broome Vacation Village Caravan Park Broome (08) 9192 1057 Cable Beach Caravan Park Broome (08) 9192 2066 Tarangau Caravan Park Broome (08) 9193 5084
Boat Fix Balcatta (08) 9240 8778 Parker Marine Fremantle (08) 9336 6979 Matich Marine East Fremantle (08) 9339 7722 Chandlers Marine Service Wangara (08) 9303 9366 Mobile Marine WA Osborne Park 0428 225 877 GP Marine Cockburn Central 0408 913 104 Hitech Marine Wangara (08) 9309 2888 Bravo Marine Services Bayswater (08) 9272 9300 Seasport Marine Kelmscott (08) 9498 1799 The Boat Business Henderson (08) 9437 5144 Total Marine Repairs Mandurah (08) 9582 7211 West Coast Boat Works Perth Landsdale 0439 969 459 Boat Lifters Blue HQ Perth (08) 9239 9333 Bravo Marine Services Bayswater (08) 9272 9300 Perth Boat Mechanics Huntingdale 0405 593 786 GP Marine Cockburn Central 0408 913 104 Platinum Boating Maintenance Wangara 0402 477 656 Parker Marine Fremantle (08) 9336 6979 Westmarine Boating Services Fremantle WA 0425 177 700
www.hydrowaveaustralia.com Offshore Marine Guildford (08) 6278 1299 Whitworths Marine & Leisure - Mosman Park (08) 9385 5877 Searano Marine Malaga (08) 9248 2242 All Boats and Caravans Kingsley (08) 9309 4200
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Venturing west In late February I made what is now an annual pilgrimage west to work with groups in Western Australia on Track My Fish projects. WA is a special place when it comes to fishing, because it combines spectacular
differences between west and east became obvious and I felt as though I was stepping back in time. I grew up in the 1970s when the coast wasn’t as populated as it is now, distances between populations were further and the roads into the coast were goat tracks. I remember the bone shaking, sometimes impassable road
connected to the land or sea and its rhythms. Their clocks are dictated by nature, not the daily commute. As such they are more direct, practical and grateful for what they have. They are under no illusions that they are blessed, equally they take nothing for granted. Tourism is a big area where the city/country
Fig.3 Concentration of catches during 2018-19. Angling and Aquatic Club, who in my estimation are one of the most forward thinking and innovative clubs I have seen. Like many clubs they have been under increasing scrutiny with their weigh-in events. In response their first step was to introduce a catch and release element to their monthly competitions, but that is not where the response ends.
lot of development time to providing an improved platform that makes life easier for weigh-ins. Track My Fish aims to help clubs and events to reduce the load on volunteers without favouring any fishing philosophy. Marmion have a vision to take that to the point where the catch and release and traditional weigh-ins
of the sport through technological innovation rather than wiping it out altogether. Even more importantly, it leaves the choice with the fisher as to how they want to approach the monthly club events. We don’t want to see an end to weigh-ins, but they have two key problem; community attitude and fisher attitude. The
Fig.1 All catches reported by Westag by species. scenery with some amazing fishing. If I was to pick a place in Australia to get away and fish, WA would be at the top of my list. This month I want to share some of experiences of the west as well as the ways that clubs in the west are innovating in tackling some of fishing’s big challenges. THE WEST IS STILL WILD I have been to the west five times on fishing business, but prior to this trip all trips were to
into 1770. The coastline between Perth and Kalbarri is essentially seven hours of beaches, punctuated by shacks used by commercial crayfishers and small communities. Distance wise, it’s a similar trip to Brisbane to Gladstone, but with only one sizable community in Geraldton in between. When it comes to scenery, there is sand, low lying hardy scrub and not much else. Not much of the land is sheltered from the wind which is constant and there is nothing to hold
divide is most apparent. Decisions made in Perth directly affects the regional tourism towns and unlike the cities, there aren’t always a lot of options to get alternative clients. Given that fishing plays a big role in tourism, fishing regulations do affect the regional economies and to be honest, the fishing regulations around the Kalbarri region require a PhD to be sure a fisher is complying. Sure, the rules are intended to protect fish stocks, but I was surprised to find that
Fig.4 All catches reported by Swanfish by species. Weigh-ins are still an important part of fishing life and even though we have an app-based system for catch and release we don’t see that as a weigh-in killer – quite the opposite. We also work with a range of live and traditional weigh-ins and we are investing a
are integrated so that fishers have the option to release fish that they don’t need during competitions. Fish released are assessed using length-weight charts allowing weight to remain the common measure. I think this is the right approach – preserving the traditions
community has a concern that fish populations are improved and that harvest is managed to reduce the impact on wild stocks. Being able to demonstrate responsibility in addressing this concern is key to our social license. Fishers are looking for options when
Fig.2 Average vs maximum length of fish reported by Westag by species. Perth. This trip I finally managed to get out of Perth heading north to the town of Kalbarri. Perth is very attractive city and it’s my favourite capital to visit. I have already locked in a trip next year to do Swanfish. It wasn’t long past the outskirts of Perth that the 54
water above the surface. Dry is not the word. The harsh but beautiful environment is reflected in the people. Fishing, agriculture and sand mining are the dominant industries, with tourism offering a seasonal boost. One way or another everyone is
the regulations were much more complicated than in Queensland. The gap in life experiences between city and country are huge. MARMION ANGLING AND AQUATIC CLUB My first stop was to meet up with the Marmion
Fig.5 Average vs maximum length of fish reported by Swanfish by species.
it comes to participating in events. We were involved in the Boondooma Yellowbelly Family Fishing Competition, which ran both an app-based section and a weigh-in section with a 50/50 split of the fishers. I think it will stay that way for a long time to come. Choice in how fishers interact with fishing competitions is important to the long-term sustainability of clubs and events. Marmion are ahead of the curve in recognizing this. WESTAG Westag is the Western Australian fish tagging organization, a group we at Infofish have had a long history with. Like many clubs, Westag has had a tough time in recent years, as clubs disappear and
are getting regular updates on how the program is tracking and there are a lot of stats up on the Westag website, westag.org.au. So far in 2019 there have been 591 fish reported with 58 recaptures. That effort is concentrated in three key regions – Kalbarri, Broome and Nicol Bay. Over the next few years Westag are aiming at raising those numbers and providing much more feedback to the communities they fish in. Fig.1 and Fig.2 provide a summary of the catches so far this year. SWANFISH Swanfish 2019 was a step up on 2018 with the number of participants, fish and fishers reporting fish all up. Overall in the second year with an app-based
me it’s a template that other capital cities should follow. One of the interesting stats out of this years event was that fish smaller than 250mm made up 42% of the catch. That fits well with land-based fishing as closer to shore provides shelter for smaller fish, but that number indicates that the Swan River is a great place for fish to grow up. In the Fitzroy River in Queensland for example where there is now a net free zone we have seen the survival rates for juvenile barramundi drop, as there are more predators in the system. Juvenile and smaller fish are often ignored in the fishing equation, but nursery areas are critical to the long-term sustainability of fish populations, just as managing catch is.
his partner Fay runs the Kalbarri Seafront Villas. I have known Jamie for many years and heard many stories of his mulloway exploits, so I took the chance to see the legend in action, and he didn’t disappoint. Like all good fishing trips there was an early start, in this case to take down the four wheelers
at fishing for sharks, I can say that 60 second adrenalin rush was enough to whet my appetite for a more serious go at some point. I know there is some controversy among green groups on sharks, but I can’t deny that hooking one and seeing it launch was one of the most exhilarating moments of my fishing life.
I wouldn’t call that a downgrade – I am a fan of octopus. Unfortunately, I was a couple of weeks early, and there would be more action as the moon disappeared. On the last day, I managed a trip again out with Steve to see if we could scare up some mackerel. I hadn’t trolled
WA has long stretches of coastline that are perfect for targeting mulloway and tailor.
Fig.6 Catches in the Swanfish Event by hour compared to the tide. members age and move onto other activities. Things are starting to turnaround though. Westag moved to a direct membership and led by Steve Wiseman and Jamie Waite numbers are starting to pick up. Over the past six months I have been working with Steve and Jamie to develop enhancements to their services. The leadership team are meeting every fortnight to see through a program of new services and there are some positive developments to come with customizable recapture certificates, a Westag specific app and new dashboards to track catch rates, species and sizes in key regions. There will also be some new member focused activities, which is a fantastic. Already fishers
event processes started to settle and with excellent weather, participation was high. It’s exciting to see the community coming together and the combination of good conditions and positive buzz led the minutes per fish to drop from 8.67 to 6.32. Over a 24-hour period only a limited number of events achieve that sort of catch rate. I love Swanfish, it’s a unique event because it’s a community event and so far as I know the only capital city in Australia where most of the catches are land-based. One of the benefits of an event like this is we end up with another area of the coast that has good data on fishing, nearly a third of the Westag data, with only a couple of days effort. To
SWANFISH STATISTICS Total hours Total fishers Total fish No. Fishers caught fish No. fishers didn’t catch fish % fishers caught fish Minutes/fish Overall catch rate (fish/fisher/day) Average no. fish/fisher Total species
2019 24 272 228 89 139 39.04 6.32 0.42 0.84 20
2018 24 221 166 76 90 45.78 8.67 0.38 0.75 14
In a real sense, the Swan River is as important to the fish as it is to the people living on it. Fig.4 and Fig.5 provide a breakdown of the catch at the Swanfish event. Another interesting analysis of the event is to look at fish caught across the tide. While the Perth tide is much smaller than the tides I am used to on the east coast, there is still a similar pattern in the fishing. As with 2018, the prime times were on the lead up to high tide and the first part of the run-out. Fig.6 shows a plot of the tide and catches by hour. KALBARRI Kalbarri itself is a small piece of paradise. There are no words that do justice to the scenery on offer for the locals and they know it. Fishing isn’t just a lifestyle choice, it’s much closer to the 1970s where fishing is a natural part of daily life with groups of fishers heading out to feed the family. Kalbarri being so far from Perth, growing and catching your own food is a key part of life given the cost of transporting food to the community. On my first day I had a taste of local life thanks to Jamie Waite who with
to a customised barge to transport them to the fishing zone. There isn’t room on the barge for more than a bike and with that weight on board it’s a gentle speed, but once at the destination, the four-wheelers made up for that crossing the terrain at high speed. Along the trail we stopped off to check out some rocky outcrops where abalone used to be harvested. Ten years prior a current of hot water pushed through the coastline around Kalbarri decimating the stocks along with kelp, sea grasses and crayfish. Ten years on the stocks were still recovering and are a no take species. Even down in Perth abalone are only allowed to be targeted for one hour at a time on four separate occasions. Our first fishing stop was a bust, but the second saw Jamie nailing two good mulloway at 675mm and 970mm, both tagged and released. I managed a small tailor, although I was hoping for one his larger cousins, as catches in the region average between 600mm and a metre, dwarfing the common models from Queensland. Later that evening a boat was targeting that size class with large poppers around the rocks, highlighting that tailor of that size are serious predators. I did manage a last cast burst of fun, as the line started peeling off and I was dragged towards the water before a spinner shark burst through the waves, cutting me off as it rolled. Having never tried my hand
Speaking of sharks, the next day I headed out just past the mouth of the Murchison with Steve Wiseman to check out the cray pots. In my short stay, I managed three meals that consisted of crays, which made felt like I had won the lottery. We didn’t even get close to the pots before the boat was surrounded by sharks that have become used to the sound of the motor and have come to associate it with an easy feed. By the time we actually pulled the pot there were nearly a dozen 2m plus models hanging around. It didn’t take much to get them worked up as Steve slapped the water with a glove. Let’s just say, nobody was volunteering to go for a swim. With a full moon the night before there was nothing on offer, however we did pick up a good-sized octopus, which are common by-catch.,
for mackerel since I turned 12, so this was a real journey into my childhood. While the mackerel didn’t play ball, the spectacular coastline provided pretty good compensation. Again, I was a little early, a month or so more the winds would drop and the opportunity to fish wider would open up more opportunities. Even so, the idea of being able to go fishing in the morning before work and fresh fish, crayfish or octopus for dinner has its appeals. At some point in my Infofish journey, I intend to withdraw to a Kalbarri somewhere on the planet. Working seven days a week takes its toll creatively, and at some point, I know I will hit the limits of my problem solving and it will be time for a new perspective. I can think of no better place to refill the tank and reconnect with the real world.
Some ‘friendly’ visitors hoping for a free feed. APRIL 2019
Wind woes to prepare for winter! BRISBANE
Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On
I awoke at 4:30am to the sound of the alarm on my phone, barely drowning out the dreaded sound of the wind blowing through
tube remaining motionless in the shed while I joined a couple of mates on their boating adventures to scratch the fishing itch. I did make the most of one free morning for some kayak maintenance, getting my pedal yak back in order, ready for some glassy winter weather and
kayak would allow me to cover some ground, fish back into the wind and make my way back home against the forecast 20+ knots of breeze that gusted to well over this. Remember, safety first, and as always I had a plan – fishing areas that would be safe with the forecast
it has a rod rack set up that can securely hold four rigged rods and I had a selection of new colours in some of my favourite soft plastic models, so was hoping to have four different plastics rigged and ready to fish. Finally, it is set up with a quality anchor running rig or anchor trolley, allowing me to move the anchor line to the nose or tail of the kayak and anchor more effectively and safely in the wind. Launching at the local boat ramp I pedalled across the wind and set up a drift across a large flat. The first new plastic to get a run was one of my favourite profiles – a 2.5” paddletail, in the newly released green pumpkin colour. With the overcast sky and dull conditions I was pretty confident that this natural, darker silhouette colour would get eaten. Fishing in 1-1.5m of water, I had the little paddle-tail rigged on a 1/4oz 1/0 jighead. For many this would seem like too heavy a jighead, however there are a couple of reasons that I run this jighead weight.
The alternative retrieval point and trolley came in handy again with the wind blowing hard. small bream I was stoked to have it on board and took a couple of quick photos. It was my first cast with the new colour paddle tail and it was also my first fish in the
A pretty good bream was soon in the net, had its photo taken and was released. This better fish had me thinking about the coming cooler months and the quality bream
A simple kit – jigheads to suit the plastics, scents, snips and a few different leader weights. the trees outside. It had been a busy month of work and family commitments, topped off by what seemed like never ending wind and cyclonic conditions. I opened the front door and was greeted by gum trees blowing in the breeze and dark clouds moving across the sky. What to do? Go fishing, of course. A lack of free time and the poor weather had seen the kayaks, SUP and float
this inspired me to take on the wind and get the yak out while I had a few hours. I still hadn’t replaced the rudder cable on the kayak, so effectively had no steering. I set the rudder to straight, tightened up the tension screw so that it wouldn’t move and my plan was to simply dip the paddle blade in the water on either side to steer the kayak, while pedalling to power it. Even without the rudder the pedal
wind direction and I had an alternative option to retrieve the kayak, along with my trolley, should it become too difficult to make the pedal all the way back to the boat ramp I was launching from. There were a few more reasons for stepping up to the pedal kayak. Firstly, it is longer and larger than my small paddle kayak, so it would be much more comfortable and safer in the windy conditions. Secondly,
An anchor and running rig or anchor trolley make fishing in the wind much easier.
Just a small bream but good fun and first fish on the first cast with a new colour. It’s great to be back out in the yak again. 56
Firstly it allows long casts, even in windy conditions, so that the lure is further away from the kayak, while fishing shallower water and often spooky feeders. Secondly I am drifting on the flat, so I am fishing fast and covering as much ground as possible, making as many casts as I can before I have drifted off the flat. With the strong wind moving in the same direction as the rising tide I was drifting fast. A long cast across the flat and slightly ahead of the drift, a few shakes of the plastic and then a fairly quick retrieve speed, resulting in a tap, tap and hook set. A short but stubborn fight and a small bream was in the net. Even though it was only a
kayak for a little while, with the run of bad weather and lack of time. Upon releasing the fish it powered off, giving me that bream release shower with its tail. I added a little more scent to the plastic and looked up to find that I was already halfway along the 200m flat… the speed of the drift was crazy. A couple more casts and the drag screamed as what felt like a better quality bream nailed the plastic and sped off across the flat. The speed that the fish travel at across the flat when hooked is one of the things that make rolling plastics on the flats so addictive. They can’t run deep, so they power off across the flat at blinding speed.
fishing that will be on the flats as there is an influx of bait into the system. Many anglers shy away from kayak fishing in the winter months, however, for me this is some of the best fishing, with plenty of bait being followed into the river and estuary systems by a mix of cold weather species. Winter days can also mean stable weather patterns, glassy conditions and an escape from the heat of summer. The key with fishing in the cooler months is to get your kayak fishing apparel sorted. Layering allows you to remove or add layers as the temperature changes and it’s important to invest in some quality outer layers, including lightweight waterproof pants and top. A
headscarf and hat or beanie will keep the head warm. There are even waterproof socks available that can keep your feet dry and warm, inside a pair of water shoes. A dry bag is a good idea for storing additional or unrequired layers. By the time the bream was released I was almost off the flat and with it
into the bottom, then slide the anchor running rig into position and prepare for any jolt as the slack line is taken up. You do not want to end up side on in current and rough conditions. I made a couple of dozen casts around the kayak and after only a couple of yellowtail pike and the wind increasing, it
the weather is better I will be giving it a run over the sand flats and picking some pockets in the weed beds. Looking out of the mouth of the creek I could see that the wind had lifted to another level and conditions were quite rough. There were also some big black clouds looming in the distance. It was time to head for home.
A quick clean up in the landing net while wheeling the kayak home. where the wind had pushed seaweed and rubbish up onto the bank and collected some rubbish in my landing net for later disposal. If we
It had been a testing, but enjoyable morning on the water, with a few fish on some new lures and the big yak back in action. I
was still on the water when the torrential downpour happened the ending may not have been so happy. Make the most of your
Four new fish lollies, rigged and ready to go. blowing hard, I decided to pedal back up the flat to drift again at that speed was not an option, opting instead to anchor near the edge of the flat. It’s important that when anchoring in wind and rougher conditions you have the anchor line and running rig sorted before you move into position to anchor. The last thing
was time to leave the flat and head for the shelter of a local creek mouth. It wasn’t so much about fishing on this trip but getting out on the water and getting the big yak back in action, so I opted to explore some new water and flick another new colour, this time in one of my go-to flathead plastics. After drifting for a
Hugging the mangroves as I exited the creek ensured that I was travelling in sheltered waters, until I rounded the last bend and felt the full power of the wind. The decision of whether to pedal back to the boat ramp or to pull out at the alternative retrieval point was made for me instantly and I only had Only a small flathead, but christened the new hot snakes colour in the ZMan 3” MinnowZ. all do our bit and clean up on our travels, we will help to keep our fisheries and the environment healthier.
arrived home, cleaned and stowed the kayak and then the skies opened and it poured with rain… if I
weather windows, gear up for the winter months and all the best with the fishing. See you on the water.
It’s nice to have the big rig back in action... just need to sort that rudder cable! you want is the anchor line tangled around something, pulling something into the water or making the kayak unstable. Paddle back into the current, lower the anchor, clear the anchor line and ensure the anchor locks
while, I anchored on the edge of a weed bank and threw a lot of casts for only a couple of small flathead. I can see this new colour becoming a favourite as it looked awesome both in and out of the water. When
about a hundred metres to pedal before sliding the kayak up onto the bank at the closer exit point and loading it back onto the trolley for the roll home. On the roll home I stopped occasionally,
That’s a better quality fish and another on the new green pumpkin coloured ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ. APRIL 2019
WHAT’S NEW BOATING HDS CARBON UPGRADE
The Lowrance 18.3 software update for HDS Carbon displays includes support for Active Imaging, StructureScan 3D with Active Imaging enhancements and the LR-1 Remote Control, plus a simplified user interface and new Dual Mode WiFi capability. Active Imaging allows anglers to see structure from a greater distance, with more refined detail. The software update enables support for both Active Imaging 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 transducers. Active Imaging enhancements for StructureScan 3D include a cleaner water column with less noise, refreshed colour palettes and enhanced sonar processing to deliver maximum detail, plus a new depthhighlighting feature. Users can control an HDS Carbon display from anywhere on their boat with the optional LR-1 Remote Control. The simplified HDS Carbon interface has dedicated pages for CHIRP, SideScan, DownScan Imaging, StructureScan 3D and SpotlightScan. With Dual Mode WiFi, you can maintain a WiFi connection to HDS Carbon and still use it as an access point for screen mirroring/remote control from a smartphone/ tablet. This update is also available for Simrad NSO, NSS and GO series displays. www.lowrance.com
Fusion has released a weather-proof (IP65) version of all-in-one marine entertainment system – the Panel-Stereo Outdoor. Offering AM/FM, USB, AUX and Bluetooth streaming source options, it provides exceptional sound reproduction from a single product, and flexibility in installation options. Panel-Stereo allows boaters to enjoy the flexibility of audio control from anywhere in or on an vessel via Bluetooth from compatible Apple or Android devices. Users can also enable stereo control from a compatible Garmin watch and Fusion ARX wireless remote, or simply use the front face of the Panel-Stereo. Designed for surface mounting with the optional 43mm surface mounting spacer, Panel-Stereo can be installed onto any flat surface with no mounting cut-out required. It’s ideal for shallow wall cavities, with only a single cut-out, where standard speakers will not fit. Both flush and flat options are available. Requiring only 12V DC power, ground and AM/FM connections, the set up is quick and easy. www.fusionentertainment.com
ALL-NEW 400HP VERADO
Mercury Marine is introducing an allnew 400hp Verado outboard - the most powerful Verado on the water. The new engine is built on Mercury’s proven L6SC Verado platform, and is suitable for a wide range of applications including offshore boats, centre consoles and pontoons. As well as the added power, owners will enjoy the smooth and quiet operation. Weighing just 303kg, the same as the 350hp Verado, the newest Verado is the lightest outboard in the 400hp+ category by more than 130kg. The 400hp Verado will exclusively use the 5.44” 1.75 HD (heavy-duty) gearcase and is compatible with Mercury Joystick Piloting for Outboards. It will be available in the same model variations as the 350hp Verado. 58
The 3+3=6 year outboard warranty provides engine owners with an additional three years of factory-backed protection against failures caused by defects in material or production. www.mercurymarine.com.au
KOVIX KVH ALARMED LOCK
The Kovix KVH alarmed trailer U lock allows you to secure your boat, caravan or trailer. Made from high strength 304 stainless steel, this lock is designed for Australia’s tough conditions. The original KVH-88 model has now been superseded by the new KVH-96. The increased width of the new version (96mm) means it fits more coupling types. It is suitable for the following couplings: standard 50mm ball, standard 70mm ball, ALKO Offroad 3.5T and ALKO Offroad 2T. On most ball couplings, the KVH can also be locked on while the trailer is attached to your vehicle (use caution when driving with the lock attached, as extreme conditions may cause damage to the lock). Features include a built-in 120db alarm system, CR2 long-life lithium battery, on and off alarm functions and waterresistant electronics. Price: SRP: $224.95 www.kovixaustralia.com.au
CREWSAVER CREWFIT 165N
Crewsaver has released a new model lifejacket called Crewfit 165N, which is a safe, comfortable and affordable PFD for the everyday recreational boater. The Crewfit 165N Sport uses the latest 3D technology, ensuring maximum comfort levels. Entry level to the 3D range, the Crewfit 165N Sport has the essential features to ensure the user remains safe when out on the water. Key features include: ISO 12402-3 (150N) approved but with superior buoyancy (165N) to float you higher in the water; Peninsular Chin support, to keep your airway well clear of the water whatever the conditions; attachment point for Crewsaver Surface Light; soft loop D-ring for attaching safety harness (with harness option); robust outer cover for durability; UML MK5 Automatic or Halkny Roberts 840 Manual operating heads; centre buckle adjuster; crotch strap (optional extra); oral tube; whistle; reflective tape; and lifting becket. www.crewsaver.com
ICOM IC-M330GE VHF
The Japanese made Icom IC-M330, with its ultra-compact body (156.5mm x 66.5mm x 110.1mm) is the ideal marine transceiver when space is at a premium. A combination of the directional keypad and soft keys provides simple, smooth operation, and the most used functions are assigned to soft keys for quick one-push function access. A new speaker design delivers dynamic and clear sound over a wide bass and treble range, and the IC-M330/G provides a distortion-free clear audio even at full volume. The radio provides reliable communication in RF busy environment like a marina. The ICM330 radio monitors CH 70 continuously, even while you are receiving another channel. The built-in GPS receiver provides your location, bearing and speed by using information from GPS, GLONASS and SBAS. The acquired position information can be used for DSC calls. Other features include an easy-to-read full dot-matrix display, AquaQuake draining function, and IPX7 waterproof construction. www.icom.net.au
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Three great boats for families and anglers water with the Beachcomber when conditions are right. The bow rider area is perfect to set-up an optional table (with a floor spigot fitted) for some welldeserved snacks. There is carpeted floor throughout, while a family sized see-through glove box and a dash area large enough for all electronic deviced
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It was a boat review to remember: a day in the Southport Broadwater assessing three popular boats from the Savage range – the brand is celebrating 120 years of alloy boat manufacturing this year. We had the opportunity to assess a pair of great family craft plus one more suited to us anglers. The three craft were sensibly sized rigs, ideal for the family or first time boater, easily towed by a family sized SUV or wagon and with enough features to arouse interest in novice and experienced boat owners. All three craft sported 3mm bottoms and topsides and were finished with some
power – and even with four passengers aboard, the 485 Beachcomber had no problem exceeding 60km/h at near wide open throttle. Able to pull a skier? No question about it. Some useful options for the Beachcomber are a bait station, drum winch, plus a berley bucket so fishing is not overlooked.
The Savage 485 Beachcomber and 435 Bay Cruiser on the South Stradbroke Island beach. As useful runabout craft, either would be ideal for family fishing or boating fun. Savage craft that are now manufactured by the massive Telwater conglomerate on the Gold Coast.
first, the 485 Beachcomber, was a nippy bow rider with seating for five folk on comfy pedestal seats up front and a
up front. Access forward was via a port opening windscreen section. Personally, I’ve always thought bow riders to be a very versatile – and underrated – craft with up front seating just perfect for fun in the sun, plus it’s a handy fishing station to have first crack at fish ahead. On family days, that extra seating would certainly be put to good use as well. A ski pole insert is fitted on this craft, so tow sports could well be part of a day on the
A full height transom is but one feature making the Beachcomber a very good family boating rig. were all standard fare. Meanwhile, the cockpit table and bimini, plus a pair of rod holders were options. Power astern was courtesy of a 90hp Mercury four stroke – maximum
What did impress me about the 485 Beachcomber, along with the stability at rest, was the roominess within the hull plus an easy, unfussed ride. The run out to our designated
Strutting its stuff, the Beachcomber was amply powered by the 90 Mercury four-stroke. considerable attention to detail and presentation. Savage are acknowledged as the oldest alloy boat makers in our country and have a heritage, and reputation, that stands behind the range of
BOW RIDER LUXURY, 485 BEACHCOMBER I was lucky enough to be aboard a couple of craft that could fulfil the roles of handy family runabouts or fishing craft, depending upon the day’s requirements. The
wide folding lounge at the stern. Cockpit side pockets were large enough to take care of less bulky items and there was also handy storage in the bow area within three compartments found under the plush cushioning
A close look at the Beachcomber reveals her high sides and attractive lines throughout. That bimini is a must have extra in the author’s opinion. 60
Above: When it’s time to relax and enjoy the ambience, the Beachcomber’s optional table would certainly come in handy. Below: There’s sufficient room on the Beachcomber’s dash area to set-up one of the larger sounders, via a RAM bracket.
photo and test work area was far from smooth and the Beachcomber – with four aboard – acquitted itself very well in the short, sharp chop we encountered. THE 435 BAY CRUISER Although a half metre shorter and with less beam (1.95m against the 2.08m of the 485 Beachcomber) the 435 Bay Cruiser also did
The Bay Cruiser’s interior layout was very similar to that of the Beachcomber’s, with a port folding windscreen centre, a lean-through central screen section to allow anchor access and glove box in the dash. There was also carpet throughout, full cockpit length side pockets plus seating for five via
like – depending upon the day’s agenda. Like the 485 Beachcomber, the Bay Cruiser’s options included a bimini and rod holders with additional options also extending to similar fishing assets as the Beachcomber. Set-up with a smooth Mercury 50 four-stroke, the 435 Bay Cruiser lifted onto
The author drove the rig over some serious wash at a good pace and was quite impressed with its performance. the 445 Osprey was the more fishing orientated rig. It was a good sized open boat, with lots of work room and storage up front under the 55cm high cast deck to compliment the cockpit side pockets the 445 Osprey seemed to be well set-up for fishing and crabbing.
the fun of it we recorded a speed of just over 40km/h on my handheld GPS with two aboard on the run back to base at the Marine precinct. The ride of the Savage was also good and when belting across a few pressure waves from the two accompanying Savage
would be ample peace of mind for Mum or Dad with youngsters aboard the craft. The rating was for up to five passengers and a nice touch was the carpeted cast deck and floor throughout. Options consisted of rod holders, glove box and most interesting, a side console
There’s excellent hull design here. Note how cleanly the Bay Cruiser’s hull is riding when she’s moving along quickly. very well, even with four passengers aboard. This was especially apparent during the run out to more sheltered waters where digital images could be later assessed as suitable for publication rather than simply trashed because of focus issues.
the familiar arrangement of pedestals up front and a three person lounge at the stern. Again, the ample cockpit area ensured there would be plenty of room for fishing tackle or family orientated items – extra clothes, ice boxes and the
the plane in a couple of boat lengths and cruised quietly at over 50km/h without much effort. In all, a neat and very useful sort of runabout rig. ABOARD THE 445 OSPREY Of the three craft I was invited to drive I thought
Time for a break! Although not top power, the 40 Mercury was an ideal motor for the tiller steer Osprey.
Above: Anchor access within the 435 Bay Cruiser is simplified by an opening windscreen centre plus a recess in the front deck. Below: The Bay Cruiser’s dash area was large enough to provide room for plenty of gauges plus a big screen sounder on a RAM bracket.
At the helm I found the Osprey had a nice feel about it underway, too, due to the tiller steer 40 Mercury fourstroke (max power is 50hp) being quite responsive and providing that sensation of unity of motion that tiller steer rigs always do. Cruising along, I felt the 40’s offset tiller handle plus trim/ tilt at the fingertips made the journey better and just for
runabouts the Osprey surprised me with its gentleness. Incidentally, driving while sitting on a metal seat without padding makes it pretty easy to gauge whether a particular craft is soft riding or not. With a beam of 1.96m the Osprey was quite beamy for length while the side height of almost 900mm would ensure there
was available as well. I’d see the 445 Osprey fulfilling quite a few useful roles as a fishing rig for bay, estuary or impoundment work. CONCLUSION Summing up my Savage day I formed the opinion that all three of the reviewed craft would live up to expectations of their owners and, best of all, a 4x4 is not essential to tow any of these crafts.
A useful storage hatch under the front deck was ideal for out of weather storage within the Osprey. APRIL 2019
Stessco Breezaway 460 with Yamaha F90hp - SC
RE ONLINE MO
T APRIL 2019
will have a longer life when put on a purpose-built trailer, and not just any old trailer from a yard somewhere. For extra peace of mind, the Yamaha F70hp comes with a 4-year warranty. LAUNCHING Launching couldn’t be any easier with the Breezaway, with the boat quietly sliding off the composite bunk/roller
less experienced in boating. Pulling the loaded trailer back out of the water can be done with a standard family sedan or small 4WD, with no specialised towing vehicle needed. ON THE WATER The Breezaway 460 has been designed with one goal in mind, and that is to make it easy to operate, and Stessco
Up toward the cockpit, the new Stessco bolster-style seats are super comfortable, even with the deteriorating conditions in South East Queensland’s Pumicestone Passage, and swivel easily. There’s no rocking or wobbling, even when punching through a bit of chop, and the seats are wellpadded for comfort on those longer boating trips. The windscreen provided protection from any splash that made it over the bow, and featured a design that allows quick and safe access to the anchor well. Under the front deck is enough room to put any larger items that need to be kept dry, such as camping gear. A lockable glove box is another handy feature not often seen in boats of this size. The dash layout is very simple and easy to navigate, with a flush mounted sounder diminishing the need to fit and re-fit a unit every time you launch the boat, and gadgets and switches all within flicking distance of the steering wheel. POWER The test boat was fitted with a Yamaha F70hp – the maximum horsepower for this craft – and it delivered fantastic fuel economy and a top speed of 57km/h
DE FOR EX
Length (mm) ................................................ 5054 Beam (mm) .................................................. 2100 Depth (mm)...................................................1150 Bottom sides (mm) ........................................... 3 Top sides (mm) .................................................. 3 Max. hp ............................................................ 70 Max. transom weight.....................................175 Transom height ..............................................20” Max no. people ................................................. 5 Base boat hull weight (kg) ........................... 390
fuel filter and splash well, which at the same time are well housed and safe from the weather. A small transom door is perfect for accessing the boat from the rear, which is also possible from the bank, as this range of runabouts draws so little water. Not only was this boat easy to pull into the shallow water transom first – we still had to stop it from drifting away! With versatility being the middle name of this boat, it also has a simple mount above the splash well that takes a ski pole or bait board, which Stessco can provide. The working space behind the cockpit is as open as possible, with only one underdeck storage hatch, which would make an ideal kill tank. There is also storage under both gunwales to stow
Stessco has always produced fantastic boat/motor/trailer packages, and being an Australian boat builder, they cater very well to Australian conditions and lifestyles. While they have always built great hulls for specific purposes, some buyers just want something that will get them out on the water for a day of fishing, skiing, or just relaxing with friends and family! Perfect for this caper is the runabout style hull, of which Stessco produce many. Boaters will be pleased to know that Stessco offer not one but a range of packages for this category of buyer. This time we will be focussing on the Breezaway 460, with the tested model sporting a Yamaha F70hp at the transom. The Breezaway 460 is part of a family of versatile runabouts, which also includes the 440 and 480. Adrian Beil joined the Fishing Monthly team to take the middle child of this family for a spin. ON THE TRAILER The tested Breezaway came to the ramp on a Stessco trailer OEM built by Dunbier, which comes in either a galvanised or aluminium option. The Breezaway, being part of Stessco’s premium range, when housed on one of these trailers comes with a warranty of five years, as opposed to 24 months when not on a Stessco trailer. Additionally, being a single axle trailer, it makes the whole rig very manoeuvrable not only when towing, but also in the garage with only one person pushing or pulling. There’s no doubt that a boat
in the choppy conditions. Amazingly, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the most economic cruising speed at 43km/h (4500rpm), which delivered 3.1km/L, and the top speed of 57km/h (WOT), which delivered only slightly less, at 2.6km/L. FINAL THOUGHTS This boat, if fitted out correctly, could head offshore, however there are more suitable boats in the Stessco range for regular offshore work. Where the 460 really excels is in the bays, estuaries and lakes with general boating, skiing, camping and fishing in mind. This rig is absolutely perfect for someone who wants maximum usage out of a boat and doesn’t want to have to rob a bank to afford it. As tested, this rig would come home for around the low to mid $30,000s, with different outboards and optional additions affecting this price. If you’d like to check out this boat or any others in the Stessco range, you can drop into Boat City at 430 Wanneroo Rd, Westminster, or give them a call on (08) 9345 4311. Alternatively, you can jump online and check them out on Instagram and Facebook at ‘Stessco’, or visit their website at www. stessco.com.au.
Main: The 460 is the middle child in the Breezaway range, with a 440 and 480 also available. Above: Adrian Beil from Stessco certainly made the 460 look easy to operate in a little bit of chop – probably because it was! trailer with ease, with retrieval being just trouble free. Even in windy conditions, launching this boat by yourself would be easily achievable if you were on your own or with people
achieves this by making everything as open and accessible as possible. The transom is an open design, meaning there’s ready access to the battery,
any small or long items out of harm’s way. This working space is extremely versatile, and perfect for taking extra people, ski tubes, fishing tackle or camping gear.
RPM .................. km/L ............................ km/h Idle ........................ 6.3 ....................................3 1000 ...................... 6.1 ....................................4 1500 ...................... 4.1 ....................................8 2000 ...................... 2.8 ....................................9 2500 ...................... 2.3 .................................. 11 3000 ...................... 2.6 .................................. 17 3500 ...................... 2.9 .................................. 27 4000 ...................... 2.9 .................................. 33 4500 ...................... 3.1 .................................. 43 5000 ...................... 2.9 .................................. 48 5500 ...................... 2.6 .................................. 55 WOT ...................... 2.6 .................................. 57
That square in the middle of the windscreen opens up to provide access to the anchor well.
An uncomplicated dash layout with a flush mounted sounder makes this rig very easy for a less experienced boater to operate.
The underfloor kill tank is a handy feature, and means there’s no need to drag a stinky esky on board if you’re after a feed of fish. The anchor well is sensibly-sized and shaped, and isn’t complicted by an anchor winch. Queenslanders are tough like that!
Top: The Stessco trailers OEM built by Dunbier improve the warranty deal, and almost definitely the longevity of the boat. Above: Launching the 460 was no hassle, with the rig sliding off without any back-breaking pushing or shoving.
Having an open transom means you can acces the battery on the water should anything go wrong. Although open, it was well-housed and safe from spray.
Stessco’s OEM built trailers by Dunbier come in a aluminium or galvanised option.
Side pockets offered storage for small or long items, well out of harm’s way. The work area behind the cockpit is left deliberately empty and free.
Top: Extra seating via a lounge is a great idea, and gives younger passengers the chance to feel the open air and enjoy their boating experience with safety. Above: The open transom and work area would make any onwater activity very easy and safe for all passengers.
While 70hp is the maxiumum horsepower the 460 can take, it felt just right for the boat, and offered excellent fuel economy, even at WOT! APRIL 2019
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Complete digital version of Western Australia Fishing Monthly Magazine for April 2019.