I N T H E S A LT
A F LY F I S H I N G M A G A Z I N E
The Landscape, Climate and Tides The Pilbara region covers an area of 507,896 km2 including offshore islands. The Pilbara contains some of the world’s oldest surface rocks, including the ancient fossilized remains known as stromatolites and rocks such as granites that are more than three billion years old. The tides pose a real challenge. As a general rule there is a week of neaps (with as little as 1m movement), then a week of spring tides (with 5.5m of movement) in the warmer months. The spring low tide tends to dramatically empty out the creeks, which results in less water between you and the fish. Neap tides in the winter brings the billfish in and clears the water on the flats. Although possible to fish on all tides, the medium sized tides seem to create enough water movement to really get things going on the flats. The beauty of the constant hot summer weather is that the majority of days there isn’t a cloud in the sky which makes spotting fish on the flats a lot easier. The temperature can be a real burden, especially in the summer months. This past March a town close by (Roebourne) surpassed a 44 year old temperature record set in Mexico with a sweltering 48.1 degrees. The heat is something you must endure to target Barramundi. Winter offers up more pleasant fishing conditions and the opportunity to chase billfish, but more on that later.
Creeks, Flats & Bluewater Creeks Barramundi. These are probably my favorite fish to chase on fly, as I’m sure those of you reading this would agree. The Pilbara Barra seem to get going around September each year, being triggered by the rise in water temps. They continue through to March although occasionally cyclones come through earlier than expected and drop lots of rain which can shut them down a bit. They seem to come out of the blocks hard in spring, eager to crunch flies, then slow down a bit coming into December. My only guess is they have all put on condition and water temps in the creek can reach 36 degrees which makes them slow down. They are still catchable, but you need to rethink your tactical approach (fishing the night time low tide for e.g.) Another species in the creeks is Mulloway (Black Jewfish). They are not in all creeks but you will need to target the creeks with deep holes, normally found towards the river mouth caused by the large tides draining out. Mangrove Jacks are normally found around the mangroves (no surprises there) and close to various rock bars. Blue Salmon are more of a winter event but can be found in big numbers. Threadfin Salmon seem to produce a decent run once the water warms and can be an exciting bycatch whilst chasing Barra. But normally a smaller fly will be required and it can be highly frustrating watching large meter long