Crayfishing at Shark Bay info wanted

 hi all heading up that way next week is it worth while taking your pots ?

ranmar850's picture

Posts: 2044

Date Joined: 12/08/12

haven't done it for years up there.

Sun, 2017-04-16 14:44

 But the crays were mostly in very turbulent or tide-affected water, unless you wanted to go very deep. Very little ground in the sort of depths an amateur would like to work. Others may know differently?

Posts: 54

Date Joined: 02/04/17

 Shitloads of crays up there

Sun, 2017-04-16 21:34

 Shitloads of crays up there on the ocean side of the islands. Probably a heap around the cliffs near Steep Point too.

Bryce Day's picture

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Date Joined: 01/06/15

Expect full pots. But run a

Mon, 2017-04-17 06:09

Expect full pots. But run a few floats. 

ranmar850's picture

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Date Joined: 12/08/12

Plenty of crays--probably

Mon, 2017-04-17 06:27

 Although the feedback from pros visiting the area in recent years hasn't been good. The point I was trying to make was that there is very little "easy" ground like you would have in Perth. It's either hard up against the reef, under that massively surging whitewater, and is still quite deep, or you have to go out a long way. Off Steep Point, for example, it's either under the whitewater or you need to go out several miles to 42 fathoms. Yes, fathoms, not metres. Up the Island, I found ground in 20 -24 fathoms, runs for a long way although you have to go a few miles north of the passage before it starts. In the passage itself, there are definitely crays over on the north side, where those standing breakers are on the run-out tide, not a place for the faint hearted, and I think there is some sort of sanctuary zone over there now anyway? Fisheries used to have their puerulus collector over there.  Down south, Crayfish Bay and Thunder bay can be good, but you are dodging breakers if there are is any swell. We used to get tiny little red cockroaches in our holding pots inside South passage up near the ranngers house, and there used to be huge reds in places inside the passage, like that rock on the very southern tip of the island, but divers cleaned them out years ago, and there is very little natural recruitment to the artea via puerulus, I believe Fisheries stopped checking their collectors years ago as there was just never much on it. 

I could go on for a long time about all the theories of boom and bust for the commercial fishery off the bay, it's a bit like the stretch between the Capes and around the corner at Leeuwin, but much more so.

ChrisG's picture

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 Best mate used to pull pots

Mon, 2017-04-17 10:41

 Best mate used to pull pots off steep, ocean end of south passage from a tinny towed into steep and launched off beach at shelter bay. Was a bit of a steam from shelter bay and generally put them in on day 1 and only pulled a couple of times over the two weeks there (obviously weather dependent). Was up there to chase Mackies off the cliffs so only pulled when going for a bottom bash from the tinny.

Weather needed to be fine but water depth near ovens and fault line isn't as deep as people think....pretty shallow considering the size  of the fish being caught off there. I remember thinking before I ever went out with a sounder that it must be 50-60m deep of a reality I think were dropping pots in about 17m.

pots were full but as said only pulled a couple of times over two weeks. Needed bait that would last a week in case couldn't get out.  

Dont tow tinny in nowadays as don't don't do long trips any more, generally only long weekends etc nowadays so would be more trouble than it's worth.

good luck mate just remember minimum of two person stuff up there, motor always running, nose into the swell when near cliffs and don't be too brave initially. seen lots of arse puckering moments with heros fishing for baldies at bottom of cliffs from small boats. Never seen anyone come a cropper but seen a couple of close calls....



ranmar850's picture

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Date Joined: 12/08/12

Used to scare the crap out of me in close around the point

Mon, 2017-04-17 11:08

 And I was in a crayboat. Enormous surge, then sucks back and exposes rock, always felt like you were going to land on the bottom. From memory, it was, as ChrisG said, about 12 fathoms, but the margin between 12 fathoms and hitting the bottom is wafer thin. Go out a little further, and you get zilch. Needless to say, I worked the deeper water, and did well anyway. Once you leave the very edge of the cliffs off Steep Point and head west, there is absoluely zilch cray bottom until you hit 40-42 fathoms, and believe me, I looked hard.  60 fathoms of rope and four floats, if you are interested

MJ's picture

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Date Joined: 23/06/09

Shark Bay Crays

Mon, 2017-04-17 11:57

 Hi Ralph, We are camping with 2x 6m boats at Withnell Pt in 3 weeks time, any value in dropping pots in that area?


ranmar850's picture

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Date Joined: 12/08/12

I would only be guessing,

Wed, 2017-04-19 14:38

 As I have only potted the ocean side of the island. Certainly a possibility further up toward Turtle Bay--is it reefy off Withnell, or still seagrass beds? I have never been there. Once you are in reefy ground with a bit of water movement, you could be hopeful. Pots are bulky things to transport on a trip like that, maybe take one between you and set it carefully, who knows what could happen?