Dongara/Port Denison fishing trip


I just got back from a 4 day fishing trip to Dongara/Port Denison and I'd just like to give you guys a little report of what it was like.


The first night down there we were fishing off of Port Denison Marina's north wall (sea side); about 50 meters left of the jetty. We had two rods set up for livies, and two more rods that we were using to catch the livies. We found that the best way to catch livies was to cut up pilchards into cubs and just whack them onto hooks and then reel in very slowly. We got 3 or 4 good sized snook, 2 small tailor, a herring, a few whiting, and aroud 20 juvenile Mulloway. We used the herring and the whiting as livies, and they worked well. Every time we chucked them out, we'd reel them in an hour later to find that they had their whole bodies bitten off which just left their heads, so obviously we had to add another assist hook to hook whatever was doing that, but we decided to leave that until the next night. At the end of that night we didn't bring anything home, but we had a lot of fun catching all of the tailor, snook, mulloway, herring and whiting.


On the second day we decided to go down to the jetty right infront of the crayfish factory and see what we could catch. We put the smallest hooks we could find on, and used small bits of squid. We caught several small pink snapper, several of which were nearly as small as 20 cent pieces, and I managed to catch a 20ishCM mulloway and a yellowtail scad. 

The second night we decided to go to the same spot, but this time we had our rigs set up with assist hooks to catch whatever we were missing the other nights. This night was the same as the first; herring, juvenile mulloway, whiting, snook and tailor. About an hour after dark we had a big run which eventually snapper our line, it was one of the infamous 'bonet sized stingrays' of Port Denison marina (we knew because it was doing the classic stop start which all rays do). Because of only getting 6 or so hours sleep the night before, I was super tired. I ended up falling asleep on the rocks, and only woke up when my rod went off screaming, but sadly I woke up too late as whatever was on the other end of the line already had the time to run for ages and ended up busting me off. We left after that and as you'd imagine, we were super bumbed out about that. 


The third day we decided to try our luck during the day by sending a baloon out to the edge of the reef in front of the south marina wall. After about 20 minutes of the baloon being out, we had something hit the bait and thrash around a little bit before cutting our leader, so we set the rig back up with some wire leader and tried again. It only took about 30 minutes after getting the baloon out again before getting a massive run, but sadly I had a lure out trying to get some herring, and my Dad was setting up another rig, so we got to the rod only after whatever had taken the bait had gotten back to the reef and busted us off. I ended up getting a couple herring though, which both managed to shake the hook as I was picking them up out of the water. 

That night we decided to try our luck on the south wall again, but this time we walked about another 100 meters down so we didn't have the reef right in front of us. After a couple hours and not even a single bite, we decided that we should move somewhere else. We decided to go to Seaspray Beach since we had heard so many stories about how good it was supposed to be. We got to the beach, and got nothing for a few hours. I eventually got a whiting that I put out on my rod as a livie, and my Dad got a 37cm Mulloway, which was our PB for the trip so far. We spent another hour or so with no results, and decided to call it a night, but as I was reeling in my rod, I had a big hit, so I thought that I had gotten a tailor or something, but after no fight and just a bunch of weight, I pulled up a 1 meter Port Jackson shark, which was cool because it was the biggest fish I had ever caught. We got a few photos of that and called it a night.


On the 4th day, I decided to grab a rod and try to land my first fish on a lure (because the herring I got the day before I didn't land, so I didn't count either of them as my first fish caught on my lure). I went down to the jetty on the marina's north wall and decided to start casting a soft plastic lure. On the very first cast, I had a massive North-west blowie come in and devour it. I dragged him around the jetty and attempted to pull it up on the rocks, at which point my line snapped and it swam off with my lure and all still in it's mouth. I decided to count that as my first fish on a lure.

On the 4th night I came on here, and read up on what the best spots in Port Denison were supposed to be, and I saw a post that said that 10-20meters from the end of the north wall was supposed to be the best spots, so we decided to try that. 

Withing an hour of being out there, we thought this was going to be the night that we got our massive mulloway, we put out whole mullet this time as we couldn't catch any suitable livies, and it looked like the whole mullet was the way to go at first because we had several short runs which looked like it was a mulloway doing its thing and being very docile as they are, but after about 10 short runs and no big run, we decided to bring the bait back in and got snagged. We think that it may of been a big crab or maybe an octopus that was dragging the mullet into it's den or something. But like every other night, we caught tonnes of juvenile mulloway (probably around 20 for this night alone), including the trips best mulloway which measured in at 39.5cm. We also caught a single small gold-spotted sweetlips. 


We left Dogara with no fish, but regardless it was still a very fun trip. The weather wasn't the greatest, and we heard that the best times to go fishing there are from October to Feburary, so we were a bit late. But still, the juvenile mulloway are there in plague proportions, so at least we know that the next generation of Mulloway are safe and sound at Dongara!




TL;DR Lots of tailor, snook, herring, a few bits and peices and heaps of juvenile mulloway. Didn't catch anything massive because they busted us off every time.

(Sorry for the massive wall of text, I wanted to go in as much detail as possible)

Posts: 625

Date Joined: 27/11/09

Great write up

Wed, 2016-05-04 16:28

 Thanks for the extensive write-up mate - sounds like you had a lot of fun up there despite leaving empty handed. Those big mulloway sure can be tough to find, but great you got into the juvies. A lot of people fish all their lives and don't manage that - so thats a special memory in itself.

I've heard the beaches north can really produce as well as the end of the south marina wall.




Posts: 26

Date Joined: 19/02/16

Yeah, we were going to spend

Sun, 2016-05-08 21:19

Yeah, we were going to spend a night up at 9 mile beach, but we couldn't find the entrance. It's unmarked so it's super hard to find, and even after driving up and down the road several times, we couldn't find it. It's a shame really, my Dad was telling me stories about how when he went fishing at the 9 mile beach 10 or so years ago, he caught a big mulloway on his very first cast while baitcasting. 

As for the south marina wall, we tried fishing there during the day with balloons, and we had a shark, mackerel or maybe even a tailor bite us off on the first cast, and then on the second cast we had a hook up that went for a big run before we could get to the rod and it broke us off on the reef, so my guess is that it was a big tailor that quickly grabbed the bait and took a runner back to the reef. We tried the south marina wall again at night, and we had no luck with any fish. We couldn't get bites from small fish and there were no big fish, there weren't even any pickers around.