Fishing with John Curtis - 15/04/2017
For those of us who have retired and enjoy a peaceful sojourn down at our favourite fishing spot, this week will possibly be a bit different as schools are on holidays and we will have to share the spots with the kids. Although it will be somewhat quieter as it is Easter and many have travelled for the break.
I really don’t mind having young anglers fishing around me as it is interesting to watch and learn from them. They are not afraid to get in and get their hands dirty and are prepared to try new things and are not set in their ways. They are also lateral thinkers and will experiment with a new idea and if it doesn’t work , they fiddle and tweak up their gear and do something different.
As a result they often come up with some ideas and concepts that are then adopted across the board. They are great communicators and users of a variety of multi-media and ‘talk’ to one another about their results and what has worked and what didn’t.
We older anglers have a lot to learn from them and if we don’t stop and listen to them and observe them we are really missing out. I keep on writing about “Take a Kid Fishing” and I believe that it is important. They aren’t the only ones who can learn new tricks. Keep an open mind and look and listen you may learn something new!
Salmon have been reported from many southern locations and they have also been reported as far north as Jurien Bay. There are reports of a lot of juvenile salmon being taken by anglers believing they are ‘bull herring’. Please be aware of the differences as it may land you in trouble with the Fisheries Departments officers if they check your bucket and find juvenile salmon.
They are readily identifiable if you look closely at your catch. The diagram below will assist, and help keep you out of trouble.
Looking back at my fishing records it is recorded that in recent years there have been a number of larger snapper taken from the beaches between City Beach and Brighton Road at Scarborough around this time of the year. Following the first of the autumn / winter sets of heavier seas and swell, we have found the snapper on the bite in close to shore. Anglers chasing school sharks or mulloway from the beaches have caught these fish. There have also been a number of mulloway up to 15 kg taken around this time of the year so get out the thermal undies and stay warm and put in some hours as you will be rewarded. Please don’t light a fire on the beach as this is not allowed and most shires (who control the beaches) have banned them and there is a severe fine for anyone lighting one.
As the winter chills really set in many of our senior anglers (aka grey nomads) head to warmer climes in the north. Most of these itinerant anglers have already gone. Those who have waited a little while are now possibly regretting the decision to leave a little later as the winter chills set in. Many of them head for fishing locations such as Carnarvon, Dampier/Karratha, Point Sampson and even Broome. These are all great angling spots when you want to escape Perth’s cold weather. Having spent some time working in the north west I can really appreciate the warmer weather (and the rain) up there as well as some great fishing.
For those who are prepared to travel a little further north, they may be pleasantly surprised when casting a line into Lake Kununurra. This impoundment has been stocked over the last few years with barramundi fingerlings and these have now reached sizes of up to a metre or more. Any barramundi over 85 cm is a bragging sized fish but the angler who catches a fish over 1 metre really can crow about it.
Anglers fishing the south and south-western coasts are warned to be aware this weekend with seas and swells picking up later in the weekend. The forecast for today is for south to south easterly winds of 15 to 20 knots, seas of around 1 metre, increasing to 1 to 1.5 metres during the morning, with a south-westerly swell 2.5 to 3 metres, increasing to 3 to 4 metres during the morning. Sunday’s forecast is similar with south to south-easterly winds of 10 to 15 knots becoming variable about 10 knots in the morning. Seas of around 1 metre with a south westerly swell of 2.5 to 3 metres, increasing to 3 to 4 metres offshore.
Monday again is a similar forecast with variable winds about 10 knots becoming west to south-westerly 10 to 15 knots during the day. Seas should be below 1 metre with a south-westerly swell of 3 metres, increasing to 3 to 4 metres during the morning.
If fishing from the rocks or out in a boat in unfamiliar waters please wear a life jacket.
If you have some fishing information, have caught a good fish and want to brag, or have an item that may be of interest to other anglers and wish to share it, you can send the details to email@example.com
WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING AT POPULAR FISHING LOCATIONS
If you are going to fish in open ocean waters or from the rocks, please - wear a life jacket.
Tim’s Thicket to Preston has seen some small to medium sized salmon taken earlier in the week, along with some good sized tailor. Bigger salmon are still moving north and are a little further offshore with boat anglers taking a few fish. The Dawesville Cut is still producing some good fishing. There are plenty of herring and a few tailor being taken, as well as an occasional small salmon from the ocean end. Garfish are still in numbers off Avalon and Roberts Point. There are plenty of herring and tarwhine, along with a few small chopper tailor in and around The Cut. There are still good reports of plenty of herring on the beaches from Halls Head to the Cut along with a few whiting. All around the Canals, Marina and Bridges there are plenty of herring, small tailor, whiting and tarwhine in the estuary. Black bream and small mulloway have been reported in both the Murray and Serpentine rivers. Along the beaches to the north of Mandurah there have been good catches of herring, salmon, whiting and tarwhine. There are regular reports of reasonable sized mulloway being taken just after dusk along this stretch of beach.
SECRET HARBOUR / PORT KENNEDY / WARNBRO / ROCKINGHAM / SAFETY BAY
Herring have been widespread but not in any great numbers. A few small salmon have made an appearance at Coventry Reef with anglers taking some nice fish up to 4 kg. The Sisters have been producing some good catches of tailor in the morning on the reefs to the west of the islands. Whiting are still on the sand patches to the east and some decent sizes have been seen at the boat ramps. Salmon have been taken from many of the beaches and jetties around this section of coastline and anglers report that sizes have varied from just over legal length to some around 80 cm, which in my estimation would put them at around 4 kg. There have been good garfish around Long Point, Penguin Island, Point Peron and Rockingham Beach as well as whiting and squid. Anglers fishing the jetties at night have taken some large mulloway during the past week. Whiting have been taken in good numbers out in the bay along the weed beds and also from shore in the mornings. The stretch between the two boat ramps is probably the better spot to fish. Tailor catches are still being reported from the beaches near Long Point and further south to Secret Harbour. Sizes and numbers have generally been down but you can still get a feed.
The Causeway has also been producing herring and skippy. The Bent Pin and the Southern Flats have been the spots for King George whiting, with some reports of fish reaching nearly a kilo. Mangles Bay and Sulphur Bay are producing plenty of squid. Whiting numbers are starting to pick up again in the same areas. There are still reports of a few boat anglers taking mulloway in the Sound. They are usually being taken from the deeper sections of the Sound over the coral / gravel patches. The fish have been around the 15 – 18 kg mark. There are also reports of good King George whiting being taken from over the gravel beds in the Sound. Anglers fishing throughout the Sound have reported taking some good salmon with fish up to 5 kg. Many have been taken trolling lures and others have taken un-weighted mulies cast and left to drift looking for snapper or mulloway. Anglers also report taking some good salmon from around the Sound with some fish being up to 4 kg.
KWINANA / NAVAL BASE / WOODMAN POINT / COOGEE:
Salmon have featured at many locations around the area with some good sized fish being taken. Most anglers report good catches of herring and garfish from most popular spots. Woodman Point and Kwinana Beach have been fishing well for garfish and herring and this area has also produced some good fishing for sand whiting. There are still plenty of scaly mackerel around and these provide an ideal bait for a live baiting situation for mulloway or a mackerel.
FREMANTLE / INNER HARBOUR / LOWER REACHES OF SWAN RIVER
Anglers fishing from both moles earlier in the week had a field day with salmon, bonito and mulloway all being taken at different times during the day. Some days they were fairly regular and on others they were rather spasmodic. The South Mole has been producing plenty of herring, tailor and tarwhine. Berley works well for herring but also attracts blowies if you use too much. The beaches south of Fremantle have produced good numbers of herring and tailor along with some nice whiting in the mornings. Out on the North Mole there have been a few herring, tailor and whiting caught. Size is a little small and many fish are being returned. There are also reports of mulloway and pilch or yellow-eyed mullet and a lot of herring, tailor and whiting. Port Beach has seen a few herring and garfish landed along with some whiting. In the inner harbour the wharves around ‘E’ Shed are still producing mulloway on a regular basis along with a few smaller species. There are a few good tarwhine and skippy being taken from the bridges a little further upstream. During last week a school of salmon moved into the Inner Harbour and caused havoc amongst the baitfish in the area. If they move into the river in earnest as they did last year then river anglers are in for some exciting fishing.
A few salmon have been reported from the waters around Rottnest. The majority of these fish are not overly large, but are providing a lot of excitement for anglers chasing herring. Anglers fishing the west end of the island have been catching mixed bags of herring, skippy, salmon and an occasional yellowtail kingfish. Out on the FAD’s there are mahi mahi and other assorted pelagics being taken.
PORT BEACH / LEIGHTON / COTTESLOE / SWANBOURNE:
There are a few herring and plenty of garfish right along this stretch of beaches along with a few whiting, flathead and skippy. Anglers should take home a reasonable feed if they put in a bit of time and use berley judiciously. Several salmon have also been taken from the groyne and the beaches to the north of the groyne. Tailor are still being taken from the groyne of an evening and there have been several larger tailor taken from the beach around 800 m north of the groyne. Swanbourne Drain has been producing a few chopper tailor, herring and skippy. One angler in the region reported that he saw big schools of fish in the surf. I was told recently of some schools of very big mullet being spotted along the northern beaches, so I am presuming that this is what they were. Grant Street Reef at Cottesloe continues to produce excellent fishing with a few herring and plenty of big garfish. These fish provide an ideal bait for large tailor.
CITY BEACH / FLOREAT / SCARBOROUGH / TRIGG ISLAND
Brighton Road and Floreat have fished well for herring and some big skippy. Anglers fishing from the reef at Trigg Island and from the reefs a little further north have taken an occasional small salmon. Floreat and City Beach have been producing good fishing during the morning with skippy, a few herring and garfish and some big sand whiting. There are also a few flathead being taken. City Beach and Floreat beaches have had tailor on the bite at dusk and several good fish have been taken during the last week. There have been a few herring and garfish at the North Beach jetty but space is a premium.
NORTH BEACH JETTY / HILLARYS / OCEAN REEF / MINDARIE:
Again there are plenty of garfish and a few herring around this area. The rock walls are producing some reasonable bags of fish. Anglers fishing for squid have done well from the south wall of the marina. There are reports of schools of larger fish being seen by boat anglers just out from the marina during the last week. As large schools of mullet are migrating north at the moment my thinking is that this is what they are.
One angler ballooning from the western side of the marina during the week landed a spanish mackerel around 15 kg. The west side of Hillarys has been producing tailor, just over legal size. Anglers are catching the tailor on white bait and unweighted mulies
QUINNS ROCKS /YANCHEP / TWO ROCKS / MOORE RIVER
The rock walls at Mindarie have been one of the better spots to catch herring and garfish. The beach at Club Capricorn is consistently featured in reports of tailor. Tailor are also being taken from the beaches along the coast between Mindarie and Two Rocks with some very good fish being taken on lures. The Moore River / Guilderton area continues to produce exceptional fishing for beach and river anglers. Large tailor are still being taken from the beach just to the north of the river mouth. Mulloway are also being taken from the beaches adjacent to the river mouth. There are some good bream in the river, a little upstream.
SWAN AND CANNING RIVERS:
There have been reports that a couple of mulloway were landed well upstream around the Bassendean area and another near the Causeway. Mulloway have also been taken from around the bridges with some fish over 10 kg. Most of the mulloway have been taken by anglers using live baits. With the recent rains bringing some runoff the water will look a little dirty but don’t be deterred by this. The freshwater will ‘flow’ over the top of the salt water and the fish will still be in their favourite haunts beneath the upper layer of freshwater.
Black bream are spread throughout the river system at the moment with reports of good fish coming in from around the Shelley area and at Canning Bridge and an occasional better one at Mt Henry Bridge. Black bream reports from the Maylands area indicate a few smaller fish being taken. The rains will assist in triggering the breeding cycles for this species and they will move further upstream to the brackish water prior to commencing their breeding cycle.
There is also a quantity of bait fish in the river along with juveniles of several species. With the salmon moving into the lower reaches of the river and the amount of baitfish in the area it won’t be surprising to find the salmon moving further upstream and surprising beam and flathead anglers.
Offshore, out from Mandurah, fishing has been excellent with some good mixed bags being reported. Five Fathom Bank has been fishing well for big skippy, breaksea cod and the odd snapper. There are reports of Westralian Jewfish, King George whiting and baldchin groper being taken over coral / mud bottom. Salmon are also featuring in the bags of anglers fishing out wide and some have been taken in 30+ m of water on the bottom.
Small boat anglers report that they have been taking some good sized pink snapper from the reef system out from Hale Road in City Beach. There are mixed reports of fish in close around the Three Mile and surrounding reefs. Though mainly smaller Westralian Jewfish can be found here, there has also been the occasional pink snapper. Small boat anglers are reporting that there are plenty of small squid out in front of the Fremantle Sailing Club. Big tailor have been reported from the offshore reef sections around Cottesloe and some of these fish are over 60 cm long. They have been feeding on herring, smelt and squid.
Anglers fishing in the shallower water around the West End of Rottnest and in Gage Roads are reporting plenty of 3 - 4 kg yellowtail kingfish. On the southern side of Rottnest there have been plenty of breaksea cod and Westralian Jewfish in 30 - 40 m of water. The south east corner has been producing nice big King George whiting and plenty of herring as well. An occasional spanish mackerel is still being taken on a trolled lure along the back of both the Five Fathom Bank and the Three Mile Reef systems.
Out at the FAD’s, anglers report good fishing for smaller 3 - 4 kg mahi mahi. In deeper waters west of the island there are reports of grey banded cod, and small Westralian Jewfish along with lots of large skippy to 1.5 kg in fairly deep water. Out from Hillarys and Mindarie, anglers report Westralian Jewfish, snapper, break-sea cod, and baldchin groper. All the action appears to be occurring in depths of water at 40 m to 60 m, or outside of Direction Bank in depths up to 110 m.
A LITTLE BIT EXTRA:
With the seasonal influx of salmon into metropolitan waters many anglers will be chasing them. Currently they have moved as far north as Jurien Bay. If last year is anything to go by when they swam as far north as Exmouth, we may be in for a similar season this year. We know a little bit about this popular recreational species and in an article about them in the Fishing World magazine recently Dr Ben Diggles threw more light onto the species.
A fish in the hand is worth 10 in the water!