Unlocking Hartog's secrets

In this Shore Angles I thought it might be timely to reflect on my ninth year of fishing Dirk Hartog Island and how the experience has changed over that time.

While we would normally aim to visit the island in April, for various reasons this year’s adventure fell in June. Over the nine years we have visited in April six times and once in each of March, May and June. Every trip is different but in general the fishing has been more reliable in April with the tendency for things to become quieter later in the season, especially for the demersal species.

Getting to grips with footwear

Of all the kit the land-based angler might own, footwear is right up there in order of importance.

The keen land-based angler will likely have to negotiate all manner of terrain underfoot from deep, soft beach sand to sharp, treacherous rocks.

Remote contact options

I'm sure amongst the shore angling community there are quite a lot of us who enjoy going really remote to seek out those locations which are seldom fished. Even if you haven’t yet discovered the joy of getting away from the masses you might have aspirations to do so.

In this column I’ll be looking at some essential check boxes you should tick if you plan on taking your fishing into very remote places.

Sharp end of the Wedge

The Wedge Island area north of Perth represents a somewhat unique opportunity for the dedicated Perth-based shore fisher.

Being only around 140km from Perth it can be tackled as a day trip or an easy overnighter with plenty of reef and sand options to select from.

With the extension of Indian Ocean Drive, Wedge has become easy to access for anyone prepared to make the drive. The Wedge settlement itself can be reached without a 4WD but if you really want to explore the vast beaches either side of Wedge an offroad vehicle will be essential.

Should I stay or should I go

The weather plays a critical part in planning fishing excursions. If you are planning to head away on a land-based angling trip for a few days or more the weather will likely determine your overall success.

Occasionally all the climatic variables line up perfectly and fishing difficulties are all but forgotten. But more often than not you will have some aspects of the weather in your favour and others against you. This column will explore the dilemma many of us face in determining if we stay home or go for it.

Winter of our discontent

The winter of 2016 was cruel to beach anglers. By the time you are reading this it will be all over but while I typed this, the cold weather was still raging outside.

Poor old spring arrived officially on September 1, but hadn’t had much of a look-in as that month ended. And as for the beaches, they bore the scars of the relentless cold fronts which had lashed our coast over the previous few months.

Protecting your fishing investments

As I wrote this we were yet again being lashed by another cold front along WA’s lower west coast. Compared to last winter this year had been cruel and savage for land-based anglers.

It was mid-July and I’d cancelled two planned getaways. Fingers crossed by the time you read this I would have had one trip north at least. Given this dire state of affairs I turned my attention to gear organisation. Regardless of their preferred mode of fishing, all anglers could benefit from having their gear well organised. A place for everything and everything in its place as they say. The key to being really organised with your gear is to take advantage of some of the fantastic storage options available these days. In this Shore Angles we will put the rods, reels, line and lures away and look at some ways to better organise our kit.

Time to cotton on with bait

Baiting up for most shore anglers is a pretty simple deal.

Push the hooks through your chosen bait and throw it out into the ocean. This is normally followed by a brief wait before either you hook your chosen target species or, far more likely, pickers strip your bait from the hooks. No wonder a packet of bait can disappear so quickly.