The lure of the north

As the cold of winter sets in across the southern half of the State fishing trips north become extremely appealing.

When you’re ruefully dragging yourself from under the doona on an icy morning and reaching for multiple layers of clothing, it’s very easy for the mind to wander to days spent in warmer climes and the amazing fishing opportunities the top half of WA offers.

The trip north is something of an institution and many of us look forward to one or more of these sojourns each year.

He's gone to boats

Legendary WA fishing writer Ross Cusack, aka Cuey, has a favourite saying – “He’s gone to boats”.

It is a damning comment by the veteran beach fisherman on the credibility of any shore angler who dares forsake the sand beneath their toes for the allure of offshore fishing.

I’ve never quite “gone to boats” but I did go to kayaks when I started looking for something to expand my fishing horizons more than a decade ago, and a thoroughly rewarding decision that has been.

You know it's a fishy spot when

You know it's a fishy spot when the fish are literally fighting over your lures.

I was fortunate enough to spend a week at a new fishing camp in the Kimberley’s Kuri Bay recently and on two occasions watched in amazement as trevally came through and ripped lures out of the mouths of other fish.

On both occasions I nearly had the hooked fish at the boat when the second arrived to create chaos.

Fish don't always have to be huge to be fun

As I get older catching big fish seems to have become less and less important.

Like all fishing-mad kids, I was obsessed with catching the ‘big ones’.

However, these days I’m more focused on enjoying my time on the water and find some of my best fun is when I am just chasing small stuff.

Exmouth Gulf action in the Western Angler Westerberg Bandit

Legendary WA fishing writer Ross Cusack, aka Cuey, has a favourite saying – “He’s gone to boats”.

It is a damning comment by the veteran beach fisherman on the credibility of any shore angler who dares forsake the sand beneath their toes for the allure of offshore fishing.

I’ve never quite “gone to boats” but I did go to kayaks when I started looking for something to expand my fishing horizons more than a decade ago, and a thoroughly rewarding decision that has been.

The State Government is reviewing boat safety

The State Government is reviewing the safety equipment required on recreational vessels and wants feedback from the boating public on topics including making wearing life jackets compulsory.

The previous review, which led to the current regulations, was back in 1992 and given the massive changes in recreational boating over 25 years it would seem appropriate to revisit the regulations.

There are several new types of recreational vessels these days, including pedal kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and the technology available for marine users has also changed significantly.

For example, there are a plethora of EPIRBs and PLBs available these days, while global positioning technology has also advanced dramatically.

This particular lump of rock and reef off Fremantle

If you want to get into the metro salmon, then Mewstone continues to be the place to try.

I’m not exactly sure what it is about this particular lump of rock and reef off Fremantle which appeals so much to salmon, but it produces high numbers of fish on a remarkably consistent basis.

A good forecast saw us heading out there last week on the Western Angler Westerberg Bandit project boat to see if we could get our salmon fix.

After launching at Woodman Point at gentleman’s hours our first stop was Carnac Island, hoping we could find some fish away from the big crowds.

Unfortunately, all we could raise there was hordes of herring, so we moved on and turned the bow towards Mewstone, where the outline of a number of boats could be seen in the distance.

It had been years since I had been there and it was quite a sight to see 30 boats all anchored around what is known as Row Boat Rock.

Depths of the Continental Shelf

There is a growing group of anglers who get their fishing fix by heading out to the depths of the Continental Shelf to fish the bottom in hundreds of metres of water.

Using specialised electric reels powered by large batteries, they tangle with deep-water species which have rarely been seen by recreational fishers until recent years.

Tasty goliaths from the depths like blue-eye trevalla, bass grouper and hapuka are what metro aficionados of this style of fishing seek, using powerful marine electronics to reveal the best fishing locations and then employing the latest fishing gear to catch them.