Bunbury artificial reef: the fishing “keeps getting better and better”

Local anglers have been telling us how fishing on Bunbury artificial reef keeps on improving – a view borne out by the results of a Recfishwest scientific monitoring program analysing the reef’s effectiveness over the last 12 months.

Data collected from 55 drops of Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUVs) cameras by Reef Vision volunteers showed that the number of fish species on the structures has increased to 58 since the reef’s fishable area was expanded by 50 per cent, with 90 low relief concrete modules added to the original 30, ten tonne ‘Fish Boxes’ 12 months ago.

Click here for Bunbury Reef coordinates

Dhufish and schools of pink snapper have been viewed on the reef

Included in the species observed on the reef, were, Samson fish, yellowtail kingfish, pink snapper, dhufish, mulloway, skipjack trevally, flathead, squid and cuttlefish – target species that have been proving very popular with local fishers.

“The fishing on the artificial reef just keeps getting better and better” says Grant at Whitey’s Tackle in Bunbury. “The reef is a great place to start for any boat fishers having a crack in the area – there’s sambos and skippy on them all the time and the pinkies begin to move in on them after the first big blows in autumn around April/May time with them on there all through winter.”

Samson fish are making up some of the catches on the reef

Boat ramp surveys of boat fishers carried out by the Recfishwest team at Point Casuarina and the Bunbury Powerboat Club showed that 92% of those surveyed believe artificial reefs make fishing better, 96% believed they improve fish habitat, while 90% agreed artificial reefs were a good use of licence fees.


Reef Vision volunteer Kurt Krispyn with a nice dhuie caught on a recent trip to the Bunbury Artificial Reef

So, the big question then is how do you best fish the reef?

Grant at Whitey’s has got you covered: “Like most fishing it comes down to what you’re targeting – but you’re not going to go far wrong fishing a five to six-inch (12-15cm) paddle tail soft plastic – especially when the water gets a bit dirtier. I’d either set a pick 20 – 30 metres off the reef and float a bait or a soft plastic down the burley trail – or set a drift through the modules – you don’t want to fish right on top of them or you’ll just lose your gear. If you want to give em a go, we’re here and more than happy to give you some pointers.”

Contact details for Whitey’s can be found on their website here.

With shallow water artificial reefs now in Esperance, Geogrpahe Bay, Mandurah, Exmouth and soon to be Ocean Reef, there’s plenty of easy-to-access great fishing opportunities for families in small boats to catch quality fish over the winter months.

Recfishers are enjoying catching skippy using lures jigged alongside the reef
Check out this mulloway captured on Bunbury’s artificial reef