Great Change in WA Fishing Landscape

The addition of artificial reefs has been a great change to the WA fishing landscape in the last three years. Quality fish started appearing on the first two reefs in Georgaphe Bay almost instantly, and the new installation off Mandurah should be the same. Prime recreational fishing species like Pink Snapper, Samson Fish, Dhufish, Skippy and Yellowtail Kingfish love the new structures and take up residence around them. Not only do the reefs improve fishing in the area where they are deployed, they also increase the productivity of the local fishery itself. However, recreational fishers are also finding they need to tailor their tactics to suit these purpose-built structures.

The modules are perfect cover for tough fighters likes sambos and kingies, which can run straight through the reef when hooked, meaning disaster for the angler. That means the bigger fish are almost impossible to stop if hooked close to the structure and it requires fishers to take that into account when fishing around the reefs. For that reason, it is best to avoid anchoring right on the reef (which also means less chance of losing the anchor), rather you should circle the area to get a feel for the structure. Taking into account wind direction and current, set yourself to anchor so you are sitting alongside the reef. Anchoring directly on the reef will lead to heavy tackle and fish losses, but being too far away will produce poor results, so take the time to get it right, remembering that those sambos, pinkies and kingies know exactly where to head when hooked.

Always be responsible and courteous of other fishers in the area, including spear fishers, there’s plenty of opportunities to fish the reefs. A berley trail is a good way to bring the fish to you. Alternatively, trolling around the reefs is a good way to find the pelagic fish which are in the area, while drifting close to it should allow you to draw bottom fish like dhuies and pinkies to your bait or lure. Good luck and send us your photos! Check out this latest capture on the Geographe Bay Reef – thanks to Perth Game Fishing Club’s ‘Hook Up’ Newsletter!

Geographe Bay Snapper Keen Busselton based member Dean Eggleston sent in this item following a competition weekend organised by the Naturaliste Game and Sports Fishing Club in April. “The pink snapper was a surprise that’s for sure, with the weather forecasts being all over the place my brother and I decided to have a fish on the Dunsborough Artificial Reef for NGSFC’s Light Tackle tournament. We had heard reports of some Spanish Mackerel being caught there on and off over the last couple of months. We had anchored up on the middle cluster of the reef in 26m of water at around 6:30am. My first drop on 2kg was hit, the fish didn’t really fight much and I thought it was only something small. 10 – 15 minutes later we had the leader coming up to the boat, I didn’t get to see much as my brother took the leader. All he said was, it’s a decent fish, but when it hit the deck I was certainly surprised. On return to the weigh station, I asked the weigh master for an extra 100 bonus points for pulling the fish out of what we call the Lego blocks, a local description of the 3m cubic structures with big holes in them. They are in a group of 5 only a few meters apart so getting what would be expected to be a feisty fish from them added a degree of difficulty.” The fish weighed in at 9.9kg, quite an achievement on 2kg line.

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