In this week’s edition of Scott’s Spots, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan takes us to his hometown of Albany to tell us all about the awesome fishing on offer in such a beautiful part of WA. From land-based fishing, wetting a line from the boat or casting from the kayak, Scott says Albany has something for every fisher to enjoy.
It’s no secret that Albany is one of my favourite spots to wet a line, after all I moved back there a few years ago and the fishing was definitely one of the main attractions.
Whether your preference be boat or shore, perhaps even a kayak, and whether you want to venture deep or just stick to the shallows, there are options aplenty around the scenic south coast town.
One of the great things about Albany is that the sheer variety of locations means there is just about always somewhere you can go to fish in all but the very worst of the weather.
Albany has offshore, inshore, estuary, beach and rock fishing options aplenty and most are easily reachable.
For boat fishers, there are plenty of alternatives depending on your preference and the prevailing conditions, and this is enhanced by a number of good boat ramps around town.
The inshore fishing around Albany offers a great range of what many would term bread-and-butter species and these waters are ideally suited to small boat anglers.
Squid are an Albany staple and can be caught all year in good numbers, with southern calamari found in King George Sound, both Oyster and Princess Royal harbours, and at Two People’s Bay. King George whiting were named after the aforementioned sound, so it only follows that they are another key species for Albany fishers.
They can be found in the same areas as squid, and can also be caught in close to shore along many of the calmer beaches around Albany. Herring, skippy, flathead and snook are other common inshore catches.
For those wanting to go wider, there are again plenty of options to choose from. Some head right out to the Continental Shelf to chase deepwater species like hapuka and blue-eye trevalla, or maybe even the elusive broadbill swordfish, while in closer on what many call the “coral ground” there are pink snapper, dhufish, queen snapper, harlequin fish and good numbers of red snapper and breaksea cod.
The islands at King George Sound, Breaksea and Michaelmas, are pretty representative of the rocky coastline fishing along the south coast and can be good for southern bluefin tuna, bonito and salmon.
For those looking for some sportfishing action, hard-pulling yellowtail kingfish and Samson fish are often caught along the Albany coast, as are blue groper.
Small boat anglers can head up the Kalgan River and try their luck for big black bream, mulloway and herring.
A new aspect to Albany fishing this year has been the addition of FADs coordinated by Recfishwest. It was the first time FADs had been trialed off Albany and they produced dolphinfish, an encouraging sign for the future.
Albany is also an excellent location for kayak fishing and in fact must be one of the best areas for this in WA. There are an impressive range of protected waters, including a host of estuaries and rivers, within a short drive of town and most feature easy launching for kayaks.
Salmon have long been a key part of the Albany fishing scene, coming through in good numbers every year.
Some years they stay in the region in large numbers, but other times they seem to just pass through. They can show up anywhere and that includes the town marina and Kalgan River at times, but it is the local beaches which offer the best and most reliable fishing experiences for them.
Spots like Nanarup, the Sand Patch, Cheynes Beach and Shelley Beach are all consistent producers, while Lowlands Beach has been home to big schools in recent years.
Shore anglers can look either side of Albany, or even right in the heart of the town itself. The marina produces bream, herring and squid and offers access for all, while the boat jetty at Emu Point is another easy fishing spot great for kids or those with limited mobility. Looking beyond those two spots it really just comes down to personal preferences.
There are beach and rock fishing spots aplenty, and all producing a mix of many of the same species mentioned for boat anglers.
Serious rock fishers will explore platforms where they can catch pinkies, kingfish, Samsons, blue groper and even dhufish, but safety must always come first. The south coast is treacherous, its swell unpredictable, and rock anglers should always wear a PFD, and tie off to the rocks whenever possible.
Of course, there are much safer spots within King George sound where KGs, squid, skippy and herring will entertain anglers. Emu Point Channel is a popular spot and can produce some good catches, including the odd Samson fish. There will also be improved freshwater fishing options in Albany soon, with the King River again being stocked with trout.
Marron can be found in some local waterways, but locals jealously guard their secret spots! Visitors to Albany are well catered for, with a full range of accommodation, ranging from caravan parks to luxury retreats.
If you are not sure where to try, a visit to any of the local tackle shops will soon inform you of what’s biting and where.
Throw in a short drive to Denmark to fish the unique Wilson Inlet, or east to Bremer Bay, and Albany and its surrounds have much to offer visiting and local fishers.