In the latest edition of Scott’s Spots, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan takes us to Esperance to highlight the popular tourist destination’s incredible fishing. From casting a line along its vast sandy coast or catching herring from the Taylor Street Jetty, Esperance offers a quality fishing experience for everyone.
Esperance is rightly famed for its incredible beaches, which offer some fantastic fishing. However, there is much more to the popular holiday destination than just fishing from the almost blindingly white sand that stretches along the coast on either side of the town.
Being as isolated as it is, the fishing pressure around Esperance is relatively light and ensures fish stocks of all the popular south coast species remain healthy in these waters.
Excitingly for visitors and locals the range of fishing options covers just about all preferences, with excellent shore, estuary, inshore and offshore fishing opportunities starting from right in the heart of the town itself.
For the visiting angler just looking to wet a line from the shore without too much effort, the Taylor Street Jetty is a reliable spot to catch the bread-and-butter species found around Esperance.
Herring, King George whiting, squid, skippy and garfish are caught here consistently and it has become the popular platform in town now the Esperance Tanker Jetty is inaccessible.
The Bandy Creek Boat Harbour is another productive spot offering similar species, with King George whiting among the popular species targeting by fishers.
Bandy Creek Boat Harbour and Town Beach both have boat launching ramps.
There are also beach launching options east of town, enabling both small and large trailer boats to explore the productive waters around the Recherche Archipelago – also known as the Bay of Isles.
There is an extensive range of species which can be caught in these waters.
For inshore boaters the species include herring, sand whiting, King George whiting, squid, snook, skippy and garfish.
Esperance is also lucky enough to have its own artificial reef, dubbed Cooper Reef. Based only 5km from the Bandy Creek Boat Ramp, Cooper Reef – deployed by Recfishwest last year – provides excellent skippy fishing, while Samson fish are also found at the structure.
For those heading out a bit wider, yellowtail kingfish and Samson fish are caught around the islands, while bottom fishing can produce a wide range of catches including harlequin fish, queen snapper, sweep, breaksea cod and a few dhufish. Southern bluefin tuna are also a regular catch offshore at certain times of the year.
There are endless opportunities either side of town for beach fishers, especially if you have a four-wheel-drive.
The scenic drive west of town along Twilight Beach Road takes you past a series of spots that can offer good fishing, especially when the salmon schools are moving around town and can be spotted while driving. Other common catches in this stretch including herring, flathead and skippy.
Spots including Stockyards and 14 Mile Beach are worth trying, while farther west of town, Roses is a noted salmon hotspot.
Wylie Bay is found east of Esperance and is a lovely spot to soak a bait for herring and King George whiting. It is also accessible with a conventional vehicle.
Farther east, the beaches of Cape Arid National Park and Cape Le Grande are not only stunning, but they offer some fantastic beach fishing for those with a 4WD.
Thomas River, Tagon Beach and Alexander Bay are great spots to catch salmon, herring, flathead, tailor, mulloway and skippy.
Rocky headlands is this area can produce many of the same species, along with some thumping skippy. There’s also the possibility of a Samson fish or southern bluefin tuna, and maybe even a blue groper.
When fishing from these potentially slippery south coast rocks, make sure you wear appropriate clothing including rockhopper boots and a PFD, while always keeping an eye on the ocean.
Farther east again is the legendary Poison Creek, which is renowned for offering huge numbers of salmon at times, as well as lots of sharks shadowing them.
Serious adventurers are known to travel to remote areas, including Israelite Bay and Point Culver. Point Culver is known to produce some good pink snapper from the shore at times.
One of the great things about fishing these beaches east of Esperance is that you often have them all to yourself.
For the estuary fishers, Esperance has some good bream stocks in its lakes and fish measuring more than 40cm are regularly caught. The lakes in town don’t look all that productive but do actually fish well, including Lake Qualliup, west of town. Stokes Inlet is also renowned for producing lots of smallish bream, although bigger fish are in there.
From the hardcore angler to the once-a-year holiday fisho, Esperance really does have every fisher covered. And, it is also a beautiful place to spend a few days with no shortage of accommodation options in and around the holiday town.
Like anywhere on the south coast, the weather doesn’t always play the game, but when it does, Esperance truly is a scenic place to wet a line in WA.