Scott’s Spots – Mandurah, the underrated fishing gem

With a variety of species on offer in its wide array of aquatic environments, the coastal town of Mandurah, has a little bit of something for everyone. Read what Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan has to say about fishing in Mandurah in this week’s edition of Scott’s Spots.

If you haven’t taken the family for a drive down south and stopped in at Mandurah for a fish, then consider adding it the list of spots to visit.

The Peel-Harvey Inlet is an underrated fishing gem. 

Covering approximately 130 square kilometres of water, it offers protected fishing waters that are perfect for anglers of all ages, including families and can produce some quality catches. 

Crabbing is extremely popular in the Peel-Harvey.

At the heart of the Mandurah inlet fishing experience is crabbing, which is the most popular fishing activity undertaken in this system. Although heavily fished for them, the Peel-Harvey continues to produce great hauls of blue swimmer crabs. 

The rules around the blue swimmer fishery have been adjusted in recent years and crabbing is closed in the inlet from 1 September  to  30 November. Fishing for blue swimmer crabs is a delightful experience in the warmer months. 

Many crabbers use boats to place dropnets around the estuary, while other will take scoop nets and wade the shallows seeking them out. This is a fun way to collect them, but remember to wear shoes as a couple of crab claws wrapped around your toes is not a nice feeling! 

A floating carry basket is very useful for wading, enabling the crabber to place their catch in it without having to  keep returning to shore. 

A wading basket is also useful for those wanting to chase yellowfin whiting, which show up in numbers at the same time the crabbing is firing. This is a fishery which was little known a decade ago, but is now extremely popular. 

Fishing for yellowfin whiting is an estuary staple these days.

Moving into the system to spawn, the whiting can be found right through the estuary and will move up into the shallows on an incoming tide in numbers. 

Flashes of silver can betray their presence, but exploring the shallows with small stickbaits, poppers or vibes on light tackle is a sure way to find them. 

They are surprisingly aggressive when chasing surface lures, as packs of them hound what they believe is an escaping prawn. The warmer the weather the more the whiting seem to like it, so chasing them is a great option on a hot day. 

Some anglers are happy to catch and release fish which are usually up to 40cm long, but others will use their carry basket to keep a lovely feed of fresh whiting. 

A quick look at Google Earth will show some of the easily accessible flats in the estuary and help anyone keen to try this fishery to find a likely spot. 

Chunky salmon trout can be caught in the estuary.

The estuary also produces a range of other species, having become increasingly marine in recent years. 

Juvenile salmon can be found around the estuary and particularly where the Dawesville Cut opens into it. Generally around 40cm to 50cm, they are great light tackle fun and some adult salmon will show up here too during their annual run.

Squid will follow the tide through the Cut too, as will some quite big morwong. 

Herring are widespread in the system, especially in the small channels, and can provide a lot of fun at times, coming in quite decent sizes around the 25cm mark and upwards. 

A skippy beats a pack of blowies to a lure.

Skippy will also be found in the channels, as will some decent chopper tailor at times and the latter are best caught trolling small lures. 

Silver bream also show up, while the Cut itself offers most of these species and some King George whiting. 

There doesn’t appear to be as many mulloway caught in the Peel-Harvey these days, and there was a time when the stretch right in front of the town centre was renowned for producing them. However, the odd one still gets caught along that stretch. 

Blowies abound in the estuary, so if the kids are desperate to catch something there is always that option! 

The various canals that run off the estuary in town and at Yunderup are also productive. 

Big bream from the Serpentine River.

Mulloway do show up in the canals and they hold some very good black bream, while the other estuary species can also show up. Fishing around the canal jetties is a good way to find some thumping bream.

The Serpentine and Murray rivers are both good fisheries, suitable for boat, shore and kayak fishing. 

The former produces good bream in its lower reaches, and can also be excellent for mulloway at times, but gets hard to navigate once you head farther upstream. 

The Murray can be a top-shelf bream river at times, with good fish able to be taken from the lower reaches, well up river towards Pinjarra and even beyond that town. The stretch either side of Ravenswood, around Murray Bend, is particularly popular. Murray bream seem to hit with extreme gusto and 40cm fish are there in good numbers, with casting lures or baits right into the snags usually the key to success.

A few mulloway get taken in the Murray too, and the elusive giant herring are an occasional capture. 

There is a great variety of fishing within the Peel-Harvey Estuary, offering something for anglers of just about all persuasions. 

Whether you shore based, in a boat or even a kayak, there are plenty of options available within these protected waters. Although it’s an estuary it can still get pretty lumpy on a bad day, but pick the right weather and you can have great fun in a safe fishing environment suitable for anglers of all ages and only an hour’s drive from the Perth city centre. 

Exploring the Murray River is a terrific way to unwind while wetting a line.

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