Throughout our great state there are plenty of stories of community champions rolling up their sleeves to make fishing better in their local area.
One such story is that of the Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club lead by local stalwart Graham Cooper and their work on the Esperance Artificial Reef, named Cooper Reef in Graham’s honour.
Their fantastic efforts were recognised on 29th June when the club took out the ‘Best Project’ in the small clubs category of the Clubs WA Awards for Excellence. Recfishwest attended the awards event with Graham and fellow club member Nigel Worth.
Part of what made the recognition extra special was the fact that many club members literally built the reef with their own hands when they helped to pour dozens of the 128 concrete modules that now make up the reef.
Artificial reefs from Esperance to Exmouth continue to provide great fishing experiences for local communities. All of these projects were born out of dedicated local fishers who had a vision to improve fishing and the drive to make it happen.
Recfishwest are extremely proud to have been able to assist Graham and his team in delivering this exciting project for their local community.
The development came to fruition in December 2016, after it was announced it would receive $300,000 in funding from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
In March last year, the project doubled in size after the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission matched the existing funding.
The local vision, which has now developed into a 150 tonne project, was designed to rectify the substantial loss of fishing access in the region due to geographical and environmental factors.
South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council chairman Graham Cooper said it was a special feeling to know that the reef build was something that both members and their children would be able to enjoy.
“It’s great that we could keep the work and the reef materials sourced locally,” he said.
“I can’t wait to catch a queenie or a sambo on a reef that the Esperance fishing community built with their own hands.”
Recfishwest Research officer James Florisson said the reef design was configured specifically for local species and had been thoughtfully designed by engineers, marine biologists and ecologists.
Mr Florisson said the reef configuration would create a productive ecosystem for a variety of different species of fish.
“It will provide a home for species such as Queen Snapper, Breaksea Cod, Skippy, Harlequin and Pink Snapper,” he said.
“This could not have been done without the support of the community and the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
The reef was built and will be installed by artificial reef experts at global marine foundation Subcon.
It is expected the reef will be deployed in September this year.
Catching Salmon from world class beaches is one of the most iconic WA fishing activities you and your family can have. Launching a lure into a huge school of Salmon only 30 metres from the beach gives every fisher, novice or pro, a tremendous thrill and one which never seems to gets old.
Check out how easy it is to catch a salmon from the beach, click here.
Lure fishing for Salmon on world class West Australian beaches has many great benefits:
No need for stinky bait and cheaper than buying bait all the time
You can cast further and be amongst the action by putting your lure in the zone
Adds to the ‘Sportfishing’ element
Great way to get the kids into lure fishing
No skill needed in regards to lure movement or techniques
Great method for catch and release fishing
So with that in mind, we’ve come up with the top Salmon lures you and your family must have this season.
Salmon Lure Criteria:
Castability: (Beach Casting Only)
Price: Affordable for Everyone
Catchability: Does it Actually Catch Fish
The curved ends of the famous Twisty create an enticing action like no other metal lure. From a slow wobbling retrieve to a high-speed splashing retrieve, this lure is truly versatile. The Twisty Chrome has an incredibly realistic baitfish profile that has proven itself in both salt and freshwater.
How to Fish Them: For best results, vary speed and angle of retrieve, and choose different colours to match the available baitfish in the area. The Twisty Chrome comes in a range of weights. Constructed with a shiny chrome body, anglers have the choice of either a chrome, gold, green, or red holographic variety in a weight from 1.5g up to 70g.
The Richter Plug is a simple yet effective lure that is nearly indestructible. Favoured among anglers for its great action on the retrieve this lure is the go to in any condition. With their slim profile and weight, they make a great long-distance casting lure that can be fired out like a torpedo and this can be crucial when trying to reach distant schools of cruising salmon on southern beaches. Whether you’re casting into open clear water or around rocky reef structures, this is one lure you can’t do without this Salmon season.
Other Species: Tailor, Herring, Bonito, Tuna, Trevally, Queenfish, Kingfish, Mackerel
How to Fish Them: They can be fished as either a sinking stickbait or a surface lure or both during the same retrieve! Retrieve them fast to create a frantic baitfish surface splash action or slow the retrieve down and watch it dart around just under the surface.
Available in White, Red Head, Chartreuse, Pink and Yellow, and in five sizes from 28 grams through to 140 grams – sized from 138mm to 78mm.
Along with the Halco Twisty, Raider metal lures are one of the most versatile fishing products ever designed and are useful for many fishing applications. Not only do these lures work in all water depths, they are effective in all aspects of lure use. The range of sizes match most baitfish profiles. Their range of weights means they have multiple fishing applications but do their best work being cast off a beach at a hungry waiting school of Salmon.
Other Species: Tailor, Herring, Bonito, Tuna, Trevalley, Queenfish, Kingfish, Mackerel
How to Fish Them: For best results, vary speed and angle of retrieve, and choose different colours to match the available baitfish in the area. The angled design allows for maximum casting distance, a ‘dart and weave’ motion on the retrieve at all but slow speeds for spinning.
Constructed with a shiny chrome body, anglers have the choice of nine sizes ranging from 10g upto 200g
The answer is obvious, you can never have enough lures for all forms of fishing. Recfishwest’s suggestion is to buy one of each and try for yourself. Different lures will work best with different rod and reel setups. With the lures we’ve reviewed being so affordable and proven to catch Salmon, it won’t break the bank if you buy one of each and make up your own mind!
Esperance will now receive an artificial reef twice the size of the one announced in December thanks to matching funding through Royalty for Regions and the efforts of the local community.
In December 2016 it was announced that Esperance would receive an artificial reef, funded through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund. The reef was made possible thanks to the local community who had built a good case for the reef over the last 2 years. Support from the Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club and the South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council along with local champions such as Graham Cooper was the driving force behind getting the funding needed for this reef.
Following the announcement of the Esperance reef, Recfishwest successfully applied to the Goldfields-Esperance Regional Grants Scheme for matching funding to double the size of the reef. A large factor in the success of this application was demonstrated local support for building this important community asset. Letters of support from The Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club, the South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council, Tateys Tackleworld, The Rotary Club of Esperance, Moby Marine and Tourism Esperance all played a vital part in the success of this application and on behalf of Esperance Fishers, Recfishwest thank all of these groups for their support.
A larger reef means more habitat for fish, creating even better fishing! It also allows a larger number of boats to fish the reef. The additional funding will also enable a citizen science community monitoring program to collect and analyse footage of the reef as it matures over time using specially designed underwater video equipment (as used on the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs).
The reef will be designed to improve fishing opportunities in close proximity to boat ramps for families in small boats. The final location for the reef will be decided following a constraints mapping exercise and community consultation. Once a suitable final location has been found we can select both the reef module design and the number of modules that will make up the reef. It is envisaged the Esperance Reef will be deployed by next summer.
The recent investment in rock fishing safety initiatives is starting to make a real difference in WA and lives are being saved as a result. Initiatives such as Angel Rings (life rings) are proving genuine life savers, as was the case recently at Esperance.
A father of two was fishing from the rocks at Hellfire Bay while his children, aged 11 and 15, swam from the nearby beach. While he was fishing he saw his children being swept out to sea by a strong rip current. His quick thinking had him grab the near by Angel Ring and he attempted to get it in the water as quickly as possible. Unfortunately he was hit by a large wave and swept in himself, placing all three of them in danger in what could have been a major tragedy. Fortunately he kept hold of the Angel Ring and was able to use it to support all three of them while they swam back to shore. The alarm was raised by others, but the trio made it safely back to dry land without assistance.
This is the first time it has been confirmed an Angel Ring has been used to save lives along the south coast of WA, although we believe it has happened on other occasions from local reports including Quobba and Albany. There is no doubt the immediate availability of the Angel Ring played a huge part in the positive outcome, potentially saving three lives. This story highlights the importance of continuing to invest in safety initiatives across the state.
Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland said the work done by community partners in Esperance to ensure Angel Rings were installed shouldn’t be forgotten.
“The Department of Parks and Wildlife, the Shire of Esperance and the South East Coast Recreational Fishing Council all played huge roles in installing Angel Rings in and around Esperance and the recent incident and the positive outcome is a testament to their work to keep the community safe,” Andrew said.
“This incident is a reminder of the importance of on ground safety equipment installations supported by local expertise and the need for the government to continue financial support for this initiative.”
Although Angel Rings are installed at many of the popular rock fishing destinations around WA, we still highly recommend the use of a life jacket while fishing, especially the new era of compact, self-inflating life jackets available which can be worn rock, boat or kayak fishing. Check out how popular these jackets are here.
Recfishwest wants you and your family to return home safe after a day of fishing, and because of that we are proud to work with our community partners, government and the public to make that a reality through safety initiatives around WA.
With the Easter long weekend approaching, Recfishwest are reminding people to take personal responsibility and stay safe when fishing this salmon season. Recfishwest Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland said locations such as Albany and Esperance welcome a large population increase during the Easter period for the great salmon run on their annual migration around the West Australian coast.
“Salmon are a superb sports fish, however, it’s not worth putting your life at risk when the salmon turn up” Dr Rowland said.
South coast locations popular with salmon fishes often see unpredictable weather and large swells which can make fishing from the rocks dangerous.
“The excitement of a good salmon run often sees people overlook simple steps that ensure their safety, as they rush to go fishing from the rocks unprepared.”
“For those fishing this Easter, Recfishwest strongly recommends fishing from the beach.’’ Dr Rowland said.
Local Albany fishermen and well respected fishing safety advocate Andrew Jarvis urges people to stay off the rocks.
‘’We simply do not want anymore more deaths. If you must fish from the rocks make sure you are prepared.”
Dr Rowland praised the tireless work by community groups, volunteers and state and local governments to make fishers safe, especially on the south coast.
“The work that has been done in Esperance, Albany and surrounds, which are our most high risk locations, to make people safe is enormous and a big thank you to the people making people aware of safe fishing practices in the those areas” Dr Rowland said.
Recfishwest continues to promote and support the Free Loan Life Jacket Scheme in 20 tackle stores around the state, where fishers can go in and hire a free life jacket before the head out fishing.
“If the right precautions are followed, fishing from the rocks can be a safe activity.’’ Dr Rowland said.
If you must fish from the rocks, Recfishwest wants fishers to understand the simple rock fishing safety messages:
• Know how to swim
• Wear a life jacket
• Never fish alone
• Observe first, fish later
• Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
• Be familiar with public safety equipment
• Tell someone your plans.