It won’t be long before many fishers in the West Coast Bioregion start to turn their minds to catching a dhuie or pinkie for a traditional West Aussie Christmas seafood feed, with the re-opening of the west coast demersal fishery on the 16 December. Continue reading “An update on the latest west coast demersal stock assessment”
Cockburn Sound – an incredible fishery on Perth’s doorstep. Continue reading “Seeding the Sound’s snapper sanctuary back to health”
Recfishwest cautiously welcomed last week’s announcement by Ports Minister Rita Saffioti about the State Government investing $13.5 million in a multi-year marine science research program focusing on Cockburn Sound. Continue reading “State Government’s $13.5 million Cockburn Sound science commitment welcome but overdue”
One of the most popular species for recreational fishers in WA, as they are found across a wide area and often school up in massive numbers, pink snapper offer exciting fishing opportunities. In this week’s Scott’s Species, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan takes a closer look at the sought-after pinkie.
Species: Pink snapper, Pagrus auratus
Eating: 4 stars
ID: Striking pink colouration, often with small blue spots across the back.
In many locations across WA, pink snapper have very defined seasons when they move into areas en masse.
Found right through the southern half of Australia, they are usually encountered as far up the west coast as Coral Bay. They grow to 16kg, but any fish tipping the scales at more than 6kg is a worthy capture.
The iridescent blue spots along silver flanks with a pinkish hue make them a stunning-looking fish, and they are also great eating.
One of the most remarkable traits about pinkies is their ability to turn up across an incredibly vast array of oceanic locations, from inshore to well offshore.
They can be found from just a couple of metres of water all the way to the depths of the Continental Shelf. They are also a very hardy fish that handles release well, even when caught at significant depths.
This wide range has made them a staple of Perth fishing, with boat, shore and kayak anglers all catching good pinkies every year, often in very shallow water.
Pinkies are probably the most accessible trophy fish for metro anglers.
There is a dedicated band of land-based fishers who wait for big storms and north-westerly winds to chase them from shore platforms, catching some top quality fish as they move along rock walls looking for food in the dire conditions.
Drifting around bottom structure is the prime way to locate pinkies for offshore anglers, with big schools of fish usually easily identified on the fish finder.
Using a baited rig with a ‘snapper’ lead is a time-honoured method, especially when a paternoster rig is attached to the lead.
They will happily take fish baits including mulies, squid and octopus. Anchoring and burleying is also a very effective method in shallower water, as pinkies will respond well to burley and a lightly-weighted bait sent down the trail can be deadly.
Jigging with metals and using weighted soft plastics are other methods that will work on pinkies, while slow trolling with diving minnows can also be effective.
Sometimes pinkies will hit a trolled lure when the engine is cut, such as when a fish is hooked on another line.
Pinkies are often also caught from the shore by those soaking baits at Kalbarri, Steep Point and Quobba, while Shark Bay has long been famous for its pink snapper schools and the Abrolhos Islands is another hot spot for them.
Denmark’s Wilson Inlet is a unique little fishery for prolific smallish pinkies to around 70cm, including in the unlikely Prawn Rock Channel.
These days many anglers at Busselton and Perth beaches are having great success targeting pinkies using drones to fly out their baits.
For boat and kayak fishing, light gear of 4-8kg is sufficient to stop even the biggest pinkie when they are in shallow water, while more traditional heavy boat outfits, with braided line of at least 23kg and heavier leader, will be required in deeper water.
For jigging, 10-15kg outfits are sufficient. Pinkies have been subject to heavy fishing pressure at times in WA, and are subject to several fishing restrictions as a result.
Unfortunately, this year’s annual community-driven stocking event Snapper Guardians was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The annual demersal closure includes pink snapper and there is the annual spawning closure in metro waters. Shark Bay also has localised seasonal closures.
Pinkies are definitely a staple of the WA fishing landscape and a fish that I love to catch.
With 20,000 juvenile pink snapper released into metro waters today after thousands of juvenile yellowtail kingfish were released at South Mole yesterday, Recfishwest are pleased to share an update on the latest round of fish stocking activities. Continue reading “Fish stocking picks up a gear with thousands of pinkies and kingies released in the past two days”
UPDATE: 2021 Snapper Guardians CANCELLED due to COVID-19 restrictions Continue reading “UPDATE: 2021 Snapper Guardians event this Saturday – CANCELLED”
Last week, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) released the draft West Coast Demersal Harvest Strategy for public comment. Continue reading “West coast demersal harvest strategy draft released for public comment – your comments wanted”
In August, Recfishwest expressed “bitter disappointment” after the State Government accepted the Westport Taskforce’s flawed recommendation to build a new port in Cockburn Sound. Continue reading “Seeking answers around the future of Cockburn Sound fishing from key decision-makers”
UPDATE: As of 1 July, 2021, all boats across WA line fishing for demersal species must carry a release weight.
To give undersized or unwanted demersal fish experiencing barotrauma the best chance of survival a release weight should be used. Continue reading “Using release weights to protect demersals”
The west coast demersal closure ends today with dhuies, pinkies and baldies all back on the Chrissie lunch menu from tomorrow, 16 December.