Recfishwest says that some of the proposed no-fishing zones in the Government’s South Coast Marine Park plans released today are “completely illogical and unjustifiable”.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “Proposing no fishing zones in front of caravan parks, boat ramps and along several popular beaches demonstrates marine park planners in Perth are out of touch with the south coast community.
In December, the Environment Minister Reece Whitby is on record saying that the Government “had listened to recreational fishers” and that fishers would “be impressed by what they see at the other end.”
“We confirm that we are not impressed by what we see in these proposals,” said Dr Rowland, “The views of local fishers have clearly been ignored and it’s now time the Government genuinely starts listening.
“We ask the Government to seriously re-think several zones and join us at the table to deliver a truly positive outcome for fishers, the environment and our future.”
“These plans are now open for public comment until 16 June and Recfishwest encourages all fishers with an interest in this coast to study the details and engage in the consultation process.”
Every one of our 10 SunSmart Fishing Clinics Southern Tour was completely booked out this year, highlighting once again how popular and important fishing is on our south coast.
More than 350 excited kids took part in the clinics running from East of Esperance all the way along the coast to Augusta – with all participants enjoying learning about fishing basics, looking after the environment and being SunSmart.
This was a record attendance for the tour with record numbers of fish caught and released by the young eager anglers to match!
Check out some of the fishing action below in GWN7’s recent news item on the clinics.
Scores of whiting, flounder, skippy, tarwhine, black bream, leatherjacket and flathead catches put brimming smiles on the dials of our next generation of anglers over 11 days in January, with many participants enjoying the thrill of catching and releasing their first ever fish.
Many parents were delighted to be able to get their kids off their devices and out in the fresh air enjoying the healthy and educational experience the clinics provided.
Despite some windy, overcast and rainy conditions along the south coast, all fishing clinics at Duke of Orleans Caravan Park, Esperance, Hopetoun, Bremer Bay, Albany, Denmark, Walpole and Augusta were fully booked out, with some clinics even resulting in kids happily sharing rods with extra participants keen to get casting.
With fishing access to some of these cherished fishing spots along the south coast in question pending the release of the Government’s south coast marine park plans, these fishing clinics firmly showed that the social, physical and wellbeing benefits fishing provides to so many fishers need to be protected.
“This was by far Recfishwest’s most jam-packed and successful Southern Tour since it kicked off more than 20 years ago,” said Recfishwest’s Communications Coordinator Jarrad Lawford. “The response from the community has been a fantastic illustration of just how passionate they are here about fishing and how important it is in this part of the world.
“Recfishwest’s Sam Bock and I were kept very busy baiting lines, helping carefully unhook the catches and taking snaps of ecstatic kids with their fish. Many of them created memories of their first ever catch that will last a lifetime and we’re hoping they’ve now learned enough to safely enjoy fishing as a pastime that will give them a lot of joy for the rest of their lives.
“A big thanks to Healthway for supporting these great community events and cheers to our instructors Stephen Crane and Kevin Murphy who also did a fantastic job coordinating some of the clinics. Make sure you get in quick and register your spot in 2025 for when our Southern Tour returns next year.”
In addition to all the valuable fishing knowledge provided at these clinics, all kids were taught how to stay safe while fishing and were rewarded Recfishwest stickers and lures, along with dozens of SunSmart and Shimano hats for their next fishing adventure.
Were you one of the 350 young guns getting amongst the fishing action during our recent SunSmart Southern Tour? Check out some of the great snaps below!
The Minister for the Environment Reece Whitby has pushed back the date for the release of the proposed south coast marine park plan for public consultation to early February next year.
It was widely anticipated that the plans would be released before the end of 2023, but Minister Whitby, speaking on ABC Regional Drive, announced the decision to delay the release until next year.
He said, “I understand that people go away on holidays and have other issues on their mind and want to get away and relax a bit. So, I think an appropriate time would be in the New Year after the school holidays. I think early February is about the right time.”
The Minister was responding to questions around the consultation process to date that has caused widespread concerns within the south coast community that there is a pre-determined outcome for the marine park design.
Minister Whitby said, “What people will see in the new year is a more refined approach – we have listened…there’s been a lot of concessions and I think people will be impressed what they see at the other end.”
He added, “I’ve worked very closely with the Fisheries Minister Don Punch to get the absolute best outcome for all involved – we’ve made significant ground into satisfying the request of the fishing industry and recreational fishers.”
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “While it is encouraging to hear Minister Whitby say that the Government is listening to south coast fishers and taking on board our concerns, we will reserve judgment until we see the plans that go out for public consultation in the New Year.
“We have been here before with previous marine park proposals where we’ve been told our input has been taken on board only to see extensive no fishing zones without any justification to be included in plans for consultation and crucially into the final marine park designs.
“One thing is clear, we will need to make sure our collective voice as fishers is heard when the time comes to get a balanced marine park that can protect the environment without robbing hard-working south coast people of their favourite fishing spots.
“I encourage all fishers to join our cast of thousands as Recfishwest member and continue to keep up to date with developments through our channels.”
Looking to get the kids off their screens and devices over the summer school holidays and outdoors doing a free, fun and educational outdoor activity?
Recfishwest’s popular SunSmart Southern Fishing Clinic Tour is making a triumphant return to eight locations along WA’s stunning southern coastline to introduce kids to the joys of fishing!
In conjunction with our partners Healthway and Shimano, Recfishwest is once again hosting our Southern Tour of SunSmart Fishing Clinics between 6-17 January along our stunning southern coastline from the Duke of Orleans caravan park all the way up to Augusta.
A total of 14 FREE fishing clinics are set to take place at eight of some of the best fishing locations on the south coast of WA, with the Duke of Orleans caravan park, Esperance, Hopetoun, Bremer Bay, Albany, Denmark, Walpole and Augusta all providing fantastic opportunities for mums, dads and their kids to wet a line and learn about fishing.
At the clinics, kids are provided loan fishing gear and shown the basics of fishing by Recfishwest’s friendly expert fishing instructors. The instructors also teach the kids about fishing for the future, caring for the environment and being SunSmart making for a super fun fishing session for the kids, as well as an educational one.
The enduring popularity of Recfishwest’s Southern Tour shows how important fishing is to the south coast lifestyle and culture as well as highlighting all the great benefits it provides.
Recfishwest Fishing Clinics Coordinator Sedin Hasanovic said, “The clinics are heaps of fun and they provide a great introduction to fishing for kids, an appreciation of estuary and marine environments along with the great benefits and enjoyment to be had from healthy outdoor activities.
“Fishing is a huge part of the south coast way of life and provides a fantastic range of mental, physical and social wellbeing benefits – these clinics provide a gateway to all of that and can help spark a love of fishing for those kids who get involved that can last a lifetime. We look forward to seeing you and your kids there!”
Spots are limited across all 14 clinics with 35 spots available at each clinic, so mums and dads are advised to get in quick to reserve your place as these fishing clinics are very popular over the summer school holidays!
If you want a perfect example of why land-based fishing access and experiences need to be protected on the south coast – then the recent Esperance Land Based Fishing Club‘s Open Classic competition rang the bell loud and clear.
With 130 avid fishers competing, their hopes of snagging some impressive competition prizes rested on their cherished land-based fishing spots producing the goods for solid catches of fish species that thrive along the south coast – and it was another cracking year.
The club offered fantastic cash rewards for the heaviest fish across 13 species, meaning all competitors had equal opportunities to bring the heaviest fish to the weigh-in and leave with heavier wallets.
With junior and senior divisions for each species, there was a great opportunity for fishers both experienced and emerging to wet a line along the pristine southern coastline to land the biggest catches of mulloway, salmon, gummy shark, tailor, skippy, herring, whiting and squid – just to name a few.
It wasn’t just prizes for the heaviest catches up for grabs – the club also had a best photo competition with the judging criteria based on showing off the beautiful Esperance coastline and the spectacular fish that flourishes along it, with Billy Vibart’s youngster Frankie taking out the honours with the cracking salmon/sunset combo pictured below!
Given many of the local community’s favourite fishing spots both on the shore and out on the ocean are in areas where the Government has flagged sanctuary zones in the proposed south coast marine park, Recfishwest also attended the event to ensure attendees understand what is at stake and encouraged them to comment on the plans once they are released.
Recfishwest’s Sam Bock – an Esperance local who spent his childhood fishing on the south coast – ventured down to enjoy the great fishing on offer and spoke directly to the bustling crowd to reiterate the importance of having their say when the marine park plans stretching over 1,000km between east of Bremer Bay and the South Australian border are released.
“It is very likely contestants were fishing in areas that could soon be sanctuary zones, meaning they would be locked out of wetting a line in that area,” said Sam. “That’s why it’s crucial we receive feedback from locals that live and breathe the unique coastal and fishing lifestyle down here and for them to speak out on what areas are important to them.”
“We’ve seen from other marine park processes that feedback gathered during the public consultation period can make a significant difference in final plans. The more people that have their say, the better the odds that their fishing access is retained, which would provide a better outcome for locals and safeguard the great fishing experiences generated by southern competitions like the Esperance Classic.”
We have written to the Premier and had discussions with Minister’s Whitby and Punch intending to get the consultation process back on track after locals expressed their deep concerns that their favourite freedoms such as four-wheel-driving on the beach and taking their dogs to their prized fishing spots could be quashed given the DBCA’s reputation in park management.
To read our concerns on the proposed south coast marine park and for a rundown on the DBCA’s track record on park management, click here.
President of Esperance Land Based Fishing Club, Mitch Waideman, said the 130 competitors this year was the biggest seen in the Classic’s history and that comes down to the current great access and options to choose from for fishing spots along the south coast.
“We had a lot of people from all over the south coast and Kalgoorlie come down because they have so many spots to choose from and people can spread out and fish the beaches they want completely on their own. That’s why people are worried about this marine park – they don’t know what’s coming and how access will be affected,” said Mitch.
“We are crossing our fingers that our access to our favourite fishing spots is unaffected by this proposed marine park. Our ability to be able to go down and throw a line in the water is what we enjoy – we don’t want to be bottled up into little areas.”
The south coast’s great fishing experiences on full display
As seen each year during the Open Classic competition, the catches came thick and fast which saw hundreds of locals gather round for a gander during the final weigh-in.
Steven Howe caught the heaviest gummy shark and heaviest fish for the Classic, closely followed by Billy Vibart with his 12.3kg catch (pictured below).
The consistent West Aussie salmon action continued to show off its might on the south coast as well, with Lachlan Warren catching the heaviest of the hard-fighting species with a 4.465kg whopper, while Paul Jameson finished runner up with a 3.953kg salmon.
Congratulations to all winners of the Esperance Classic and make sure you keep checking our channels to keep up to speed with developments and information on how to make a submission to DBCA through its public consultation portal.
Dr Andrew Rowland, Recfishwest CEO, and Operations Officer Sam Bock were recently on the south coast listening to the concerns of local fishers about the potential impact of DBCA’s proposed marine park.
Stretching along 1,000 km of coastline from Bremer Bay to the WA/SA border, many local fishers told Andrew and Sam that the marine park already has a predefined political outcome and will be an unnecessary overreach coming out of Perth.
These concerns have been stoked by the bad publicity surrounding the consultation process to date.
While there, Andrew was also in the news on the front page of the Esperance Weekender and was on ABC Esperance, Goldfields, Mid-West and Wheatbelt calling for the consultation process to get back on track to enable a balanced outcome to be achieved.
Being able to drive on the beach to your favourite fishing spot to wet a line is what makes living on the south coast so great.
And for those with dogs, taking your canine friend along for the ride merely adds to the enjoyment.
However, we are hearing increasing concerns from south coast fishers that these freedoms (which are already restricted on some beach stretches) could be under serious threat in the proposed south coast marine park with DBCA’s track record in park management.
These concerns are understandable with a catalogue of closures and bans imposed by DBCA on fishers and beach-goers across the State:
A track record of blocking tracks
Many fishers, particularly on the south coast, will be familiar with abrupt loss of vehicle access in areas managed by DBCA – as these examples (just a few of many) illustrate:
Following frequent south coast rains, track closures in areas such as Cape Arid National Park, Nuytsland Nature Reserve, and Stokes National Park are common. Current restrictions in these areas are severely limiting access to popular fishing spots such as Poison Creek, Thomas River and Stokes Inlet. Poor weather and track closures throughout winter is already the norm here – additional restrictions in the new marine park are the last thing the local community wants to see.
Middle Quarram Track, located near Denmark in the Quarram Nature Reserve, was closed indefinitely in March of last year “until declared safe” according to a DBCA parks alert due to a build-up of soft sand. No diversion has been put in place since and there has been no indication from DBCA of plans for the track to reopen.
In the Shark Bay Marine Park, driving below the high-water mark is only allowed in designated areas throughout the park, and is completely prohibited in recreational zones and sanctuary zones.
Any fisher on the south coast knows that driving on beaches – often below the high tide mark – is a necessity for accessing many of the most valued fishing locations. And at many times these areas are already inaccessible due to the environment on the South Coast – be it soft sand, deep wash-outs or build-up of seaweed.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “The potential implications of the marine park zoning on beach driving are concerning, particularly in combination with the frequency of track closures in the multitude of national parks along this stretch of coastline.
“Marine parks are supposed to be there for the benefit of all park users. These kinds of restrictions prevent fishers, a huge user group, as well as general beach-goers and campers from enjoying parks and all the mental, physical and well-being benefits fishing and being in these spectacular environments bring. This defeats the park’s purpose in the first place.”
Tightening the leash
For many residents and holidaymakers, part of the appeal of the south coast is to relax on a picturesque, secluded beach with your family and pets, while wetting a line.
Responsible dog owners who frequent this stretch of coastline will already be painfully aware of the wide-ranging restrictions on where you can take your dog, with numerous large national parks along the coast prohibiting pets.
We have heard feedback from many south coast fishers that most of their favourite fishing spots are dictated by these current restrictions, choosing to fish in locations where they can take their furry friends along for the experience.
Now with the proposed south coast marine park looming closer, a serious cloud of doubt hangs over the future of being able to take your dog to the beach or on your fishing trips anywhere between Bremer Bay and the WA/SA border.
DBCA has a very clear policy and history when it comes to allowing dogs in marine parks:
According to DBCA’s website: “Your animal may travel in a boat in a marine park or reserve but must not enter or exit the boat within a marine park or reserve and must remain inside your vehicle if transiting through an adjoining national park”.
Under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 (‘CALM Act’), a person may not bring an animal onto lands or waters managed under the CALM Act, which includes national parks and marine parks.
Out of 200 DBCA-run marine parks, nature reserves, regional parks and national parks just 35 allow pets – and usually restricted to on-leash and only within small, designated areas. Dogs are not allowed in any marine park other than on boats.
The proposed marine park will span more than 1,000 km of coastline, from east of Bremer Bay to the WA/SA border and will likely include all beaches and coastal areas up to the high-water mark, save for a small radius around Esperance townsite covered by Port waters.
This means that many of your favourite fishing spots, assuming they are not locked away in a sanctuary zone in the new park, could be off-limits for your dog.
Andrew said, “For many on the south coast, the prospect of going fishing or going to the beach and leaving your dogs at home is absurd.
“Again, DBCA needs to be made aware imposing restrictions on a large section of the south coast community in this way will simply not be acceptable.”
“This will make it even more critical for south coast fishers to make clear what is important to you, when details of the proposed marine park are released for public comment in the next couple of months.”
The south coast is a delightful part of the world, especially at this time of year.
Autumn truly is the time to enjoy everything it has to offer, with the best weather of the year featuring still, warm day days and clear skies that showcase just how stunning this coastline is.
When it all comes together on the south coast there truly is nowhere else like it on the planet, and that’s probably why I choose to live there!
One of the great features of the south coast is the fishing, which is an integral part of the lifestyle in this part of the world, for both locals and visitors.
Indeed, many south coast towns started as fishing communities and recreational fishing remains a lifeblood for them, with huge social and economic benefits.
There’s an absolute wealth of fishing options along the south coast – if you truly want to get away from it all, and you’ve got a 4WD, there’s nothing like camping and fishing along the Nullarbor and Baxter Cliffs. For boaties, fishing around the archipelago islands around Esperance can be sensational at times when the conditions allow and then closer to town 4WD-ing and fishing off the beaches around Hopetoun and Bremer Bay can produce classic south coast action for species like salmon, skippy, mulloway and sharks.
Autumn is prime time for south coast anglers, with the favourable weather and giant salmon schools passing through on their annual migration, and southern bluefin tuna and bonito not far behind. The conditions are at their best for offshore fishing for species including pink, red and queen snapper, dhufish, Samson fish and yellowtail kingfish.
And it’s also a great time of the year to fish the countless south coast estuaries and rivers for thumping black bream, juvenile salmon, herring, King George whiting, pink snapper and blue swimmer crabs, not to mention the odd surprise like mulloway and tailor. For anyone considering a south coast escapade, here is a list of half a dozen places to start.
Duke of Orleans Bay
Located east of Esperance, a great access point to the beautiful coastline in this area. There are plenty of campsites through Cape Arid, but the caravan park at Duke of Orleans makes a perfect base for a fishing trip.
There is good inshore fishing for small boat anglers after a relatively easy beach launch at the Duke. With vast seagrass meadows you won’t need to go far for a feed of squid. Head out a short distance into the Recherche Archipelago and try for red snapper, harlequin fish, Samson fish, pink snapper and yellowtail kingfish, to name but a few species found here. There are numerous easily accessible beaches either side of the Duke which offer superb surf fishing for a range of species including salmon, mulloway, herring and skippy.
The salmon come through in huge numbers in late summer/early autumn and spots like Alexander Bay, Kennedy and Tagon Beaches, Poison Creek and Thomas River can all fire, offering superb beach driving experiences as well. Some of the biggest skippy in WA are caught around here. The drive along the beach from Thomas River to Cape Arid is a must-do if in the area, with that amazing contrast of crisp white sand and sparkling blue water.
An old favourite of mine, offering beach, estuary and offshore fishing around this lovely little holiday town. ‘Hopey’ as we call it, used to have a long jetty too that was great for fishing. Nowadays a rock groyne offers a couple of small jetties and a boat ramp, for easy access to inshore and offshore fishing for the usual range of inshore species.
The beaches east of Hopetoun are quite stunning and offer some superb fishing opportunities, with numerous reef ledges especially towards 12-Mile. A gravel road follows the coast east and offers opportunities for those with 2WD vehicles to park close to spots, while beach access for 4WDs is available in some locations. There are good spots all through here as you head towards Masons Bay and Starvation Bay. There are well-established campsites with good facilities here and beach launching for those with a boat who want to access some great fishing directly out from Masons and ‘Starvos’.
Back on the shore at this time of year, you should be able to find plenty of salmon, along with herring and skippy. The estuary fishing around Hopetoun can be great too, and over the years I’ve had a lot of fun in the Jerdacuttup River on black bream. Last year I fished it from a kayak for the first time and had a ball. Another great spot to check out west of town is Quoin Head. There is plenty of holiday accommodation in Hopetoun, including caravan parks.
Beaches of Bremer Bay
A wild and magnificent destination, Bremer Bay and the beaches to the east and west have to be seen to be believed. To the east of town, Trigelow, Doubtful Islands, Peppermint Beach and Bremer Beach to name a few, while to the west of town, Dylan, Fosters and Reef Beach are all collectively jaw-dropping land-based fishing spots. There are a range of beaches facing south, west and east, meaning you can pick your spot with ease to always have the wind in your back for casting.
With so much space, finding a camping spot all to yourself is simple to keep families entertained. A majority of these beaches are strictly 4WD only and big schools of salmon hold up in numerous sheltered areas at times, which can make for exciting sight fishing. There are plenty of areas where you can explore via 4WD through here to find deep gutters to soak baits or flick out lures for a wide range of great species.
They’re also usually good areas if the kids want a swim or to use their boogie boards. Herring are prolific along the beaches both west and east of Bremer and there’s a chance of skippy and silver bream. Sharks are often shadowing the salmon and can offer another challenge.
Located just east of Albany and only a 20-minute drive from the town centre, this spot is an old favourite of mine, and a great family fishing destination for anyone in the Albany area, offering fantastic fun fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages.
I have been fishing the inlet, which is east of Albany at Nanarup Beach, since I was a little kid, and I still get a real kick out of it. It is full of usually smallish bream, and some chunky juvenile salmon, making for great light tackle fishing. There are big bream in there though and these are a real reward for persistence. The bream will happily take baits, but it’s a good spot to try your hand at lure fishing for them, especially in the warmer months. You can simply pull up a car next to the water and cast a line, or wade, or even fish from a kayak or small boat.
The beach itself can be a great surf fishing spot, and is noted for producing salmon during the run, and often all year. It has some great holes and herring and tailor are also caught here. With a 4WD you can drive along the beach, or you can park and walk. There is also a delightful little bay at the western end, which is perfect for swimming.
This is an amazing fishery located in Denmark. It’s a reasonably small and shallow inlet, generally with a flat, featureless bottom, but it has an amazing ability to hold quality fish that just highlights how productive these southern estuaries can be.
The range of species that show up in the Wilson is quite staggering, especially given it can be closed to the ocean for extended periods. Big blue-spot flathead are a Wilson staple, as are some thumping dinner-plate flounder. King George whiting can be caught in there, yellowfin whiting show up in summer and the Wilson is renowned for its pink snapper. The pinkies are sometimes in huge numbers and while most are smallish, fish to 75cm do get caught.
Large silver bream can be caught in the Wilson and it holds probably the biggest, fattest herring you’ll ever see. Many times, I’ve thought I’ve hooked a small salmon, also found in the Wilson, only for it to turn out to be a monster herring. At times schools of big salmon have become trapped in the estuary and it also produces some nice garfish. There were even some jumbo tailor netted in there by professionals a couple of years ago.
The two main rivers running into it, the Denmark and Hay, can produce some quality bream. A small boat or kayak opens up the Wilson opportunities, but there are also shore fishing opportunities near the mouth and around the edges of the inlet. There are numerous accommodation options around Denmark.
It has been years since I have been to the Donnelly, but I’d love to get back there at some time.
Access to the river is via a boat ramp that offers access to the lower reaches down to the mouth for small trailer boats. This is a fascinating spot to me, as it is one place where you can get trout all the way to the ocean, and it also produces redfin perch near the ramp. The first time we visited we paddled to the mouth in a heavily laden Canadian canoe and caught some trout on the way down, along with plenty of black bream at the mouth. We also caught juvenile salmon. I’ll never forget having one huge trout follow my lure that was probably the biggest I’d ever seen in WA.
There are shacks near the mouth, and we simply set up a tent near one of them. The beach fishing at the mouth can be good, producing herring, skippy and tailor. I’ve even heard of trout being caught from the beach. During the annual salmon run you will catch plenty of them as well. With no vehicle access, this is a special spot to get away from it all, whether for a day trip or a camping adventure.
With more salmon schools spotted moving into the South-West regions, the number of catches submitted into the Salmon Slam app are starting to increase!
With a welcome long weekend approaching alongside Easter – it means a lot of fishers are getting excited and gearing up for salmon fishing trips to our pristine southern and South-West beaches.
Want to know where the salmon schools are headed off our coastline? The Salmon Tracker 2023 page on Facebook is now live and keeping tabs on where salmon schools are being spotted and fish are being landed, so make sure you give the page a like and follow to improve your odds!
With the second half of the 2023 Salmon Slam now underway with phase three kicking off from April 1-14, there is a Shimano Maikuro 9ft rod, surf shoulder bag and Western Angler pack up for grabs for the fisher who catches the four longest salmon overall, along with adult and junior random prizes and another $250 Halco Tackle pack for best photo – so get out there!
Want to improve your odds at landing these plump beauties off the beach? We’ve compiled the best fishing gear tips from the salmon fishing experts on the link below!
The fishing action during phase two of the 2023 Salmon Slam became so fiercely competitive that it resulted in a draw!
Nathan Woods and Mitchell Daube both had fantastic salmon sessions on the south coast recently, with both talented anglers landing four salmon measuring 3,150mm exactly.
With Nathan landing his four salmon first on the south coast, it meant he narrowly pipped Mitchell to the post with his four salmon landed around Yeagarup, winning the four longest salmon overall in phase two and a new Shimano Vanford 5000 Reel valued at $439!
Great efforts to both of you and with phase three (April 1-14) and phase four (April 15 – May 1) of the Slam offering great prizes, we should see the numbers of catches only increase as we head into Easter!
Best photo winner
For fishers hoping to wet a line during the final two phases of the 2023 Salmon Slam, make sure that you have your camera quickly ready to go for taking a glory photo of your catch as there is a $250 Halco Tackle pack up for grabs containing ideal salmon lures for the best photo taken during both phases!
It was hard for us to go past this great snap of 21-year-old Kaitlan Angi on the beach near Esperance for the best overall photo in phase two as it showcases everything there is to love about salmon fishing in WA – catching hard-fighting sportfish on stunning beaches.
“I caught this salmon on March 3rd by flicking a baited mulie into a deep gutter right off the beach in Esperance. It put up an incredible fight and it was so enjoyable catching something that big right off the beach,” said Kaitlan.
Another reason why Kaitlan won best photo for phase two (hint hint) is this photo includes everything we prefer to see in a salmon photo – the fish is still alive and being held horizontally with no fingers in the gills, with a beaming smile and beautiful backdrop of our pristine coastline also visible!
Junior random winner
The south coast has been boasting the most salmon catches so far – although with schools now spotted cruising past Hamelin Bay and Boranup this week, the South-West regions could soon arise as the best place to be in the coming weeks.
Making the most of the recent red hot salmon action on the south coast was the Thorburn family, with sons Charlie, Patrick and Finn Thorburn pulling in some impressive fish off a beach close to Cheynes near the end of March.
It just goes to show that if you are in the right place at the right time, the whole family can experience the thrill of landing salmon when schools venture in close to shore, especially excited youngsters.
Father of three boys and avid fisher, Dean Thorburn, said it was one of the best fishing trips he has ever had with his family.
“We loaded five rods in the car and Finn (13), Patrick (10) and Charlie (7) hit the beach and started casting metal slices into the waves. Even though the casting distance wasn’t huge, salmon were cruising the closer channels, meaning anyone was in with a chance,” said Dean.
“Soon enough, Finn was on. We all raced over and encouraged him through the fight. His fishing rod buckled and drag was sizzling from the reel as the salmon used its strength in the waves for an epic contest.
“Eventually, Finn pulled it up with the wash and we all shared in the amazing catch. A few quick photos and the salmon was released back into the wash. Finn was absolutely over the moon and his smile persisted for hours.
“Switching to bait, Patrick’s rod then almost flew out of the holder as the salmon took multiple runs. He played the fish well, and sure enough he landed one of the biggest salmon captured over the weekend. We all agreed that his was one of our best days ever. Three proud happy boys, and a memory that will last a lifetime.”
As a result of their great session, the three Thorburn brothers have $100 to spend on fishing gear thanks to the crew from Compleat Angler in Nedlands!
Adult random winner
Another contestant who makes the most of the Salmon Slam each year is Beverley Tillman, who always makes an effort to go camping on the south coast with her husband in the hopes of finding large salmon schools.
With salmon catches providing great fishing opportunities to kids, that excitement doesn’t go away even in adulthood, with Beverley enjoying some of the best fishing experiences of her life after creating more salmon fishing memories recently in Windy Harbour.
“I think the Slam is a great idea, especially for getting kids into fishing and allowing them to experience the thrill of catching big fish with ease,” said Beverely.
“On our annual camping trip to Windy Harbour, my hubby spotted a school passing by and flicked out a line before quickly hooking up to this salmon on a light Shimano 3-6kg Jewel rod and Shimano 4000 Stradic using a five-inch Zman Diezel Minnowz.”
Congratulations to you and your husband Bev and we hope you both enjoy prowling for some new fishing gear courtesy of a $100 voucher from Anglers Fishing World in Fremantle!
Well done to all our phase two winners and now that the salmon are starting to move into the South-West, make sure you don’t waste time and wet a line!
Want to get involved with the second half of the 2023 Salmon Slam? Make sure you:
Whiting, herring, flounder, skippy, tarwhine and black bream were just some of the fantastic fish that put big smiles on the dials of our next generation of fishers taking part in our Southern Tour of SunSmart fishing clinics.
Run in partnership with Healthway and supported by Shimano, the tour saw Recfishwest host 10 free fishing clinics in south coast estuaries, rivers and marinas showcasing the variety of fish kids can enjoy catching in these special environments and why these clinics are so important for local communities.
Free of charge and with all gear provided, kids spent two hours learning fishing tips and tricks from the pros at Bremer Bay, Albany, Denmark, Walpole and Augusta, with Recfishwest Operations Team Member John Dempsey and DBCA’s Stephen Crane teaching the kids about the basics of fishing, fish handling tips, the importance of fishing sustainably and the value of the waterways.
“It’s great to see these Southern Tours brimming with excited kids and their families coming along to experience safe, accessible and rewarding fishing sessions – you can see how important fishing is for communities on the south coast,” said John.
“Not only do these healthy estuarine environments provide ideal nursery habitats, but they also lead to great fishing and impressive catches – we certainly had our hands full keeping up with the number of fish being landed!
“In addition to all the valuable fishing knowledge these clinics have provided, they also focus on keeping kids safe under the sun and we’re grateful to Healthway for helping us continue to run these great community events.”
Were you one of the young guns getting amongst the fishing action? Check out some of the great snaps from some of our recent SunSmart fishing clinics below!
Recfishwest’s next fishing clinic will take place between 8:00am-10:00am, 22 April at A.P Hinds Reserve in Bayswater, come wet a line with us!