The Threads Connecting Community Spirit

The fishing in Roebuck Bay has never been better. Fishers exploring the flats and creeks within the bay are being rewarded for their efforts with many quality fish encountered each session. Threadfin salmon over a metre are fast becoming common among a fishers daily catch. The abundance of these world-class, trophy-sized fish must be seen to be believed. Fishing clubs and competitions can be the lifeblood of regional communities and Broome is no different.  The awesome fishing in Broome’s Roebuck Bay plays an important role in connecting the community together in a shared love of fishing.

Barra fishing has never been better in Roebuck Bay

Fisheries management changes in 2013 have allowed for iconic species such as threadfin salmon and barramundi to thrive, with record catches a common occurrence. The two Broome fishing clubs have held and continue to hold, many fishing competitions capitalising on the sensational fishing. Recent events include the monthly Big Five 2019 competition, ran by the Broome North fishing club where the key species – threadfin, mangrove jack, bluebone, blue lined and trevally see fishers target these fantastic fish over a month period hoping to take out the grand prize; the Threadfin Shootout held by Broome fishing club, and the Thready Kick-off Comp held by Broome North Fishing Club. The results of these events can be viewed by following these pages on social media. These competitions are becoming more successful with bigger and better fish being caught each year. The Broome Fishing Clubs Christmas Tinny Comp also utilises the great fishing within the bay, that’s so accessible to small boat fishers. Participants in these regional events often relish the social side of the event, where fishers get together and share the stories of fishing with one another, helping to bring together regional communities like Broome.

Jourdain (Jeda) Ellens, Skipper of Makaira Game Fishing Charter with a HUGE black jewfish

Threadfin fishing has benefited the most from the 2013 management changes, with threadfin becoming evidently more plentiful for fishers within the area. Threadfin, for those unfamiliar with this species, are a superb fighting fish that taste sensational on the plate. Broome Fishing Club stalwart Ben Little recently caught a 3.45kg giant threadfin salmon on fly using a 3kg tippet. This was later confirmed as a World Record by the International Game Fishing Association. Ben describes fishing in the area as “the best I’ve ever seen it. When you head out you’re almost guaranteed a fish – whether you’re a fly, bait or lure fisher – from your boat or from shore, it’s just awesome!” To read more about the record catch click here.

A healthy threadfin from Roebuck Bay

The fishing’s better when the fish are biting, and Roebuck Bay is testament to what can be achieved through managing fish stocks to be healthy and abundant. Whilst previous management arrangements were biologically sustainable, they did not allow stocks to grow to a size that supports such extraordinary fishing experiences for the community. Kimberley fishing guide Michael Tropiano describes the bay as “unique spot” and says it’s “easily the best threadfin salmon fishing in the Kimberley and probably the country.”

Makaira Game Fishing operator Jourdain Ellens has fished Roebuck bay for 10 years now and says  “since the net buy-out, the quantity and quality of these fish has gone through the roof!” Mr Ellens says “the average size of the fish has increased significantly and with more big breeders around, there has also been a lot more juveniles around too. Towards the end of 2018 there were also some reefs in the bay that were inundated with 40-50cm black jewfish, indicating some successful spawning events occurring not long ago.”

A superb threadfin salmon caught in Roebuck bay

Mr Ellens also noted the incredible increase of Barramundi being caught within the bay. “After a reasonable wet season in 2016/2017 followed up by an exceptional wet in 2017/2018, Roebuck Bay’s barramundi fishery has exploded. Late 2018 (Sept – Dec) produced some of the best barra fishing numbers I have seen in recent years from the bay. Throughout those months it was quite common to catch 20+ Barra on a day charter all within a stone’s throw of Broome. The majority of fish averaged 50-70cm but there was more than enough fish being landed in the 80 – 100cm size range to keep things interesting and fishers smiling!”

There has never been a better time to visit Broome and experience the first class fishing on offer close to the town. Whether it’s from the shore or from a boat, there is plenty of fishing opportunities available thanks to increased abundances of highly valued recreational species. If you’ve looking to plan your next fishing trip, Roebuck bay might be the place for you! So next time you’re in Broome consider entering a fishing competition, join in on the fun while connecting with the locals, you never know, maybe you’ll even go home a champion fisher with a story to tell for years to come.

Follow the clubs on Facebook to stay up to date on the competitions that run throughout the year.

Jourdain (Jeda) Ellens with a fish of a lifetime for any fisher!

World Record Threadfin in Roebuck Bay!

Here’s what we sent in our Members First email last week.


It’s with great pleasure that I present to our Members a World Record catch!

Recfishwest Member and Broome Fishing Club stalwart Ben Little, landed this 3.45kg threadfin salmon on fly on 3kg tippet in Roebuck Bay, Broome, back in April 2018. Ben received official confirmation of his world record status from the International Game Fishing Association yesterday.

Although threadfin salmon grow much bigger, recent high abundances in Roebuck Bay gave Ben the opportunity to pursue this Fly-caught World Record. Here’s Ben below with a cracking Roebuck Bay specimen caught in 2014.

So why is this so important? Fishing in Roebuck Bay is currently the best in living memory – but this wasn’t always the case!

Fisheries management changes that removed commercial netting in Roebuck Bay back in 2013, has allowed for iconic species such as threadfin salmon and barramundi to thrive, with record catches a common occurrence.

Ben’s World Record threadfin was caught at a spot called ‘The Fingers’, known previously to be an average fishing spot due to low abundances of threadfin and barramundi.

Ben said the threadfin fishery in the bay, on the doorstep of Broome, has been exceeding all expectations since 2013 and can only be described as World Class – with shore based fishers now catching fish up to 95cm!

“It’s the best I’ve ever seen it. When you head out you’re almost guaranteed a fish – whether you’re a fly, bait or lure fisher – from your boat or from shore, it’s just awesome!!”

Although Ben’s fish wasn’t released, he was fishing that day as part of a recreational fishing licence money funded project involving indigenous custodians the Yawuru people tagging threadfin salmon for science, to understand their population and movements in Roebuck Bay.

It’s amazing to watch this fishery evolve into one of ‘World Class’ status and great to see the fishery managed in a way that maximises the value to the community.

So next time you’re in Broome, chat to the locals, head to the fishing club, drop into the tackle stores and ask how you can catch yourself a threadfin in Roebuck Bay!