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Even though you’ll hear the word ‘crayfish’ when
you’re out and about, the official name in WA for
the reef- and rock-dwelling crustaceans is lobster.
Popular varieties in the state are the western rock
lobster, southern rock lobster and painted lobster.
As rumour has it, the name was changed from
crayfish to lobster in the 60s purely as a selling strategy
for the American seafood market.
NORTH | The seemingly infinite coastline provides lobster
lovers with a huge choice of environments to hunt in. Exmouth is home
to five species of rock lobster, but for the largest specimens head to the islands just off the coast
where the water is shallow and known for its clarity. The atolls offshore from Shark Bay and Carnarvon
are loaded with 1-2kg lobsters at certain times of the year; you’ll find an overlap of southern and
painted types... what a feast!
SOUTH | Generous-sized western rock lobster can be found in Augusta, but for seriously hefty beasts
you’re best to pursue waters from Busselton to Hamelin Bay, with Gnarabup Beach being a standout
lobster location. Best of all you can book accommodation in the heart of the wine region and enjoy
a drop of sauv blanc with your catch. The southwest water can be tricky for lobster because the
massive swell can create rips and fast-moving currents. Trust your instincts... if you’re feeling
uncomfortable about heading out, it’s not worth the risk.
fishing platform. Warren River and Donnelly River
are well-known freshwater fishing favourites (you can
launch from the Donnelly River Boat Ramp). Locals
recommend Rooney’s Bridge, or consider camping
overnight on Heartbreak Trail and doing a spot
of fishing along the route. Walpole’s a fisherman’s
dream. The Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine
Park boasts the highest diversity of fish species in
any WA estuary (more than three dozen!) and the
area’s home to some of the best black bream fishing
in WA. Technically, it’s not all fresh water (there’s
a mix of ocean water). Keep in mind Walpole is
shallower than Nornalup. For ocean fishing, launch
from sites like Peaceful Bay, or Parry Beach. Glen
Mervyn Dam near Collie’s good for trout and redfin,
especially at the south end of the dam. You can
make a day of it, with a picnic area and toilets near
the boat ramp. You’ll also find Wellington Dam in
the shire of Collie, which is good for redfin and
some trout. Other popular dams include southwest
gems like the Harvey Dam and Logue Brook Dam,
great for both fishing (dropping a line from a kayak
at Harvey can be fun) and marroning. Some dams,
like Harvey, are not open year-round for fishing,
so check first. In the Kimberley region, freshwater
sections of the Fitzroy River are a choice spot for
the adventurous fisherman. Over three dozen
different species populate the Fitzroy (but many are
drawn here for the chance to try for the legendary
barramundi, or “barra”, as the locals call it).
Please keep in mind spearfishing is not allowed
in inland waters, only in ocean waters, though
exceptions exist (in some protected marine
areas, and around dive wrecks). Always be sure to
check first. A number of local spearfishing clubs/
associations exist in WA, so for the best tips
consider contacting them before you pass through
the region. Exmouth is home to species such as
parrotfish, mangrove jacks, mackerel, and tuna.
Five to eight metres are standard depths, but
can vary. Check regulations first to make sure you’re
in a spearfishing-approved zone and not catching
illegal species. Keep in mind, too, that currents are
strong, and waters can be shark-infested. The waters
near Dampier are also worth hitting, and Esperance
is another spearfishing spot with a number of great
locations to consider (like Duke of Orleans Bay).
Coral Bay’s popular, and off Five Fingers Beach is
worth checking out, but take care to ensure
you remain outside sanctuary zones. Along the
coast near Albany you can expect dhufish and
pink snapper. Spearfishing in the Margaret River
region is also popular. In the southwest, great
white sharks are commonly spotted, so if you’re
spearfishing, go with a buddy. Geraldton’s a popular
spearfishing location; reef inhabitants include coral
trout, snapper, dhufish, fox fish and baldchin groper.
Barramundi fishing in the Kimberley
(photography, BJK Photography).
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