Weather delivers quiet weeks on water | Fishing & Diving

Tall tales: Sam Weightman and Billy Thom show that bringing bananas on to a boat is an old wives tale! The fish they have caught are harpuka.
Tall tales: Sam Weightman and Billy Thom show that bringing bananas on to a boat is an old wives tale! The fish they have caught are harpuka.

Over the last few weeks the fishing stories have been few and far between due to the demersal ban, closure of a couple of boat ramps and the weather not being very conducive to fishing on the beach.

What has been reported is good numbers of squid up in the Geographe Bay along with crabs in reasonable numbers and size.

Crabbing can be done from a boat – by dropping nets (filled with spleen) and then going back and checking them, however if you don’t have a boat – don’t despair – you can also grab a scoop net and just walk along in the water to find the crabs.

Shore fishing has been light on due to wintry conditions hanging around.

The few who have been brave enough to sit down the beach have reported a few mulloway and a couple of tailor.

The numbers have been low however some good size mulloway have been caught in the gutters along our western coastline.

Augusta still is the place to catch the whiting and these tasty morsels are best eaten fresh, either in fillets and lightly battered or whole on the barbecue.

A few reports of crays being caught in pots are coming through, as well as an odd diver heading out to snare a cray or two.

We have plenty of tuna heads to fill your pots as well as the oily mullet which is sometimes used for bait.

This year we were lucky enough to be granted some funds to run a “Gone Fishing Day” event and we will be holding it at the Down South Camping & Outdoors shop on Station Road on Saturday November 24 from 1pm to 3pm.

We will have a sausage sizzle, coolies, giveaways and raffles along with a small carpark sale.

If you would like to come along please RSVP to the store on 08 9758 8966 to secure your special free VIP gift.

Until next month, happy fishing and diving!

Have your say on crabs

Recreational fishing surveys since 2011 have consistently shown Blue Swimmer Crabs are far and away the most caught species by fishers around Western Australia.

A discussion paper released by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) on October 25th has called into question the suitability of current management arrangements for Blue Swimmer Crabs on the lower West Coast and highlighted an urgent need to better protect breeding stocks.

The discussion paper highlights a particular concern about the current level of protection provided to mated, pre-spawn female crabs which become highly vulnerable to capture in late autumn, winter and spring.

Recfishwest has voiced concerns about the level of protection provided to mated pre-spawn crabs for over a decade.

DPIRD’s discussion paper has considered the following five options for better protecting crab breeding stocks on the lower west coast: :

  • Male-only fishery
  • Increase in the Minimum Legal Size (MLS)
  • Reducing fishing effort for all sectors when female crabs are vulnerable to capture
  • Patchwork closures for where female crabs aggregate
  • Broad-scale area closures when females are more vulnerable to capture

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said attention is being focused across the entire lower west coast crab resource to ensure all areas of breeding stock vulnerability are addressed and includes all estuaries and ocean fishing for crabs from Perth to Geographe Bay.

“Our priority here are the crabs and looking after important breeding stock,” Dr Rowland said.

“Blue Swimmer Crabs are the most caught species in WA by rec fishers, so it’s important to balance protection of the stock with great community fishing experiences with access to high abundances of crabs.”

In weighing up the options, the Department has identified broad scale seasonal closures (May to Nov) as the most balanced option to achieve the desired objective.

Recfishwest have developed an online survey asking people how they want their crab fisheries managed and protected into the future and say they will continue to represent the community’s views about how they want this important public resource managed.

To complete the survey visit www.recfishwest.org.au

Abalone season open

Abalone, a delicacy for many fishers in WA, can now be caught in the South Coast region, extending from Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border, until 15th May 2019.

Greenlip abalone are the most common, with their Brownlip cousins being rarer but more sought after due to their size. The smaller Roe abalone is also available along the south coast.

Abalone make for a challenging fishing experience but for those looking for the reward, it’s worth the effort.

The challenge certainly doesn’t deter the 17,500 fishers that will target abalone over the following months, with the West Coast Bioregion season opening occurring in December.

Green and brownip abalone in the Southern Zone can be found on granite or limestone surfaces, with rocks that protrude, slope or are generally cracked.

They’re typically in waters deeper than 6 metres and love granite crevices.

You’ll find Roe’s abalone within 2m of the waterline, favouring cracks and crevices on shallow limestone or bouldery granite reefs, as well as around broken rock on offshore islands.

Be careful and safe when harvesting Roe’s abalone as their habitat exists in the ‘swell’ zone.

Abalone safety tips: 

As always, safety is paramount when out fishing for the day.

The following tips have been sourced from RecfishWest with the assistance of Surf Life Saving WA.

Never Ab-alone! 

Study the waves before you get into the water and keep an eye on the swell while fishing – it is easy to be injured on reefs.

If you are unsure whether conditions are too rough, don’t go in. 

Be confident in your swimming ability before undertaking abalone fishing, as you have to swim to get abalone. 

Carry your catch in a loose-weave net bag; this will allow water to pass through and not become a dragging weight. 

Attach your measuring gauge to your wrist; don’t hang it around your neck. 

Wear protective footwear and a wetsuit or light clothing that will not become too heavy when wet. 

Know how far you can dive and be wary of the depth you are diving, as shallow water blackout can occur when freediving or holding your breath underwater. 

Be shark smart and report all shark sightings directly to the Water Police on (08) 9442 8600.