Shark Bay’s Steep Point rock platform is among Australia’s best landbased fishing spots.
The rocks are a cliff face that drop straight into deep water at the entrance to Shark Bay.
Across from the rocks is Dirk Hartog Island, which can be accessed by vehicular ferry.
Big fish are caught at Steep Point by those who are equipped to land them.
Whales swim by the rocks and large spanish mackerel, billfish, snapper, yellowtail kingfish and tailor are regularly caught.
Cliff gaffs are required and balloon fishing methods are the norm, although lure and bait casting will work.
Good footwear is a must and wearing a life preserver is recommended – for some reason, visiting fishermen rarely do.
Even with a life preserver, it is a long swim to safety. It is not a safe spot for children.
False Entrance is an alternative camping and fishing spot near Steep Point.
The area near the False Entrance platform can take four camp sites.
The rock platform itself is rougher than Steep Point, but the fishing is as good as Steep Point.
Gaffing is harder as it requires timing with the swells, and the cliffs at False Entrance are higher than the lowest Steep Point ledge.
The beach at False Entrance is a superb spot for tailor, with mulloway in the evenings.
False Entrance is on the same track as Steep Point, being just 7km from the signposted junction.
It requires the same permit and bookings as Steep Point and Shelter Bay.
Shelter Bay is a camping, launching and mooring area near Steep Point.
There is sandspit just a short drive west of the bay that provides good beach fishing at times.
Large schools of big silver drummer (buffalo bream) can be seen swimming the shallows in this region.
The sandspit west of Shelter Bay is a good landbased fishing spot, as it borders deep water.
Beware large norwest blowies if wading the spit. These are often aggressive. They attack hooked fish and will swim up to a fisho’s feet, and may take a bite if given the chance.
Camping at Steep Point is run by the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Advance bookings are essential as demand is high.
A 4WD vehicle is needed to access this region as there are patches of soft sand, and beach launching is required.
Bait, lures & tackle
Pilchard baits on ganged hooks and balloon gear are the usual rig for catching spanish mackerel off the rocks.
Heavy spinning gear also works.
Strong surf rods are the norm.
You’ll need a drop gaff to land fish from the rock platforms, and enough ice or refrigeration to keep your fish cold for the long trip home.
Squid are readily available in the shallows around the weedbeds and make good bait, being most effective as fresh or live bait.
Large kingfish seen patrolling the rocks are often cautious and may require live squid to tempt them.
Of the packet baits, prawns, bluebait and whitebait work well.
Expect to lose a lot of gear while bottom-fishing from the rocks.
Weather & tides
Shark Bay tides are relatively small, but there can be a tidal rip through the entrance with standing waves.
Like much of WA there can be a strong afternoon sea breeze.
The best boating time is between June and October, when winds are lighter and temperatures milder. Strong winds blow in summer.
Mackerel fishing is seasonal, but fish can be caught all year at Steep Point.
Billfish are a chance off the rocks, but big spanish mackerel are what most fishos chase.
Within the bay, tailor, bonito, queenfish, trevally, and emperor can be caught off the sandspit.
Further inside Shark Bay sand whiting are caught from the beaches, and flathead.
For boaters, pink snapper are in good numbers after being over-fished years ago. Special snapper fishing rules apply in the bay to prevent over-fishing.
Squid are usually abundant over the seagrass beds, and emperor can be caught over most reefy patches.
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Some external videos filmed around Steep Point are featured below.