With its rock ledges, weedbeds, sheltered coves and clear water just 18km from Perth, Rottnest Island is a popular boating and fishing destination.
Rottnest has some of the southern-most coral reef in Australia, with 135 species of tropical fish on the island’s reefs, compared to 11 along the metro coastline.
Overall, 450 species of fish are found in Rottnest Island waters.
Migrating whales pass through the area on their way to and from northern breeding grounds.
To conserve this special marine environment, sanctuary zones, no-boating areas, speed limits and other guidelines are in place.
The island is so popular that an annual ballot system is run to allocate accommodation during holidays.
Visit www.rottnestisland.com for details.
A raft of local regulations are intended to preserve Rottnest’s environment.
Everyone entering the Rottnest Island Reserve, including the marine reserve, must pay an admission fee.
The Rottnest Island Authority manages moorings and jetty pens on the Island.
Spearguns, gidgies and net fishing are prohibited in the Marine Reserve.
Visit www.rottnestisland.com/boatinginformation for details.
Being an island there is always a lee shore.
Herring, bream and silver trevally (skippy) are usually available from shore, with squid over the shallow weedbeds.
King george whiting are caught around Rottnest, and small mulloway.
Yellowtail kingfish, pink snapper and dhufish are popular with boaters.
West End and the south side produce mackerel.
Salmon schools can be accessed from shore, and from boats, usually around West End. Tailor are also caught.
Fishing gear can be hired or bought at Rottnest Malibu Diving, the General Store in Thomson Bay, and the Geordie Bay Store.
The local fish include reef dwellers, seagrass inhabitants and pelagic species.
The dhufish is king of the reefs, mostly taken from deeper waters, but some fish are caught from the rocks.
King wrasse, silver drummer, red-lipped and dusky morwong, black-spot goatfish, leatherjackets, breaksea cod and sweep are plentiful.
Big samson and yellowtail kingfish are sometimes caught from land platforms.
The seagrass beds host mainly sand and king george whiting, cobbler, squid and flathead.
Lobsters, octopus, cuttlefish and squid inhabit inshore reefs.
Popular local spots include …
1. Parker Point: The area outside the sanctuary produces tailor, herring and trevally. Troll the deep water outside the
sanctuary for yellowfin tuna, yellowtail kingfish and shark mackerel.
2. Salmon Point to Fairbridge Bluff (outside sanctuary) -herring, trevally, whiting, tarwhine.
3. Bathurst Point is a good place to fish before catching the ferry at Thomsons Bay nearby. Herring are abundant off the rocks if
you use berley.
4. Henrietta Rocks has herring and trevally: use small baits with berley.
5. Geordie Bay is the second-most popular mooring area after Thomsons Bay. It has accommodation and is crowded during summer
holidays. Herring and sand whiting are caught from shore and from moored boats.
6. Point Clune to Longreach Bay has mostly herring from the beaches and reefs. Some trevally and king george whiting are taken
7. Thomson Bay is the main settlement and the ferry landing. The ferry jetty has herring, gar, trevally, whiting and squid. Herring are
common around Thomson Bay.
8. Phillip Point has a reef with tailor: fish from a boat and cast into the white water. From shore there are herring, trevally and some tailor.
9. Charlotte Point to Armstrong Point is a good area for smaller species such as herring, skippy, tarwhine, sand whiting and occasional king george whiting.
Wide of Rottnest Island is a deep trench, a ship graveyard, and several FADs.
FADs are installed up to 60km off Perth each summer.
Dolphin fish (mahi mahi) are the main catch around the FADs, with tuna, cobia, trevally and mackerel.
Visit the Perth Game Fishing Club for the latest information on FADs … http://www.pgfc.com.au/fads/
Several large vessels have been scuttled west of Rottnest Island.
The Derwent wreck, for example, lies at approx 32 03.516S 115 12.207E, 22km west of the island, in almost 200m.
Ask Perth tackle shops for GPS data for others.
Some wrecks are historic sites that can not be fished.
The deep trench off Rottnest produces deep-sea reef fish for those willing to work the great depth. There’s also the chance of blue and black marlin and sailfish.
Gear tips for Western AustraliaThese recommendations are for landbased fishing for WA's temperate species.
Bluewater boat-based fishing requires different gear from that listed below, although the same rod-reel combos can be used for temperate and tropical regions.
In WA's northern rivers and estuaries, a baitcaster combo is recommended for barramundi and threadfin fishing, along with specialist barramundi lures, however spinning reel combos can also be used.
A 3-6kg spin outfit is the ideal all-rounder for WA's temperate estuaries and sheltered waters, chasing bream, flathead, herring, small salmon, skippy and whiting. See eBay listing here.
For chasing wary bream and whiting in clear water, such as the Swan River, a 1-3kg spin outfit is ideal for estuary whiting, bream and bass. See eBay listing here.
A medium surf rod-reel combo is ideal for beach and rock fishing for tailor, bream and small mulloway. See eBay listing here.
A heavy surf rod-reel combo is needed for larger mulloway or for rock fishing places like Steep Point. See eBay listing here.
For boat fishing, a short rod/spinning reel combo loaded with 10kg line is ideal for general reef fishing in water to around 20m deep, and can also be used to cast lures to pelagic fish. See eBay listing here.
Metal slice lures are ideal for tailor, kingfish and salmon in the surf and off the rocks. See eBay listing here.
Soft plastic grubs are good all-round lures for bream and freshwater species. Listing on eBay here.
Jig heads are needed for unrigged soft plastic lures. Listing on eBay here.
Squid jigs are useful in Western Australia, especially in Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay. Listing on eBay here.
Star sinkers or snapper leads are generally used on a paternoster rig for surf and boat fishing. For most other fishing, ball sinkers are used, as part of a running sinker rig. Listing on eBay here.
Hooks in mixed sizes (suggest 1# or #2 for whiting, 6# or #8 for garfish, 4/0 for tailor, salmon and flathead, 11/0 for large mulloway). Listing on eBay here.
Ganged hooks (joined chains of hooks) are used when fishing pilchard baits for tailor. Listing on eBay here.
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