Exmouth, Western Australia

Exmouth tides
WA fishing regulations
Ningaloo Marine Park
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Exmouth Game Fishing Club has had around 150 gamefish records in state, national and international categories, covering 28 species, which demonstrates the fishing quality in this region.

The town might not look much on the map above, but zoom out and you will see the Ningaloo reef to the west, which extends south along the coast.

Exmouth itself is on the shores of Exmouth Gulf.

Despite the lack of significant rivers, Exmouth offers huge variety, from sight fishing clear, sandy flats inside reef lagoons, to deep-sea trolling for blue, black and striped marlin over the Continental Shelf, and coral reef fishing.

The eastern gulf flats have cod, trevally, threadfin salmon, queenfish and mud crabs.

The western gulf, from about Learmonth north, produces tropical reef fish, as well as southern species such as tailor and pink snapper.

The Continental Shelf is at its closest point to the Australian mainland on the north-west end of the Exmouth Peninsula.

This is perhaps Western Australia’s prime billfish area, with the big three marlin species, broadbill swordfish and sailfish all taken.

Exmouth has most facilities, including a big marina with protected boat ramp.

There are sealed ramps at Bundegi, north of Exmouth, and Tantabiddi, on the ocean side of the peninsula.

How to fish Exmouth

Known billfish grounds include the drop-off directly out from Tantabiddi boat ramp northwards, and offshore from the Muiron Islands.

Sailfish, dolphin fish, cobia, wahoo, spanish mackerel and tuna are also encountered in these areas.

Good reef fishing is available off Exmouth and around North West Cape, with dinghy anglers catching mainly spangled emperor, rankin cod, Charlie Courts and tuskfish, as well as pelagic fish.

North West Cape’s oyster rocks are a well-known haunt of oversize trevally. These are taken on poppers near sunrise and sunset. Queenfish and permit are also caught.

Rankin cod inhabit offshore reefs, along with coral trout.

On the 100m line, jobfish, red emperor, chinaman and pearl perch are caught.

The small “Charlie Court” cod is popular with Exmouth visitors because of its abundance near shore, and its eating quality.

Dinghy anglers generally target inshore reefs from Bundegi to Point Murat, where humpback whales give the odd scare as they surface in close.

Further offshore, on a series of sand ridges, sailfish are prolific.

The sailfish are usually chasing the bait schools entering and leaving the gulf with the tides.

The Muiron Island area is popular with the local charter boat industry, which targets both reef and pelagic fish. Beware the sanctuary zones.

On the east side of the gulf the shallow estuaries and creeks have mangrove jacks, threadfin salmon, trevally, queenfish, bream and mud crabs.

While the Ashburton River north of Onslow is regarded as the southern limit of the barramundi’s range, they can be found on occasion in the shallow bays on the east side of Exmouth Gulf in summer.

The southern gulf can be accessed by 4WD through Giralia Station, which has accommodation and camping for a fee, phone (08) 9942 5937.
Exmouth has hotels/motels, caravan parks and camp sites.

Diving and snorkelling is popular in this area because of the clear water and spectacular coral reefs.
Giant whale sharks and manta rays regularly visit.

Bait, lures & tackle

Squid are readily available and make good bait, being effective as fresh or live bait.

Of the packet baits, prawns, bluebait, whitebait and pilchards work well.

Pilchards presented on ganged hooks work well around the rocks and shallow reefs.

Paternoster rigs are standard fare when beach and boat fishing, using light star sinkers and small long-shank hooks.

For the estuaries on the eastern Gulf, running sinker or weightless rigs work well. Float-fishing livebaits can work well.

Lures: Small soft plastics and minnows work well on estuary jacks, bream, queenfish and trevally.

Squid jigs are a must in the tackle box, and large baited jigs work well on big SA squid.

Weather & tides

Exmouth tides are small, to around 2.45m movement.

Like much of WA there can be a powerful afternoon sea breeze.

Summer may bring cyclones that travel south-west down the coast from the tropical north.

Special features

Coral reef lagoons throughout Ningaloo are spectacular. Take a snorkel.

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Fishing gear for Western Australia

These 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 heavier surf rod is needed for surf mulloway, snapper and gummy shark fishing. See eBay listing here.

This surf rod can be matched with this spinning reel ... eBay listing here.

Or try this heavy surf rod-reel combo for large mulloway or rock fishing. 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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Email us any corrections, additions, pictures or video here.

Some external videos filmed around Exmouth are featured below.

ET fishing around Exmouth

Exmouth fishing

Exmouth fishing

Exmouth shallows fishing

Exmouth fly fishing

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