Metropolitan boat based fly fishing is limited when compared to areas further north, particularly above the 26th parallel. However there are still some good opportunities and challenges – if you are patient and prepared to work for them.
Some of the main metropolitan fly rod targets for ocean based fly fishing are:
Inshore: Herring (Tommy Ruff), Skippy (Silver Trevally), Whiting
Broken Ground/Reefs: Skippy, Tailor, Samson Fish, Pink Snapper, Yellow Tail Kingfish, Australian Salmon
Offshore: Southern Bluefin Tuna, Mahi Mahi
Locations & Techniques
Anchoring and berleying is a prime technique for metro based fly fishing. Casting bait fish imitations back into the berley trail is probably the most effective way to target most of the available species, particularly in protected areas and over broken ground. Popular locations for this style of fishing include Cockburn Sound, areas around Garden Island, Carnac Island, Mewstone/Stragglers Rocks and the Three Mile Reef system out from Hillarys and Mindarie.
Further offshore options include the Five Fathom Bank and Rottnest Island.
In a good year the Autumn Australian Salmon run can reach Perth. This can provide some of the best metro fly fishing we get, particularly in an around the bays at Rottnest. The run typically only lasts for six to 8 weeks, but during that time fly anglers have an opportunity to catch large numbers of hard fighting 4 to 7 kilogram fish that fight hard, jump frequently and willingly hit a wide variety of flies!
Each year around the summer months Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD’s) are deployed west of Rottnest. These devices provide good opportunities to catch Mahi Mahi on fly, although a large boat and good weather is required to access them.
In deeper water look for bird activity as an indicator of pelagic species like Tuna feeding, or use your sounder to locate bait schools and cast and drift around these areas.
Boat Ramps & Safety
The main metro boat ramps are at Woodman Point (southern suburbs), the Swan Yacht Club (in the river), Hillarys, Mindarie and Two Rocks.
Perth can be a windy place, and also subject to large swells at times. Always make sure you take the prevailing conditions into account before heading offshore, and always carry appropriate safety gear. Particular care needs to be taken in and around shallow reefs and broken ground – if in doubt stay clear!