Fishing is one of Australias favourite past-times. Being surrounded by reefs, warm currents and islands the length of our country makes Australia one of the best destinations in the world for the sport.
Despite what the neigh-Sayers tell you Perth beaches are far from fished out. Most people who tell you this are 'professional' hobby fisherman who have had a bad run of luck.
So for those of you who want to try your arm out at scoring free dinner, anyone interested in learning to fish and kids raring to discover fishing where do you go to learn the tricks of the trade?
Hillarys Boat Harbour The rock walls of Hillarys are always dotted with avid fishers chasing King George Whiting, Skippy and tailor. Unfortunately this area can be rather hit-and-miss in terms of catch rates. If all you want to do is get your first catch then the harbour will provide much better opportunities.
Inside the walls the warmer water is absolutely teeming with underwater life. Large schools of Herring can be seen with the naked eye and reef fish occupy the length of the rock walls. Brim, Skippy and even Snook can often be seen chasing schools of Baitfish and can often be very well sized.
If you get there before sunrise no one will stop you from fishing the inner harbour. There are almost always huge schools of Herring around the diving jetty but be quick, once the flocks of people arrive fishing is strictly prohibited here.
The fishing jetty in front of AQWA is always a popular choice for evening fishing. If you can get a spot here (try arrive 30-40 mins before sunset) Brim, Herring and the odd Skippy are plentiful if you can keep your bait away from the reef fish. Crabbing here can also be quite rewarding.
If you move a little closer to the boardwalk - in front of the accommodation - you'll find much less competition and pretty good results. Snook have been known to lurk the deeper waters around the docks and even the odd mulloway has turned up around here.
Again the warmer waters make for great fishing in the Fremantle harbour and river entrance. The water here is much deeper and more accessible allowing for a larger variety of fish to show. You do get all the normal suspects - skippy, herring, tailor, brim etc. which are always an easy catch anywhere around Perth. If you increase your hook size you can avoid these and get some much more exciting fish.
Freo is easily your most likely chance of catching Mulloway without going out to sea or up north. They vary quite drastically in size, getting up to 12 kilos.
Mackerel, Garfish and King George Whiting are harder to find, but are extremely tasty and are definitely out there. Flatheads roam the area from the mouth up to Point Walter. The only problem here being the infestation of blowies - keep your baits deep or use lures/plastics to avoid them.
Samson Fish and Pink Snapper have also been turning up much closer to shore recently and offer great beginner sport fishing if you can hook one up. If you're crazy/unlucky enough at the right time of year you can even get small bull sharks on the end of your line up to Blackwall reach.
Fresh water angling requires a license and for all fish there are bag limits and catch sizes, not to mention a ban on some specie at certain times of the year and special licenses for certain water life and for any kind of boat fishing, so better check it all out before the fun police get you! Fishing is no longer the free and easy pass time it used to be. :p