2237kms. That’s how far it is from Perth to Broome; Two very big days in the car, hundreds of dollars in fuel, roadhouse pies, cramps and that same bloody CD over and over and over. Bugger that, lets fly!
2hrs 15 minutes, that’s how long it takes to get from Perth to Broome in a plane. Just enough time to read the magazine, have a couple of beers and shut your eyes for half an hour before you touch down on the lumpiest piece of tarmac to ever call itself a runway.
My wife and I have just returned after a week escaping from the cold winter nights. We’ve been to Broome plenty of times on four wheel drive and camping trips around Western Australia and the Northern Territory, but in the last few years have found ourselves flying up for a week during Winter to escape the dreaded blues!
We tend to spend a few nights in town and then a few nights at one of the most beautiful places in WA, Eco Beach Resort. For those of you who have never been let me just say, red dirt meets crystal blue water.
There are a lot of reasons why people from all over the world travel to Broome. Camel rides, salt water pearls, rich indigenous culture, Kimberley adventures and crocodiles. Well I’ve done all that. For me, travelling to Broome means one thing, light tackle fishing!!
Being a land based fisherman in the tropical North can have its disadvantages and on our most recent trip we booked it to coincide with Broome’s famous “Stairway to the Moon” phenomenon. This is where once a month a blood red full moon rises over the mud flats of Roebuck bay and reflects off thousands of ripples and for about half an hour creates a mystical glowing red stairway over the bay. Quite spectacular.
Now as most fisherman who visit the tropical north will tell you, full moons also mean king tides, and for a land based fisherman this can be a tricky thing to master. Up to 11 metres of water movement will turn empty mud flats, sandy banks and bone dry rock into deep blue surging ocean and rocky channels bursting with baitfish in just a few hours.
Where to fish
The first thing any budding angler should do is drop into the local tackle shop and have a look at the tide chart. While you’re there it would be a good idea have a chat with the staff and ask where the fish have been biting and what lures have been “doing the damage”. The next thing to do is jump in the car and go for a bit of a drive around and find a couple of places that look like they could hold bait fish and provide a good perch at high tide.
There are a lot of well known places around town to start and I wouldn’t be giving away any secrets by saying that the local wharf is a great place to start as you will more than likely get talking to some fellow anglers who could give you a few more pointers. While you’re there why not have a crack at some of the local Queenies and Trevally that call the wharf home.
Gantheaume Point and Reddell Beach are other great land based spots to try and I have caught Queenies, Golden Trevally, Dog Mackerel and Snook from both of these locations. There are also some really nice ledges to fish from, that provide very deep water at high tide.
Willy Creek and Barred Creek are also well worth a shot at high tide and both have been known to turn up nice fish. Just keep an eye out for crocks as Willy, Creek can have large salt water crocodiles calling it home at times. While your down at the creek fishing why not send the missus up to the Willy Creek Pearl Factory to do the tour, just make sure to keep hold of the credit card!
I normally take two set-ups with me. One for light spinning and one for live baiting. I was due for a new set-up this year so I decided to only take one with me on the plane and to drop in and pick something up from Bluewater Tackle when I got into Broome. Dropping a few dollars in the local tackle shop is a great way to get the staff chatting about what’s biting, and helping a small local business will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I had taken my Sustain 6000 for live baiting and the guys at Bluewater suggested a Symetry 4000 matched up with a Catana 8’0” Bream 2-4kg. I really didn’t want anything that was going to break the bank either as we had already spent a good chunk of money on the holiday. A quick spool up with some 20 pound Power Pro and I was ready to roll!
The outfit proved to be a dream to use. I was able to cast for hours without any arm ache at all and when hooked up to bigger Queenies the little Graphite rod soaked up all the head shake and with 7 kilos of drag, the Symetry had enough guts to put the brakes on them. Bream rod? Ha!
As I have already mentioned, the number one thing when scouting spots that’s could hold good fish is to look for baitfish, but have I mentioned how important it is to find the baitfish?? I think you get my point.
Finding out what the fish are eating and matching the lure up to that is very important as you will only have a few hours on the high tide. For example, if Queenies are busting up small Mullet, then a surface lure like a Halco Rooster or a Richter Plug may entice a strike. If the fish are tailing Gardies, then a shallow running minnow or a metal slice may be what’s needed.
Fishing the turns of the tide will be the most productive times to fish although when spinning I tend to only fish the three hours up until the turn of the tide as I have found that this is when the majority of the action will take place as the fish come up to feed and push baitfish into shallower water.
Rusty’s top tips
• Drop into the local tackle shop and have a word with the locals
• Check out some spots that you plan to fish at high tide
• Look for bait fish activity
• Concentrate your efforts in the few hours up to high tide
• Metal slices and Poppers are lures of choice.
I really hope that if you’re ever in Broome, you give the light tackle fishing a go and if you’re not into spinning lures, then there’s plenty of Yellow fin Whiting, Bream and Threadfin on offer…….but that’s a whole other story!