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Fishing in Australia
There are many types of fishing trips Australia has to offer – from spearfishing the reefs to heading offshore for record-breaking Marlin, right to freshwater fishing for Barramundi. Explore the 60,000 kilometer coastline that this small continent and huge island has to offer. Each state is suited to a different fishing method, offering various species to target, and a lot of fun for each and every angler.
It’s hard to say what you can’t catch in these productive waters! So far, over 4,000 marine species have been found around Australia, and this number is only increasing. A lot of these fish can only be found in and around Oz, making this a world-class fishery.
Top species you’ll want to target include Striped, Blue, and Black Marlin. You’ll also want to make time to go after the indigenous Barramundi, as well as Giant Trevally, Snapper, Murray Cod, Sweetlip Emperor, Nannygai, Yellowfin Tuna, Threadfin Salmon, Bream, and so many more.
This is one of the best states for going after the iconic freshwater fish, the Barramundi. These indigenous fish weigh between 1.5 kilograms and 50 kilograms, and can be found in the bays and estuaries. Want to really test your skills? Try catching them on the fly!
A regular challenge when going after Barramundi… they inhabit the same waters as saltwater crocodiles. These man-eating predators are aggressive, not to mention they also happen to be the largest reptile in the world. Don’t worry, local guides will keep you safe and sound! These ‘salties’ aren’t the only other species here. Other species you’ll actually want to catch include Mangrove Jack, Black Jewfish, Threadfin Salmon, and Queenfish.
If freshwater fishing isn’t your speed, then head out of Darwin for awesome game fish. This includes Black Marlin, Sailfish, Bluefin Tuna, Giant Trevally, Barracuda, and more.
When coming to the land down under, you have to visit Queensland for the out-of-this-world fishing. This is the state where you can explore the Great Barrier Reef – this is the only living thing that can be seen from space and is home to 1,400 species of marine life. Diving under the waves and spearfishing the reefs is the best way to fully appreciate the diversity here.
If you’re not a fan of jumping into the water, then trolling the outer reefs will still produce great fish. Species you can expect to see include Narrow-barred Mackerel, Red Bass, Red Emperor, humphead Maori Wrasse, and more.
For Granders, you’ll need to head out a bit further. Departing from Cairns or Port Douglas, you’ll soon access the ‘Marlin Mecca’ of the world, and the awesome fishing found around Lizard Island. As well as huge Marlin, you can fish for Sailfish, Tuna, Wahoo, Giant Trevally, and more.
New South Wales
From Sydney, Beraguia, and Merimbula, you’ll have access to the chilly waters offshore of NSW. Here you’ll find plenty of Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin, as well as Swordfish, Yellowtail Kingfish, Greater Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, Bluefin Tuna, and more.
Around the coast, there are over 75 spearfishing locations to choose from. When it’s not been raining, visibility increases – the perfect time to target pelagic species in the north of NSW.
NSW also has excellent Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout fisheries. You can fish here year round – top methods for these locales include spinning and fly fishing. As well as Trout, there’s a healthy number of Australian Bass in the streams flowing through Queensland to NSW and on towards Victoria.
Sportfishing is pretty good in Victoria – head to Port Phillip Bay for Pink Snapper, and Portland for their famous Southern Bluefin Tuna. But for most, it’s all about the estuary fishing. Inland, in the bays, lakes, and rivers, you’ll find Flathead, Bream, Garfish, Mulloway, Golden Perch, Trout, and even stocked Chinook Salmon. Top techniques here include fly fishing, plug casting, and spinning.
SA is one of the few states where it’s too dry for inshore fishing to be successful. Instead, head nearshore for Australian Salmon, Mulloway, Flathead, Snapper, and Bream. Other top spots include Cape Jervis, where you’ll find the above species as well as Southern Bluefin Tuna. At the Eyre Peninsula you can experience great game fishing year round. Off of Kangaroo Island, you’ll be able to fish for Garfish, Salmon Tout, Barracuda, Whiting, and more.
When in WA, you’ll want to head straight to Exmouth, the fly fishing heaven for anglers. Apart from February and March (cyclone season), fishing here is non-stop year round. Whether it’s beach fishing, bay and estuary fishing, or even offshore fishing, the species are diverse and plentiful. Species you’ll target in WA include Sailfish, Wahoo, Mackerel, Tuna, Silver Trevally, Bluefish, Australian Salmon, Mulloway, Westralian Jewfish, Flathead, Bream, and more. Access to some of these waters can be difficult, so having an experienced captain with you is a must. As well as fishing, you can witness the migration of Whale Sharks from March to October.
Wherever you choose to fish around Australia, be aware of the strict limits of your catch, and do not exceed them.
For Marlin fishing, heavy tackle is your first priority. These granders will fight you every step of the way, so having 80–130 lb tackle is essential in this fight. For dead or live bait, use Rainbow Runner, Skipjack, or scad. Let your captain know if you’re an experienced angler, and you can try Marlin fishing with light tackle instead!
When spearfishing, have the appropriate thickness of wetsuit. Northern waters are warmer and on average require a wetsuit of 3 millimeters. In the south, a 7 mm wetsuit is the minimum needed to stay warm and protected.
For Barramundi fishing, a 10 wt rod will give you the extra edge. Pair it with an intermediate line for best results.
Need to Know
Australia is a beautiful country with rich fishing opportunities. Remember, you’re not the only predator out there. Keep an eye out for crocodiles, Sharks, snakes, bugs, and plenty more. Use appropriate protection where possible and avoid these predators whenever you can.
The seasons are opposite in Australia to the northern hemisphere. Awesome fishing begins in the spring, which starts in November. March through to May is generally excellent for all types of fishing.
Regulations differ from state to state. You’ll need a license in NSW, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria, but these are not too expensive and are the same price for locals and visitors. Down under, the number of species caught is highly regulated – your guide will keep you in the loop of current restrictions.
An 11-hour offshore sportfishing trip will set you back around AUD 1,800. For an 8-hour river or lake trip, expect to pay AUD 650.
Whether you’re exploring under the water, on the water, or checking out the tourist attractions on land, Australia has to be seen to be believed. The variety of fishing trips Australia has will keep you busy throughout your vacation.
Australia Fishing Seasons
This month the Gamakatsu Team Series for Bream begins. This will continue until July, all along the east coast.
Catch top species like Blue Marlin and Barramundi this month. Barramundi is great through to April.
The Pirtek Fishing Challenge has you catching and photographing your fish before releasing them. Join in from any state and catch the biggest freshwater fish.
Every Easter weekend is the Australian Snapper Championships. These are held out of Whyalla Marina.
Join in the Whaleshark Festival at Exmouth, to welcome the return of the whale sharks. Activities, talent-show, seaside cinema, and more await.
May to June is VIVID Sydney, a festival of lights! Watch the landmarks light up every night. Blue Marlin continues to be great.
Join in the Broadbeach Country Music Festival, bringing “country to the coast”. This free event is perfect for the whole family.
Will you catch the biggest Marlin at the Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament? Further inshore, the fishing is really heating up, too.
September to November are some of the best times to target Marlin. You’ll have a great story to tell after a long fight with these predators!
The Cardwell Barra Bonanza is a great tournament targeting Australia's favourite fish. After the event, there’s an open-air dinner and live entertainment.
The National Fly Fishing Competition is held in Australia annually, but will be at a different place each year.
Celebrate the New Year in style, or watch the Boxing Day Test match. December is a great time to be in Australia. Fishing for almost all species is hot now!