Mandurah fishing spots
"Some of the fish caught from the Jolly Frog Jetty include herring, tailor, silver bream, sand whiting, King George whiting, yellowfin whiting, skippy, and salmon in season"
Author: Marc Russo

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Daiwa Penn Shimano Fishing Reels

Thinking of a successful fishing spot thatís a great place to take the kids, not far from Perth but far enough away to take a break from the "big smoke"? Why not head for Mandurah? About 65 km from Perth itís just over an hour drive each way. Fed by the Serpentine, Murray, Harvey and Dandalup rivers, Mandurah sits on the double armed inlet of the Harvey Estuary and the Peel Inlet. In years gone by Mandurah has been a favorite holiday location for families and people who love the outdoor relaxed lifestyle. In more recent years Mandurah has become a permanent place to live and the surrounding area has many attractions. There is something for everyone; beaches, dolphins, crabbing, festivals and a wide range of cafes and restaurants to experience. The population now stands at 50,000 and is rapidly growing. Donít let this deter you because there are still places to experience relaxed day fishing away from crowds and the rat race.

Scano with one of the locals - a blue manna crab

My favorite spot when down that way is the Dawesville Cut. This area is a huge man-made channel into the land between the Peel-Harvey Estuary and the Indian Ocean, 65km south of Perth. It was constructed to alleviate an environmental problem which had developed where the Estuarine systems had become eutrophic. The buildup of nutrients had promoted an algae growth was hard to manage. The construction of the channel now allows sea water from the Indian Ocean to regularly flush in and out of the estuary using daily tide movements, which in turn prevents the buildup of algae and promotes a healthy marine environment for plants and sea life.

This whole project, back in 1994, was a great success and has resulted in a healthy estuary alive with a thriving colony of blue manna crabs and a vast abundance of fish species. There are a few really safe and great fishing spots at "the cut". My personal favourite is the jetty below the Jolly Frog Restaurant. The best time to secure a good spot for night fishing at the ďJolly Frog JettyĒ, situated 50 metres from the restaurant, is early in the afternoon as the jetty is very popular amongst fishermen.

There are a few massive resident sting rays that patrol up and down the sea wall waiting for fishermen on the jetty to clean their catch. Most fishermen feed these massive vacuum cleaners of the ocean with their off cuts. Some of the fish caught from the "Jolly Frog Jetty" include herring, tailor, silver bream, sand whiting, King George whiting, yellowfin whiting, skippy, and salmon in season. With all the good bread and butter fish available and the excitement of watching these big sting rays, this makes for a great picturesque spot that is fun for the kids and is safe to fish from. If the jetty happens to be too busy to fish from, you can also try fishing from some of the residential canals (always seeking permission).

Bodie Woolcott with a Dawesville Cut tailor

These are prime spots for yellowfin whiting, but the difficulty is getting through the "blowies" (blowfish). I find that once the sun sets, the blowies seem to disappear, so remember to bring a gas lantern or headlamp. If you are a little more adventurous, then try fishing at the entrance to "the cut" on the ocean side. There is a car park on the southern side, making it easily accessible. Simply park up, walk down and fish off the rock wall. Take care, though, as the rocks here are slippery and very steep. This location is a really good spot in the mornings and late afternoons as the sun sets for big tailor and mulloway. This location isn't well lit, though, so remembering to bring a gas lantern or head lamp is essential.

One thing that is very important to remember while fishing "the cut" is the tides. Tidal movement is very strong here due to the amount of water passing through the narrow cut, so watching the tide times is important. I personally find that the best time to fish here is the thirty minute period of stillness once the tide has reached its high peak. After this, the tide turns and heads back out to the ocean (lowering tide).

This time period seems to attract a lot of fish, which feed on the general nutrients that the estuary has to offer, such as prawns, small bait fish, small crabs and so on, making it an excellent time for tailor approximating 45cm in size. The best way to catch these tailor is by bait casting a mulie or whitebait (so long as it isn't too windy). Bait casting is fishing without weights (such as a sinker) on the line.

Make sure you get there early to secure a spot!

The best rig to use for yellowfin and King George whiting is a running ball sinker down to a small swivel, and about a foot and a half of trace with a small single hook. The bait I recommend for this is river or coral prawns. Make sure you shell the prawn and place only a small piece on your hook. Whiting have a small delicate mouth so remember to shell the prawn. With this type of rig you are also likely to catch silver bream, skippy, herring and salmon trout.

The rig I use for tailor is the similar to the rig used for whiting, but instead of single hook use a small set of gang hooks (small enough to fit whitebait on). Cast out and retrieve slowly. You can also use this rig with a larger set of gang hooks and use a Mulie as bait. With this rig you will get tailor, salmon, big silver bream, and even the odd mulloway.

With all this information, why not head down and give it a go. You will have a relaxing time away from "the big smoke" and also catch a tasty dinner (or barbeque). If you donít catch anything, all is not lost. Hereís your chance to try the wonderful local seafood restaurants.