The Carnarvon Jetty at sunset

The Carnarvon Jetty at sunset

There was another blow for recreational fishers last month with news that the Carnarvon Jetty was to close again.

Although I haven’t fished at the jetty for many years, there is no doubting its legendary status in WA fishing and it will always have a special place in my angling memories.

Back in the mid-70s, as a kid, I remember fishing out there during one of the mulloway runs for which it is justifiably famous.

I was in Carnarvon with my dad for an Apex convention and we headed out to the jetty one afternoon, armed just with little flick rod combos.

I’d never seen a big fish before and watching these huge gleaming silver mulloway over a metre being dragged up onto the planks was something I’ll never forget.

I just wanted to catch one mulloway that day, but the truth is the gear we had was woefully inadequate for the job.

My dad actually filmed some of the action on a Super-8 video camera and watching it repeatedly over the following years fuelled my desire to eventually return to the jetty and catch one of these magnificent fish.

My most recent attempt at fishing the jetty was more than a decade ago and my plan was to finally catch that first Carnarvon mulloway, and I was pretty excited when my whole mulie got picked up and I felt the weight of a good fish.

I was less excited when my mulloway dream morphed into a big and ugly north-west blowie.

While I haven’t landed a mulloway from the jetty, countless local and visiting anglers have over the years and the old girl has provided many fishos with the catch of a lifetime.

Mulloway are the species with which the jetty is most associated, but it has also produced many other great catches including jumbo tailor, queenfish, trevally and spanish mackerel, making it probably the premier land-based game fishing platform in WA.

Sadly though, maintenance of the jetty has been unable to prevent its deterioration, which hasn’t been helped by a couple of fires which have led to temporary closures.

Recent checks by engineers identified structural issues requiring immediate attention, but there is little funding available for repairs and maintenance and it has been closed for safety reasons.

With the fate of the Esperance Tanker Jetty still hanging in the balance after the local council voted to demolish it last year, losing the Carnarvon Jetty would be another bitter pill to swallow for shore anglers, and particularly kids and families who don’t have access to boats and like to wet a line at unique platforms like these.

Quality shore-based fishing opportunities can be hard to come by, and to lose two of the three iconic WA timber jetties – Busselton being the other – within a couple of years would be a tragedy for recreational fishing in this State.

Given its history and social value, hopefully the WA recreational fishing community can rally around the jetty, and work with local government and other local groups to save it for future generations.

Caption: The Carnarvon Jetty at sunset.