Sunday Times Column
There is plenty of great info in the new Rottnest Island Fish Book.
- Published: Monday, 13 November 2017 14:41
A new publication is the perfect handbook for those who like to fish around Rottnest Island.
The product of many years of marine research around the popular holiday destination by Dr Glen Whisson and Alexandra Hoschke, The Rottnest Island Fish Book was recently launched at Rotto.
Reading the book brought back many fond memories of school holidays at Rottnest when I was a kid, pedalling the bike up and down dale to get to the various bays, always looking for the mythical ‘secret’ spot where the fishing would be best.
I never did find one spot that ticked every box, although legendary fishing writer Ross Cusack and a few of his confidantes have one which they guard closely on the south side of the island, but I never found many bad spots either.
I haven’t fished Rotto for some years now, but as a kid we used to stay at Bathurst Point and I did a lot of fishing from the rocks there, catching countless herring, as well as squid, skippy and the odd big king george and silver bream.
If I was bored, I would berley up big buff bream and try to stop them on light gear – which usually meant straightened hooks or busted line.
Other spots around the island that I used to fish included the main jetty, Little Armstrong Bay, Henrietta Rocks and Fish Hook Bay (we used to catch the bus to that end of the island for the day), to name but a few locations I tried with success.
When I was a few years older, we started visiting Rottnest to target salmon from the shore around West End, which was great fun and often led to some unstoppable hook-ups that I can only assume were yellowtail kingfish.
These were the days before internet and I really just made it up as I went, often guided by word of mouth from other fishos I’d encounter along the way.
A lot of guesswork would have been taken out of my Rottnest efforts if I’d had a resource like at my disposal like this new book.
This book, which was partly funded by a community grant from Recfishwest, is born of the pair’s passion for the island and is targeted at beginner and intermediate fishers who are also interested in the marine environment.
Marine scientists and advanced fishers, as well as snorkelers and divers, will also enjoy it as it has the most comprehensive photographic guide of fish found at Rottnest ever produced, covering more than 250 species.
It also includes fishing advice and cooking tips for common Rotto species, and snorkelling maps for around the island.
There are also articles in it on the importance of marine habitats like coral and seagrass, an insight into grey nurse sharks, and a look at the types of tropical fish species which turn up at Rotto.
With 420 colour photographs, including many stunning underwater shots, packed into 176 pages, it’s a great investment for anyone who wants to know more about fish and fishing around Rottnest.