Unexpected Mandurah tarpon
All sorts of northern species ride the warm Leeuwin Current south and in recent years we’ve had wahoo on the south coast, gold-spot trevally off Perth and shark mackerel in Albany, to name but a few unlikely captures.
Sometimes it also works the other way, and a few years back a school of salmon showed up in Exmouth, which seemed almost impossible.
However, I can’t think of many more surprising captures than a pretty big tarpon Michael Hill landed in the Dawesville Cut.
Tarpon, in small sizes, are a common catch in the rivers of the Pilbara and Kimberley, and the only time I’ve encountered them outside of that scenario was while fishing inshore with Mike Roennfeldt at West Moore Island, north of Point Samson.
I have heard of decent ones being caught in Dampier and in some salt ponds south of there, but never anywhere even close to Perth.
Michael was trying his luck for salmon trout at the Cut late afternoon, casting a 7g micro jig on a Shimano combo with PE1 line.
He’d been getting a few 40cm fish when things went crazy all the sudden.
“I put a big cast out and was working it back when it got absolutely smashed, half way in,” he recalled.
“It took off screaming at a million miles an hour, so I knew it was something serious and thought I had good mulloway.”
Both Michael and his brother, Corey, were in for a shock.
“Then it started launching out of the water,” he explained.
“My brother and I were saying there is no way that is what it looks like.
“Close to the rocks it turned broadside and we got a good look at it, we couldn’t believe our eyes.”
Corey jumped into the waist-deep water to grab the tarpon, so they could get some pictures to prove it had actually happened.
It was 61cm long and they released it in good health.
“I was freaking out, I couldn’t believe what I saw was seeing,” Michael said.
“We swam it for quite a while and it swam off well.”
He was back down there the next two afternoons trying to repeat the capture, but as you’d expect lightning didn’t strike twice.
Even now, weeks after the capture, he still can’t quite believe what transpired.
“I am still tripping out,” he joked.
It wasn’t the only unusual capture at the Dawesville Cut in recent months either.
A few weeks ago a small rankin cod caught there showed up in my Facebook feed.
That’s the beauty of fishing isn’t it though – you never know for certain what will turn up on the end of your line.
However, I reckon it’d need to be something extremely freakish to top a Mandurah tarpon as a surprise catch and it truly was the fish of a lifetime for Michael.
Caption: Michael Hill with a shock Mandurah tarpon.