Halco boss Ben Patrick with an Exmouth queenfish

Hot Spots 05/11/2017

METRO: With the demersal ban in place it is a good time to fish the Swan River and the summer species are starting to fire up. The flatfish action has picked up markedly in recent weeks, with flathead and flounder moving into the shallows. Some warm weather should kick this along again, but there have been plenty of flatties to 60cm caught in the last couple of weeks.

Vibes have been one of the better lures. Yellowfin whiting have moved into the lower reaches of the Swan around East Fremantle, as have herring and a few squid. Crabs are also starting to become more active in the lower reaches. Bream fishing has been good around East Perth. Tailor are certainly becoming more prevalent from Mosman to the Narrows and are chasing bait. They have been turning in the Canning as well, with fish taken around Shelley. Many of the fish are small, so check they are legal size before keeping any. In recent years, some very big tailor have turned up in the Swan early in the season. Mulloway have been reported from Mosman upstream to the Causeway and there should be some more action this weekend on the full moon. Offshore, divers are doing well on crays, but it has been a bit slow for those using pots. Reds are being caught, but the whites are not running yet. King george whiting fishing has been excellent from City Beach north, in depths of 25-35m. They have been good-sized fish and plentiful. There are still quite a few southern bluefin tuna showing up offshore. Charter skipper Al Bevan from Shikari has been doing well using slow pitch jigging techniques and getting skippy to 60cm, as well as the odd mulloway and gurnard. Stickbaiting for yellowtail kingfish in shallow water has been productive, with fish to a metre. Jiggers are turning their attention to samson fish, but sharks are again going to be problem in historically popular locations. If the sharks turn up, simply move on. For shore anglers there have been plenty of sand whiting along northern beaches. Herring have slowed down and there are a few tailor. Robbie Riches from Perth Fishing Safaris has been putting his clients onto tailor to 65cm and a few mulloway. He has also turned up a few sharks and those who target these are starting to enjoy more action along the beaches. Around Mandurah, yellowfin whiting action has really picked up in the Peel-Harvey system, with plenty of fish being taken on small lures. There have been some reports of decent catches of blue swimmers, but successful crabbers are working for them.

GEOGRAPHE BAY: Squid are plentiful in the bay, with very good catches in water of less than 15m. The jetty has been producing heaps of cephalopods too. There have also been some big samson fish caught at the jetty and a good school of tailor has been paying regular visits. Sand whiting are worth chasing around the Quindalup shallows and boat anglers have been getting king george to 50cm off Port Geographe. The artificial reefs are worth trying for skippy and samson fish. Blue swimmers crabs are starting to fish well, but the size is not huge and you need to check they are legal before keeping them. Southern bluefin tuna can be found in around 20m off Bunbury. Trout fishing continues to be productive inland from Bunbury, with the Harvey Dam and Collie River worth trying.

SCOTT REEF: Brian Marshall from Compleat Angler Nedlands led a crew of guys to remote Scott Reef last month, taking their own boats and operating from a mothership. They enjoyed some stellar fishing. There were plenty of sailfish to 50 kilos along the dropoffs, yellowfin tuna to 45kg and maori wrasse to 35kg on stickbaits. Giant trevally were a little quiet but they still managed some to just over 20 kilos. Coral trout and red bass were in plague proportions. Dogtooth tuna proved impossible to tempt on line, but Darren Douche speared a 25kg fish.

EXMOUTH: Ben and Neil Patrick from Halco spent a week fishing with local charter operators Ben Knight and Eddy Lawler and caught plenty of great fish. They did well on giant trevally and queenfish around the Muiron Islands on Roostas. Casting Max 110s into baitballs for shark and spanish mackerel was very productive. Three days of bluewater trolling off Tantabiddi produced six blue marlin and two black marlin all between around 150 and 200 kilos. At the age of 79, Neil landed two marlin on stand-up gear. They also noted numbers of big yellowfin tuna around. Fishing in the Gulf, they picked up cobia from around manta rays, and also picked up golden trevally, queenfish and a mix of bottom fish. They also saw several permit in the shallows. At times there have been big numbers of queenies in the Gulf, often with big goldens beneath them, offering some exciting fly fishing.

MONTE BELLOS: Blue Lightning Charters has had a spectacular month at the Monte Bello Islands. A feature in recent weeks has been the sailfish action. In a single day of billfishing out wide of the Montes they hooked 55 sailfish caught and released 39, with seven fish hooked at the same time at one stage. Just over a week later the next group caught and released 21 sailfish in a single day. Again this week, on Tuesday they caught and released 22 sails. Other species which are being by their clients are giant trevally, sailfish, black marlin, striped marlin, coral trout, wahoo, rankin cod, red emperor, spanish mackerel, spangled emperor, yellowfin tuna, chinaman and squid.

Caption: Halco boss Ben Patrick with an Exmouth queenfish.