Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fish Broome 10 things you should know

(Photo courtesy of Sentosa Charters)

By Paul Collery

1. Common species

When fishing Broome and the surrounding coastline the fishers have a big a plethora of angling experiences to enjoy. Barramundi, threadfin and fingermark are some of the more popular species in the rivers and estuaries running in to the vast expanse of Roebuck Bay.

Broome is also known for the black jewfish that live in Roebuck Bayand don't miss the huge mud crabs of the bay.

Coral trout, mackerel, red emperor and blue bone are among the favored reef species but there are many more available.

Marlin, sailfish, mackerel, mahi mahi and wahoo are the commonest blue water species.

2. The billfish season in waters offshore from Broome starts around April and runs through to October, give or take a month.

Sailfish are present in huge numbers from roughly June to October. The best months for barramundi fishing in Broome and the Kimberley are after the wet season in the "run off" in April and May and also during the "build up" from late September into December.

3. Tidal effects

The quality of fishing in Broome is pretty much tide dependent as the tidal movement in this area of the world can be huge at up to 10 meters.

Billfish and some reef species for instance are best fished one or two days after neap tides as the water becomes too murky after king tides.

Barramundi and many estuary species seem to prefer tides nearer to neap but still with some tidal movement. "No run, no fun" as they say.

But this is fishing and the rules change always according to climatic conditions and location so the best chance is always to get friendly with the local people.

4. When to fish Broome

The best fishing in Broome is generally in the period of late August through to November for most species. Estuary species like barramundi are also on the bite after the wet season finishes round the end of March, give or take a month.

5. Getting there and Accommodation

Virgin Australia and Qantas both have daily flights to Broome with connections from most capital airports in Australia. There is a massive range of accommodation from caravan parks to luxury beach front resorts and self contained holiday flats both in Broome city and also out at Cable Beach. The city typically fills up with general tourism in the peak of the dry season from June to August. The Shinju Matsuri or the "Festival of the Pearl" is generally held in early September. After this, accommodation gets easier to obtain and at shorter notice which is good as September to October are typically fantastic fishing months.

6. Geography

Broome is located on the north western coast of Australia in an isolated area called the Kimberley. The Kimberley is virtually twice the size of the state of Victoria and three times the size of England. Broome is 2200 klm from Perth and 1900 klm from Darwin. Broome is found on a flat headland with the wide shallow expanses of Roebuck Bay on the east-facing side and the long sweep of the attractive Cable Beach on the west side. All of the western Kimberley is reasonably flat and the Broome area is not an exception. The soil is red and sandy so far as the eye can see and the vegetation is meagre.

7. Population

The Kimberley is sparsely populated with only 40 000 inhabitants. In 2010 Broome had a population of about 16 300 and that has grown by over 50% since 1995. In the peak visitor season from June thru to Aug the population of Broome will swell to around 40 or 50 000. Lots of the resident population are aboriginal people with a big part of the population descendants of the Japanese, Malay and other Asian people who came to Broome when the pearling industry was booming here from the 1880's. It is a multicultural area.

8. Climate

Broome and the Kimberley are very much in the tropical zone of northern Australia and as such they actually only have 2 seasons per year. The dry season starts from around April and runs to roughly September. Rarely rain falls in these months with clear blue skies dominating and average daily temperatures typically around 30. The wet season starts in October with increasing temperature and humidity and occasional storms building up to the onset of the monsoon. This period is known. As the "build up". The vast bulk of the rains fall from around Christmas to March or April and this is cyclone season.

9. Hazards and Safety

You would be forgiven for thinking the Kimberley has more hazards per square foot than any other place in the world. Onshore there are the majority of the top 10 deadly snakes on the planet, as well as scorpions and a thousand other little biters especially around the mangrove swamps.

In the sea it becomes worse! The Kimberley is prime crocodile habitat for a start, with both the smaller, usually not aggressive freshwater crocodile and the bigger always aggressive saltwater crocodile found in large numbers. "Crocs" were just about shot out of existence by hunters in the early days but they have been protected in Australia now since the 1970's. And there numbers have been building up since then. Their common names are a bit misleading as both types of crocs can be seen in both fresh and saltwater.

Box jellyfish are present in these waters from October to April depending on water temperatures. Their sting, if not fatal will be very agonizing and scaring. There are lots of other creatures to be aware of when fishing Broome and the Kimberley including many species of shark and sea snake.

Finally there is cyclones and intense weather to be aware of which can spring up swiftly between October and April with the majority between December and March. All really good reasons to use local information.

10. Fishing guides, lodges and charters

Fishing Broome and the Kimberley is a unique, wild, remote and exotic experience which will draw you back time and again. Your fishing experience and your results will be optimised if you use the local knowledge and services provided by the range of professional fishing guides, lodges and charter operators that are available.

Be advised that from June through to Nov you should book ahead to avoid being disappointed. They often book out well ahead.

About the Author:

Paul Collery is a passionate fishermen, traveller and writer based in Darwin Australia. His companies and have a variety of unique fishing adventures to wild, remote and exotic locations around Australia, New zealand and the Pacific.


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