Fishing in Australia

World’s smallest continent or world’s biggest island - no matter how you define Australia, you can count on finding outstanding fishing opportunities there.
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About Australia

Australia has a vast and varied coastline stretching over 25,000 kilometers, including the famous Great Barrier Reef, the world’s biggest coral reef system that consists of over two thousand reefs and islands and covers three hundred thousand square kilometers. Separated from Asia by the Timor and Arafura Seas in the north, Australia lies the border between the Indian and Pacific oceans, and offers a rich tapestry of marine environments. From the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef in the northeast to the temperate seas of Tasmania in the south, in its territorial waters you can find deep oceanic trenches and expansive coral reefs, rugged coastlines and calm bays. Inland, there are several mighty river systems and numerous lakes, and on the island of Tasmania tranquil mountains with trout-rich streams, providing diverse habitats for a wide array of aquatic species. Australia is not only rich in diverse fishing spots but also steeped in angling history. It was here that the first recorded thousand-pound black marlin was caught, cementing Australia’s position on the map as a top destination for heavyweight anglers. Australians love fishing, with over 4 million people engaging in the activity, and the country has a recreational fishing industry to match. Fishing in Australia is strictly regulated to protect the country’s biodiversity, with numerous protected areas, catch-and-release rules, seasons and bans on catching several species in place. Considering many of the fish in question, such as sand flathead, are unfamiliar to visitors, it is best to engage a charter boat or a fishing guide to be on the safe side of regulations.

Fishing Types

Offshore fishing is Australia's continental shelf drops off into deep oceanic trenches, providing perfect conditions for deep-sea fishing. Areas like the Ribbon Reefs off Cairns are famous for black marlin, with Cairns often dubbed the "Black Marlin Capital of the World. The world-famous extensive coral reefs offer fantastic opportunities for catching a variety of reef fish. As far as inshore fishing is concerned, estuaries and coastlines are teeming with life, offering lighter tackle fishing for species like barramundi and flathead, especially in areas like the Kimberley and the Gold Coast.

Targeted Fish Species

Australia's waters are a melting pot of marine biodiversity. The continent is located on the crossroads of migrating pelagics, the highlight of those being the black marlin, found in the northeast around the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The reef itself, as well as the flat and shallow areas between it and the mainland, provides home to countless fish species, from the groupers and giant trevally to snappers and endemics such as the dhufish and coral trout. Moving south to the cooler waters, anglers can find species such as the southern bluefin tuna, highly prized for its fighting prowess and culinary value. Other game fish included but not limited to sailfish, mackerel, wahoo, mahi-mahi and various species of tuna like the yellowfin and dogtooth, are also abundant. Tasmania’s pristine waters are renowned for their trout, both brown and rainbow, which were introduced in the 19th century and have thrived in the island's numerous lakes and rivers, and several other species have been introduced as well. However, up to 90% of Australian freshwater species are indigenous, and are the main attraction for both local and visiting anglers. Those include the unique Australian salmon, which despite its name, bears little resemblance to the salmon found in the Northern Hemisphere, and the fiercely fighting barramundi, a legend among freshwater anglers.

Fishing Techniques

Trolling is a go-to method for targeting pelagic species along the vast coastline, particularly effective for marlin and tuna. Tasmania and the northern rivers are world-renowned for their fly fishing, drawing anglers seeking the thrill of catching trout in picturesque settings. Spearfishing is growing in popularity, offering a more immersive experience, particularly in the clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef and other coastal areas. Whether it’s casting a line in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House or tackling the remote waters of the Northern Territory, Australia offers a fishing adventure for every enthusiast. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the landscapes and the thrill of the catch in Australia’s bountiful waters.