While pearling in Broome is pushed for its tourism merits, the serious attraction at Broome, at least for anglers, is its fishing.
The city sits on Roebuck Bay and has become the hub in the wheel of angler tourism in north-west Australia. Anglers often board mother ships for several days of live-aboard adventure to remote areas: the Rowley Shoals, more than 260 km offshore, or the Kimberley region, one of the world’s last great wilderness areas.
You don’t need to fork out thousands of dollars to join a mother ship to catch fish at Broome. The place has so much variety on offer I’m surprised so many anglers leave it to go elsewhere. It is possible to fish for sailfish, mackerel, trevally or tuna in the morning and then go fishing for barramundi in a quiet backwater or chase blue salmon on the beach in the afternoon. Much depends on the tide and wind. Spring tides here see the water rise and fall 10 m.
The city built its fishing reputation on the sailfish grounds offshore, and these are usually daytrips. When you can’t get out to the sailfish grounds, there is plenty of action bottom bouncing closer in. On one memorable visit the weather cut up so we couldn’t get out to the sailfish grounds and I ended up fishing on a ‘lump’ a couple of kilometres offshore. Giant trevally, mackerel and golden trevally were mixed in with spinner whaler sharks.
Broome also has a large pier on the waterfront that has a well-earned reputation for producing quality fish. Sadly, even though the pier has been extended since I first went there, fishing has been restricted to a walkway that runs alongside the pier until the first bend.
Broome Advertiser editor Simon Penn said that even though the fishing area was reduced, anglers still made regular catches of golden trevally, bluebone, coral trout and barramundi.
Dampier and Crab Creek flow into Roebuck Bay and these produce barramundi, threadfin salmon and mangrove jack.
There are two boat ramps: one at Entrance Point and a second at Town Beach.
One of the most fun ways to fish is catching blue salmon off beaches such as the world-famous Cable Beach. Broome’s beaches are long, flat white sand beaches with fish stocks that haven’t suffered under the bloodfests labelled as competitions. Blue salmon is one of the hardest-running fish you are likely to catch anywhere. These fish, along with giant herring and permit, run along the beaches close to shore, so you are able to sight- fish for them with lures or flies.
Situated along Cable Beach are Willie and Barred creeks and these hold mud crabs, barramundi, trevally, queenfish and mangrove jack. Anglers beach-launch at the southern end of Cable Beach.