Everything You Need to Know About Fishing in Australia

From Lizard Island to Cape York and Beyond

Photo by Alan Bishop

Australia is well-known among fishermen and for plenty of excellent reasons. It has a diverse variety of options to choose from, from rock fishing to beach fishing, from tuna to sailfish and many more. It's no surprise then that many may flock towards the Down Under to find desirable fishing locations. But what should you know before you buy your tickets? This article is here to answer all your burning questions.

What's the best time of the year for fishing?

The wonderful thing about Australia is that abundant fishing opportunities are available all-year-round. You should, however, be mindful of which area and which species specifically you're targeting.

In Australia's Northern Territory, the four unique seasons provide different fishing opportunities.

During the pre-monsoonal build-up, from October to December, it's wise to go for Barramundi as the breeding season begins around October.

Note: It's extremely important to carefully release the big Barramundi you catch during breeding season.

A lot of Barra, as well as Saratoga, are caught in the top end this time of year.

During the run-off, between March and April, is the best time to fish for barramundi. These months are great for bluewater fishing across the top end.

During the wet season, from January to the middle of March, the monsoonal rains dominate the landscape. During "the wet", as the locals call it, it's great to fish during breaks.

During this season, barra tend to be on the bite of tidal rivers. You'll probably have to do quite a lot of hunting though.

During the dry season, from May to September, tidal river fishing is the best way to go. It's the best time of year for bluewater fishing. The dry season is great for Spanish and broadbar mackerel and pelagic sportfish in the top end of the coast.

There are quite a few excitingly exotic species prevalent during this time of year, such as longtail tuna, cobia, and queenfish. Reef fishing is also an option.

What are the best locations?

Australia really does provide a large variety of places to fish. One of the most exciting places is definitely Lizard Island. Every year fish weighing a mammoth 1000 pounds are caught there. The fishing season for Black Marlin is from September to December.

Huge black marlin (as well as many other Pacific gamefish species) are best to hunt for in Cairns, Queensland. It's known as the Black Marlin capital of the world.

In Queensland as well, Cape York is a common destination for avid fishermen after the ultimate Aussie fishing adventure. It's best to go from May to December, as the roads become impassable during the wet season.

For a cozier environment, Port Stephens in New South Wales is excellent. Local guides offer plenty of game fishing opportunities. It's best to go during the rising or falling tide. And it's only about a two and a half hour drive from Sydney!

Other honorable mentions include Exmouth, Western Australia, Central Highlands, Tasmania and Port Lincoln, South Australia. Of course, there are plenty more excellent locations on this rich fisher's paradise of a continent. 

What type of equipment do I need?

Depends on where you're headed and who you're going after and of course, how skilled you are. If you're interested in game fishing, you'll need a game fishing rod and a chair.

If you're going for barramundi, a four-wheeled driving vehicle is a definite advantage in the Northern Territory but it is, by no means, a must. Steep billabong are far simpler to launch from with a 4WD vehicle. A small fishing boat is recommended for the most enjoyable experience. You'll also need lures (e.g. a Barramundi jig), bait (Cherabin are great for this purpose), and, fairly obviously, rods and reels.

You can find more information about specific equipment needed for specific species here.

It's important to consider all variables when going after an adventure in this exciting land but if you have a gameplan, you're bound to have a great time.

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Everything You Need to Know About Fishing in Australia
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