We got back from Broome last night, it was a magic trip and although the fishing didn't quite live up to expectations we still caught a few. Having decided to shun the overpriced charter fishing scene, our fishing was based at the deepwater port (cattle jetty) and also from the town beach. Although many of you guys worded me up about the huge tidal flows, nothing quite prepared me for the way the tide rips around Broome. LARGE sinkers were required to hold bottom during much of the run in and run out when fishing off the port, with a brief period of slack water at the top and bottom of the tide. I think Davey G might have caught all the GTs from the port area, we didn't really see anyone catch anything of huge size during the day we spent fishing there. One bloke caught a nice blue bone (aka Bladchin groper), and another had a decent bag of bream. As for us, baitfishing on the bottom yielded dozens of interesting critters, not many above 25cm or so though, and every fish that came up looked different! Apparently most were juvenile snappers and emporers, and I spent quite a while chasing some long toms which hide out under the pier. By far the highlight was when a large turtle swam past the pylons, carrying with it a school of 6 or so 10kg cobia
........out came the big lures, cast cast, jig jig, but the window was only about 15 seconds before the turtle sounded, taking the school with it. This scene was repeated a few hours later, except that it was a massive stingray with accompanying cobia. This time I was ready with a gold halco trembler on an 80lb handline, my jigging of this lure induced one of the cobia to leave the turtle, come over for a peep at my offering, then turn his nose up and join his mates again. Most frustrating! :x I spent a further few hours flicking different lures (metals, poppers, divers, tremblers) from the rocks surrounding the port, but I didn't get a single hit or follow up (no sign of any queenies, although I was looking).
Our most succesful fishing excursion was from town beach (for those familar with the area, it is on the Roebuck Bay side of Broome Peninsula, near the camping ground), depite the tackle shop bloke telling us that our best chance of catching a fish from town beach was with dynamite (I took this up as a challenge). It was a very snaggy bottom, first cast - snag, bust off, retie rig. Second cast.....Squidette came up tight with a beautiful diamond trevally, a seriously pretty fish. I unhooked this, baited her up again, cast out, and handed the rod over (I was still trying to sort my own gear out)......a few minutes later she was battling another fish which was doing its best to bury her in the mangrove roots......and out came a beautiful (I think) bigeye trevally of about 40cm, ripper! I finally got to fishing myself, and we started pulling out whiting after whiting after whiting. Amazingly, the patch of sand/mud that we were catching the whiting from was bone dry by 50 meters within 30 minutes (crazy Broome tides). Wide gape #4 hooks and fresh prawn bait was the key, also fishing with a rod was a distinct advantage, the few people who spotted us catching fish and ran over with handlines caught nada.
Aside from the fishing (which was always going to be a secondary pursuit on this trip, unfortunately!) we did a day trip to Cape Leveque and Beagle bay (where the pearl shell altar is), another day trip to Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek (great gorge country and lots of Freshwater crocs), a tour of the Willie creek pearl farm (it's a fascinating business and a licence to print money if you can get the seeding process just right), a sunset kayaking trip around Gantheaume Point (magic spot rich in fossils, paddling in Malibu2 yaks), and a 14km hike around some spectacular coastline in the same area. We also discovered Matso's, Broome's only brewery, and fell in love with Smokey Bishop (a beautiful flavoursome malty ale with chocolaty overtones).
Broome is a magnificent holiday destination, it's a shame we only had 10 days, and I'm already dreaming about a return trip with fishing high on the agenda this time. I've sussed out a few other fishing options for the next trip, having a car would open up some great estuary and creek mouth fishing further north from broome, also the fishing off the wharf at night is supposedly exceptional. A few locals fish from yaks off the cable beach side of the peninsula, and do well trolling lures along the current lines for pelagics and bottom bashing with crab baits in close to the rocks for groper. Livies and whole gars on ganged hooks under balloons, fished from the Gantheaume point rocks also give up quite a few spaniards to 1.5m. Unfortunately the moon phase was against us a bit, the local Aborigines say the best fishing is when the moon is basket shaped (crescent) - which it was during our final weekend in Broome when wedding commitments ate up all our time.
When we get sorted I'll post a stack of pics (geez what a rant this post has been!)