Steve Riley

Exmouth Fishing Personality

Steve is a fishing tragic, tackle store owner and long-time resident of Exmouth in Western Australia. He’s enthusiastic about sharing his fishing knowledge with our listeners – and he has some pretty damn good stuff to say. It’s hard to feel sorry for Steve – the only thing most anglers could think of that’s better than living in Exmouth is living in Exmouth and owning a tackle store………

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Steve’s #6 Exmouth Fishing Spot: Learmonth Jetty

  • This spot is accessible by two wheel drive vehicle and the jetty structure extends around 200m off the beach.
  • Learmonth Jetty is famous for a massive variety of species that can be caught by families, tourists and occasional anglers. The bread-and-butter species such as bream, whiting small trevally and queenfish are available year round, but as the water warms the longtail tuna, skipjack tuna and bonito schools come into casting range.
  • An incoming tide late in the afternoon fishes best. The predominant southeast to southwest wind pattern kicks in during spring and on the SW wind in particular the Exmouth Gulf becomes flat and calm. This is perfect for fishing the jetty.
  • Small plastics, stickbaits or perhaps vibes fished on 8-10lb outfits are perfect for the smaller fish species. Leader is super important though and 15-20lb supple mono leader is perfect.
  • For the larger pelagics a good stickbait or a 40-50g metal is the preferred lure. A spin reel capable of holding a few hundred metres of 20lb braid is perfect. Long casting is super important, as is fast cranking. Don’t lock your drag, let the fish run or a bust off is bound to happen.

Steve’s #5 Exmouth Fishing Spot: The Marina

  • The marina in Exmouth holds numerous species that can entertain a family for days. Small plastics, stickbaits, poppers and blades thrown around the marina will take numerous smaller species. For those mores serious, the north wall produces bluebone, snapper, coral trout, queenfish and trevally on soft plastics, stickbaits and vibes.
  • There is a health population of 45-55 cm mangrove jacks in the marina. Soft plastics work well and when the water is warm and the tide is high they’ll take plastic, small vibes and sinking stickbaits. 15-20lb braid with 40lb leader is the go ….. good luck.
  • This area can be fished on any tide and in any weather conditions and has numerous walkways, rock walls and jetties. Remember not to cast into the middle of the marina as it’s flat, bare sand and doesn’t hold much in the way of fish. Getting your lure close to the rocks, pylons and pontoons is the trick.

Steve’s #4 Exmouth Fishing Spot: Five Mile Beach Access

  • About 12-13 minutes’ drive past the lighthouse, this access takes more serious anglers onto a magical fishing beach with tons of shallow reefs, a rockwall and lots of fish.
  • Targeting reef fish off the beach is best done either early morning or late afternoon on an incoming tide….. the last 2-3 hours of the run-in tide is perfect. Cover the ground, walking the beach a fanning out casts to work over the available reef and bommies.
  • If you want to chase pelagics such as large queenfish or golden trevally then fish a couple of days off the moon when the tides are big…. Noting that you’ll still catch reefies like spangled emperor, bluebone, cod and coral trout around the top of the tide when the water movement slows.
  • Good leader is vital as you’ll be casting over brutal inner reefs to reach bommies and ledges in shallow, gnarly water. A 6’6” rod in the 10-15kg line class is perfect. Steve usually uses a 7’6” rod for longer casting.
  • The first 40m from the waters edge is fairly barren, but the area 40-80m from the waters edge is where you’ll encounter a huge range of species.
  • Poppers, stickbaits and plastics are perfect lure choices for this area and will take spangos, trout, and other reefies as well as pelagics.
  • When you hook a fish, keep the rod quite high (but not so high it might break) to keep the line clear of the sharp coral, guiding the fish into a hole or gutter to land him.

Steve’s #3 Exmouth Fishing Spot: Mildura Wreck

  • On the tip of the care there is the remnants of a shipwreck that can fish very well for a range of species such as spangled emperor, bluebone, queenfish, trevally. The area between the wreck and the boat ramp is all worth fishing.
  • This area is very shallow and it’s possible to wade out nearly 100-150m from the shore if you wear booties to protect your feet from sharp broken coral and hard reef. Steve likes zip up dive boots for this kind of wading, use a reef walker slip on hard sole if you prefer.
  • At high tide the waters edge is 200-250m from where the fish are, so definitely stick to the low tides.
  • Medium sized poppers (105-135mm) are a good choice of lure for this area, as are 5” soft plastic lures, stickbaits and the like.
  • When the bigger queenfish and golden trevally are on the go and the tide is just starting to come in around dawn a larger lure can be effective. A lot of 900mm queenfish are taken here.
  • Good leader is vital as you’ll be casting over brutal inner reefs to reach bommies and ledges in shallow, gnarly water. A 6’6” rod in the 10-15kg line class is perfect. Steve usually uses a 7’6” rod for longer casting.

 

Steve’s #2 Exmouth Fishing Spot: Oysters

  • Don’t ask about Steve’s best fishing spot, you’ll get shut down. Ask him for his second-best fishing spot and he’ll tell you all about oysters. Notice that he hasn’t mentioned how to find the spot and that it’s not on a map? You’ll need to go into Exmouth Tackle and Camping Supplies and ask Steve for details yourself 😉
  • This spot is not to be confused with “Oyster Stacks”, which is a popular local snorkelling spot and is within a green zone.
  • This spot is near the point of the peninsula and has a huge reputation for producing big, black 15-25kg GT’s from the beach.
  • Initially Steve overcomplicated his approach to this spot, going for 8’6” to 9’6”, PE8-10 rods with big reels (8000-20000 size), 80lb braid with a Bimini connecting 300 lb leader to a 200-250mm size popper. This became expensive due to massive gear losses.
  • These days Steve still uses 80lb braid on a quality rod and reel but has downgraded to a 100-120lb leader. This saves a lot of time re-rigging when a fish is lost. Make sure the split ring on your lure is a 250lb breaking strain.
  • Have 400-500m of PE6-8 braid as a big GT is going to run hard and you can’t chase it from the beach as you would from a boat. Tighten the drag close to maximum.
  • Fish the rock wall on a 1.2m tide or less as you’ll be casting over the rocks on a bigger tide and have little chance of getting a GT to the shore. Mid to low tide is the optimum time, especially when it coincides with dawn or dusk.
  • All of the previously mentioned species such as spangos, queenfish, trout, trevally, bluebone and so on are also available, but they’ll shut down when you start casting those big GT poppers.

Steve’s #1 Exmouth Fishing Spot: Don’t Ask!

  • As always, drop in to Steve’s store and ask about where to fish, but he won’t share his best spot, so start by asking about his second best!

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Steve’s Business

Exmouth Tackle And Camping is the place to go for all of your tackle and camping needs whilst you’re in this area. Steve and his friendly staff are more than happy to help with great advice and a few fishing tips, too. 

 

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