Coral Bay fishing is some of the best in Western Australia. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why people return year after year to this tiny, remote town where the arid desert meets the Indian Ocean in the Ningaloo Marine Park.
You’ll find that a good-sized boat and/or a 4WD are necessary for getting to most of the really good fishing spots, but without one of these, you still have the options of joining a charter for the day or just fishing from the Monk Head jetty, Paradise Beach or Maud’s Landing.
Of course for the pelagics and game fish for which the Ningaloo Reef is so well known, you have to go out beyond the reef. But if you only have a small boat or dinghy, there’s still plenty of good fishing to be had inside the reef.
There are also some good places for beach fishing, but expect to have to drive along 4WD tracks to find the best of these places.
Where can you go fishing at Coral Bay?
Fishing in the Ningaloo Marine Park is permitted only outside of the sanctuary zones. The bay itself, Bill’s Bay (which is made up of the Town Bay and Skeleton Bay), is part of the Maud Sanctuary Zone so is off-limits for fishing. This means you have to head beyond town to find a fishing spot.
The Maud Sanctuary Zone Boundaries
The Maud Sanctuary Zone is bounded to the west by the seaward edge of the outer reef and protects both halves of Bill’s Bay, plus Point Maud and all of the reef along the North Passage.
The zone extends south almost to Five Finger Reef. However, fishing from the shore is permitted at Paradise Beach (but not Purdy Point). And south of Monk’s Head, you are allowed to fish from a dinghy inside the reef, despite it still being part of the sanctuary zone.
Bateman Beach north of the Maud Sanctuary Zone boundary is another option for beach fishing. You can get there easily by driving across the airfield to
Coral Bay Fishing Outside the Reef
If you’re lucky enough to have a large boat with you in Coral Bay that can get you out beyond the outer reef, you can troll for pelagics and bottom-dwellers along the drop-off behind the reef or head further out for the big game species.
There’s a huge variety of fish you can catch out there, including:
- Baldchin Groper
- Mahi-mahi (dolphinfish)
- Coronation Cod
- Rankin Cod
- Pearl Perch
- Red Emperor
- Spangled Emperor
- Spanish Mackerel
- Robinson Seabream
Coral Bay Fishing Charters
Going out on a fishing charter on the Ningaloo Reef is expensive, but most definitely worth it – especially if you don’t have a boat of your own. You’ll be sure to catch some awesome big fish and come home with a great feed and happy memories of a fun and exiting day.
The two Coral Bay fishing boats that do day charters are the Mahi-Mahi and the Seaforce.
Check out their websites for more details, and be aware that you might need to book well in advance to secure a place!
Coral Bay Boat Fishing Inside the Reef
Fishing from a dinghy is permitted anywhere north of Point Maud or south of Monk’s Head. The protected waters inside the reef are full of snapper. While you can catch them quite easily off the beach, it’s even better further out from a dinghy. Find a lump of coral, throw in some burley, and you’ll have no trouble at all catching a delicious feast!
Other fish commonly caught in the Ningaloo Reef lagoon area include trevally, sweetlip, Charlie Courts and longtoms.
Beach Fishing at Coral Bay
If you’re after a good fishing spot close to town, here are your options:
- Try fishing off the seawalls and jetties at Monk’s Head from sunset onwards. While it’s not the best Coral Bay fishing spot, it’s the most convenient and you’ve got a pretty good chance of catching something.
- Another place close to town where you can fish at Coral Bay is Paradise Beach.
- The Five Finger Reef Beach is a great beach fishing spot, but quite a long walk if you don’t have a 4WD.
- To the north, try Maud’s Landing and beyond along Bateman Beach. The waters off Bateman Beach have a greater variety of fish to catch than the more protected lagoon beaches.
To find the best beach fishing spots, it’s worth walking further away from town, and away from where everyone else is fishing.
If you have a 4WD, you can get to some truly awesome beach fishing spots. Explore the beaches north along the track through Ningaloo Station to Yardie Creek or the south to Waroora Station.
Important Coral Bay Fishing Resources
Species Identification, Plus Bag and Size Limits:
Download the Gascoyne Region fishing brochure from the Department of Fisheries, or collect one from one of the shops in town.
Maud Sanctuary Zone and Special Use Zone Map:
The Department of Transport Coral Bay Boating Guide brochure (PDF download link) has an aerial photo and map with the sanctuary and special use zones clearly marked.
Last Updated: 15th June, 2014.
First posted on 18th October, 2013 by Bonny.
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