Annual coral bay trip cancelled due to shark plague

Mates and I have been doing coral bay trips annually around May for the last several years and have now decided to cancel and never go again (unless a serious shark cull happens). Reason im posting this is cause its just a damn shame, we use to have an absolute blast every year  until the shark problem got worse and worse. Last couple of trips sharks were all over us and it really does start to put a dampener on your trip (if youve been there done that you know exactly what i mean!). Losing heaps of bottom bouncing tackle, expensive lures and great fish (both demersals and pelagics) really starts to piss you off so we decided we not gonna put ourselves through it anymore. Other reason im posting this is that im kind of hoping more fisho's do it then maybe business owners and others who live in places like coral bay, exmouth, shark bay etc start seeing posts like this and really push for action.. Our trips are always 4 boats and usually 8or more fisho's so thats a small fortune of money that will now not be injected into coral bays economy . I also know of others who are not interested in going to these places regularly anymore as well, just a bloody shame, cheers for reading

davewillo's picture

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Date Joined: 08/09/16

 Not good to hear mate. I

Tue, 2021-03-09 17:42

 Not good to hear mate. I have never fished out of Coral Bay but I have fished Exmouth and know what you mean. I haven't been up for a while and to be honest all the talk of sharks is a big part of the reasons why. I don't like losing tackle but I hate feeding fish to sharks. I'd much rather they just keep swimming! Hopefully some action gets taken and soon!

sunshine's picture

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A mate reckons Onslow is way better

Tue, 2021-03-09 17:53

But of course the question is for how long.   He reckons he will never go back to either Exmouth or Coral Bay as the sharks are just too thick  

sea-kem's picture

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 I'm hearing you beeroclock,

Tue, 2021-03-09 19:29

 I'm hearing you beeroclock, we are heading to Gnarloo mid May and it's literally our biggest concern apart from the weather. I know all my hot spots upther are overun with sharks, might get one fish and that's it so don't bother fishing them any more and have had to get creative on how we fish. And with the bag limit reduction a real possibillity it starts to really put the mockers on it all. 


Love the West!

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Date Joined: 30/12/09

i can understand what you are

Tue, 2021-03-09 20:05

i can understand what you are saying Beeroclock, but why not try something different like going south to Esperance and have a fish from there? even beach fishing for salmon down south with a wood fire place in the dunes for a few days is a great break IMO, or even going to SA fishing for Mulloway of their beaches. plenty of fish down there but just not as many good days. 


 Get busy living, or get busy dying!

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sad but true

Tue, 2021-03-09 20:06

 with the way things are now we will be lucky to ever see a shark cull :-(


Faulkner Family's picture

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 We were in coral bay 2 years

Tue, 2021-03-09 20:26

 We were in coral bay 2 years ago in May and didn't realy have a problem . In 2 weeks we lost maybe 5 or 6 fish in total to sharks. Maybe it's the depth of water we were fishing in .going again this may


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

sea-kem's picture

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 Depth does have an impact

Tue, 2021-03-09 20:36

 Depth does have an impact Russ, we found less in the 100m mark. But it's a long trek and need near perfect weather for my tub.


Love the West!

little johnny's picture

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Not good

Tue, 2021-03-09 21:53

It will effect tourism ( fishing wise) never been that way . I have only fished as far as Cervantes. Shark fin boat sounds like way to go . But that’s what happens when you put a max size limit on them.

chevaps's picture

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Date Joined: 04/01/13

Recently I've read quite a

Tue, 2021-03-09 23:47

Recently I've read quite a few things online about the shark problem up North, and people's perceptions on whether it's a plague or more of a learned behavioural pattern, and then thinking back to my experiences while actually living in Onslow for almost 4 years and from my trips to Thev Is in the years prior to living there, I'm starting to lean more toward the learned behavioural pattern way of thinking.  


I have learnt the hard way to not over-indulge on any given spot, nor give out co-ordinates to help out some mates.  I had a pearler of a spot in 74m with a seemingly endless supply of massive Saddletail and the ocassional solid Red Emp.  After my 4th visit to this spot in about 6 months, tens of sharks were circling just below the surface as we approached, sounder still absolutely lit as before, but the first drop resulted in a free feed to the sharks within seconds of hookup.  That spot has been visited on numerous ocassions since, and only once were there no sharks on the surface, but still ever so present on the bottom as i soon found out.  When the sharks are on the surface, i don't even bother, i just move on.


There are numerous accounts on this forum of fishos hooking the very same shark even after moving several miles away, and i do vaguely remember Coral Bay cited in these posts.


Let's use a classic example a little closer to home this time.... the Sambos South-West of Rotto in 105m of water.  That fishery was absolutely amazing in 2009, but fast forward 2 years and need i say more....  My mate and I have affectionately renamed those couple of marks as "murder hole", which is pretty self explanatory.  


There is no denying there are more sharks in the North-West, but i don't think fishos are doing themselves any favours by continuously returning to known honey holes.  I am actually convinced sharks are simply associating the sound of an outboard or inboard with a potential feed.  This sound propagates through the water for miles and we all know sharks have their senses very tuned in.  I'm not convinced a shark cull will have any measureable impact in the short term.


I feel beeroclock and your friends not going on this trip is good and may actually do you a favour for future harvesting from your spots.  Give it a rest for a few years and do something new as other have suggested.  Flocking to the next town up as implied/suggested by sunshine is not the solution and will no doubt see the same thing happen there and piss off the locals too (I actually wouldn't put it past the long termers to sabotage the experience of outsiders.... they aren't particularly fond of new residents, let alone tourists stealing their fish....).  To be honest, I don't think your tourism dollars will be missed, business is still booming in that neck of the woods and any bookings you had will get backfilled pretty quickly.


My post may seem abrasive, but this is not my intent, so please don't take offence to anything i've said.  I'm just pointing out some truths that might be a hard pill to swallow at first, but need to be aired.



Lefty 44's picture

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Chevaps makes some points.

Wed, 2021-03-10 07:47

 We fish CB every year with 2 other boats and Yes many spots are sharked out.

If you want to get fish up there you need to look further unfortunatly. 

We no longer chase Reds and go deeper for Goldband and Deep drop for Greyband and Ruby's. 

If we fish closer in we go a long way north or south (40km+).

and as Chevaps has stated, we don't fish the same areas. Each spot gets a 2 year break.

We get good fish but it does get harder each year. 

Spicey's picture

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 Weve been fishing Coral Bay

Wed, 2021-03-10 08:15

 Weve been fishing Coral Bay for the last 5 years in July school hols and have gone from occasionally losing a fish to sharks in the first years to occasionally landing a fish in the last few. Last year was particularly bad pulling up to fish spots that we had not been to for a year only to lose the very first fish. We only landed Cobia and Rankins for some reason at these spots that usuall hold good numbers of reds maybe the sharks let anything go that wasn't flashing silver or red on the way up. 

Like others have said we only had success last year by heading out to the 100's which was a long steam back if it was rough.  

sealure's picture

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 Chevaps does make some very

Wed, 2021-03-10 08:57

 Chevaps does make some very good points. I've been fishing Coral Bay for the past 12 years usually twice each year. 
Fishing depth does seem to play a role with sharks. This year we'll give chasing reds away & spend more time deeper when the weather permits. We will also give serious thought to whether we'll return because of the Shark problem & the increased travel distance necessary to reduce the risk. Travelling long distance in remote areas certainly increases the risks to us. 
In our experience not only has the number increased but the size of the sharks is now enormous. 10-12 years ago sharks appeared greatly reduced in numbers & one could get sharks to the boat when caught. That is no longer the case more often than not. Now it's a case of lock down & hold while the boat gets pulled about until the line gives. In my experience it's the size that sharks have now reached as much as the number increase that's important  

With the absence of professional Shark fishing sharks which used to be 1-2m in length are now all 3-4m plus. The quantity of fish these monsters can consume must be equally great. 
We have tried all the ideas spoken about on this website like moving quickly, not returning to same spots etc etc but with little success. 
A number of fishermen I've spoken to up there report losing 40+ sinkers over a 3-4 week trip. 
Sadly I believe the best fishing days at Coral Bay have passed & will remain so until there is a more sensible approach to dealing with both size & number of sharks. 

Posts: 23

Date Joined: 28/07/10

Frustrating. Wrote about this

Wed, 2021-03-10 10:04

Frustrating. Wrote about this 5 years ago. Wrote about the sambo aggs 10 years ago. Nothing has happened. Much of our license fees ($500 000) have gone into “studying” this. Still years away from anything substantive happening. Only real solution is one drop per spot. But even that doesn’t work often. I’ve avoided Exmouth for ten years .

black gen's picture

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Date Joined: 13/04/11

 Some interesting points

Wed, 2021-03-10 19:59

 Some interesting points here 

we travel pretty long distances when up north to try and find some ground that's not so hammered by boats 

seems to work most of the time for us 

Gadsy's picture

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Date Joined: 01/05/10

There's a telling video on Facebook today

Wed, 2021-03-10 20:02

 In the Perth and WA Fishing Reports group. Taken at Exmouth showing lots of sharks hanging around a boat waiting for an easy meal. Be a lost cause trying to get a fish past that horde.

davewillo's picture

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 That's insane Gadsy. You'd

Thu, 2021-03-11 09:31

 That's insane Gadsy. You'd be lucky to get a bait of lure past them to even hook a fish, let alone get one to the boat!

Swompa's picture

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 Truth be told, if you don't

Thu, 2021-03-11 06:49

 Truth be told, if you don't go to Coral Bay, someone else will take your spot pretty quickly.

I really don't think that a lack of fishing is going to damage the place from a tourism point of view, it will just mean that we need to travel to more remote places.

Posts: 180

Date Joined: 31/12/11

Monte bellos

Fri, 2021-03-12 08:19

 Just to add to the converstaion i have now been on 2 charters to the Montes, and won't be going back. The larger charter boats don't fish in and around the islands like rec fishers hence the get molested by sharks out in the paddock in the 55-60 metre depth. We had 11 punters on our last trip and over the course of 5 days lost over 700 hooks. Skipper put us on a ration of single hook rigs after the first couple of days. God knows how many sinkers were lost.

I agree the sharks just got smarter and follow boats.

Nature should even its self out ? I hope ! But would be happy for the government to allow shark fishing in some of these areas, but i am afraid the way Governments are trending they are more likely to lock rec fishers out than do anything to help us tax paying fishermen.

Posts: 17

Date Joined: 02/02/21

 I feel your pain Beeroclock.

Fri, 2021-03-12 13:00

 I feel your pain Beeroclock. I just returned from a trip to Shelter Bay with a group of mates yesterday. As a new Fishwrecked member I was looking forward to doing a trip report and posting some great photos. Unfortunately the sharks ruined it for me. We managed to land a few small fish - enough for a feed, but any fish of reasonable size were picked off by the sharks. We moved around constantly in different depths, from up against the cliffs south of Steep Point, out to 80m and everything in between - it made no difference. I still had a lot of fun 4wding and camping with a good bunch of blokes, but any fishing enjoyment was totally removed by the sharks. I put my rods down and gave it away. Some of the boys hired 2 boats from Denham specifically for the trip (at over $300 a day), so you can understand their dissapointment. I'm heading off to Gnaraloo with my family for a holiday in April. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping things work out better next time. 

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Yep I know exactly what you mean

Fri, 2021-03-12 13:46

 Ive been to Steep point twice in the last 3 years around March/April. Fantastic location, 4 boats great fun with big group of mates - bottom fishing fucked unless you love sharks. We ended up just trolling out in 100 - 150m line and got black marlin (only around 40 - 60kg size), wahoo, sailies and good size yellowfin tuna. Problem with that of course is you have to cart in all your own fuel and it gets burnt pretty quick trolling out wide all day.

sea-kem's picture

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Date Joined: 30/11/09

 mate when filling the

Fri, 2021-03-12 15:35

 mate when filling the Jerries up at carnarvon each time into Gnaraloo I think if we burn all these up out on the boat we've had a good trip. 


Love the West!

gregk's picture

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Date Joined: 03/02/09

Coral bay

Thu, 2021-03-18 09:23

We are here now and the sharks are really bad I can't fish any of my red ground and even the gold band range is bad but they seem smaller not good