Creating a Dive Plan for Spear Fishing in Western Australia

May 11, 2017

Marco Fraschetti talks about using the Simrad NSS evo2 to create a dive plan and catch fish in Perch.

Fishing and diving in Perth, Western Australia can be tough. While we have a huge variety of quality table fish on offer, they are often spread over an expansive limestone reef system. Finding fish on a regular basis comes down to knowing where, when, and what to look for.

Freedive spearfishing is a great way to catch a feed in the clear waters of the Leeuwin current that wraps around Rottnest Island. Diving up and down all day can be quite tiring, in the search for good ground. Even when you happen upon a promising area, it's 50/50 whether it will hold fish. My Simrad NSS12 evo2 helps me to spot good ground and maximise the time spent over structure.

Having the CHIRP transducer allows me to mark individual fish and have an idea of what’s down there, before I get in the water. The scroll back feature lets you trace the ground you’ve covered and draw a mental image of the limestone reef systems for targeting fish like dhufish and other cave dwelling demersals. Ledges, caves, and drop-offs all show up clearly on the screen.

In depths over 20 meters where a quick exploration dive is hard work, the accuracy and clarity of the NSS12 evo2 can’t be understated. I build my dive plan around the structure, setting up drifts to cover the best looking bottom to minimise my search time and maximise my catch time. The Simrad sounder technology helps with the ‘where’ and ‘what to look for’ of diving here in Perth. 

When it comes to fishing in Perth, dropping a line down in the 30m to 100m mark is a popular way to land a catch. Dhufish are one of our main target species here due mainly to their pearl white flesh. However, other endemic demersals like baldchin groper, breaksea cod and harlequin cod set Perth leagues ahead of Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to catching a tasty feed. The method involves finding good ground, drifting the boat over it and dropping a weighted bait, lure or jig down to the depths. There are a few key factors when fishing this method. 

A slight current is good to carry baits across a large area of ground. Most importantly, finding good ground and marking fish come first. I tend to look for ledges and small drop offs as the deeper waters off Perth don't hold many caves. Demersal fish are clearly separated from the bottom using the CHIRP transducer and can be marked very accurately. Once the spot is marked, it can take a couple of drifts to allow for wind and current. Due to the accuracy of the NSS12 Evo2 long hopeful drifts over possible good ground are a thing of the past. 

Being a diver as well as a fisherman has given me an understanding of what lies beneath. These methods of fishing are by no means new but with the advanced tech Simrad has provided I've combined these factors to largely increase my catch rates on both scenes. 

Marco Fraschetti