Rock and Beach Fishing Species ID

Below is a list of common fish species likely to be caught off the beach or rocks on our Guided Fishing Safaris in Western Australia.


Big Tailor caught beach Fishing WA Perth by Brendan 'Brenz' Gow

Photo credit: Brenz Gow

Min size: 30cm

Bag Limit: 8

Grows to: 1.3m, 14kg

Best baits: mulies, scalies, strip baits, stickbaits

Closed Seasons: n/a

About: Tailor are popular acrobatic sport fish that frequent inshore waters along Western Australia’s coast between Albany and Exmouth. Tailor are one of the most common catches for anglers fishing surf beaches and washy inshore reefs. Tailor have thin, streamline bodies and razor-sharp teeth. They are silver in appearance with a bluish green upper body. The larger they get the darker the green becomes, which is why larger specimens are often referred to as ‘Greenbacks’. Tailor will readily take lures and one of the best ways to target them from shore is with stickbaits. Often Tailor will be schooled up over shallow, washy reefs during daylight hours and the best time to target them in these areas is at high tide. When targeting Tailor be sure to use reasonably heavy leader as they can bite through monofilament quite easily. Tailor are average eating and are best eaten fresh or smoked. They have soft flesh that does not lend itself well to freezing, so only take what you need for one feed and let the rest go. Tailor are exceptional bait when live or fresh and are arguably the best bait for Mulloway. On our safaris we often catch a few Tailor in the last hour before sunset, and most of the time they are slabbed up for Mulloway bait.


Mulloway aka Jewfish Beach Fishing Perth WA by Robbie Riches

Photo credit: Perth Fishing Safaris

Min size: 50cm

Bag Limit: 2

Grows to: 2m, 70kg

Best baits: fresh tailor, mullet, trumpeter, scalies, mulies, squid

Closed Seasons: n/a

About: Big Mulloway are the pinnacle of surf fishing in Australia. There’s something alluring about them that makes fishos spend hour after hour, night after night waiting on an empty beach in anticipation of a bite. Mulloway fishos refer to them by a number of names dependant on their size; juveniles up to 3-4kg are called soapies, schooling fish between 4-10kg are schoolies, and fish over 10kg are true Mulloway. Mulloway can be a very hard fish to figure out, and therefore catching them is not easy. We are lucky enough to produce Mulloway for our clients on most of our safaris. Any Mulloway is a good Mulloway and on a good night we might land half a dozen up to 1m, and every now and then larger fish >1m. The fight of a Mulloway is very distinct. The initial runs are fast and powerful but after that they tend to fight it out. The distinct headshakes of a Mulloway are unforgettable as they try their best to throw the hooks. Once landed they are pretty docile and easy to handle. Mulloway often make a croaking noise when landed and they have a characteristically strong odour. Although Mulloway are good eating we do prefer to let them go. If you intend on releasing them be sure to support their body, keep your hands out of their gills, and get them back in the water as quick as possible.

Pink Snapper

Pink Snapper caught while beach Fishing Kalbarri WA by Robbie Riches

Photo credit: Perth Fishing Safaris

Min size: 50cm south of Lancelin, 41cm north of Lancelin

Bag Limit: 2

Grows to: 20kg, 1.3m

Best baits: fresh whole fish or fillets, squid

Closed Seasons: 15th October - 15th December (Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds 1st Oct - 31st Jan)

About: Pink Snapper, or ‘Pinkies’ are a prized catch for land-based anglers in Western Australia. They are not so commonly caught off the beach and rocks but at the same time they are not rare. During the cooler months after big swells land-based fishos catch snapper off the rocks, rock walls and off the beach adjacent to reefy structure. Snapper are good eating and put up a mean fight. They hit hard and pull a lot of line on their first couple of runs, followed by frequent head bumps all the way to shore. The fight is similar to that of a mulloway, only more head bumps. When caught off the beach snapper are a beautiful pinkish silver colour with iridescent blue spots along the dorsal half of the body and iridescent blue pectoral fins. When caught off the rocks they are generally a darker red in colour.


Samsonfish Beach Fishing Perth WA

Photo credit: Daniel Bell

Min size: 60cm

Bag Limit: 3

Grows to: 1.7m, 55kg

Best baits: live bait, fresh whole fish or fillets

Closed Seasons: n/a

About: Samsonfish or ‘Sambos’ are a hard fighting opponent and prized capture for land-based fishos. While they are very common throughout south-west waters, particularly offshore, they are less common as a land-based catch. Western Australia has one of the best offshore Samsonfish fisheries in the world. From late spring to early autumn Sambos migrate great distances to form large breeding aggregations offshore. These masses of fish have been known to exceed 30,000 individuals! During the cooler months the fish disperse. This is when they tend to show up around inshore reefs in small groups or as rogue individuals. Samsonfish are no renowned for their eating qualities, which is why most people tend to release them. The average size Sambo caught inshore is around 8-20kg. They often show up as by-catch when fishing baits for other species like Snapper and Mulloway. Sometimes they’ll take your stickbait or popper when targeting Tailor, and you’ll have your work cut out for you trying to land one on Tailor gear! Sambos respond well to lures, especially large poppers and stickbaits worked across the surface around reefy terrain. To target these brutes you need a heavy outfit, 60-100lb line (depending on where you’re fishing) and 80-100lb abrasion resistant leader.


Australian Salmon Fishing Yallingup WA by Robbie Riches

Photo credit: Perth Fishing Safaris

Min size: 30cm

Bag Limit: 4

Grows to: 100cm, 10kg

Best baits: mulies, scalies, live baitfish, stickbaits and metal lures

Closed Seasons: n/a

About: The Western Australian Salmon stock is different to that found on the east coast. While they look almost identical they are actually separate species. Salmon are a tough-fighting sport fish that display exciting aerobatics when hooked. They are a schooling fish that form huge schools that travel the coast at certain times of the year. The Western Australian ‘Salmon Run’ is stuff of legends. When word gets out that the salmon are running it send fishos into a frenzy, with many punters travelling hundreds of kilometers just to get in to the action. Surprisingly though, Salmon are not renowned for their eating qualities but mores so for the sport. Salmon will readily take metals, stickbaits and soft plastic lures as well as bait.

West Australian Dhufish

WA Dhufish caught off the rocks mid-west

Photo credit: Michael Triantopoulos

Min size: 50cm

Bag Limit: 1

Grows to: 1.2m, 26kg

Best baits: fresh whole fish or fillets, squid, octopus

Closed Seasons: 15th October – 15th December

About: West Australian Dhufish, or ‘Dhuies’ are an iconic species endemic to Western Australia, meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world. Dhufish look very similar to their smaller cousins the Pearl Perch. Dhufish captures from the shore in the West Coast Bioregion are very rare and as a result they are one of the most prize captures for land-based fishos. They are a delicious table fish that put up a decent fight. At certain times of year Dhuies are occasionally caught between Dongara and Geraldton off the beach around inshore reefs. Some large specimens have also reportedly been captured off the beaches around Albany. Males can be distinguished from females by their longer, white filament at the rear of the dorsal fin.

Baldchin Groper

Baldchin Groper caught off rocks Dirk Hartog Island WA by Tim Lee

Photo credit: Tim Farnell

Min size: 40cm

Bag Limit: 2

Grows to: 90cm, 7kg

Best baits: crabs, octopus, squid

Closed Seasons: 15th October – 15th December

About: Baldchin Groper, or ‘Baldies’ are a species of Tuskfish endemic to Western Australia, meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world. They are a prized table fish that put up a good, hard fight with lots of head bumping. While baldies can be caught by boaties between Cape and Coral bay, they are generally caught by land-based anglers north of Geraldton. One of the unusual things about baldies is they change sex from female to male at around 40-50cm in length. Baldies are mostly caught off the rocks in deep water. When fishing for baldies in reefy terrain you need to fish a tight drag and heavy leader to stop them busting you off in the reef.

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel caught off beach in WA mid-west by Robbie Riches

Photo credit: Perth Fishing Safaris

Min size: 90cm

Bag Limit: 3

Grows to: 2.4m, 70kg

Best baits: Garfish, live baitfish, blue mackerel, metal and hard body lures

Closed Seasons: n/a

About: Spanish Mackerel are toothy speedsters that rank high in the list for land-based anglers in Western Australia. Found throughout the world, in WA they are common in warmers north of Perth, and from time to time appear as far south as Cape Naturalist. The best ways to target Spanish Mackerel are without a doubt ballooning and spinning. Ballooning entails rigging a whole fish, such as a Garfish, on a long w