Cactus beach and Point Sinclair are found about 21 km south of Penong, the next small town heading east from Fowlers Bay. The surf at Cactus beach is renowned as one of the best in Australia and on the day I visited, the surf was small but well formed with a couple of surfers out making the most of it.
The road down here can be rough at times though it was ok when I drove down and easily accessible by 2 wheel drive, winding through low lying scrub and across some salt lakes. Some of the salt lakes have interesting lumps and red/brown water while others are bright pink.
This is a fairly remote area with a basic camping area and toilets available at Cactus, but around the other side of Point Sinclair perhaps a kilometre away there’s a jetty with some shade structures and barbecues. The jetty is good fishing and there’s a shark net here so you can swim safely.
It’s a nice little bay here with an old boat wreck on the beach, and a whole stack of shell grit which was a joy to find for someone like me.
There was a nice variety of shells and rocks all along the beach, and there were some differences between this side of the point and around at Cactus beach, though most shells seem to be predominantly oranges and browns.
It’s almost a little embarrassing to admit that I’m still in Fowlers bay after 4 weeks. At this rate it will take me many years to get around Australia, but my objective was to catch myself a Mulloway while I was here and finally I struck it lucky.
Not a monster but it’s legal. I’d been fishing on the jetty almost every night for about 3 weeks often fishing very late into the night, up till 4 or 5 in the morning sometimes chasing the change in tides, till one day I was given an inside tip. The upside of spending a while in the one place is that the locals get to know you and this can really pay off. After so many weeks of catching nothing I was given a hot tip about a guy who had broken down on the beach for a couple of days before some locals went and towed him out. He had fished where he’d broken down and caught “lots” of Mulloway. This was only perhaps 2km along the beach from the jetty, easy walking distance, so that night I set out for the spot where he’d broken down.
To me, the spot looked terrible, weedy flats no different to most of the water around the area, but I gave it a go and caught fish after fish once it was dark. Every cast was a bite and most of the fish were about 60cm long but the legal size limit for Mulloway is 75cm. Finally around 1.30 in the morning I managed to land my legal 76cm fish, but boy what a night fishing.
Because I’d almost given up hope of getting a Mulloway, I’d booked into the local fishing charter and after a couple of false starts due to poor weather we finally went out for the day chasing some big fish.
It’s nice when you need to use a loader to get your catch off the boat. Four of us went out for the day, the tub on the left was caught by myself and Warren who was staying in the park, the tub on the right was caught by Rob and Tim who were staying in the chalets over the road.
Snapper, Nanoguy, Samson fish and a Snook, I caught most of them because poor old Warren had a few too many drinks the night before around the campfire and was seasick out on the boat and unable to fish much. This is filling my freezer up, Mulloway, and a stack of other assorted fillets.
A couple of days later Rob and Tim suggested I come out “snooking” with them in their small boat.
50 Snook while trolling with hand lines around the bay in only a couple of hours. My fingers where cut up and blistered from the hand line, but it was a great morning.
This was a different kind of fishing than what I’m used to, they had it well sorted, they were here to get fish meat and their filleting, skinning and processing was almost machine like, all the fillets were then cut, stacked and wrapped into blocks before being frozen. These guys were going out nearly every day and getting their bag limits, then at the end of 2 weeks, they would be going home with freezers full of tightly packed fish fillets.
Time lingers on in Fowlers bay. Julian, the guy who had provided the hot Mulloway tip after breaking down on the beach has returned multiple times to the “special spot” as well as some other spots along the beach. This morning he arrived at the caravan park fish cleaning area opposite my van, another 3 mulloway caught just before dawn. Please excuse the fact that the photos are starting to get a little gruesome.
Julian and Pommy Jack filleting the Mulloway, a couple of the fillets were donated to the next camp cook up. I ate some of my Mulloway a couple of days ago, frying some pieces up in a beer batter and it’s a beautiful fish, very mild and melts in your mouth. I also fried up the snook the next day in the same batter, I think that I’m getting a new appreciation for eating fish.