EXPLORE AUSTRALIA

FLY FISHING IN AUSTRALIA

Australia can be thought of as a gift from the gods to the saltwater fly angler. It’s like a parallel universe; where fish grow bigger, stronger, meaner and tougher than their western counterparts. Take for example, Australia’s most iconic sports fish, the Barramundi. Known by locals as bara, the barramundi can be found in the tropical estuaries of Australia. The best bara fishing can be found in the north, from Cape York to the Kimberley. Barramundi can be best described as a snook that has just gone through a rugby training camp. These ambush predators hit flies like a freight train, and head right into the closest bit of cover. They are often the cause of anguish and a bad case of line burn.

The flats fishing in Australia is simply sensational. Compared to places like the Caribbean where you’ll have shots at permit, bonefish and tarpon, in Australia, there are over eight distinct target species. Two species of permit can be found throughout Australia’s tropical coast along with blue bastards, milkfish, tuskfish, queenfish, and bream.

Arnhem Land and Melville Island

Arnhem Land is a large area of aboriginal land on the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory. This area is home to the greatest barramundi fishery in the world. Barramundi, known locally as barra, are the most popular sportfish in Australia. In most locations, a 60-80cm barra is considered impressive, however, in Arnhemland, anything under a meter long (~40”) is considered small! Boating multiple meter plus fish in a session is not uncommon when the conditions are right.

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CAPE YORK

Cape York, known as “the Tip” is a large peninsula located in the north east corner of Australia. The tip is the most northern part of mainland Australia, consisting of countless unexplored flats, coastal lagoons, estuaries, islands, and reefs that have never seen a fly fisherman. Nowhere else in the world can you fish billabongs for barramundi and saratoga in the morning, then work the flats for permit, blue bastards and trevally in the afternoon. You can even wrap up the day up with some blue water fly fishing for marlin, wahoo, and monster Spanish mackerel in the evening.

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Exmouth

Up the west coast of Australia, where the desert meets the sea lies Exmouth. Once a low key spot, over the last decade, Exmouth’s fantastic flats fishery has attracted fly fisherman from all over the world. Consistent weather, the sheer number of large fish, and the uniqueness of its fisheries all make it a special place to fish.

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Hinchinbrook

The Hinchinbrook is a large estuary located halfway between Townsville and Cairns. It is comprised of a large channel separating two massive labyrinths of mangroves, sandbars, creeks, and passages that stretch to cover both the island and the mainland. Known by locals for its fantastic barramundi fishing, the Hinchinbrook offers so much more to the fly fisherman.

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Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay is located on the east coast just north of Brisbane. It’s a funnel shaped bay, created by tidal movement between the coast and Fraser Island. The bay is 60 kilometers across the mouth, and 60 kilometers deep, and is considered by many to be the birthplace saltwater flats fly fishing in Australia.

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The Kimberly

The Kimberley region is a favorite of many well known Australian fishermen, and is one of the most beautiful and remote regions in the country. Over millions of years, torrential rain and cyclones have shaped breathtaking canyons, gullies, and rivers in the rocky landscapes of the Kimberley. On the coast, deep indents and spectacular rock formations are carved out of solid stone by raging forty foot tides. What makes this region so special is that most of the fishing is done on foot in some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia.

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Tasmania

The island of Tasmania lies off the south-east corner of Australia. The main fishery is at around 2,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level, in an area known as the Central Highlands. This large region of tundra like plains, rugged mountains, and deep forest, is dotted with thousands of lakes and tarns predominantly filled with brown trout.

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