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The Western Australian Dhufish are a demersal species only found in the southern parts of WA. They are known or their top eating qualities. Catching these delicious fish can be an art in itself. Although they can be found in close inshore reefs, most people venture into deeper water in search of larger specimens. They are known to grow over 20kg.
Dhufish are native to WA waters only. The WA fisheries have strict closures for all demersal species in the West Coast Region. So make sure you check www.fish.wa.gov.au for more info on the closed season for Dhufish.
Otherwise, Dhufish can be caught most of the other times.
After a storm, consider trying in closer to shore as the turbulence kicks up a lot of food in close and brings in Dhufish and other fish like Snapper. Also early overnight and early morning is often worth trying in close and move out deeper in the day as the sun gets higher in the sky.
Juvenile Dhufish hang around inshore reefs and cruise over the sand at night for hunting. They are often mixed in with some larger fish too, so if you’re getting some small Dhuies, you might be not far off getting a big one.
Larger specimens tend to be found in deeper water around solid structure such as reefs or wrecks. Try looking at 30 meters and deeper. Your sounder is key to picking up good ground. We’ve often marked ground while trolling and come back to it for a jig or a bottom bash to find really productive spots. You will also find that you will start noticing different marks on your sounder which are unique to Dhufish. Keep an eye on it and keep trying to find new spots.
Dhufish will eat almost anything, but the fresher the bait, the better. Most people will have some octopus, pilchard or squid in their arsenal. We’ve had fantastic results using livies too, but make sure you have some quality gear as you may find the occasional Sampson Fish taking you for a run.
Soft Plastics and metal jigs are becoming more and more popular to use while targeting Dhufish. Some soft plastics which are known to work are the Gulp Jerk Shad 6inch in Nuclear Chicken and Squidgy Pro Flickbait 145mm in Pacific Pearl.
A good solid outfit like a 10kg snapper rod with 20lb line is an ideal starting point. You can go smaller, but remember, where there are Dhuies, you’ll also find Sampson fish, sharks and snapper. So expect to have your drag tested.
When using bait, a bait runner reel can be a good choice. When the fish aren’t aggressively biting, a lightly weighted bait with no resistance could do the trick.
We would start with the following gear:
The trusty paternoster rig is always a winner when bait fishing. There are some effective shop bought pre-tied rigs like the Black Magic Snapper Snatchers which work a treat. Try use the lightest weight possible to get to the bottom. If you’re going to tie your own rig, make sure you use some solid leader line like 60lb+. When tying a paternoster, avoid putting twists in the line as this will dramatically reduce the strength of the knots.
For all soft plastic and jig outfits, avoid using swivels or snaps as this reduces your feel and also can upset the action of light plastics.
Micro jigs are getting more and more popular, they often encourage a bit even when the fish are “turned off”. The brand which started this fishing revolution was the Storm Gomoku.
Try use the smallest weight possible. This will avoid spooking the fish with a heavy weight bouncing along the bottom. Also, it’s always worth while trying to use some jigs or soft plastics while your baits are out too.
Chop up some Mulies/Pilchards and drop them down for some burley, make sure you defrost the bait first otherwise it will float and not get the fish in your fishing zone. You can also get some pre made burley from the tackle shop that looks like pellets, these are good also and sink quickly.