Located 13km south of Sydney’s CBD, Botany Bay is a highly popular and productive urban fishing location.
The southern headland of Botany Bay, known as Cape Solander, is fringed by Kamay National Park. The national park makes way to a large wharf on the southern shore which is used by the nearby oil refinery. On the northern headland, Molineaux Point features a huge breakwall bordering the entrance to Port Botany, which is a major shipping hub. Tucked a little further west are Sydney Airport’s runways.
In 2002, Botany Bay was designated as a Recreational Fishing Haven with all commercial fishing removed. Since that time, and despite the heavy industry surrounding the area, many local anglers believe the fishing and general health and diversity of the system has improved markedly.
Popular with both serious anglers and family fishos, Botany Bay offers a range of opportunities to target most of the common estuary species via boats, kayaks and from the shore. The Georges, Cooks and Woronora rivers run into Botany Bay, providing yet more access to productive water with the Georges and Woronora offering the chance to catch estuary perch and bass as well as other key species such as bream, flathead, whiting and mulloway.
Botany Bay is also home to the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve, the largest aquatic reserve in NSW. The reserve is located on the southern shore of the Bay and stretches from Shell Point on the west side to Bonna Point in the east.
The aquatic reserve covers an area of about 1400 hectares and is divided into two zone types, a refuge zone and a sanctuary zone.
Within the Reserve’s sanctuary zone areas (see map), recreational fishing and the collection of invertebrates and marine vegetation whether alive or dead is prohibited. Within the refuge zone (see map), you can take fish by hook and line and use recreational nets, however, collecting invertebrates or marine vegetation, whether alive or dead, is prohibited. Fishing restrictions also apply around the runaways and at Port Botany. It is important to familiarise yourself with the rules about where you can fish in Botany Bay before heading out to wet a line.
An artificial reef was deployed by DPI in 2006 in Yarra Bay, on Botany Bay’s northern shoreline. This reef is ideal for sourcing livebait such as yellowtail. The Sydney Offshore Artificial Reef is located about 15kms north of Botany Bay. Known for producing great kingfish action, the Sydney reef is located in 38m of water about 1.9km south-east of South Head. DPI is currently planning a new offshore reef, to be named after tackle industry stalwart John Dunphy, which will likely be located south of Botany Bay.
Fishing access along the foreshores of Botany and its feeder systems is generally very good. There are also excellent boating facilities, especially on Foreshore Drive on the northern side. This facility boasts a multi-lane ramp, pontoon, security parking and a fantastic fish cleaning set-up.
Botany Bay is a great example of a productive, accessible and very diverse recreational fishing hot spot located almost smack bang in the middle of Australia’s largest city. It’s an amazing fishery well worth exploring.