A fisherman has died after slipping off rocks at a popular cove near Esperance at the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kalgoorlie man was fishing with his girlfriend and friend about 10.30am yesterday at Thistle Cove in the Cape Le Grand National Park.

Police believe the man plunged into the water after trying to retrieve his rod from slippery rocks.

It is almost impossible to climb back out of the water at that point in the cove if you fall in, Sen Sgt Ricky Chadwick said.

The man's body was recovered by water police and local marine rescue crews.

Sen. Sgt Chadwick urged recreational rock fishers to always wear a life jacket and never fish alone.

These simple precautions could be the difference between life and death, he said.

"We have had three people die while rock fishing in Esperance this year," Sen. Sgt Chadwick said. "In every instance, if a life jacket was worn it is likely those people would have survived."

He said there were convenient models available that allowed people to retain freedom of movement and inflate only once you were in the water.

The West Australian

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