This week we had a group onboard organised by Kevin from Compleat Angler Wallaroo and Moonta. The crew was made up of 3 guys who have been visited the Montebello Islands before together with 5 newbies.
Day 1- Heading to the Montebello Islands
After the crew arrived in the late afternoon of the previous day, we headed to the pub for dinner before an early night. We left early in the morning of day 1 and made our way across to the incredible Montebello Islands.
As we headed out of the Dampier Archipelago, the guys put their lures in. It didn’t take long for the first reel to go screaming off. John was on strike and caught a School Mackerel. Kevin was there to assist but as he stepped backwards he fell in the big bucket lol it was already looking to be a trip filled with fun and laughs. Once again the reel went screaming off this time it was Gary’s turn. This fish gave him a good run and a good fight. It had us all really intrigued, wondering what it could be. He reeled in a nice size Long Tail Tuna, weighing in at 18kg, and caught on a richter lure. It was a pretty good catch given our location amongst the islands.
Before long, we changed over to hard body lures. The Bludger Trevally were very hungry and the crew had some fun catching a number of them in this session.
The next session of the day was bottom fishing with most of the guys using plastics or jigs and only a couple using bait. Unfortunately the Red Emperor and Rankin Cod weren’t hungry but the Brassy Trevally certainly were. With the boys reeling in plenty of them. We decided to change back over to hard body lures which proved successful with the guys getting some Mackerel and Mack Tuna. At the conclusion of this session we entered the incredible Montebello Islands and arrived at the Blue Lightning pontoon “The Cod Cave” with Queensland Grouper Fuji coming by to welcome the crew before dinner.
Day 2- Bottom Fishing
We started day 2 off with some bottom fishing. It was a quiet session, with the fish showing on the sounder but they were not biting. The lads did manage to get themselves some Trevally though. Ben had the best catch of the session with a GT on a plastic.
We decided it was time to change over to popping and casting which the guys were very excited about. We made our way into the shallows and the guys got their gear ready to go. Once Captain Chad sounded the horn the poppers and stick baits were thrown, and the guys were hoping to land the almighty GT.
Giant Trevally Fun
Ben on the bow and Toby on the stern of the boat casted at the same time and both hooked up to a good size GT each. They both had a good fight on their hands. As GT’s do they both stuck their heads down to try and resist coming up. They are known as bulldozers of the sea for good reason. Toby landed his but unfortunately Ben’s snapped off. Don’t worry Ben there are plenty more out there! He certainly figured this out as he was on fire today. Ben caught another GT, his first time ever on a stick bait before losing another GT near the boat. He has hooked three so far this session, it’s safe to say he was enjoying fishing the Montebello Islands. Before long it was John’s turn catching himself a sweet GT.
We simply couldn’t believe it when Ben hooked yet another GT, his fourth, but unfortunately for him he got sharked on this one. To all our surprise Ben got yet another GT and another one (a total of SIX!) and he finally managed to get a photo with this one. It was definitely Ben’s day, well done Ben.
Ben caught his GT’s on River 2 Sea Rover 230mm Stick Bait. Soon John got his second GT. John caught his GT’s using a stick bait and a popper. With one caught on a Coooda Stick bait and the other on River 2 Sea Dumbbell 200mm popper.
Toby landed his GT on his Hole Magic Eye Torque 79 which is light stick bait rod rated at PE 4 and using a Bumbell Popper 150mm which was an awesome effort.
Stick Baits and Poppers
The guys had an awesome time casting stick baits and poppers for GT’s, and the GT’s were hungry making it a very exciting day. Giant Trevally (GT) are often a highlight of customer charters to the Montebello Islands. The way they dig down deep into the reefs makes them exceptionally difficult to catch and lands them at the top of many fishing bucket lists. We absolutely love it when we get a session like this with plenty of GT putting on a seriously entertaining show.
Day 3- Making the most of the Islands
We woke on day 3 slightly disappointed to see a very windy day with 25kn Southerly winds. We were determined to make the most out of the day though, these are the Montebello Islands and they have some seriously impressive offerings. We started off trolling in the shallows for Coral Trout with the guys landing a few and having a bit of fun. We then decided to head a little deeper where we trolled for Mackerel. Kevin, Gary, Ben and John all got a Mackerel each which certainly put a smile of their faces. We headed back into the shallows and trolled around some more. Danny and Toby caught a nice Coral Trout each while we were on the troll. We anchored in the shallows for a nice little session with the guys cathcning Red Throats and Stripey Sea perch.
After dinner we had a huge turtle hanging around the boat and The Cod Cave. It was pretty amazing to see this turtle coming so close to us and not being scared. At the moment there are plenty of turtles around the Montebello Islands, mating and laying their eggs on the beach. Its pretty amazing to see so much marine life. Some say, that the regeneration of the marine and land environments at the Montebello Islands since the weapons tests has been “one of the greatest ecological comebacks of all time”. With the turtles and other marine life returning to the Montebello Islands in droves since the tests took place 60 years ago. It all just adds to the incredible experience we are treated to each week here at the Montebello Islands.
Day 4- Trolling Time
We woke on day 4 to 15 knot Southerly winds. We decided to kick start the morning with a session trolling for awesome Coral Trout. Toby and Danny both landed themselves a nice Coral Trout each. After some fun, the guys swapped over to poppers and stick baits to see what they could catch. Toby managed to land himself a good size Chinaman. The boys thought it was time to head out deep for some bottom fishing. The guys mostly used jigs and soft plastics. John got himself a Gold Spot Trevally on a Yakamito Jig, meanwhile Geoff got a Rankin Cod on a Jig. Geoff also got his personal best Red Emperor on Jig during this session, it was a pretty good catch as it is difficult to catch a Red Emperor on a jig. Toby managed to get his 1st ever Rankin Cod on a soft plastic. But angler of the day definitely went to Gary catching many Rankin Cod and Coral Trout on a Rock Copper Shimano jig. We finished the day with a great array of fish including Coral Trout, Rankin Cod, Chinaman, Red Emperor, and even Crimson Sea Perch. Rankin Cod was definitely dominant species of the day with the boys catching plenty of them. After we returned to The Cod Cave for the afternoon John decided to have a little session off the back of the pontoon where he caught and released a nice sized Painted Sweet Lip. Geoff and Toby caught and released a Spangled Emperor each also off the pontoon.
Day 5- Fun in the Shallows
We started off day 5 casting stick baits and poppers in the shallows. Toby hooked but then lost a GT. The next session of the day was a bottom fishing session which produced lots of trevally. Gary got himself a nice size Coral Trout on a jig and Craig got his personal best Red Emperor. While the quality of the bottom fish wasn’t to normal Montebello Islands standards the guys had fun. The session provided some Trevally as well as a few Rankin Cod, Coral Trout, Red Emperor and Spangled Emperor. Later in the day, Toby caught and released a Chinaman off The Cod Cave. These guys just can’t get enough of the fishing here at the Montebello Islands.
Day 6 and Day 7 was written by Kevin himself
Day 6- Island day
Day 6 was Heartstarter day which proved to be a hit with the guys. John hooked an awesome Mackerel on a River 2 Sea Dumbell Popper only to have a shark take a few bites, it was his biggest fish for the trip. Then I (Kev) caught a GT about 7kg on my lightest outfit a Wilson Live Fibre 4-10kg and an ATC valiant 3000 reel on a Halco Max 130 while we were on the troll. It was one of my highlights of the trip. Soon after I was slow trolling a River 2 Sea Doggie Stickbait when I hooked a nice Spanish Mackerel. Meanwhile the other guys explored the islands, and caught some Trevally on light gear. For the afternoon session we swapped over groups with the guys on Heartstarter catching Shark Mackerel and Gold Spot Trevally. Meanwhile, the guys on the beach caught a variety of fish including Coral Trout.
Day 7- Trolling Fun
We started the morning of day 7 off with some trolling, and it was hot session! The Spanish Mackerel kept the guys busy and entertained. Craig ended up with his first Spanish Mackerel, well half anyway for the trip. As we made our way back to Dampier we stopped for some bottom fishing. We ended up with some good quality reef fish including Coral Trout, and Red Emperor. Geoff managed to get his personal best on a cracker Coral Trout of 76cm caught on a Shimano Bottom Ship, which is one of his favourite jigs.
This week we had a few windy days and the fish weren’t always co-operative, but all in all we made the most out of the situation and the guys had a great trip catching some awesome fish. We had 4 broken rods this trip which is the highest for the season so far. The boys will return home to Adelaide with some great war stories of their rods and some even better victories against some seriously determined GT.
We would like to say a big thank you to Kevin for organizing not only this trip but the trip 2 weeks ago as well. We know a lot of time and effort goes into organising 16 guys. You have done very well Kevin. We look forward to welcoming you all back again soon. For any of our South Australian readers we totally recommend going to see Kevin and the boys at Compleat Angler Wallaroo and Moonta as they are very knowledgeable and are a great bunch of guys as well.
Until next time, happy fishing
Leah (And Kevin for days 6 &7)
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