Thanks to our regular customer Geoff for guest writing this week’s blog!
This week I organized some of my mates from Melbourne for a Blue Lightning Montebello Islands fishing charter. The crew consisting of Rod, Turgay, Bruce, Guy, Paul, Cam, Phil and myself. We all arrived at Karratha airport with much excitement on Thursday, champing at the bit to get some lines in the water. A mixed crew of seasoned visitors and new crew members. A keen group of sportfishers all ready to go! This was going to be an interesting trip! After a supply run, and a feed at the pub, the lads settled in on Blue Lightning and started prepping gear for day one, heading out to the Montebello Islands! An allegedly rigged game of 500 capped off the nights activities.
Day 1 Wind ☹ & Golden Trevally
A bit of a late start out of Dampier due to rather blustery wind conditions, but our enthusiasm was not dampened! Heading out, a troll first, with many Shark Mackerel caught, and two decent sized Spanish Mackerel coming aboard. Paul caught his first ever Spanish Mackerel and the biggest fish he has caught to date. Capt. Chad then found a hot spot on a jigging drop. There were Golden Trevally everywhere with multiple hook ups causing mayhem on the deck. Sam, our fantastic deckie sorted things out in a hurry after the initial excitement. Guy and Paul both managed their first ever Golden Trevally and first fish ever on a jig! Bruce, Cam and Geoff all got into the Goldens as well. Next up was Rod who also nailed a Golden, a couple of Mack Tuna but ended up hooking an “unstoppable” resulting in a bust-off. Phil on his first ever “adventure” trip, managed his first ever Spanish Mackerel, first Red Emperor and 1st Golden Trevally. While Paul also landed his first and biggest ever fish, a Spanish Mackeral. Our Spirits where very high, and we were all looking forward to the wind dropping off.
Day 2 Fishing techniques for the newbies
Day two started with our star decky, Sam, giving some casting and technique tips to our new crew, how to cast better, how to work poppers and stickbaits etc. Even the old hands learnt a few new tips. We then headed out west of the Island with a bit of trolling. The crew caught many Shark Mackerel with everyone getting in on the action. A school of Golden Trevally popped up next to the boat, feeding off the surface, and much fun was had casting light plastics and stickbaits to them.
Rankin Cod time
Paul, Phil and Guy caught their first ever Rankin Cod, with Rod and Turgay backing the team with some solid Rankin and Spangled Emperor. Rod also surprised us with a Scarlet Sea Perch, and then Rod landed “the lips only” of a Rankin….the tax man has arrived. I (Geoff) had an awful day, many hookups on Shimano RockHoppers but was sharked or busted on more than 8 occasions! (woe is me..)
We finished the day off with Coral trout, Long Nose Emperor, Rankin Cod, Scarlet Sea Perch, Spangled Emperor and Maroon Sea Perch.
Day 3 Heartstarter
As typically on Blue lightning, the day starts with breakfast, followed by a mad flurry of tackle rigging, as today was Heart Starter time! The first team headed out to the islands, whilst the other went on a popper/casting session. The Heart Starter crew hit the bombies and reefs after GT. Rod nailed a 20kg GT after a lure change as advised by our awesome deckie Sam. Two follows also occurred. He also managed a Spangled Emperor on the same lure. Phil’s got chased by a large GT, but he got so excited he stopped winding and missed the fish!
Casting & Popping
For the arvo session we kept on with casting and popping around the islands.
We caught lots of Squid where caught with many small Cod caught on stickbaits. We also had plenty of Shark Mackies, small Trevally and other follows.
Day 4 Sail Fish Mayhem!
Capt. Chad took us out and set us up for billfish. The weather was calm and seas glassy. A quick troll for Mack’s on the way out resulted in a hot session with multiple hookups amongst the crew. Then we setup for billfishing. First up was Geoff and Rod, and a double hook up occurred on the first switch bait. Two Sailfish where landed and high fives abound! A first billfish for both Rod and Geoff! Bruce and Cam then also teased up another two Sailfish that where both hooked and landed after an epic battle with much tail walking from the sailfish. Also antoher first for these two. The crew then hooked another two, but one was dropped and Guy managed to fight and land his first ever Sailfish. While trolling, we spotted a Sailfish free jumping which got the entire team super excited as we watched it leap four or five times out of the water. Next we were treated to several whales who where spotted breaching, with the crew wondering if they where lost, as most of the whales have already headed south at this time of the year.
Jig & plastics
A quick jig/plastic session followed in the afternoon, resulting in Rankin Cod, Gold Band Snapper, Scarlet Sea Perch and a few of the usual’s from the deep. As we moved to our next location, we put the teasers out again, and shortly after, Capt Chad yelled out “Chuck a stick bait out!”. Rod grabbed the closest rod with a stickbait, and after hooking up passed the rod to Paul who shortly landed a 20kg Yellow Fin Tuna! His First ever! Safely landed it was put in the ice slurry for dinner! To finish off the day, another quick drop, with Rankin, Long Nose Emperor, Red Emperor, Spangled Emperor all on the catch list.
Day 5 Billfishing at the Montebello Islands
After an exciting day yesterday, the team was keen to try our luck again on the billfish. Heading out west from the Montebello Islands, the teasers where put out to try and raise some Sailfish. After a bit of a wait, Capt. Chad yells out “fish up” and switch baits where out in seconds. A double hook up occurred, with each fish choosing opposite directions to run. Phil and Turgay where on strike, Phil landing his first ever Sailfish after a few tense moments and Turgay landing his largest ever Sailfish.
A few drops on the way back in, resulting in Guy’s first ever Coral trout. Rankin, Coral trout, Spangled Emperor and Red Emperor where all on the list, with both bait and jigging being effective.
Day 6 Global Venture’s turn to shine
For something different, a very energetic group headed out on Global Venture, a new platform for this crew. We headed out from the Cod Cave for a bit of casting and Coral Trout action. Chad put us on a nice bit of reef with some serious current running across it, and it was Gold Spot and Golden Trevally mayhem, with fish leaping out of the water to smash stick baits . Multiple hookups had by all with some decent size fish being landed. A few Rankin Cod and small Coral Trout where caught on the troll and released to grow bigger. Sam, our star decky spotted a few squid on the move, and the guys had a ball throwing Squid jigs about and landing us a nice entrée for dinner that night. (Thanks to our star Chef Leah! Yummo!)
Day 7 Time to go home
This is the day that everyone who comes to the Montebello Islands with Blue Lightning dreads….The day to head back home. We packed up the Cod Cave after a solid breakfast. The crew being a bit slow after exhausting themselves the day before on Global Venture. Blue Lightning headed east from the Montebello Islands, and we soon had some teasers and skirts out to try and raise another Billfish. Activity was slow, and after awhile we stopped for a bit of a jigging session. Rankin Cod, Cobia and Red Emperor all ended up on deck between jigging and bait. One of the crew even caught his first ever Cobia. Again, we started off to the east, and the teasers set to hopefully raise a billfish. We where still keen to raise a sailfish for Paul. As always happen, Paul ducked into the Head, and of course the reel screamed to life. Never seen someone bolt out of the loo like a greyhound before on Blue Lightning. A short, but furious fight ensured, resulting in a large bucket fish (Written on it – “I am not a Sailfish”) and much laughter and possibly swearing amongst the crew. Even more curious was a bottle with a note in it, directing Guy to harden up and not go to bed so early…….
Ahhhh, the things that happen on a charter with Blue Lightning.
On a personal note:
This is my 6th trip with Chad and Leah on Blue Lightning. The scenery, the fishing, the fun always brings me back. This is the place I come to escape the stress of worklife, and completely unwind. The fishing, sunrise, sunsets, great food and friendship will have me coming back here for as long as I’m able. Every day is an adventure, and you never know what fish you are going to catch next, but the anticipation is always there. Chad, Leah and Sam are excellent hosts and will go the extra mile for you to get that “dream” catch of your life. I cannot more highly recommend Blue Lightning for someone looking for an “adventure” trip that will surprise the mind and body.
Thanks, until my next trip (probably next year)
Guy: Gold Spot Trevally behind the reef
Rod: GT, spotting it casting at it seeing it hook up, Sailfish seeing the double hook ups and the Yellow Fin on stick bait
Phil: Everything the way the crew are how they run the charter and all the fishing.
Paul: Spanish Mackerel, 1st big fish ever, Yellow Fin Tuna, and enjoyed Squiding.
Myself: Sailfish, and the mayhem session on Gold Spot and Golden Trevally leaping out of the air nearly hitting one of the guys.