Bottom Fishing and Sailfish at the Montebello Islands
Last week we were joined by a group who had travelled to Karratha from the length and breadth of Australia, amongst the group were regulars that have been with us for years, and a few of their friends who were newbies who were eager to get amongst the action.
Day 1- Departing Dampier
The crew kicked off day 1 of their Montebello Islands fishing charter fishing their way out of Dampier. A Spanish Mackerel was the first fish on the boat for the charter. We encountered a couple of School Mackerel which followed while trolling our way to the islands. The crew had some fun and hooked a few other big fish throughout the day but unfortunately lost them. A few Mack Tuna made an appearance, with Muzza catching himself a Mack Tuna and a Spanish Mackerel. Captain Chad suggested the crew try their hand at a few bottom fishing spots while heading West. While the drift was very fast the crew managed to catch a few small Red Emperor which they realeased to grow bigger and stronger as well as some nice Rankin Cod and Spangled Emperor. Softy was impressed to catch his first ever Cobia. After safely arriving at the Blue Lightning pontoon the crew sat back, sharing fishing stories and taking in the breathtaking scenery that the Montebello Islands provide us with.
Day 2- Bottom fishing at the Montebello Islands
The crew decided to start day 2 with a quality day of bottom fishing. It turned out to be a great day with a mixed bag of species made it plenty of fun. Species included Cobia, Crimson Sea Perch, Rankin Cod, Coral Trout, Robinson Sea Bream, Spangled Emperor, Mangrove Jack, Coronation Trout and Maroon Sea Perch. Jude was particularly impressed with her efforts reeling in her very first Trevally, while Pete scored his 1st Crimson Sea Perch and Rankin Cod. Harry was on a roll catching his first Rankin Cod, Mangrove Jack and Red Emperor, although the Red Emperor was released to grow a little bigger)
Day 3- Global Venture
For day 3 the crew decided to make the most of the Blue Lightning fleet and board Global Venture. We explored the islands and their rich history including the site of the nuclear weapons test. It wasn’t long before the crew were all in aggreeance that the Montebello Islands are paradise after a swim at a beautiful beach ended with us being surrounded by Turtles. It was a moment none of us will forget in a hurry.
Mixed bag of species
After we were done exploring Softy earned himself the nickname “Squid Boy” after he caught some nice size Squid. The funniest moment was when one nearly even pulled him lol….Unfortunately for Softy day 3 wasn’t all his way with Cobia eating his lucky squid jig, the Cobia and the squid jig were never to be seen again. Theresa caught 2 little fish on her squid jig as well as some Squid. While Muzza caught a very nice sized Spanish Mackerel while casting. Softy was next up catching his personal best Spanish Mackerel. A school of Mackerel put on a bit of an aerobatic show for us, it is always an awesome sight to see these fish launch in the air. The boys went for a dive to try their luck at some Crayfish, and they were successful, bringing in a nice little catch. Late lunch and dinner were looking good fish, Crayfish and Squid. Theresa was definitely up there for catch of the day. She brought the smallest rod you have ever seen onboard with her, a pen rod. She was very determined to catch herself a Bony Herring. When she did you would have thought it was the biggest fish she had ever caught with all the girls on board screaming and cheering with excitement.
Day 4- Bottom species galore
The crew made a decision to head out for a bottom fishing session for day 4. Rankin Cod were once again the dominant species, with the crew also catching Long Nose Emperor, Crimson Sea Perch, Spangled Emperor, Maroon Sea Perch and Coral Trout. Theresa was a very happy angler catching her 1st Crimson Sea Perch and Long Nose Emperor. Pete was also impressed with his efforts catching his 1st Long Nose Emperor and Crimson Sea Perch. The crew’s firsts just kept coming with Greg catching his 1st Coral Trout. While Claudio also scored his 1st Long Nose Emperor, Crimson Sea Perch and Rankin Cod. Softy scored his personal best Long Nose Emperor. With Harry also managing his personal best Rankin Cod and Crimson Sea Perch. Before long is was Dave’s turn catching his first Rankin Cod. While Muzza caught his first Rankin Cod on jig. It seemed to be the day of records and firsts with even myself (Leah) getting my very first Green Job Fish on a Upro 150g . Even after coming out here so many times we still have firsts too. Deckie Sam also caught his first ever Crimson Sea Perch on a jig.
Day 5- Billfishing time!
On day 5 the crew woke up to a beautiful day in paradise. We were all very excited for the day ahead of us. We made our way out wide for some billfishing! Captain Chad thought it would be a good idea to have a stop on the way out, a chance for the crew to stretch their arms on Mackerel and Wahoo, a way to get them ready for the day ahead. Jude managed to reel in her 1st ever Shark Mackerel. With many other Shark Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel and Wahoo caught in the session. Pete also scored his 1st ever Wahoo to top off the session.
Now it was time for billfishing. It was literally within minutes of the teasers going in that the hook ups began. It was another one of those days you will remember forever. There were anglers, and crew dancing around the deck catching and releasing Sailfish. Day 5 resulted in 22 Sailfish caught and released.
The crews stats were:
- Greg 2
- Dave 2
- Jude 3
- Harry 2
- Claudio 2
- Pete 3
- Murray 2
- Softy 2
- Julie 2
- Theresa 2
I was very proud of the ladies on board, they did an amazing job and seeing them love every minute made this awesome day of billfishing even more special. Way to go girls. Jude, Dave, Harry, Claudio and Pete all caught their first ever Sailfish.
Day 6- Trolling & Casting
To start the morning of day 6 Softy caught a Sailfish on a switchbait. The crew had a great session trolling and casting for Wahoo and Mackerel. Dave caught his first ever Wahoo followed by Harry catching his ever Wahoo. The excitement on board was electric when Muzza was catching a Spanish Mackerel when suddenly his lovely wife Julie hooked up to a Sailfish. After a great battle Julie caught and released her Sailfish on a Halco laser pro. The smile on her face said it all, way to go Julie. The crew caught plenty of Shark Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, and Wahoo to make for a great day of fishing. The water was bubbling with big bait balls everywhere and the fish jumping in the air, they were obviously getting chased by something big. It was a beautiful hot afternoon, the perfect time to be back at the pontoon swimming in the cage, reflecting on the last 2 incredible days of fishing.
Day 7- Drone photography at the Montebello Islands
We got under way bright and early on day 7 for another beautiful day, although the crew were sad to be leaving. We cruised to Trimouille Island next to the weapons test site where Muzza launched his DJI Phantom 4 drone and filmed some fantastic video around the site and surrounding islands. We look forward to sharing this with you when reception allows in the coming weeks.
After leaving the islands we steamed towards the Mackerel grounds trolling skirts. Muzza was stoked to catch 2 Mack Tuna. We hit the Mackerel grounds and started trolling deep divers. Within a couple of minutes we had fish on and it was on for young and old. The crew caught Trevally, Spanish Mackerel and a Rankin Cod on a jig. Muzza put his drone up again and filmed some of the fishing action at the back of the boat including an outstanding catch by Rob (Harry). Who caught and released a whopping 30kg GT. What a way to finish off his 7 day charter. We fished for a couple of hours although most of the crew were worn out or buzzing after such a great week of fishing at the Montebello Islands.
An Anglers Perspective
Muzza said “we are very sad to be leaving this area again. For myself this was probably the 8th time. Thank you to Jude for transferring all the photos from everyones phones and tablets. To the awesome crew, Sam the deckie, our best mate. Leah who couldn’t do enough for everyone and cooked fantastic meals and Captain Chad who puts on the fish every time. Cheers guys from Muzza, Julie, Peter, Theresa, Mike, Greg, Claudio, David, Jude and Harry. Thanks for another sensational trip!!”
It was another awesome week with a great bunch of people. It was great for the Blue Lightning team to be a part of so many firsts, and once again another huge day on Sailfish. Across 3 days of billfishing we have now caught and released 82 Sailfish. We are loving every minute of the incredible billfishing up here at the Montebello Islands. Bring on next week.
Until next time, happy fishing