An Idealic Montebello Islands- WA Fishing Charter
This week’s charter to the Montebello’s was a catch-up for three of our previous fishing charter guests. Cam, Jim S and Ray met last year on an individual charter to the Montebello Islands and decided they needed to do it all again with a group of their friends. So Cam, along with his dad Jim C, Tom and Sam from Sydney, joined Ray, Jim S and Clinton in Perth and headed to Dampier to start their 7-day live aboard charter to the stunning Montebello Islands.
Day 1- Idealic weather
The boys first day aboard saw us steam out of port into nice, clear, warm weather. It wasn’t long before the lures were in the water and the boys were eagerly awaiting their first fish for the week. It was a bit of a waiting game but eventually the reel went screaming and Jim C was on the rod in a flash. The boys were all smiles until the fish got to the boat and deckhand Brody missed his shot with the gaff and the Long Tail Tuna swam away to fight another day.
The boys didn’t let Brody off lightly with boyish banter carrying on until the next fish was on a short time later. Sam was next up on the rod and deckhand Brody surely was not going to miss this one, with one clean sweep he had the Long Tail Tuna in the boat to start the boys fish count for the trip.
A Deep Drop
Stopping on the way to the islands for a bit of a deep drop, Tom, on his first ever live aboard fishing charter and his first time in WA, told us he really wanted to catch a fish bigger then 20cm. Well he was pleasantly surprised when he reeled in his first fish for the charter and the catch of the day, a huge Red Emperor. To say he was stoked would be an understatement. The boys were kept busy with an assortment of bottom fish being hauled in including Red Emperors, Spangled Emperors, Tomato Cod, Rankin Cod and even a Lizardfish thanks to Jim C.
We continued trolling on towards the islands, but it was a bit of a slow trip as we had to keep stopping so the boys could pull in Golden Spot Trevelly, Spanish Mackerel, Mack Tuna and Long Tail Tuna. Once we arrived at the islands, Kodak and Fuji were waiting patiently to greet the new group, and the guys were impressed by their size.
Day 2- Shallow Water Trolling
Once out of the bay, day 2 saw us heading to the shallows for a bit of shallow water trolling. Once we were on, it was clear that the Spanish and Shark Mackerel were in abundance. The boys were having a great time playing with the Mackies catching and releasing, until Jim C hooked a shark. But that wouldn’t be the last one of the trip!
Captain Chad gets in on the action
Once we had lost the shark and back on our way trolling through the shallows, Skipper Chad knocked the boat into neutral and came racing down the deck. He had a squid jig in one hand and a flick rod in the other, before we knew it, there was a massive squid on the way to the boat. He had spotted a school of huge squid! It was a mad scramble to get the rods changed over to squid jigs and everyone was in on the action. We were in for a treat of squid and fish curry tonight!
Snorkeling and Bottom Bouncing
After all the excitement, and ink spray thanks to our squid friends, it was time for a swim. We anchored up in a beautiful Shallow Bay and went for a snorkel. There were lots of Coral Trout, little aquarium fish and even a couple of inquisitive Black Tip Reef Sharks cruising around. What an awesome sight to see! We had a swim and a few of the boys had a fish, with Clinton getting a lovely size Coral Trout. Then it was time to pull up anchor and head out for a bit of shallow water bottom bouncing. It was a bit of a slow start but after a bit of a burley up, Jim C pulled in a lovely sized Chinaman fish. Not one to be outdone, Sam then reeled in an even bigger Chinaman fish, nabbing himself fish of the day.
Day 3- The Montebello Islands put on a show
What a start to day 3 we had! We were woken by dolphins chasing garfish, then we were unable to get back to sleep because of the birds chirping away, before being greeted by an absolutely gorgeous sunrise and a hammerhead shark coming for a visit!! It was just the start of another day in paradise! The Montebello Islands never cease to amaze us with their beauty and always active and changing wildlife.
Bottom Bouncing & Trolling
Once we were able to drag ourselves away from the beautiful morning in the bay, we headed out for a day of bottom bouncing and trolling. We were in for a great day’s weather, with not a breath of wind and not a ripple in the water. Except where the whales were breaching and playing around! We started with a bit of trolling and wouldn’t you know it, the Mackerels were back! When the boys had a few in the boat we turned to the bottom fish. We had a nice variety of fish hauled aboard, including Rankin Cod, Chinaman Fish, Maroon Sea Perch, Long Nose Emperor, Coral Trout, Coronation Trout and Tomato Cods. I caught a beautiful Coral Trout on a Z-Man pink 2 ounce jig.
A Pod of Dolphins
While we were busy catching fish, we had a visit from a friendly pod of dolphins that were more then happy to cruise around the boat playing with their food while we took some happy snaps of them. We dropped the hard body lures out the back on the way home. Cam came up with an awesome Yellow Fin Tuna, which got the boys excited for some sashimi later on. Of course there were more Mackerels lured in but it was a struggle to get them to the boat before the sharks were on top of them! We headed home, only to find we had another Queensland Grouper hanging around our pontoon. We named him Nikon, he still has quite a lot of growing to do to catch up to Kodak’s size!
Day 4- Heart Starter Adventures
Day 4 was upon us, and the weather had taken a turn. With southerly winds blowing 19-22kn it was clear that today was going to be our Heart Starter day. We spent the day exploring the islands in our island hoping boat “Heart Starter” and keeping close to the shelter of the bay. Skipper Chad dropped Jim S, Clinton and myself over to Trimouille island to have a look at the weapons testing site and explore the wondrous coastline. Meanwhile Chad, Cam, Ray, Tom, Sam and Jim C went further out to chase the always thrilling GT (Giant Trevally).
As usual, Trimouille Island didn’t disappoint. We were fascinated by the old generators and debris left behind from the second Nuclear weapons tests at the Montebello Islands, as well as the rugged and wild cliffs. We were even lucky enough to see three little Malla’s scampering through the spinifex.
Once we were done exploring, we called Skipper Chad to come pick us up and were looking forward to all the stories of the many GT’s they must have caught. Alas it wasn’t to be, as the boys came back sore and sorry for themselves, but still with a smile on their faces after finding a restless Bronze Whaler that was only too happy to take their poppers! It was another first for Tom, and as the stories have it he was inventing some new fishing techniques of his own, lying down whilst fighting a shark is definitely a new way to get things done! We headed back to Blue Lightning and the pontoon for some lunch before the boys loaded into Heart Starter again to head off for a snorkel and search for some Crayfish for dinner. They returned with a crayfish, thanks to Skipper Chad.
Day 5- A brighter day
The weather had turned again for day 5, this time for the better. With 3-7kn winds forecast and a beautiful sunrise over the bay, everyone was excited to get out to the deeper waters to see what they could find. Even with a bit of a swell, the boys had a great start to the morning with lots of keen fish taking the bait right from the get go. With a couple of nuisance sharks hanging around, it was time to move on to safer grounds.
Skipper Chad comes through again
Skipper Chad came through with the goods again, and put us right on the fish with the guys catching great sized Chinaman Fish. Jim C caught a lovely Coral Trout and a Red Emperor. While both Clinton and Tom nabbed a Cobia each. The guys spent most of the day bottom bouncing with a selection of fish coming onboard: Rankin Cod, Tomato Cod, Coral Trout, Red Emperors, Cobia, Scarlett, Long Nosed Emperors, Spangled Emperors, Chinaman Fish, Pig fish, Crimson Sea Perch, Stripey Sea Perch and lots of Trevally. We crowned Cam the Trevally king.
With the boys arms tired from fighting fish all day (and the odd shark!) we turned and headed toward the Blue Lightning Pontoon. With a full spread of lures and teasers out in the boats wake, it was only a matter of time before we were on a billfish. Jim C was up first and as he took the rod, Skipper Chad hooked another Sailfish on a switch bait. We had a double hook up, and the boys were running for their cameras. Sam took the second fish and did very well reeling it in, even though the fish was doing its best to overtake the boat! We got the Sailfish to the boat and had a perfect release in the water for Sam’s first ever billfish. With the first fish still running away with Jim C’s line, Skipper Chad threw Blue Lightning III in reverse to chase the fish down. Jim was furiously winding away and after a lengthy battle, he had it to the boat for his first ever billfish. Eventually we were back on track, headed for the pontoon after another awesome day on the water, we were looking forward to our Crayfish, Tuna and Squid dinner.
Day 6- Perfect weather
We were granted another perfect day’s weather on Day 6, with the winds staying around the 4-8kn mark. The swell had even dropped off which was a bonus. Today was the day that Cam was going to get his opportunity to bag a GT; he’d been looking forward to this all trip. Little did he know, but he was in for a cracker day. Our first casting session, not far from the islands, saw him reel in a good sized Spanish Mackerel, another Golden Spot Trevally and a Shark Mackerel. He would just have to wait for that GT.
We headed further out for a bit of bottom bouncing, he turned his attention to the Red Emperors, telling everyone he was going to get a big one. We had a bit of a troll on our way to the bottom grounds, and not 5 minutes after the spread was put out, we had a billfish on our tail. After some very handy switch bait work from Skipper Chad, Tom was hooked up to his first ever Billfish. Although he fought tremendously the Sailfish managed to win this round, spitting the hook and swimming away. The Sailfish even threw in some free jumps just to add insult to injury. Still with a smile on his face Tom shook it off, telling us there’s always that one that got away.
The Bottom Grounds
Once at the bottom grounds and after losing a few jigs to a few very toothy fish, Cam switched to bait. With an impressive bend in his rod, he was all smiles as he pulled up an absolute stonker of a Red Emperor, coming in at around the 10kg mark. He was stoked! With everyone reeling in some nice fish including, Chinaman Fish, Maroon Sea Perch, Red Emperor, Spangled Emperor, Long Nosed Emperor, Rankin Cods, Robinson Sea Perch and Coral Trout.
A great little reef
Before long we steamed off to find a prime spot to fulfill Cam’s dreams of a GT. Skipper Chad put us right in the middle of a great little reef, the boat was a hive of activity, with Cam and Jim C up the front of the boat casting poppers and guys down the back dropping plastics. Not long after the first poppers were cast, Cam was on. He had hooked a huge GT and was all go fighting it to the boat, until his leader snapped clean off his line and he lost not only his massive GT, also his ever faithful popper went with it. While he re-rigged, it was on for the guys at the back of the boat, with a school of slimy, toothy Barracudas chewing up their plastics.
The GT dream
With Cam rigged up again, attention turned to the front of the boat, as both he and Jim C hooked up on a couple of good sized GTs. Jim managed to get his to the front of the boat before it spat the hook and took off. Cam wasn’t letting this one get away and got it into the boat for a photo, before getting his popper back and letting the GT go to fight another day. Even though it wasn’t the massive GT he wanted he was still smiling after a great day’s fishing. We were treated to a few up close encounters with the ever amazing whales on the way back to the bay. It really is just an amazing place to be able to call home for 6 months of the year.
Day 7- The final few casts
Well as all good things must come to an end, day 7 arrived, brining a beautiful sunrise once again. We packed up the boat and headed out of the bay for the boys last time this trip. With Cam having no luck with a last few casts for that massive GT, we took off towards some primo snorkeling areas for one last look around the incredible waters of the Montebello Islands. Swimming in the gorgeous turquoise waters, it was easy to spot a few turtles swimming in the shallow bay, who were only too happy to keep us on our toes and swim around and around trying to evade our watchful eyes.
Skipper Chad turned the boat for home, as deckhand Brody put out a couple of lures, looking for one last Billfish. We were made to wait a couple of hours before we all got what we were waiting for. The reel was screaming, the boys were running and Skipper Chad was hastily maneuvering the boat as we had a Billfish hooked up. Ray was up on the rod and as the fish came up for its first jump, we were amazed that we had a Black Marlin on the line! Ray was pumping away, telling us he couldn’t possibly wind any faster, as after 6 days of fishing, his arm was exhausted from all the fish he had had to reel in! He did great, as the Black Marlin came up alongside Blue Lightning III, Ray had caught his first ever Billfish. The rest of the trip home was smooth sailing, with numerous whales still about, and a beautiful horizon everyone was content.
A charter not to forget
This week’s charter was surely not one to forget. Having people onboard on their first ever live aboard fishing charter is a highlight for the whole team. We love watching the pure joy and delighted expressions on peoples face when they catch a new species. or even when they get a nice fish, it always makes our day. This week’s charter just goes to show, whether you are an avid fisherman or just want to experience something new, a week aboard Blue Lightning Charters is definitely a wonderful way to explore and enjoy what WA’s waters have to offer.
Until next time, happy fishing
For more information on one of our incredible WA Fishing Charters to the Montebello Islands check out our Montebello Islands destination page here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org