The Popper Polisher’s Montebello Islands fishing charter 2016

Sailfish Montebello Islands Blue Lightning Charters

The Popper Polisher’s Montebello Islands fishing charter 2016

This week we had a whole boat hire with a group from Perth heading to the Montebello Islands for a 7 day charter. This crew call themselves the “Popper Polishers”. The name stuck after Higsey (the group organizer) was at the Serrurier Islands and one of the guys said “where are you going?”. He replied “to polish my poppers”. The name stuck and the “Popper Polishers” were born.

Introducing the “Popper Polishers”

There were a few guys in this crew that have been with us before, including Kit, Higsey, George and Willow. We were very happy to welcome Lee and Andrew for their very first Blue Lightning Charter.

The Sweep explained

Willow made a suggestion to do a sweep on species each day to make it interesting for the week. He explained the rules quite a few times, and everyone was still confused!!! You could say he explained it the hardest way possible.
I’ll try and explain it the best way I can 🙂 .
Step 1: Everyone puts in $5 per day
Step 2: Willow Put a selection of species names on laminated cards
Step 3: Record the first species caught for the day
Step 4: At the end of the day each person pulls out three laminated cards from the hat
Step 5: The winner of the day’s money is the person who pulls out the card of the first species caught on the day
It seems misspelling the species names adds to the fun as Willow was never able to live down misspelling Chinsman and Corination. It was great fun as you could still win even if you didn’t catch a fish.

The Trophy

The “Popper Polishers” also have a trophy which they bring up every time (see photo below). Each charter it is up to Captain Chad to decide who wins the trophy. This group love their sport-fishing and game fishing which means plenty of catching and releasing their fish. They use plenty of jigs and soft plastics all week.


On day 1 we made our way from Dampier out to the Montebello Islands with 18-20kn Easterly winds behind us, which eased as the day went on. We started the first session with some trolling. Lee managed to land his first ever Spanish Mackerel straight away. The guys did a few jigging and soft plastic sessions with the first drop being a hot session. They managed to get plenty of Coral Trout, and Rankin Cod. We ended the afternoon with tolling which resulted the guys getting Long Tail Tuna and a few Shark Mackerel. The guys donated quite a few lures to the ocean :-).

A whale of a welcome

When entering the Montebello Islands, we saw the most amazing sight a school of whales, about 9 of them, putting on a spectacular show for us. It doesn’t get any better! It doesn’t matter how many times you see whales, you never get bored of them. As we approached our destination we were excited to show this crew “The Cod Cave” (the Blue Lightning Charters Pontoon) for the very first time. They immediately loved the new addition. Day 1’s sweep was won by George picking the Spanish Mackerel card after it was the first fish caught for the day.

Day 2- Jigging

We started day 2 with an awesome Jigging session. Andrew managed to catch a nice Red Emperor on his old faithful Falling 100 jig. Before long Lee caught his first ever Rankin Cod which was a real treat. The “Popper Polishers” finished the jigging session with plenty of Rankin Cod, Red Emperor, Golden Trevally and Giant Trevally

Trolling and casting

The next session for the day was Trolling and Casting. Willow and Andrew both managed get caught on the game rods which gave us a little laugh. Before long George provided some entertainment casting and catching a Wahoo. However, a couple of hungry sharks started a real commotion coming to the surface and eating the Wahoo for dinner. The Mackerel put on yet another show, launching themselves into the air, it really got the crew excited. During this session a few GT’s poked their heads out and had a look at the lures but unfortunately there were no hook ups. We crowned Higsey the King of losing lures for day 2. Captain
Chad showed us all the sweep was all about luck winning the sweep of the day for the first fish landed, a GT.

Day 3- Island hopping

We spent Day 3 around the islands with the group splitting up into 2 separate groups. In the morning Higsey, Lee and Willow were shore based. They caught Charlie Court fish and got harassed by Long Tom Fish. The boys had a school of GT’s swim past, so Willow was frantically waving to the others to come quickly. He hooked up to a GT but left it in the water until the others arrived. Higsey and Lee both managed to catch one each from the school of GT’s. The second group of guys, Kit, George and Andrew spent the morning fishing from Hearstarter. Kit landed a small GT. They also got some squid, while Kit managed to land a Blue Bone on soft plastic before we took a break for some well-deserved lunch.

Afternoon Fishing Fun

For the afternoon session we swapped, with the land based boys heading out on Heartstarter and Heartstarter boys heading to the islands.
Higsey, Lee, Willow on Heartstarter caught a few Coral Trout on stick bait before releasing them. Higsey thought he was snagged, decky Brody jumped over the side to advise you’re not snagged… you have an octopus! Before long Willow did snag a rock with his lure and Brody was on the job to retrieve it. Kit, Andrew, George were shore based. With Andrew getting catch of the day catching a big Mackerel on PE 1.5 jigging rod on a GT icecream. Although he nearly got spooled down to the backing. Kit said “you might be lucky”, against the odds he was lucky and the mackerel stopped running and he landed it . Kit also managed a very nice Spangled Emperor during the afternoon session. Day 3’s sweep was won by George.

Day 4- A Day to Remember

Day 4… what a day to remember. The day began with some simply amazing weather and continued with good company before the fishing really turned on. We decided to head out wide to start the day.


Shane and Carmen joined us. We started the day trolling for game fish. Lee landed his first ever Yellow Fin Tuna. While Willow, Higsey and George also managed to land a Yellow Fin Tuna each. Believe it or not we still lost a few Yellow Fin Tuna. Higsey had a nice stuff up with a birds nest on his reel.

The fun really begins

The day just kept getting better with a Whale Shark (wow) cruising along next to Blue Lightning, just under the surface. Then a reel went screaming off, unfortunately we lost this one but when we were bringing the lure back in we got a hook up. Carmen was on the rod and saw a big jump way out the back and realised we had a Marlin! At the same time Kit managed to hook up to a Wahoo, it was excitement galore. Kit brought the Wahoo to the boat first before all our attention went to Carmen and her big catch. Carmen got the biggest catch of her life so far, a 60kg black marlin caught on a Clear Blue Richter lure.

Black Marlin

Next was Andrew, he was hooked up to a Black Marlin but unfortunately lost it.
Soon it was Willow’s turn and he was hooked up to his first ever Black Marlin which he caught on a Blue Richter lure. Higsey was the next to get a bite. He caught a Black Marlin on a Black Richter lure. Then it was Andrew’s turn again when he caught a Yellow Fin Tuna. All this excitement and it wasn’t even lunch time yet. The fish were hungry, there was not a dull moment.


Captain Chad said to Brody “are you ready for some sailfish?” not even 5 minutes later and we had a couple of sailfish in the spread. We were able to switch bait and George released a nice size sailfish. Andrew also managed to land himself a sailfish, a nice size sailfish in the 40kg range. The boys were on a roll and soon Lee got his very first ever sailfish.

The Marlin Dance

Andrew suggested to Kit that it might be time to do the marlin dance and he did. The next second a strike, but lost it, then another strike with Kit also managing a nice size sailfish which I got leader myself. I simply love the adrenaline of leadering a billfish. Another billfish this time for Shane who released a black marlin. The crew managed to catch and release a total of 4 Sailfish and 4 Black Marlin, making for a fun and memorable day. There were plenty of other hook ups of Spanish Mackerel, more Yellow Fin Tuna, as well as Shark Mackerel.



We decided to finish the day out with a couple of jigging spots and what another hot little session this proved to be. Kit hooked up to a fish and I asked him what he thought it was. He said “Coronation Trout, about 44cm”, well I couldn’t believe it but he was right with the species and even the size. Kit released his Coronation Trout safely back into the water. The jigging session resulted in a good number of Coronation Trout, Spangled Emperor, Coral Trout, Long Nosed Emperor, Maori Sea Perch, Black Spot Cod, Green Job Fish, Chinaman, Red Sea Bass and Robinson Sea Bream most of which were caught and released. It was truly a day to remember, the incredible Montebello Islands at their best. Andrew won the sweep of the day again with the first fish being a Yellow Fin Tuna.

Day 5- Shark Mackerel & GT

To start day 5 Higsey caught a Shark Mackerel straight off the pontoon. It was definitely a good way to the start the morning. On the way out from the Cod Cave for the day the guys had a few cast for GT’s. Willow was able to land a 15kg GT on a Black Jack Popper. George managed to catch the rocks, I’m not sure you get points for this though hehehe. Day 5 proved to be a bit of quieter day. The guys still managed to catch some nice Rankin Cod, Tile Trevally and Gold Spot Trevally. Andrew caught a nice Coral Trout while we were trolling on a Halco Trolling Lure. The whole crew were looking pretty tired after yesterday’s amazing day. The sweep of the day was again won by Captain Chad with same fish a GT.

Day 6- Another island day

Day 6 started with Higsey releasing another Shark Mackerel before anyone else was awake! Higsey, Lee and Willow spent the morning on Heartstarter. Higsey on 6kg gear and a small stick bait landed a good size Golden Trevally. Willow got a nice size Queeny on a stick bait. Somehow, Higsey managed to lose 3 stick baits in 3 casts, so it may not have been his favourite part of the trip. The boys also managed some Spanish Mackerel and Shark Mackerel.

Shore based fishing

Kit, Andrew and George started the day with some beach, shore based fishing. They managed to land a good number of squid (Thanks boys made for a great entrée). They also managed to get some Trevally, small Blue Bone, Finger Mark and small Coral Trout.

Lunch time

We all returned to the Pontoon for lunch before swapping groups for the afternoon session. Kit, Andrew and George on Heartstarter enjoyed catching Spangled Emperor, Trevally and Long Nosed Emperor. Higsey, Lee and Willow were land based for the afternoon and managed to catch Queenys, small Blue Bone, Trevally and Gold Spot Trevally. I was the lucky sweep winner for day 6 of the charter with a Queeny being the first fish of the day.

Day 7- Back to Dampier we go

Day 7 arrived way too quickly again and it was time to head back to Dampier. We started the day trolling along and the boys caught Spanish Mackerel and Mackerel Tuna. Before long the boys threw out some jigs with Kit landing 2 GT’s (Giant Trevally). This jigging session produced a real mixed of species including Rankin Cod, Spanish Mackerel, Gold Spot Trevally, Cobia, Coral Trout and even a couple of Sharks. The final sweep of the trip was won by Blue Lightning deckie Brody, with the first fish of the day being Spanish Mackerel.

The trophy is awarded

The “Popper Polishers” perpetual trophy was awarded by Captain Chad to Andrew for the trip. Andrew had an awesome week catching some great fish.This week was a seriously awesome week at the Montebello Islands with some great fun, awesome billfish and mixed bag of other species. We just love it when the islands turn it on like they have this week. Who knows what next week has in store for us? We can’t wait to find out…


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


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There are 2 comments
  1. George Allingham

    Thanks for a great report Leah. l can easily say Blue Lightening is the best fishing charter l have been on [and l have been on many] this was my third trip and each one has been better than the last. In my opinion Chad is one of the best, his skill with the boat [especially on day three when we went hunting for billfish] knowledge of the area and of fishing techniques are second to none. This guy caught his first marlin in his early teens!! Together with a great crew, wife Leah and deckie Brodie we were really well fed and looked after. These guys worked tirelessly all week, l was shattered so l can only imagine how they were feeling, and they have to do it all again week after week.
    The highlight for me was an open water POPPER session on Spanish Mackerel, l have never experienced that before. My $90 Temple Reef popper got smashed by a Wahoo first cast at Trial rocks, the Wahoo subsequently got destroyed by two sharks on the surface. It provided some brief but spectacular entertainment but bye bye popper. What a week, l can’t wait to go back. Only one negative, please change that rubber mat in the shower, its murder on our soft townie feet!!
    Anyone considering a trip with Blue lightening do not delay, you will not experience anything like it.
    No l am not on commission!

    • chadleah

      Thanks for the awesome feedback George! You have made our day. Happy customers is always our aim