This week we had a group of 8 guys from Perth on board for a 7 day Montebello Islands fishing charter. These boys have had this trip booked for over a year. The wait was finally over though and they were ready to fish at the amazing Montebello Islands.
After boarding Blue Lightning III the evening before day 1, it was now the day to finally start their charter, the guys ready and roaring to go. After an early morning departure from Dampier, the crew were ready to make the most of day 1 of their fishing charter. We started the morning off with trolling. The guys had a heap of fun getting Mack Tuna as well as some Spanish Mackerel. For the next session of the day the boys decided they would try their hand at some bottom fishing. It was a little bit of a quiet session but the boys managed to reel in some Rankin Cod and Coral Trout. After the bottom fishing session the boys decided to go back to trolling which was an excellent decisions as the boys were onto more action catching plenty more Spanish Mackerel.
Day 2 Action packed day
To kick off day 2 of this week’s charter Chad and Brody gave the guys a lesson on poppers and stick baits at the Cod Cave (Blue Lightning’s Montebello Islands pontoon, as some of guys had never used them before. After a few pointers and some practice the guys were ready to try their luck on GT and Spanish Mackerel. It was immediately clear that the ocean was alive and we were in for a good day.
For the first session of the day we cast stick baits and poppers. Nathan was in luck casting his ASWB stick bait when a Spanish Mackerel launched in the air and he was on. After a fun little fight he landed a nice size Mackerel. Another cast had Nathan hooked up to a Coral Trout. It was definitely Nathan’s morning.
Camo lost his white and pink popper after a Mackerel decided to bite it off. Lucky for Camo, Mick spotted it floating. Camo tied it back on and with his first cast he hooked up to a GT. He was stoked to catch this GT.
Kristian managed to hook a GT but it wasn’t his lucky day and he lost it when it took him into the reef. It was a great session for Spanish Mackerel as they were going crazy launching themselves into the air to try and grab the poppers. Josh hooked up to a nice size Mackerel on a stick bait, and at the same time a sailfish decided to casually cruise past the boat. The sailfish would not take anything we threw at him. It was still amazing to see a sailfish all lit up and just cruising past.
Before long Camo got his second GT for the Morning! And yes on the same popper he nearly lost earlier in the morning. It definitely was the luckiest popper on the boat.
After a hectic session it was time to swap over and do some bottom fishing. We were in for another hot little session. The guys got a good a good variety of fish including Rankin Cod, Long Nose Emperor, Coral Trout, Red Emperor, and Spangled Emperor. It was the Montebello Islands at its best with an awesome array of species.
But what got all our hearts pumping was when a Marlin cruised past the boat checking us out, and then just casually swam off. We quickly swapped over to lures to see if we could get the Marlin to hook. Unfortunately, it just wanted to tease us. It was still an awesome experience to see it cruise so casually past the boat.
After all the excitement over seeing a Marlin the crew decided it was time to swap over to hard body lures. This day was an amazing display of what the Monties have to offer. In this next session the boys caught plenty of Spanish Mackerel, Rainbow Runner, and even Wahoo. Once again the Mackerel put on a great show getting some air J.
The crew had quite a few firsts and some great catches on day 2 to top off an absolutely amazing day. Greg managed to catch his first ever Rankin Cod and Long Nose Emperor. Camo managed to reel in 2 GT’s on a popper. After his first ever time using a popper (and a lucky one at that). He also managed to get a Rankin Cod on a jig. Bundy also managed his first ever Red Emperor. The firsts just kept on coming with Josh landing his first ever Wahoo. We had some fun catching Spanish Mackerel on stick bait, and Coral Trout on soft plastics. Nathan caught a Coral Trout on a stick bait. He also used soft plastics for the first time and caught a Rankin Cod. Nathan also managed to catch a little shark which had Marks jig head in its mouth, it was a nice recovery. It was Mark’s 1st time using plastics and his 1st time catching a Rankin Cod. Kristian got smoked by what could have been his very first GT, but don’t worry Kristian there’s still 5 days to go. He did manage to get a double header of Coral Trout and Rankin Cod, so it really was a good day for Kristian. Day 2 was Steve’s first time ever catching a Red Emperor on jig, his 1st time catching a Spanish Mackerel on a popper. Steve also got his personal best Rankin Cod, the largest he has ever caught.
Day 2 of this week’s charter was one of those stand out days. A day when the Montebello Islands just seem to turn on their incredible charms. It’s such an amazing place to be where you can see such a variety of fish from Giant Trevally, to Spanish Mackerel, Wahoo, Coral Trout, Red Emperor, Rankin Cod, Sailfish, Marlin, Whales, Turtles, and even Dolphins all in a single day. The list of species for the day just goes on and on. The ocean was definitely alive and we were very lucky enough to be a part of it.
For day 3 we were expecting winds of 7-11 knots all day, but unfortunately the weather man got it wrong, with winds reaching up to 18kn. The boys decided to make the most of the day enjoying plenty of time bottom fishing. Nathan got a Coral Trout on a jig on his first go. Josh was pretty happy to get a Coral Trout on his smash crab, and also on a jig. Before long Camo got a couple of Rankin Cod on a jig. The catch of the day went to Greg who caught a really nice sized Coral Trout. The reason he got catch of the day was not just the size of his Coral Trout but also because he did not even know he had it on. J The boys caught another great variety of fish species including Crimson Sea Perch, Red Bass, Robinson Sea Bream, Maroon Sea Perch, Red Emperor, Chinaman, Coral Trout, Rankin Cod and Golden Trevally. We did try trolling for sailfish but unfortunately we did not see any.
What a day to be on the water, there was not a breath of wind, a beautiful temperature, and the water was glistening. The boys were amped to try their luck again on GT’s in the shallows. When we arrived the water was so clear the reef looked amazing! There was plenty of bait around and lots of school of fish including Trevally and Mackerel all around the reefs. Soon a couple of GT’s poked there heads out and Nathan caught his first GT on a stick bait. Josh was also lucky, landing himself a nice size Mackerel.
After casting and popping lures for a couple of hours, Chad gave us an extremely rare opportunity to snorkel the Tryal and a few of us jumped at the idea. There are not many days you can get in close due to weather and swell so today was a perfect day for it. The Tryal was the very first recorded ship wreck in Australia. In 1622 the Tryal, a European ship, was shipwrecked just north of the Montebello Islands. The 46 survivors of the English East India Company’s “Trial” shipwreck took shelter on the Montebello Islands, with 93 people passing away. The opportunity to snorkel this wreckage was a big highlight to me as I have wanted to see this for many years. The conditions were absolutely perfect. It was pretty special being able to see the anchors and cannons from 1622.
It was already panning out to be an awesome day and we still had the afternoon to go, we definitely made the most of it. We had a few drops using only plastics and jigs as it was a very snaggy reef. The boys managed to get some nice quality fish including, Coral Trout, Rankin Cod and Coronation Trout. Steve in particular got himself a very nice sized Coronation Trout.
For the next session of the day the boys decided to go out deeper. The guys managed to get a seriously awesome array of species in this session including Rankin Cod, Red Emperor, Coral Trout, Long Nosed Emperor, Robinson Sea Bream, Maroon Sea Perch, and Spangled Emperor. Kristian caught his personal best Red Emperor.
The guys decided we would spend day 5 Billfishing out wide. We think Billfishing is a real team sport. You see you don’t have to be on the reel to be a part of the excitement and get the incredible adrenaline rush from Billfishing. It’s hard to describe the excitement and energy that fills the entire boat when a fish like this is hooked. Chad in particular is in his element he will go to extreme lengths to help a passenger get a gamefish and the smile on his face when he’s doing it is hard to beat.
To begin the day we had the light tackle gear out, hoping for a sailfish or black marlin. Unfortunately, nothing came up for a look. As we made our way out wider, it was time to change over to the heavy tackle gear hoping for a blue marlin. One of the reels went screaming off and the adrenaline kicked in. Camo was on strike, all harnessed up and ready. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of Camo fighting the fish the hooks pulled and we were all left a little disappointed. We had one more strike after this, but it did not hook. The billfish just didn’t want to play with us today, even though we did not catch one it was still a great day out had by all. The boys decide to play a practical joke on Kristian, everyone was in on it. His reel went screaming off and Kristian jumped up with determination on his face he was furiously fighting the fish. That is until he realized it was a bucket, his face changed completely. We all had a good laugh though.
To finish the afternoon off the boys decided to have a trolling session and to cast stick baits. They had a great session catching plenty of Mack Tuna, Trevally species, and Shark Mackerel.
Day 6 Island day
For day 6 the boys decided to check out some island fishing and take Heart Starter out for a spin. The crew split into two groups with Nathan, Bundy, Greg, Mark spending the morning on the shore of Trimouille Island. Where they saw heaps of turtles lining the beach and checked out the bunker. Nathan also went for a snorkel and got a nice Crayfish.
The second group Steve, Camo, Kristian, Josh headed out on Heartstarter. Kristian managed to get his first GT on a popper as well as a Coral Trout on a popper. Kristian also got a Mack Tuna. Meanwhile Camo got himself a sweet Mackerel while trolling. The whole crew headed back to the Cod Cave for lunch where they finally saw Fuji the smaller of the two Queensland Grouper who call the Cod Cave home (most of the time). Unfortunately for this crew Kodak, the larger of the two didn’t make an appearance this week.
For the afternoon session the groups swapped and Steve, Camo, Kristian and Josh headed to Trimoulle Island for some cliff fishing and snorkeling. They managed to catch themselves some great fish including Red Throat, Charlie Court, and some small GT. Josh caught a sweet Blue Bone on a stick bait. The Hearstarter crew for the afternoon was Nathan, Greg, Bundy and Mark. Greg caught his first Rankin Cod on a soft plastic and his first GT on a popper. Nathan also had a great session landing a Barracuda but unfortunately lost a GT. They also had a snorkel in the hope of getting themselves some Crayfish but it wasn’t to be.
Before we knew it day 7 had arrived with better than expected weather especially in the morning. The boys decided to spend the morning around the shallows and caught some nice Mackerel on stick baits. After that session was done it was time to head back to Dampier. We trolled on the way in and the boys managed to land a few Mack Tuna and a nice big 20kg Spanish Mackerel to round out a seriously impressive week of fishing at the incredible Montebello Islands. We got very lucky with the weather on day 7 as we arrived into Dampier the wind blew up.
This week was filled with an impressive number of highlights. This crew had plenty of firsts and personal bests and it was great to see the islands providing us with such impressive fishing and conditions. We did a variety of fishing from bottom fishing, to casting, to popping lures, to trolling hard body lures and even some marlin fishing. That’s what we love about the Montebello Islands one minute you can be catching a Red Emperor and the next it’s a GT or a Marlin. We often say it but we are so lucky to have this.
Don’t forget to check out the full photo gallery below
Until next time, happy fishing
Bundy- “Using poppers and stick baits which I had never used before and really enjoyed”
Josh- My first Wahoo
Nathan- Getting both GT and Coral Trout on stick bait
Greg- My catch of the day Coral Trout that I didn’t know I had on the hook, and it was a good size
Mark- Catching a variety of fish
Kristian- My first GT
Camo- Catching big fish
Steve- Seeing a Marlin get hooked and how it was done
Me- Snorkeling at the Tryal wreckage, I had been wanting to do that for years and years, we were out there and the weather was too perfect to miss the opportunity
Chad- getting out wide to have a look
Brody – Krisitian hooked something up when we were looking for Marlin he jumped up and got all excited and started fighting it only to realise it was a bucket.