Thanks to our friend and keen angler Audi for joining us on this week’s Montebello Islands charter and volunteering to write the blog ?
This week Blue Lightning Charters welcomed aboard a group of mates who had journeyed from Melbourne and Kalgoorlie to spend a week catching up. The boys were looking for something they could do rather than sit at the pub for their annual get together. The took up some trusted advice and decided that a 7 day fishing charter to the Montebello Islands with the Blue Lighting crew was the way to go. We were more than happy to show the boys our piece of paradise and as the week unfolded, we think it’s safe to say, the boys found out why so many people love these islands. No matter the weather or the energy levels of your mates, the Monties always has something to offer.
Day 1- The challenge is set
Day 1 and the boys were pumped and ready for some fishing however before they could really settle into the action they had to lay some ground rules. Matt produced some rather fetching dresses he had personally taken great care in choosing and the boys were put on notice that whoever landed the smallest, or what they deemed the most insignificant catch of the day, would have to don one of the dresses. Now for all you fellas out there who are considering following the boys lead but are lacking confidence in your fashion choices, Matt’s advice is to select something that has a bit of stretch, allows a nice breeze around the nether regions and brings out the colour in the wearer’s eyes. Matt’s personal selection was a nice see-through leopard skin print and a rather plain but strangely fetching green number. As the week progressed we were to come to realize the rules changed almost as often as the wearer of the dress did.
Departing Dampier for the Montebello Islands
With the rules set, we departed Dampier with a spread out back to see if we could entice some Billfish to play. With some of the boys struggling a little to find their sea legs, Captain Chad decided there was only one thing to do and that was to land them in the middle of some Mackie action. Gavin, wearing one of the dresses, reeled in a Longtail Tuna and a few of the boys wearing your stock-standard fishing clobber, bought in the Spanish Mackerel. The trip West showed up some impressive baitballs and by the time the Montebello Islands came into view the guys had all landed themselves all a Mack Tuna.
The Blue Lightning Pontoon
Pulling up to the Blue Lightning pontoon, the guys were greeted by Blue Lightning’s Monties “pets”, Kodak and Fuji and in no time they had settled in to pontoon paradise making the most of the space and enjoying the sensational views.
Day 2 Global Venture
With the wind up a bit, the boys hopped on board Blue Lightning’s Global Venture for a chance to do some casting and popping. Cruising amongst the islands, the guys sighted a few of the local inhabitants with a number of Whales, Turtles, Dolphins and Dugongs showing up. The team were keen to find out a bit about the islands’ history so we headed ashore Trimouille Island where the second last nuclear weapons test occurred in May 1956. The guys were able to see first hand scattered remnants of the islands dark history. They also saw evidence of the islands current day recovery when we came across a turtle who had come ashore to find a suitable place to lay her eggs.
West Australian Lobster time
After a bite of lunch back at the pontoon the crew headed out again to get up close and personal with a few more of the islands’ local inhabitants, the West Aussie lobster. It wasn’t long before Westy had his first up close and personal underwater encounter with one of these delicacies. The day finished up with the crew heading out trolling for Mackerel and a feed of Squid.
Day 3 Blue Lightning III in action
Day 3 and the wind of the prior day had eased off so it was time for Blue Lightning to get in on the action. The guys headed out to spend most of the day bottom fishing. They brought in a nice selection of Spangled Emperor, Rankin Cod, Long Nose Emperor, Maroon Sea Perch, Robinson Sea Bream and Coral Trout. With Captain Chad landing the boys on prime fishing ground it was inevitable the day was going to result in the guys experiencing many firsts amongst their catches. With a good days fishing complete there was enough time and energy left for the guys to spend some time squidding. Luck was on their side and a nice feed of squid was the result.
Day 4 Leah’s Birthday!!!
Blue Lightning’s lovely Leah was given the day off to spend her birthday doing whatever she wished to do. The guys headed out trolling hard body lures. They landed a nice selection of fish including Coral Trout, Long Nose Emperor, Spangled Emperor. Jezza caught the first fish of the day and his first Spanish Mackerel. Simon was also in luck catching a Spanish Mackerel then returning to bed for a bit of a nap. The rest of the guys got amongst a hot Mackie session while Paul had a ball using light gear. Meanwhile Leah and I spent the morning on the stand up paddle boards paddling and trekking to one of Leah’s favourite beaches. For the afternoon session the the guys headed out trolling, Leah and I returned to the pontoon for a bite of lunch before Leah grabbed Bill and Heart Starter and headed out popping for GTs and cruising the islands, laying back in the comfort of her lazy chair sipping a chilled bevvy.
Montebello Islands mixed bag
There was plenty to celebrate as all of the boats returned to the pontoon. The boys had again experienced a few more firsts during their bottom fishing session in the afternoon with Simon’s first Rankin Cod, Jeremy’s first Robinson Sea Bream, and Trent’s first Chinaman. Simon was in luck scoring his first Rankin Cod, and Gavin scored his first Trevally. We all celebrated lovely Leah’s birthday with the boys presenting her with the gift of a handmade necklace, made that day using an assortment of tackle, and a bottle of vodka. As time would prove, the necklace was to be Leah’s lucky necklace within a couple of days and Leah has vowed it will stay with her on each of the Blue Lightning boats in the hope it will continue to bring her similar good fortune.
Day 5 Exploring the Montebello Islands
Day 5 and the guys chose to head out on Global Venture and cruise the islands. They were determined to try their luck at some Crayfish. The Crayfish however had other ideas outwitting the guys to survive another day. On the way to the next location they decided to cast lures and poppers with a nice Coral Trout finding itself on board. Not to be outdone, they hit a few more snorkel spots in between casting and popping. The team found themselves amongst a nice school of Queenies with Paul catching the most impressive of the day. After returning to the Cod Cave for lunch and a few refreshments the guys summoned up enough energy to head back out for an afternoon session of Spanish Mackerel and GTs. Captain Chad made a last ditch effort to get the guys Crays and the result…the sun would set the following day on the team sitting down to a nice feed of Crayfish and Squid.
Day 6- Billfishing Adventures
Day 6 and both Blue Lightning and Reely Black made their way through the islands on a near glass off, both were heading out wide on the quest for billfish. The guys were on board Blue Lightning with Captain Bill at the helm whilst Leah and I headed out wide on Reely Black with Captain Chad. As they arrived at their respective locations the ocean had set the scene for an awesome days fishing for both boats.
Mackerel, Marlin & Sailfish
On board Blue Lightning, the first session of the day was a hot Mackerel session, with boys catching 2 Spanish Mackerel each. After discussions the night before the guys were pretty keen to try their luck at some billfishing as they’d agreed the night before that they were at the Montebello Islands for the experience, not just to take home food. Trolling lures went in and within the hour they had a Marlin follow a lure but with no hook up. 10 minutes later the adrenalin was pumping as a pack of Sailfish came up. This resulted in a 2 way hook up but as can happen so often with all fishing, one dropped. Paul was the lucky angler who caught his first ever Sailfish. With plenty of bait around, trolling continued for another 1-2 hours resulting in a hook up on a skirted lure and Jezza getting his first Sailfish.
Montebello Islands wildlife
Whilst trolling the guys witnessed the spectacle of a Pilot Whale and Manta Rays working and feeding on a school of bait. The excitement on board wasn’t over yet, next thing they knew there was a pack of 4 Sailfish. This resulted in another double hook up with Matt and Trent getting a Sailfish each. This was Matt’s first Sailfish, another species ticked off his list.
The guys were keen to see a Marlin so inspired by Sam, the world’s greatest deckie (or so he tells me), the boys started doing the Marlin dance on the back deck. Sadly, and we’re not criticising their dancing techniques by any means, but we have a sneaking suspicion their dancing prowess may have instead offended the Marlin gods. They returned to the Cod Cave and few coldies, to work on their Marlin dance routine.
Reely Black Billfishing
Now we all know what Captain Chad and Leah prefer to do with their spare time, go fishing of course! You see Captain Chad had gifted lovely Leah a day out on Reely Black for her birthday and so, of course, she chose to spend the day chasing billies. Leah was about to find out the reality of her good luck charm necklace gifted from the guys two nights before.
As the radio buzzed that the Blue Lightning crew were hooked up, the spread behind Reely Black lit up with two Sailfish and a Marlin! The switchbaits were in and it was game on for Leah and I. I dropped my Sailfish as Leah bought her biggest sailfish to date to the side of the boat. With the teasers back in, the fun was far from over.
Leah’s second Sailfish of the day put up a good fight however it didn’t take long for this accomplished billfish babe to have it up to the side of the boat and released. The necklace worked it’s magic again with the girls having another two consecutive double hook ups. The billies may have headed in two different directions but with Captain Chad at the wheel this presented no issue. All four fish were released in a short span of time having allowed us several chances to hone their technique of landing a Sailfish, fitting their gloves and leadering each other’s fish.
Moments to remember
The sails had obviously not run out of juice and having allowed enough time for us to kick back on the gunnels and soak up a little sunshine, it wasn’t long before we had another double hook up, this time with an added bonus. Whilst we were caught up in the thrill of the chase, Captain Chad had spotted a pod of dolphins close by. Being the ocean loving girls we are, we were keen to watch the grace f these dolphins, so while we were reeling in our catches we took a moment to admire the dolphins. It was just in time as it turns out, as Leah’s Sailfish leapt above the dolphin pod creating one of those lifetime memorable moments that you may think we are desensitized to due to the constant spectacles that the Montebello and Abrolhos Islands so often present to us. This moment will stay with us for a long time to come. A perfect finish to what Leah deemed a perfect birthday gift.
Day 7 Return to Dampier
Day 7, the day all crews dread! The time had come to depart the Monties, leave behind the Cod Cave, farewell pontoon paradise and head east to Dampier so the boys could regain their land-legs and begin their journeys home. This is the moment where crews either wish they’d booked the longer charter or are thankful they did not opt for the longer charter. As with all charters, the boys on the whole were pretty well buggered after a week of Montebello Islands mayhem. Dazza however couldn’t resist the temptation to haul in one last Yellow Fin Tuna before Blue Lightning entered the archipelago.
Thanks heaps for joining us boys. It was a blast having you with us and we look forward to seeing you again.