Tackle World Exmouth Fishing report week # 0116
This would have to be the mildest summer on record? Locals who have lived here for over 40years are telling me this and oh how pleasant it is! If it were like this every year, you wouldn’t be able to move in town though, because it would be packed. The ocean temperatures are cooler too and Perth has had hotter day temperatures than here, with a report of a coral trout being caught there, so I think the fish are bewildered too!
There has been a huge amount of fish reports in and pictured this week is Aiden and Michael Lerch from Wollongong with a couple of golden trevally caught and released in the waters of the Exmouth Gulf. Josh Bruynzeel had 18 species caught in 4 days aboard On Strike, including the colourful dolphin fish shown. We also had Ross Chapman catch an awesome 81kg yellowfin tuna! Junior anglers had double hook ups on billfish and Eddy Lawler took one of the most incredible photos of a billfish boatside. There has been lots happening in Exmouth and we expect this to continue with the visitors, locals and summer fishing ahead.
The 18 species caught aboard On Strike over 4 days included trout, GT’s, mackerel, blue marlin, black marlin, sailfishg and tuna. The crew from Perth were stoked, however, it was followed by a guy from Texas then getting a blue marlin and a mako shark, which is not often encountered in these waters. Steve Chambers from Broome came down with his sons to target marlin and managed to get a 150kg model. A family from the wheatbelt got stuck in to some red emperor, rankin cod and pearl perch to break the dry spell, while Vas and Nathan form Melbourne enjoyed shallow water jigging from big cobia and queenfish. There’s no doubt that the options are plenty and although it can be hot in summer, the fishing sure does fire well.
Hayden Michaels is a junior angler that has caught many more billfish than most adult anglers. (54 to date!) This summer he brought a friend Liam up to enjoy the fishing too and the pair managed a double hook up with Ben Knight in the Exmouth Gulf. The fish managed to stay separate and father Steve managed to get some great photos of the youngsters prior to release.
The summer run of yellowfin whiting has well and truly kicked in, despite the cooler weather. Large numbers of whiting have been sighted and caught between Bundegi beach and the Bay of Rest with Learmonth being a well-known hot spot and a consistent producer of late. Bait fishing with prawns or casting ultra-small stickbaits on light spin gear have been successful methods for catching a feed. The odd flathead and squid are also encountered with these styles of fishing. Taking the kids and or your partner to the beach, setting them up in the shade while you catch dinner could be the perfect relaxing getaway for an afternoon.
The marina has been on fire for light tackle sport fishing over the past week or so and the sight of many anglers covering the rock walls is a sure sign that things are going well. Large schools of bait have pushed right the way in and through to the canals. Most afternoons these bait schools can be seen getting smashed up by small trevally such as GTs and big eye, along with queenfish varying in size, small mackerel and tuna. Fishing small poppers such as the Halco Roosta Popper 80 has been the most successful technique and is by far the most exciting. There’s something exciting about top water explosions no matter what the size of the fish.
The "Tantabiddi Camp Out" kicks of this years’ fishing competitions, and was held this weekend. A fun and less serious approached comp for all ages to enjoy, this event had around 50 entrants all enjoy the camping at Yardie Homestead. It wasn’t just fishing, as the cricket pitch, pool and cocktails got a work out too! There were lots of kids big and small enjoying the gathering of locals through the quiet season. Heaviest mackerel was won by Bob Witcombe, with Jess Sutton taking out the junior category. Heaviest Charlie Court was also won by Bob Witcombe, with Will Lawrence winning that junior section. Longest spangled emperor was won by Deb Witcombe, while Jess Sutton took out the junior section. The hotly contested section of most species caught and released with a photo from the shore was won by team ‘Fish & Wish’ with a staggering 39 species! Callum Horlock caught the most species from shore by a junior with an impressive 13. The heaviest fish caught on a kids Durango combo was a whopping 6.9kg queenfish by Corey Williams. William Roche caught the junior section winning fish of a 2.03kg spangled emperor. This comp is growing to be a favourite for many and we suggest if you want to go next year, to book ahead!
Summer is definitely here now…with aircons in full swing and sunburnt visitors a-plenty. We expect the fishing to pick up even more now, especially in the billfishing scene. What a spasmodic start to the year for blue marlin it has been. One day there in with reports of plenty of fish raised then the next it’s like they’re non-existent. Cool water is definitely not helping the inconsistency and an unsual large amount of striped marlin have been pack attacking spreads of skirts intended for blues. Let’s hope those warm currents kick in soon and switch those big blues on. Having said that, Eddy Lawler’s client hooked an estimate 850lb blue marlin today.
According to Billfishreport.com Exmouth has ranked as 6th out of the top 10 billfish destinations in the world. Criteria for the Top 10 include fish numbers, variety of billfish species, average size of fish, length of season and number of boats fishing. With over 11,000 Billfish Reports submitted to them in 2015 from around the World, to even be considered for the Top 10 makes a fishery one of the best! Plus, we have far far more billfish caught during the period yet only a few boats report to this worldwide site. If you target billfish, please look in to this. In the report it states that one of our boats released more grand slams than any other boat in the world! It also states that Exmouth has one of the smallest fleets that reports to them. It makes an interesting read and here is some of the report:
"If Variety is the Spice of Life, Exmouth should be renamed the Spice Coast. We continue to be amazed with the variety of Billfish species caught in these waters. This is especially true when the Blue Marlin are offshore, but every report we get it seems like the bite has shifted from one species to the next and we are talking daily. Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin and Sailfish are all caught routinely here.
There were fourteen (14) Grand Slams reported from this fishery, which may have the smallest fleet of any fishery we cover. Capt. Eddy Lawler and Murray Teasdale of Peak Sportfishing released nine (9) Grand Slams themselves, one of those being a Super Grand Slam. They released more Grand Slams than any other boat in the World. What made their Grand Slams and those of the other boats was the diversity of species. We saw a Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Sailfish Slam, followed by a Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish Slam, finishing with a Black Marlin, Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin Slam. Honestly, does it get any better than that?
While most of the fish here are in the 200 to 300 lbs. range, they do get their fair share of large Blue Marlin, with eight (8) Blue Marlin reported to us over 500 lbs, the largest was a 750 on Poppa George. This is a year round fishery with Billfish caught in every month of the year.
They do not get a "staggering" number of fish in a day, but this fishery and these boats are consistent. We get day after day reports of boats releasing 3-4 Billfish in a day. Diversity, Azura, Peak and On Strike all had four (4) Blue Marlin or Black Marlin days,with On Strike recording the best day on Black Marlin, going 5-6. The Sailfish bite can even get hot as it did this year for a small stretch, where Peak Sportfishing went 17-17 on Sailfish and On Strike released 30 over a 3-Day period." For more go to http://billfishreport.com/2016/billfish-report/2015-billfisheries-of-the-year-6-exmouth/
Very great effort by all!
For those looking for more protected water from the summer westerly’s then the gulf has plenty to offer through summer. There has been a huge school of tuna including longtail and mack tuna within in a mile from the marina most afternoons. The bird activity can be seen from miles away and is not hard to locate these fish. Small metal slices in the 20-30 gram range work best. Most of these fish are in the couple kilo range but some better longtail up to 6kgs have been reported. Reports are that there is plenty of tuna schools working right the way through the gulf lately.
Glass conditions in the gulf almost daily of an afternoon has been a pleasant opportunity for small vessels to head out for an afternoon bite. Kayaks, jet skis with fishing gear and tinnies have been seen heading out to target some fish of a mid afternoon, with reports of some tuna, squid and coral trout from some of the anglers. Lisa Wantuch is here from Port Hedland and ventured out on her own in her 4.4m tinny to nor-west reef. Lisa was trolling and flicking soft plastics when she hooked a cobia. The fish was about 10kg and every part of it was used for a tasty meal including the head and frame. Lisa is a competent angler and skipper who has never been to Exmouth before and we think it will be hard for her to leave? She is returning for the Exmouth Billfish Tournament, the week prior to GAMEX to fish in an all-female team, so look out guys!
Speaking of GAMEX, the program for this year is set to be huge again. Every year we expect around 300 anglers to travel from the surrounding region, Perth metro area, the east coast and overseas. There are anglers registering interest from South Africa, New Zealand and the USA. There are 25 sections to this event, with over 40 game fish species available to target. The hotly contested sections of tag and release billfish will be interesting, as it always is. GAMEX is 6days of fishing, while the EBT is 3. The last GAMEX and 3 day event prior to it had 2399 billfish raised, with 904 tagged, which was a result that could easily rival any other in the world. This is a world class fishery and not only for the tag and release billfish sections. Exmouth is also listed in the record books for plenty of species on light line classes. Renowned marine biologist Dr Julian Pepperell will be in attendance again to do research on various species. It’s not just about the fishing though, there is a huge amount of things to do with this event for locals and visitors too. It all starts with the social night of Rockin’ the Boat. The clubhouse is shaped as a boat and it will be rocking the night away with live music. This night is a chance for anglers to catch up with friends, plus visitors get to see what is coming up for the week. Special guest TV presenter Paul Worsteling will be attending with his family. Fisher-mum Emma George will also be here to promote fishing with families. Saturday will be the Long Table Luncheon at the Novotel, where ladies can get the opportunity to dress up for a sumptuous lunch with special guest chef and former Olympic Swimmer Eamon Sullivan. The briefing for the event then starts at 4pm sharp where every angler gets the opportunity to start the week with a $1000 cash prize. Fishing is Sunday to Friday inclusive. Cost to enter is $200, while each angler receives over $200 worth of goods. Sunday is the Free Family Fun Day where there is a day at the clubhouse full of fishing games, talks, interactive displays, food and beverage tastings, live music, and much more. There is also fancy dress night through the week and visitors can get the chance to see what has been caught each day of fishing at the weigh station from 6-8. It takes a stack of volunteer hours to put this event together,
Bait schools have been getting smashed up by trevally and queenfish at the entrance to the marina this week, with terns coming in for the easy feed at every chance. The commotion can be seen from the EGFC clubhouse and easily accessed from along the rock wall directly in front or from the southern side of the marina. Ultra-small metal slices or soft plastic lures are the recommended tackle to target the predatory fish in this area. There are several methods of retrieve for these lures in this situation. You can cast the lure around the school and either let it drop slightly, then retrieve fast, or with a slow erratic movement to make it look like it has been hit by a bigger fish. Essentially you want to make the lure look like a bait fish that is weak or injured, which is more likely to be snavelled by a bigger fish.
The gulf has continued to show up good numbers of variety for those anglers with jigs and lures. Cobia, trevally, tuna and cod have been the main results and Entice jigs have been the best choice of lure. Coral trout have also been amongst the mix and drifting over ledges or holding your position on them is where you will find some of the action. The tuna move throughout the gulf and it can be like chasing rainbows at times, so drifting near them with your motor switched off is a better option.
Tristan Jahme loves his kayak fishing and caught a personal best this week with a 128cm Spanish mackerel. The fish was caught off the back of Ningaloo Reef while trolling a Halco laser pro 160 in 25m of water. Tristan’s Stealth kayak gets up to almost 5 knots while trolling and with the ‘stealth’ method, it is an adrenalin rush when a fish of this calibre hits hard. There is a kayak section in GAMEX this year for the first time and we hope to see some interesting catches from the keen guys and girls.
The school holidays are over, which means there will be visitors here who like to travel through the quiet time. February can see some great opportunities to roam the westside beaches without another person in sight. Fly casting is a great way to spend the day, especially in places like south Pilgramunna and Sandy Bay. February’s quiet time can also mean the boat ramps are far from busy and make for a quick launch and retrieve. Of course the fishing options are aplenty and with the forecast for later this week looking great, I’d recommend getting out and in to it!
I hope we’ve all been making the most of the calm weather lately as it has really turned it on for us over the past week. And dare I say it the week ahead forecast isn’t much different. Light winds and little swell gives you the opportunity to do almost anything, especially those in smaller vessels. Whether it’s trolling out wide for blue marlin and big yellowfin, running to the islands to dive for rock lobster, or heading out deep to bottom bash for Exmouth’s renowned table fish, the options are aplenty if you have a boat. Of course, if you don’t have a boat, the west side is incredible with this forecast and warm weather has brought a myriad of fish inside the reef in the crystal clear waters of summer where there is not much swell.
Lea Windmill has won the Tackle World January monthly fishing competition with this impressive Yellowfin tuna estimated at 100kg. The fish was taken on a skirted lure intended for marlin on 37kg line class. Big yellowfin like this are a highly prized sports fish and don’t pop up every day. Most people would consider this a catch of a lifetime. Big yellowfin have been in good numbers this summer with plenty fish reported between the 60-100kg mark. Most of these have been taken on skirted lures for marlin, although sharks have been a problem when encountering extended fight times. These fish will also take good quality deep diving lures with upgraded split rings and hooks. Cubing a slow release trail of mullies is also a popular method of hooking large yellowfin. Fishing heavy tackle with a single circle hook and drifting an unweighted mullie down your burley trail is the key to tempting a big fin into taking the bait. This method can also bring large fin to the surface where you can then present a stick bait or popper at the fish for an amazing surface strike.
Also we must say a big congratulations to Jeni Wellman the overall winner of the 2015 monthly fishing competition. Jeni also won this with an impressive fish; an 18kg ruby snapper. Jeni has now won herself a $1000 voucher to be spent at Tackle World Exmouth on any Shimano gear of her choice. If you would like to be in the running for this amazing end of year prize and the $50 voucher for the monthly winner, bring in a pic and story of a recent fishing trip.
The McArthy soft plastic competition was held over the weekend with many juniors and adults entering for the fun two days. Entry was free and prizes were aplenty, especially for the kids who got to dig deep in a bucket full of plastics to take home on the presentation night. Mangrove jacks, mullet, bream, black snapper and many varieties of fish were caught using the soft plastics, with pics being taken on brag mats for the verification. The most excited angler was William Roche after catching a 46cm mangrove jack in the marina, while Joe Reynolds was not far behind him after catching 18 different species on soft plastics for the two days. This event has grown and is a part of the EGFC calendar of events that caters for all varieties of fishing methods and species.