December 2016 was a very memorable time for me. Flashbacks of amazing scenery, biodiversity, equally as crazy fishing obsessed friends as me and some beautiful catches resulted in memories that I’ll never forget. Having said that, this blog isn’t so much about the fish we caught. It’s also about everything else that surrounds such an amazing fishing adventure. Exmouth is hard to look past when it comes to Landbased angling. Giant Trevally, Spangled Emperor, Barracuda, Tuskfish and just about every species of Mackerel only just about scratch the surface when it comes to target species.
Before I get into the blog I just want to apologise for the my recent inactivity on the page. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me in terms of fishing. As one problem presented itself (not having a camera) I was having no trouble catching fish. That problem resolved itself and I went out fishing about 3 times; coming back empty-handed each time. Nevertheless that’s fishing and I’ve just gotta keep getting my line in the water as that’s the only way I’ll catch more fish. Thanks for your patience and sorry again.
Continuing on the actual blog… We arrived by plane and believe me when I say the plane is bloody small. You feel just about every bump and it makes you feel very minuscule floating in that vast blue sky. The airport terminal was about as big as an average home. There was little staff and on arrival the flies greeted us swiftly.
The 40 degrees weather kept us dipping in the water more than frequently which wasn’t so inconvenient given that it kept the flies away and cooled us down. Turtles popped their head up above the water briefly only to disappear again to avoid detection. The water felt like a tropical shower and served as a refreshment and motivation to get back to fishing.
Arriving at our accommodation we started unpacking our bags which included very few clothes and food, about 15 fishing reels and 14 rods shoved into a surfboard sock, several kilos of tackle. Our priorities were clearly sorted as we followed the rule of 90% of the baggage being accumulated by fishing gear and the rest being other ‘useless’ stuff like food and personal hygiene products. What seemed like the longest 3 hours of my life we finally gathered some tackle, bought some bait and headed out to our location. Those who are reading this and have been up to Exmouth to fish will know for sure where the locations are that I fished. For the rest of you; I’ll leave you to figure it out. Not because I don’t want you to catch fish but I’m a big believer in doing the research first and putting in the time to find spots that work consistently. When you actually catch a fish using this method, it will leave you with a more rewarding and fulfilling feeling anyway as you and only you have tried to find a spot to fish and what’s bad about that?
Because we were set on spinning for about 6 hours a day, we predominantly used lures including twisties, poppers, various soft plastics and hard body divers. The obvious choice was a nice long rod, slightly flicky to maximise casting distance with lures and a rod strong enough to handle some of the brutes (GT’s) that we may encounter.
- Shimano Beastmaster X Travel 902 4-8kg
- Fin Nor Lethal 60
- Line: 40lb Power Pro
- Leader: Kato 60lb Flurocarbon
Back to the Flies:
It goes without saying that there is tonnes of flies is Australia. But never have I experienced this extreme abundance of these annoying creatures. After a few hours of performing the ‘Australian Wave’ (waving your hand past your head to get the flies off your face), we were sick of it. The only way we got a little rest was by wearing a hat or cap, sunglasses and a facemask all at the same time. A little deet repellant was dressed onto the facemask for added repulsion. This method was by far the best solution however it wasn’t foolproof and the only flaw was perhaps the most annoying of all. Every once in a while a fly would get under the sunglasses and freak out as it becomes trapped. It then proceeds to annoy the absolute s”t out of you and sometimes it even got stuck in the facemask where you had to fish it out of with your sandy fingers. Lots of cussing and swearing followed by the same old phrase “There’s too many f””ing flies around!” sorted out that drama and on we fished.
As we cast our first lines out with baits and lures there was a buzz in the air. What were we going to catch? Anything at all? How big will it be? How would we land it? Certainly, questions in each of our heads needed answering.
Fish on! Straight away we knew it wasn’t huge but it raised confidence. Colourful and pretty beautiful rose a Tuskfish from the water onto the jetty. This little guy was caught on a paternoster rig with some unpeeled prawn. After the fishing went quiet we all slowly decided to switch to lures to see how that would work out.
Only a couple of casts in, the whole atmosphere changed, silver shapes were seen several times as one of us shouts “queenfish’. Reeling in and towards the end, just as a mate raises his lure out of the water to recast, a massive golden trevally nearly swallows the lure. Unluckily the lure was already out of the water and it had passed the fish’s’ reach.
Everyone was pumped but as lure fishing goes, one can get bored quite easily. Once again the fishing had died down. Two of us got bored and dove into the water from the jetty. We had barely been in the water for more than a minute as suddenly one of us who had prevailed and kept casting screams out “Holy S”t. I’m On!” repeatedly. Quickly we scrambled back onto the top of the jetty where my mate had hooked a massive fish. With the drag going nuts and the rod bent over he fought the fish until it tired and the Queenfish surfaced. It wasn’t over yet. Over the jetty we went again into the water, this time with gloves on ready to grab the fish. I was barefooted and decided to step up onto the pylon under the jetty which was covered in oysters. The result was a fair few cuts which bled like crazy and stung excruciatingly. After I ‘manned up’ I reached both my hands around the tail of the fish. With my arms now feeling the full force of the queenfish struggling to get away I raised it up onto the jetty where a friend it waiting to drag it up and over. It all seemed to be going in slow motion as the fish lied there on top of the jetty and we jumped up in joy.
Unfortunately the queenfish measuring in at about 98cm had swallowed the lure to the gills and bled to the point in which we thought that if we released it, the fish may not survive due to it not being able to breathe anymore as the gills were hooked or the fish being eaten by sharks who would be able to smell the blood as it struggles in the water. We decided to keep it as we would be eating the whole fish and none of it was to go to waste.
A good nights sleep was on the cards for us all as we all headed off to bed with a huge smile on all of our faces.
A new day, a new location given to us by the kind guy at the local tackle store. We fished for about an hour with little success as we worked our way up the beach, occasionally going for a swim to cool our already sunburnt skin.
There was an ever-present population of small barracuda and long tom which proved difficult but fun to catch as their mouths are quite thin and irregularly shaped.
The afternoon was fairly quiet but even those can sometimes be the most enjoyable of them all in a place like Exmouth. There was so many turtles and small reef fish. Once we even saw a mako shark jump fully out of the water chasing a school of unknown fish. These sighting really remind you of the type of nature that you are in. Truly a wild and untouched place.
In the late afternoon we decided make our way back along the beach and witnessed several bust ups around once every 5 minutes. Every time it happened, the wild casting began to try to hook whatever was causing the disturbance in the water. It didn’t take long as I hooked up to what seemed to be a very solid fish. It ran and ran until I finally managed to turn its head towards me. Shortly after the initial take, I land a good 50cm Bigeye Trevally. Not the biggest but a very solid fish and not one that I will forget until I catch another one.
As this little guy was in near perfect conditions, we let him go and he swam off stong to live another day in his harsh environment. Back to the car park it was after a swift release to go home and brag about our catch for the second day in a row.
Exmouth… Oh how wonderful you have been and all I can say is that I promise to be back another time. It’s places like these that can’t be explained by words or photos. You simply just have to go there and experience the world yourself. That’s the way it’s supposed to be and will always be. No media. No pollution. No noise. Just you, nature and amazing friends to enjoy it with.
Thanks for stopping by to this weeks blog. Apologies again for the lack of content recently. Made this blog nice and chunky and I hope you enjoyed it. In the mean time, take it easy and I certainly hope you catch a couple of fish yourself!
Tight Lines – Josh