Coral trout were a common catch at the Mackerel Islands. Steve Hart is the angler.

A common catch at the Mackerel Islands

The annual Western Angler Mackerel Islands Seafari was held last month and was once again a very fishy occasion.

Around 35 anglers descended on Thevenard Island for the week and they were rewarded with some typically good fishing.

A wide variety of species were caught, with some of the best action coming in the shallows around the various islands in the Mackerels chain.

Steve Hart from Tackle HQ teamed up with Dave Quigley and the team spent the entire week fishing 6-10kg gear in a few metres of water on the latter’s Bar Crusher.

They mainly cast sinking stickbaits such as Shimano Oceas and Ima Barbarosas, as well as the hand-made Iredtank lures from local fisho Isaac Tancred, and were rewarded with some exceptional action.

Shark mackerel to eight kilos were prolific and they also caught good numbers of striking golden trevally and gold-spot trevally.

Big queenfish were another common catch and quality eating fish were also on offer, with the pair getting some lovely coral trout and spangled emperor.

Thevenard Island guru Darryl Hitchen picked the dates and loves this time of year as he believes conditions are best, with the annual easterly winds subsiding in August.

He was right again, with perfect weather for the last four days of the trip and most boats able to get out early each day.

Even though the first day was a little windy, that enabled some of the fishos to head to the west end of Thevenard for a shore bash and they had a ball on queenfish and trevally.

As always, spanish mackerel were prolific along the dropoffs, especially in that school 10-15kg size, and there were reasonable numbers of yellowfin tuna caught.

Only the one sailfish was caught and cobia numbers were down on previous years.

Those who went bottom fishing had a fine time on trout, red emperor and XOS rankin cod, with some big rankins showing up at the filleting table each evening.

If anyone was struggling to catch a fish then Darryl was able to help them out with some tips and locations courtesy of his extensive local knowledge, and by the end of the week everyone had done well.

Once again, fishing wasn’t the only highlight of the week.

There was plenty of socialising each evening and the WAngler team enjoyed meeting some new faces, while everyone was well fed throughout the week, including at the Carnarvon Motel, where everyone met on the way to Onslow.

The new island staff were fantastic and made sure everyone had a good time.

Having considered the moon phase and tides, Darryl has already picked next year’s dates and the week is pencilled in for Aug 18-26, 2018, with some big names from the sporting arena set to join the trip.

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Caption: Coral trout were a common catch at the Mackerel Islands. Steve Hart is the angler.