Our lure casting sessions produced all the usual fun
Our annual trip to the Mackerel Islands was the perfect tonic for the seemingly never-ending winter in the southern half of the State.
It has been a real old-fashioned winter and it was nice to put the wind and rain behind us and enjoy some Pilbara sunshine for a week and a bit.
I was joined by around 45 Western Angler readers on the Seafari, with our group taking up all the accommodation on the island.
As luck would have it we scored perfect weather for most of our stay, which was most welcome for yours truly after having my three previous trips cancelled due to strong winds that had mates telling me the dreaded Curse was back.
There was no such misfortune on the Seafari and the first five days on the island featured glassy conditions that enabled us to experience just how good the fishing around the Mackerels can be.
Usually I almost exclusively spend my time at the Mackies casting lures at a range of pelagic species, but my fishing partner, Morris Wilkinson, was keen on bringing home a feed of demersal fish.
That meant we split our time between shallow water surface fishing and bottom fishing at various locations in the waters around our base at Thevenard Island.
Morris was keen on getting a red emperor on lure and while that didn’t happen, we got some fine coral trout and big rankin cod to more than nine kilos, while not fishing in anything deeper than 30m.
While we missed out on the red front there were plenty nonetheless caught on baits, while those who headed out wide got ruby snapper and goldband, while one sailfish was caught on a floating bait and another hooked on a jig.
Our lure casting sessions produced all the usual fun with queenfish and golden trevally to around a metre, shark and spanish mackerel, goldspot trevally, yellowfin tuna and a surprise 94cm giant trevally at Sandy Cay.
The last day saw us venture to the west end of Thevenard for a shore bash, always a highlight of my trip, and we had a ball on goldens and lunatic long tom until the fishing slowed and a big tiger shark started mooching around the reef where we were standing in waist-deep water.
Under the new Fisheries rules we brought home a split of around 10 kilos of demersal and pelagic fillets, as well as a stack of photos and some great memories of a week spent with a quality bunch of guys.
As ever on these Seafaris, there were plenty of laughs including one of the most awkward entries into a tender I’ve ever seen, and one thirsty angler sculling a bottle of water only to discover it was dishwashing liquid.
The food was great and it was a delight to sit out the front of the cabins each night, looking over a mirror-calm ocean, discussing the catches of the day and solving the problems of the world over a quiet ale. We’ve booked two weeks next year, from August 13-27, and anyone interested in joining us can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Caption: Dan Phillips with a nice Mackies red emperor.