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Peter Wilson joined us for the Western Angler Seafari 2022

Peter Wilson joined us for the Western Angler Seafari 2022

Fishing karma seemed to do us a solid on our annual trip to the Mackerel Islands last month.

Our Western Angler Seafari was this year extended to two weeks, with around 80 readers joining us for some incredible fishing over the fortnight.

We always hold the Seafari in August as it offers some of the best weather of the year for fishing around our base of Thevenard Island.

On this trip it was no different, with superb weather for almost the entire fortnight and some stellar fishing enjoyed by everyone on the trip.

Former West Coast star Peter Wilson joined us for the first week and had a great time fishing on my Westerberg Bandit, casting lures for mackerel, trevally, queenfish, spangled emperor and coral trout in the shallows.

Other boats focussed on bottom fishing and there were plenty of good red emperor, trout, rankin cod and goldband snapper caught, to name but a few of the species seen at the filleting table over our stay.

Personally, I don’t think there was even one day I didn’t enjoy some sort of memorable action, such was the consistency of the fishing over our stay and even the shore fishing at Thevenard was awesome.

Arguably the most thrilling day came late in the trip, when Andrew Jarvis joined Glenn Edwards and I with a plan to head to Rosily Cay for more lure casting.

We’d only just pulled out of the moorings when I spotted something on the surface.

We motored over and unusually found a smallish rankin cod struggling on the surface, seemingly unable to get back down to the bottom in only around 9m of water.

Rather than just leave it, we scooped it up in the net, attached a release weight and sent it back down to the bottom, at least giving it the best chance of surviving.

Good deed for the day done, we started to head north and within a few seconds noticed unexpected surface activity in front of us.

We readied rods and edged up to the commotion, which was trevally ploughing through surface weed.

This activity was quite common during our trip and offered fantastic sight fishing opportunities, as big goldens and goldspots would immediately hit lures cast near the activity.

When I pulled a lump of the weed in with a fish a mixture of crabs, tiny prawns and small baitfish fell out, so it’s little wonder trevs like to feed this way.

It was the start of an incredible two hours of late afternoon action, as we soon found there was a huge school of queenfish sitting under the trevally as well.

Even though the surface activity died off, it was non-stop action the whole time as we caught a stack of mainly queenfish, with a few trevally as well, using the Minn Kota spot lock to hold us on the school

I’d never caught big queenfish in 15m of water before and they fought very differently, with only one fish jumping.

They’d lug around down deep, stubbornly refusing to come up, in a similar manner to what I’m used to with big goldens.

It reminded me a lot of catching salmon from a boat down south, as they are similar in deeper water and fight like tuna, circling the boat and proving hard to lift up from the depths, rather than the energetic jumps that go with catching them from the shore.

We left them biting as the sun started to set, having enjoyed a cracking couple of hours only a few hundred metres from the moorings and with probably only a couple of litres of fuel used.

Had we not stopped to assist that little rankin it probably would never have happened.

It was just another memorable Seafari session and we’ll do it all again in August 2023, email scoghlan@westernangler.com.au for more details.

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The winning team from the Broome Billfish Classic 2022
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2022 Seafari to the Mackerel Islands offered a timely insight into some of the other angling options