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True Blue Bonefish Fishing Update – February 2014, Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef.
I apologise for it being such a long time since my last fishing report. I have had my biggest guiding year ever in 2013, so have just not had the time to sit down until now to get this report together. Plus, late last year I swapped computers from PC to Apple which has been fairly tumultuous.
Anyway, here we go with an update finally on my new Apple iMac, hopefully!
In November we finished off some filming with ABCTV documenting our discovery of Australia’s first and only bonefish fishery. Below is a link to view the 7 minute bonefishing segment that was screened all around Australia.
I am not a massive fan of Facebook, but I have to keep up with the times, so please become my friend on Facebook, www.facebook/truebluebonefish, and like us! If you become our friend on Facebook you will get regular updates of world class fly fishing and sport fishing. Many of our customers that are not really into Facebook do keep in touch with our Facebook page quietly and send me small snippets of messages indicating that they actually do follow our exploits! In other words, you can be a closet Facebooker and keep up with our great fishing news and send us the odd email to indicate that.
Looking at the photos below you will see why we pioneered the flats fishing in Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef. There is no other guiding operation in Australia that rivals us in trophy bonefish and permit captures.
Jonathan Olch is writing the definitive book on permit fishing for publishers Wild River Press. Apparently we are one of the permit guiding operations in Australia qualified to hopefully add another chapter to the book. After travelling to the world's best permit fishing destinations to research the book, Jon was extremely impressed with our permit fishing and rated True Blue Bonefish as one of the ultimate permit destinations in the world. He caught two species of permit while fishing with us, landed 3 permit in total and dropped another boat side in our few days together! Jon caught Exmouth Gulf permit and Ningaloo Reef permit, in short he got the whole spectrum of permit fishing we have to offer. Ben also landed a nice permit while Jon was fishing with us. Have a look below for photos of these exploits. Any permit fly fisho will surely salivate and rate us as among the best permit guiding operations in Australia and possibly the world, plus we have an endless variety of other fly fishing species?
Talking of permit, I had Francois Prieur join me from Paris, France for some permit fishing in November last year. If you were permit fishing anywhere on this planet I'm pretty sure you would be happy with one or two permit for a few days fishing. Francois caught 13 while fishing with True Blue Bonefish!! For most salt water fly anglers that is heaven and more than a life time of permit captures! For our French followers, there should be a full article soon in Voyages de Peche magazine! Well done Francois!
Big GT in very shallow water provide some of the most exciting sight fly fishing you will experience. Sometimes while fishing for these mobsters of the flats, I think I have moved the boat in too shallow for the GTs to swim in, but then we spot them cruising inside us! Ben caught the one pictured below in very shallow water, the bite was awesome! At one point in time we became concerned about how much backing was in the water, so we took pursuit in the boat.
Ben Knight shows off a quality GT taken on fly in less than a half metre of water on snag free sand flats.
ABC 730 Report filming bonefish captures inside Ningaloo Reef with us, while documenting our discovery of Australia’s first and only trophy bonefish fishery. The show screened late last year all around Australia but can now be viewed using this link http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-11/the-elusive-trophy-bonefish-draws-anglers-from/5084114
Mark Tuner shows off a nice Ningaloo bonefish that featured on ABCTV 730 Report.
Occasionally I get to go fishing myself and permit are still one of my favourite target species! I got this one very recently about second cast of the morning.
Paul Vogl releases permit number five from two days of guided fishing with us.
Paul Vogl had never landed a permit before he booked two days guided fishing with us, he left us with five permit caught and released!
Not too many fly anglers have caught two species of permit in two days, Paul Vogl caught three T. anak and two T. blochii with us in two days. This one is blochii, pictured above is anak… can you pick the difference?
Stephane Lafay's main goal was to catch a big queenfish, as his good mates, Mel and John Fabrici, had sent him photos of their prize captures back in August last year.The Marlborough man shows off a great capture in very calm conditions!!
I caught my very first permit on first cast on my birthday many Boxing Days ago, my mate Ben Knight was with me on that day also! I was thrilled to get this one very early on our most recent Boxing day. Now that I think about it, most of my permit have been caught on my birthday as it is a day I cross off in my diary to fish. Back in the old days when we had Blue Lake Lodge, Rob Sloane and I would always fish for brown trout on Boxing Days, mostly in the snow, single malts followed by the lodge fire!
The permit boy of Exmouth, Mark Turner, also nailed a nice permit on Boxing Day despite all of us over indulging on Xmas day.
Stephane Lafay nailed three bonefish over 6 pounds on his first day, and lost a huge GT to Ningaloo Reef!
Chad Wittfield shows off a quality permit, on his second trip with us in two years.
Picasso's triggerfish, fell victim to a Gotcha after being enticed close to the boat after a local fresh prawn lunch!
Jonathan Olch is writing the definitive book on permit fishing with Wild River Press. Apparently we were one of the best permit guiding operations in Australia to hopefully add another chapter to the book. Jonathan was extremely impressed with our permit fishing and rated us as one of the ultimate permit destinations in the world. He caught two species of permit while fishing with us, he landed 3 permit and dropped another boat side in our few days together! More photos to follow.
Another permit for Jonathan Olch, this one T. anak. Australia will be on the map as a permit destination when the book is published on permit fishing from Wild River Press!
Ningaloo permit (T. bolchii) for Jonathan Olch. Can't wait for the definitive book on permit fishing from Wild River Press!
Nice permit for Ben while we had Jonathan Olch on the boat to show off our permit fishing!
Francois caught 13 permit while fishing with us! I'm not going to put them all up here…. just a sample for those that want to break the record?!? He also lost a new fly line to a huge GT and Ningaloo Reef coral.
If you catch 13 permit the photos all get a bit boring! Francois shows off another.
Release shot for the permit king Francois, 13 permit!!!
Check out those flats- fly fishing heaven! Francois hooked up to one of the 13 permit he landed with True Blue Bonefish!
Another of Francois 13 permit he caught while fishing with True Blue Bonefish.
Scott Terrey was obviously thrilled with this nice permit, his second of the trip.
Mission accomplished for Paul Squires, permit on fly.
We were on a permit mission but golden trevally are greedier than permit. Fortunately Neil Goodings did this one over quickly so we could get back to the permit mission.
Neil Goodings has caught some monster bonefish while fishing with us in the past. Nice to tick off the ultimate fish to catch on a fly rod!
Dom Vassallo only learnt to fly cast in July 2012, so you can understand that he is very happy with his first fly caught permit recently. Most saltwater fly fishos fish a lifetime to catch a permit. Dom has already caught a nice bonefish on fly with us!
On top of Leo Falcones bucket list was a nice tuna. This was his best of several that he caught.
We polaroided this tuna smashing bait in the waves near the boat. The bite was very exciting as it ate Steve's imitation about 5 metres from the boat, then peeled off a lot of line!
True Blue Bonefish Fishing Update – June 2013, Exmouth
and Ningaloo Reef.
True Blue Bonefish Fishing Update – June 2013, Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef.
I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to do a fishing update since February, so this is going to be a long report sorry.
Patrick Cooper shows off possibly the biggest bonefish ever landed on fly in Australian waters. This fish was caught about a week ago. We measured it at 86 cm. This is the first bonefish Patrick has ever caught! It is all downhill from there mate!
You will see from the photos above and below that this is the time of year that we start to consistently catch very big bonefish. We still have plenty of great bonefish tides available over the next few months, so send us an email if you want to see yourself holding a bonefish as big (or maybe bigger) as the one above!
Charlie Baycroft was happy with his first ever bonefish. This is also a big fish of around 83 cm.
Barramundi are an iconic Australian sports fish. About 9 years ago, if you said you were going to Exmouth to catch bonefish on fly, you would have been the laughing stock of the fly fishing fraternity. The same applies for barramundi. Exmouth is at the very most southern point of their distribution on the west coast of Australia. A few years ago my mate Ben Knight from Bluewater Tackleworld found some pockets of barramundi, but they were impossible to catch on any tackle- whether it be fly, lure or live bait!
After filling Ben up with Boags Draught and reminding him about who put him onto his first few bonefish, and that he was in my boat when he caught his first sailfish on fly, he revealed the locations of these secret barramundi haunts. Some of these barramundi are massive, well over a metre in length. The smaller fish are also in great condition, so they must eat something at some time.
Over the past few years we have gradually sussed out how to catch them reliably on fly? In fact over the past few months my clients have had some hot sessions where we have landed 6 barramundi in a few hours and lost many more. We are yet to land a metre plus barramundi but I reckon we have snapped a few off! It will only be a matter of time before a metre plus barra comes onboard.
After watching many of my clients sight cast and catch a lot of Exmouth Gulf barramundi, it was a little bit embarrassing that I had not caught one myself. So I rectified that situation a fortnight ago on a rare day off after a very long guiding stint, and caught 3 barramundi in a short session on a fast rising tide.
My mate Mark Turner also caught his first Exmouth Gulf barramundi on the same day!
In August last year there were incredible numbers of sailfish just outside Ningaloo Reef. On several occasions my clients were catching bonefish and permit on the flats and then we drove only a few miles out from the bonefish flats and teased sailfish for the fly (plus the occasional oversized marlin). We expect that these sailfish will turn up again this August and we have plenty of space to take you on a bonefish and sailfish mission, all on the same day and a few miles apart!
In August last year we were catching bonefish and permit on the flats and sailfish on fly in the afternoon.
There is also good news for our international clients. The Australian dollar is at least about 10% less valuable than it was a few months ago. So your fly fishing trip to Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef is now 10% cheaper than it was, especially if you pay now!
I’ve just had a quick look through my diary and found some really good permit and bonefish (and most other fish) tides that are still available for this year. They are as follows: 12 - 18 August; 25 August - 1 September; 24 – 31 October; 23-26 November; 29 November – 2 December; and 7 – 15 December. First to book will enjoy the fishing on these great tides! We also have other spaces for those that do not have flexibility to fish these tides.
We hope we can take you fishing soon. We hope you enjoy the fishing action from the past few months below!
Brett and Simone Wolf
Dene Moore opens up his Exmouth Gulf account with a nice queenfish. Dene caught several of these.
After losing some big queenfish “Rocket” Rod Lawson dominated on sight casting flies at Exmouth Gulf barramundi!
Dene was catching more queenfish on the second day, but Rocket was still having bad luck and losing a lot of queenfish! The queenfish were hiding amongst schools of large feeding milkfish. I figured they were pretending to be milkfish until some unsuspecting baitfish came swimming past. We discussed the possibility of tying on some weed flies and having a shot at the milkfish but the boys were having too much fun on the queenies!
Look at those terrible fishing conditions! Finally Rocket got a big queenfish to the boat- there are quite a few swimming around with his flies hanging out of their mouths!
A father and son-in-law special – double hookup to their first ever bonefish! Well done Dene and Rocket!
This photo does not do this Chinaman Cod justice, it really punished Dene. So much so that he could not even pick it up for the photo. We had to give it a drink of water and then I passed it up to Dene for the photo. I struggled to pick it up to pass it to Dene! We released it in great condition.
Jeremy Sutton and Justin Burke saw some great fish while fishing with me, including permit and big GTs in skinny water, but conditions conspired to make catching the fish very difficult. Mostly it was too calm!! The boys had a great session on barramundi and are already planning a revenge trip on those permit, big GTs, bonefish and queenfish!
Donna Froese was happy with her first Aussie bonefish.
Dougal Rillstone came to catch permit and blue bastards. We ignored metre plus queenfish cruising in a half metre of water and 20 pound golden trevally tailing in a foot of water. On the first day Dougal hooked up a massive Blue Bastard, at least 30 pounds, in very shallow water. The BB ran him into the mangroves. Somehow Dougal managed to wrestle it out into open water on 20 pound tippet. Just as we both breathed a sigh of relief, the BB headed for the mangroves again and wrapped the line around a limb and broke off! The next day Dougal landed this beautiful permit to join a very elite group of permit fishermen to have landed all three species on fly – Trachinotus falcatus, anak, and blochii- well done Dougal!
Dougal’s trip was plagued by the weather being too good! Every time the tide was perfect for permit the wind would drop out and water glass off. We could see permit tailing, finning, pushing water, but could not get close to them. The wind would come after we had lost the best tide! Dougal also had shots at 20kg+ GT in very shallow water, but they had lockjaw, which is unusual in that isolated neck of the woods. On the last afternoon the light was low and the mullet had muddied up the flat making it tough to spot fish. We both agreed it was all over, but I suggested we just try that clean patch of water a few hundred metres ahead which was a productive area for permit. We moved to it and suddenly we spotted a permit, it was too close, and then another but it was also too close. We were switched on now, the adrenalin was pumping through our veins, and then another permit appeared in water just deep enough for it to swim in. Dougal made a perfect cast, the permit was more than interested, some careful teasing with the crab fly from Dougal and the line came up tight. The rest is history!
James Ackroyd joined True Blue Bones regular Sandy Gillies in April this year. James runs a big livestock station about four hundred kilometres south of Exmouth. He is from the old school of fishing, in fact he talks about lumps of kangaroo as bait on heavy hand lines! Sandy is a purist fly fisher, so we did well to get James on a spin rod with popper to land this magnificent queenfish. James wanted to eat it but we convinced him to release it!
James also nailed some nice barramundi on poppers!
Sandy Gillies was thrilled with his brace of 4 fly caught barramundi – many others ate the fly and were not landed in an action packed session!
Anthony Collier travelled all of the way from South Africa to catch his first Aussie bonefish.
Anthony with his second Aussie bonefish on the same day! He landed a third bonefish and 2 golden trevally as well.
On the way back to the boat ramp Anthony and I watched this 4 metre hammerhead beach itself trying to eat a stingray. Unfortunately I was too late with the camera to get that shot!
Paolo from Italy was happy with this big Ningaloo golden trevally. It did about 20 laps of a large coral bombie with us following it in the boat every metre of the way- we were all dizzy in the end!
Gianpietro showing off another big Ningaloo golden trevally sight cast from the flats.
Gianpietro and Paolo enjoying a double hookup to more Ningaloo golden trevally.
Language barriers between the Italian boys and myself were restricting the numbers of good fish caught, especially permit. On the last day we got it together, the boys hooked 3 permit. Unfortunately only one was landed, but Gianpietro was very happy to get his first permit! This fish put up a great fight in very shallow water which isn’t surprising when you look at those perfect fins and big tail!
I drove Bob Sommerville up to a school of busting tuna, he started casting then suddenly yelled out in pain-ouch!!
American anglers Tom and Todd had a double hookup to longtail tuna, unfortunately the fish swam together and the boys backing became tangled. Somehow they managed to sort it out, but then Tom tried to take up some slack line and put a few turns of backing around his rod tip! I was trying to tell him to rectify the problem but he did not understand my Aussie accent, the tuna came up tight again and removed the top two sections of his fly rod!
Fortunately Tom got the rest of his fly rod back and a longtail tuna!
Fred and Jim have travelled all of the way from America to catch big bonefish and the other great species we have on offer! Cloud cover and strong wind make it tough to catch bones, but we found some fish and got the big double hookup to Aussie bones! A great photo of some happy anglers!!
Bonefish in the morning for Fred and Jim, longtail tuna in the afternoon.
Arriving at the flat the water was gin clear and it was glassy calm. Immediately we spotted two finning queenfish in about a foot of water coming straight at us. Jim made the perfect cast and was on. The jumps the big queenfish did in the calm conditions were spectacular! Jim's goal for the day was to land a big queenfish - job done first cast.
Suddenly the flat we were fishing was alive with big GT’s, metre plus queenfish and big permit. We were swapping rods flat out from 10 wts with crabs to 12 weights with big deceivers. The fish were in less than a half metre of water so we could spot the 20 kg GT’s a few hundred metres away. I was lining up 2 big GT’s when I spotted 2 feeding permit- we wanted the GT’s so the permit eventually spooked off the boat and headed towards the GT’s. I was worried they would spook the GT’s, fortunately they didn’t. I slid the boat into a good casting position, Todd made a great cast, the GT’s were hungry, both wanted to eat the fly. The bite was scary as half of the fish was out of the water when it ate the fly! I immediately started the main motor and we chased the hooked GT across the flat. We were all trembling from too much adrenalin when the big GT was eventually subdued.
Another queenfish hookup for Jim in shallow water.
Jim with another big queenfish caught in shallow water. He later lost his fly line and a lot of backing to a big GT that took a detour through the mangroves!
First cast of the day for Dean Rutherford was at a 25kg GT on the flats but it was too smart to eat the fly. We had shots at many great fish including more big GT’s, milkfish, permit, and huge queenfish, but the current was strong and the wind blowing with it, so it was difficult to get good shots. Later in the day Dean managed this small permit and dropped another permit.
Dean Rutherford and Scott Paterson totally pigged out on giant herring. Giant herring are one of the best fly rod species available, they are faster than bonefish and the jumps are insane. Dean and Scott landed about 25 and lost about the same. In the end the boys were trying to avoid them in favour of catching the big queenfish swimming in the same water.
On the way home from pigging out on giant herring we found some baitballs. Dean lost a nice Spanish mackerel right alongside the boat. Soon after he hooked and landed this longtail tuna.
Chad Wittfield hooked up to a Ningaloo golden trevally.
Chad was happy with his first Ningaloo golden trevally.
Chad then nailed his first Aussie bonefish.
Last year I did not land a single permit (my clients landed 39), I lost 3 at the boat. I was happy to land my first in well over 15 months!
Paul Grubits shows off the smallest bonefish we have ever caught. This one came from a huge school of similar sized fish. Great to see the small fish recruit into the fishery!
Peter Pakula is famous for making some of the best marlin and sailfish lures available. He also showed he is pretty handy with a fly rod!
Ash Harris was very happy with his first permit.
Ash with his first Aussie bonefish.
We were supposed to be catching permit but Ash couldn’t resist a shot at this queenfish in shallow water.
Damon Michael putting some hurt on a longtail tuna.
Damon with his longtail tuna.
Damon with his first Aussie bonefish.
Simon Susman from South Africa caught quite a few of these goldies.
A big ray came across the flat loaded with golden trevally and 2 cobia. Simon did well to extract this nice cobia from amongst all of the trevally.
We spotted this GT milling around near Ningaloo Reef. Simon made a great cast with his popper fly, gave it a few bloops and the GT smashed it! Now the difficult part, trying to prevent the fish from wrapping the fly line around the numerous coral bombies all around us. Toward the end of the fight Simon had about 40 metres of backing in the water but the fish was near the boat- the fly line was snagged in the coral! We followed the backing and fly line and freed it up, and again had direct contact with the fish and eventually landed it. It was a shame that we didn’t get a better photo as Simon was too exhausted to pick it up and it was too heavy!
Simon with a small permit caught off the back of a stingray.
We found a bunch of these queenfish smashing bait schools over deeper water. After catching a few Simon wanted to move on and look for permit on the flats.
Simon’s mate Ivan Klerk got in on the action with a bunch of Ningaloo Reef golden trevally.
On the last day Simon and Ivan teamed up on my boat for some serious baitball action. It was a fish every cast – GT, tuna, cobia, all sorts of other trevally. This is a small GT, there were 30 kg GT on the baitballs!
One of many hookups for Ivan from the baitball action.
Baitballing mack tuna.
My son Sam caught his first sailfish when he was 7 years old. At 10 years old, catching a 12 kg tuna like this is a walk in the park.
FISHING REPORT JANUARY 2013
We hope you had a great Christmas and all the best for 2013.
I delved back through all of my fishing photos for 2012 and did a rough count of the permit we caught for the year and came up with 39. All but one of these permit were caught by guided anglers, the other was caught by a friend. I did not catch a permit myself for the whole year!! I lost 3 right next to the boat!
I have no idea how many bonefish we caught as we don’t photograph all of them. As usual we did catch many double figure plus bonefish. Only a few weeks ago I had a quick look for a bonefish for myself. I hooked up to the biggest bonefish I have ever seen. The fight from this fish was very impressive, it went well into the backing several times. After a half hour battle my friend was just about to slip the landing net under the fish when the hook pulled- just not my year!
As most of you are aware there are many other great species to catch up here and we have plenty of space for 2013. We hope we can take you fishing soon.
Enjoy the photos below from the past few months.
Jason Pesa proudly shows off the first fish landed for my boat for 2013. Angry GT’s always create great excitement!
Imagine how many bonefish this big bugger has eaten in the past!! The boys mentioned they wanted to catch a barracuda so I took them to a spot where I have seen many “Basils”. A few casts and Jason was into this whopper.
Allen Tochihara has fished Mexico for bonefish but this one was a personal best on a tough overcast day at Ningaloo.
That is not a small permit – Ron Delavale has very big hands- haha! Ron was very happy.
Mike Adams was trying to be disciplined and only target permit. This queenfish was a nice icebreaker after watching some good fish swim past!
Mike also mentioned he had a weakness for big golden trevally, especially if they are tailing in a foot of water in glassy conditions!
Mike was happy with his first permit- he also has big hands!
Mike has done a few tours to Afghanistan as a British Marine and been involved in serious gun fights against the Taliban, but when I found a huge permit feeding in a foot of water, Mike said his adrenalin levels were sky high! He made the perfect cast, the permit cruised over to his fly, spooked and bolted off the flat. A few minutes later we found a pair of feeding permit in slightly deeper water. Mike made a great cast and this one came straight over and ate his fly. We were both very happy as it was getting late in the day and the light was starting to get too low to spot fish.
Max Gallagher shows off his first permit, a great effort in windy conditions late in the day!
Jono Chambers first day of saltwater fly fishing. We also found Ian Parker’s fly line that went missing to a bigger GT the day before.
Ian Parker came from minus 40 degrees in Canada to plus 40 degrees in Exmouth to get his first permit! Under cloud that was going to be a tough gig, but he managed this very nice looking permit.
Thomas Andrews proudly shows off his first Aussie bonefish, but he was here to catch permit!
This small tiger shark was also interested in Thomas’ first bonefish. Fortunately I had some rocks on board to piff at sharks that try to eat our fish. I let fly with a barrage of rocks to distract the tiger as we released the bonefish.
Thomas was still chasing that first elusive permit, but this 7 pound bonefish got in the way!
Disappointing for Thomas to get an 8 pound bonefish rather than a permit!
And yet another pesky bonefish for Thomas – probably about 11 or 12 pounds, but not a permit!
It is pretty difficult to ignore golden trevally of this quality in a half metre of water while permit fishing!
On the final day, despite serious cloud cover, Thomas was permit focussed! Despite the conditions we hung in there and finally found our fish! This permit ate the fly in about a foot of water!!!
Doug Rankin shows off a perfect T. blochii specimen. Look at that big tail and perfect dorsal and anal fins!
Kenny Macleod is a TBB regular, first fish of the trip was a mack tuna.
Kenny’s son Sam soon got in on the act for his first serious saltwater fly capture!
Sam backed it up with his first permit, only I am pretty sure this is T. anak- our very first anak. Well done Sam, it was swimming with another permit (anak or blochii?).
Neil Goodings caught a massive bonefish with us back in July. We all debated if this one was bigger or not? Maybe 12 pounds this one and about 84cm long!
A trophy bonefish for Neil but disappointing after the last one he caught half an hour before this one!
Last time Dom Vassallo fished here in July with Neil he didn’t fly fish. Neil and I put the hard words on him. Neil gave him a fly rod, Dom went home and practiced. On his November trip with us he only fly fished. This was his reward!!! Neil and Dom are booked in again for this year!
Dean Harvey was very happy with his first Aussie bonefish.
Mark Turner loves catching tailing golden trevally.
Mark would prefer to catch permit. There were plenty of small ones around in 2012, which is fantastic, but don’t worry the big ones were there too! The flat had been very quiet, then suddenly we had permit coming from all directions. Mark cast at one permit which disappeared. He was stripping the crab fly in fast to cast at another permit when he came up tight to this permit!
My son Sam made short work of this big golden on fly! The dreams of most fly anglers around the world- Sam is only 9 years old, which is why he doesn’t bother to tie up his board shorts!!
The perfect honeymoon I reckon. New wife relaxing by the pool in Exmouth and Steve Winsor showing off his first permit!
The honeymoon got even better for Steve – the permit got bigger and he knocked off early for a cuddle. It doesn’t get much better than that!!
FISHING REPORT OCTOBER 2012
I love the warmer months up here. As the water on the shallow flats warms up the permit fishing really hots up. There is no more addictive form of fly fishing than permit fishing.
Billy Bird is here for his second trip in less than a year to catch permit. He got 3 or 4 last year and was very happy with his first of the trip this year.
Billy Bird shows off this whopping permit he caught a few days ago.
Funny to think when I first started guiding here we pretty much ignored any permit we spotted as it was just too difficult to get them to eat a fly.
From years of observation and refining techniques and flies, I now expect my clients to catch permit when we go fishing on good tides. On many occasions my clients are now catching more than one permit per day. Presentation is critical, if you can cast long and reasonably accurate, I can put you onto a permit or 3!
Recently Brendan Jackson joined me for two days fishing with the main aim being to catch his first bonefish and permit. On the first day we fished the Exmouth Gulf flats for permit, Brendan landed 3 permit including this thumper below!
Brendan Jackson with his third permit landed on day one.
The following day we fished the Ningaloo Reef flats, as Brendan needed to tick bonefish off his bucket list. After catching a few pesky golden trevally and blue trevally, we spotted a feeding permit. Brendan made a good cast and the permit rushed over and he was on. It was a weird feeling as we were both a bit disappointed that it wasn’t a bonefish!
Ningaloo permit hookup.
Brendan was almost disappointed to catch his fourth permit instead of a bonefish.
So now Brendan had 3 Exmouth Gulf permit and 1 Ningaloo Reef permit in a day and a bit of fishing, but still no bonefish!
Just before lunch I finally spotted a few bonefish. While I was trying to line up the bones for a good shot, another mob turned up, swimming straight at us. Brendan made a perfect cast, let the fly sink, a big bonefish broke from the mob, tilted and the line came up tight.
Brendan was very happy with his first bonefish. Bonefish of this size (and bigger) are a common capture here.
Anyway Brendan went on to catch 2 more bonefish and another permit to make it 5 permit and 3 bonefish in 2 days fishing!!
The book says you can’t catch permit when there is no wind!
Ningaloo permit number 2.
Brendan with bonefish number 2, we didn’t get a photo of bonefish number 3 as we opted for a quick release.
There are lots of other great species that can be targeted over the warm months. For example, the flats fishing for giant trevally gets really good. Only this week I took Billy Bird to a GT haunt after he caught the massive permit pictured at the top of this newsletter, as he needed a new challenge after nailing that big permit!
In no time at all we had spotted a bunch of giant trevally, cruising in less than a half metre of water. The sight of 15-25 kg fish cruising in shallow water was just too exciting for Billy and the casting went a little wayward. We also spotted a giant herring that was easily 10 kg. Giant herring that size will seriously test the backing capacity of most fly reels! The queenfish we saw were also pushing 10 kg and all came 5 metres to eat the fly. Unfortunately the wind got up and we had to pull the pin and get closer to the launch ramp before we could fully explore the GT flat. However, I will be heading back over there as soon as conditions allow.
The big bonefish are here all year round, as are most species you see on my web site. The sailfish have been exceptional this year. There are a few photos below of some of our recent action.
We have plenty of space over the warmer months and the fishing is normally red hot so we hope we can take you fishing soon!
Brett and Simone Wolf
John Travis hooked up to a bonefish.
John Travis was happy with his first Aussie bonefish.
Matt Nidd with permit number 1 on day 1.
Matt with permit number 2 on day 1.
Matt was keen to catch a golden trevally, this one was hooked in half a metre of water but towed us out into deep water.
Zev Waserman with a flats caught golden trevally.
Zev lives in the Bahamas, but he was very happy with his first Aussie bonefish.
Jock Darke from Tasmania enjoyed the fighting qualities of his first Aussie bonefish. Later that day Jock hooked a black marlin and played it for a very long time on an outfit I had rigged for smaller sailfish. We rushed it at the end as Jock was exhausted and it was getting late in the day (and there was good finals footy on the tv). I grabbed the leader on the marlin, and it went ballistic. We ended up snapping it off in the mayhem, and didn’t get a photo!
Ben Darke also nailed a nice bonefish.
After his boys had each caught a bonefish, Mark Darke grabbed a fly rod and nailed this nice golden trevally.
Jock nailed this rainbow runner on a popper on the way out to go catch sailfish (or marlin). This is the first rainbow runner I have seen at Ningaloo.
These humpbacks got a bit close for comfort while we were anchored up berleying for Spanish mackerel.
This is my son Sam’s first Spanish mackerel. Kids in Exmouth are spoilt for fishing, Sam is 9 years old and has already caught sailfish and big tuna etc…
We stuck the gaff into this Spanish mackerel- our kids love eating fish!
Kirk Kuykendall was obviously happy with his first Aussie bonefish.
Grant Dolan nailed 2 of these big bonefish and then booked another trip.
Liam Dolan with a golden trevally sight cast on the flats.
Mark Turner hooked up to a Ningaloo Reef bonefish.
Mark shows off a nice bonefish.
Then it was my turn to catch a bonefish- it had been a long time between bonefish for me!
I still get excited about catching bonefish!
I am not always a fly fishing purist. When we want some good table fish we go out to 350 metres of water and drop baits down using 120 pound braid, a couple of kilos of lead and an electric reel! We target ruby snapper which are exceptional eating. The monster from the deep pictured middle above is an 8 bar cod, which are also good to eat. That is me on the left and my mate Phil (Banjo) Patterson on the right.
FISHING REPORT AUGUST 2012
I apologise for the delay in providing this report but I have been very busy and then got a dose of the man flu on my few days off that I had earmarked to do this report.
We had some quiet times on the flats during the coldest period of winter. Our nights were averaging 4 degrees below the long term average minimums. The water temperature on the bonefish flats in the mornings was dropping to around 18 degrees. This is water that a brown trout from Tasmania could happily swim around in!
There were very few stingrays, trevally or permit, but the big bonefish stayed on those flats and kept feeding. You will see below that not too many of my customers missed out on catching a memorable bonefish!
Neil Goodings with a huge bonefish.
The water is now warming on the flats and the stingrays have returned bringing with them permit, various trevally and spangled emperor. The fishing on the gulf flats is also improving. Lately we have been finding pods of metre long queenfish in very shallow water, often less than half a metre deep. These queenfish can be tricky, but they are catchable and the fight is spectacular in such shallow water.
Simon Milne loves catching big queenfish from shallow water.
Permit are also moving onto the gulf flats as we start to enter prime time permit fishing season!
Recently sailfish have been available in unprecedented numbers, just a few miles away from the best bonefish flats. It is possible to spend the morning on the bonefish flats, then venture out and tow some teasers for a sailfish on fly or vice versa! Most times we try we are raising at least 6 sailfish in a few hours, sometimes pods of them at once. The next few months will offer the perfect opportunity to get a sailfish on a fly rod (or conventional tackle) for those keen to fish with us!
Me posing for a quick photo with another of Simon Milne’s sailfish before a quick and healthy release.
Enjoy the photos below from the past few months. I hope we can take you fishing soon.
Brett and Simone Wolf
Finally late in the day I convinced Peter Megens and Simon Milne to put down the spin tackle and get out their fly rods. This was the result, double hookup to big queenies in shallow water.
Peter with the first of the two queenfish from the double hookup.
Simon with the other queenfish from the double hookup.
Peter Megens with his first of two sailfish he landed.
Simon hooked up to another sailfish.
Another sailfish hookup- check out those horrible conditions!
Simon with a mahimahi for the table. We had a double hookup but Peter’s dolphinfish threw the hook when it jumped.
There were lots of these queenfish about but they were tricky to fool with the fly.
Martin Thorpe was a novice fly fisher and was happy to land this nice golden trevally after getting reefed by a bigger goldy.
Great first morning for Dave Moxon- permit hookup!
Dave with his first Ningaloo permit- he caught a big gulf permit last year.
John Lewis with a big Aussie bonefish on the first day of the trip!
John caught a gulf permit last year, this is his first Ningaloo permit.
John showing off a big Ningaloo goldy.
There were heaps of these big queenfish cruising around in a foot of water on the incoming tide.
Dave with his first fly caught sailfish.
Larry Scott has fished with me several times in Tasmania. He finally made it to Exmouth to catch his first Aussie bonefish.
Ed Scott with his first bonefish. Last chance to improve the sun tan before heading home to a Melbourne winter!
David McCarthy was thrilled with his first bonefish.
Dave caught this spangled emperor on a soft plastic.
Anyone fancy a snorkel? That is over 4 metres of tiger shark in the lagoon.
Bob McCarthy was excited to land his first bonefish.
Dave with his second bonefish for the day.
Nick D’antoine stayed at our lodge in Tasmania many years ago. He was thrilled with his first bonefish.
This bonefish has had a tough time. Looks like it has been chewed by a barracuda or shark in recent weeks, and then Anthony caught it!
This small tiger shark joined us for our fresh prawn lunch.
Dom Vassallo with his first bonefish.
Dustin Dean was very happy with his second Aussie bonefish.
Dustin Dean with a Ningaloo golden trevally.
60th birthday present for Jeff Baldock, tough conditions too!
Scott Winnings with a quality Aussie bonefish!
Mel Proudlock with a quality golden trevally, sight cast on fly on the flats!
Goldspot trevally love a popper.
Steve McVey caught this big giant herring on a GT popper!
Mel Proudlock showing off a quality shark mackerel.
We were chasing big GT’s but this small one was willing to eat a big popper!
This big golden trevally ate Mel ’s popper.
Steve McVey with a sight cast golden trev.
Mel Proudlock was not going to let this bonefish slip through his fingers.
Samm Acaster had one day guided fishing and got this nice bonefish.
Tony Smith with the first of 2 bonefish he caught.
Tony was also happy with his second bonefish.
This golden trev was the biggest fish Jack Lee had caught on a fly rod.
Tori Everhard with a nice spangled emperor.
Tori with a goldspot trev.
Tori out fished her Dad and boyfriend!
Peter Tolliday was happy with his flats caught goldy.
A small GT like this can pull very hard.
Peter Tolliday with a tasty coral trout caught on fly- not quite big enough to eat!
Ian Hewson with his first Aussie bonefish.
FISHING REPORT MAY 2012
The fishing has been red hot lately and we have plenty of space so we hope we can take you fishing soon!
For those that missed our latest feature on Fishing Australia ‘Permit Required’ it will be screening on TV across most of Australia this Sunday 13 May on GO! digital TV at 1pm. Many of my clients from Sydney and Melbourne were disappointed they missed out on the show- well here is your chance!
The WHOLE show is on fly fishing for permit and should not be missed. While filming, we were all feeling immense pressure, it was a very risky project. The only aim was to catch a permit and get great video footage of doing just that. We let huge giant herring, metre plus queenfish and tailing golden trevally swim past unscathed.
Catching permit is difficult enough, but doing it for TV is a different kettle of fish. On board my five and half metre boat, we had the presenter, Rob Paxevanos (who is a top fly fisho), a producer, a cameraman, a sound man and me. The Minn Kota electric motor was working very hard to manoeuvre the overloaded boat to get shots at cruising permit.
I would spot a cruising permit and the cameraman would leap up to start filming, bang the hull and the permit would leave the flat! Anyway about 3 hours into filming on the first day, Rob hooked up to what we estimated to be a 20 pound permit, it pulled his full fly line and about 50 metres of backing off his reel, and was getting perilously close to the mangroves. If you want to know what happened next you will need to watch GO! Digital TV at 1pm this Sunday… there is a particularly tense moment that follows!
I hope you enjoy the show!
Rob Paxevanos - not the 20 pounder but a fine permit caught on film and look at that beautiful Exmouth weather.
A nice GT hooked in skinny water!
You might remember in my last newsletter we found a flat that had big GTs on it in Exmouth Gulf. Anyway shortly after that Matt Gates from Bluewater Tackle joined me on a GT mission. Yes the GTs were there and I hooked up briefly to a 20 kg GT but a loop of fly line wrapped around my reel seat (yes , I can hear all of those that I have taken fishing before saying “muppet”). In my defence, I was trying for a double as there were at least 4 big GTs near my hooked fish, and I was yelling for Matt to get his fly in the mix. Then I looked down and noticed the full wrap round my reel seat, the word “muppet” was ringing in my ears when the fly line snapped like a rifle shot!
Matt and I managed some accidental bycatch on our GT mission!
This brassy trevally for Matt was disappointing!
I saw a shape in dirty water and cast and was disappointed- not a big GT!
Back to the topic of permit – many of my most recent clients have also been very permit focussed. Tim Youngkin was one of these anglers. Can you imagine travelling all of the way from the USA and not casting at 20 pound plus tailing golden trevally? I reckon Tim knocked back close to 50 shots at tailing golden trevally in preference of being ready to get a shot at an Aussie permit.
Well Tim nailed his Aussie permit and it was easily a 15 pounder!
Tim Youngkin with his first Aussie permit.
Dave Farley joined Tim with his first Aussie permit.
Dave proved his first permit was not a fluke – Aussie permit number 2!
We let Dave cast at this small tailing goldy as it was not going to waste too much permit fishing time to land.
When our best permit tides were gone we found some insane baitball action. The baitballs were loaded with 25 kg plus black GTs, cobia, sharks, golden trevally, mack tuna, longtail tuna … The challenge was to get the fly past all of the tuna to hook a big GT. We did manage to do this but the boys played these big GTs for a long time before equipment failure let them down!
If you are not hooked up here your fly is not in the water!
Any fish down there??
While Tim and Dave were both hooked up, the baitball sought refuge by my Yamaha outboard, but this did not stop the predators from smashing them right next to the boat. I have video footage and will post it on my website when I work out how to do it. Anyway I spotted about a 10 kg cobia amongst the mayhem near my outboard- cobia happen to be one of daughter’s (Jessica) favourite eating fish. In a moment of madness I grabbed my speargun from the rod locker, loaded it, and squeezed the trigger!
As soon as I squeezed the trigger I thought “what am I doing”! Anyway it was a sweet head shot, straight through the top of the head, the next challenge was to untangle the cobia from my motor and drag it onboard before the 4 metre bullsharks ate it. I’m pretty sure my American customers who were still both hooked up were concerned about the sanity of their fishing guide and a blood covered boat! It was a very untidy experience but Jess was happy with her cobia fillets! I don’t recommend using a speargun while standing in your boat!
The baitball action continued for days so following are some photos of Tim and Dave getting punished by big baitballing fish!
Dave getting punished- lucky the Gulf is only 20 metres deep!
What do you think our chances are here of hooking something first cast?!
Tim looking relaxed with another big longtail.
Tim with another pesky longtail tuna – we were chasing those big GTs!
It kept happening day after day- Tim with another pesky tuna.
No skill required here –Dave hooked up again!
Tim and I had a few days off then his mate Simon Hazelden joined him for some more fishing. The weather wasn’t kind enough for us to go look for those baitballs so we fished the Ningaloo Reef flats. I found some bonefish and both Simon and Tim hooked up simultaneously, but Tim’s bonefish threw the hook.
Simon with a very big Aussie bonefish.
Simon caught a bigger bonefish but it slipped from his fingers back into the water before we could get a photo! Both Simon and Tim weakened on the last day and cast at some golden trevally.
Simon with a great golden trevally.
Despite my misgivings about goldies they are an iconic flats species in Oz.
Anyway when Tim departed I had a few days off as my good mate Ian Dollery was supposed to be permit fishing with me but pulled the pin on me. I was still obsessed with those 25+kg GTs I had been seeing on those baitballs so I took my son, Sam, and father in law Trevi (Trevor) out in search of some punishing action.
We motored out to the area where I had been seeing the baitballing action but it was a bit quiet. I found some tuna and Sam hooked up to about an 8 kg longtail tuna on spin tackle. Sam was standing right next to me in the cockpit and Trevi was up front. I grabbed a spin rod that had a popper (with hooks on it for a change) on it. I threw the popper out and started blooping it. When the popper was about 10 metres from the boat a Spanish mackerel of around 10 kg ate it and got airborne, like a missile, heading straight at Sam and I. We had a millisecond to react. Sam (still hooked up to his tuna) swayed to the right like Danny Green to avoid a head on assault with razor sharp teeth from the airborne mackerel. I spun around as the mackerel (with razor sharp teeth) was coming straight at me! Fortunately its mouth was shut when it bounced off my back and momentarily got it’s head stuck in the spokes of the steering wheel!
We were all totally stunned including the mackerel, it was hanging from my steering wheel, but then it woke up and went ballistic, it shook it’s head loose from the steering wheel and tried to smash all of my fly rods in the cockpit. I grabbed it by the tail and hung on- not an easy task. Sam was safe on the back casting deck and I think Trevi was still coming to grips with a fishing outing with his favourite grandson that went crazy! It made shooting the cobia from the back of the boat seem like child’s play! This was seriously insane action and I am so glad the mackerel had it’s mouth shut when it bounced off my back! After the mackerel bit off my popper and got airborne it graciously delivered the popper back to the bottom of my boat!
After we got the boat back in order, Trevi nailed another Spaniard and we all decided we’d had enough action and enough fish to eat!
Sam with a nice longtail tuna- kids in Exmouth are spoilt for fishing!!
The Spaniard Sam is holding is the one that bounced off my back!
Everett Groseclose is a top bloke! He fished with us again this year with his son and law Andrew. I was desperate to get Everett some great fish but we had to battle the wind and tides. On the first day Everett had a huge permit tilt twice on his fly but no bite.
Everett and Andrew’s bycatch are featured below. Hopefully we can organize some serious permit tides for Everett in the future! Although he doesn’t look too disappointed with that bonefish- a bonefish of that calibre is not bycatch anywhere on this planet!!
Everett with a BIG bonefish!!
Everett with a nice golden trevally.
Andrew was Happy with this golden trevally.
Like Everett, Scott Buell is one of those totally likeable American blokes. Scott and his wife Cessily had a few moments to spare when they arrived in Exmouth, so they went and found my wife Simone at work and had a chat!
There are not many places in the world where you can catch permit reliably (on bad tides). Hey Scott can you tell Jack Nicholson about me?
Scott had just dropped a very big bonefish thanks to some coral reef- this hookup was soon after!
This photo didn’t do this 7 pound plus bonefish justice!
Another trophy bonefish for Scott.
Look at that beautiful fish and beautiful water (and bad photography)!
I really enjoyed my time guiding Scott, and I learnt heaps about other flats fishing around the world. Scott has fished regularly with the top guides in Florida for big tarpon. Including guides that are on standby just to take Jack Nicholson fishing at his whim, like Scott said, dream guide job! Jack, if you are listening I am available and we have good fishing here!!
It was the same permit program for Scott, ignoring 20 pound golden trevally tailing in a foot of water in favour of catching permit- very disciplined! The tides were not quite right to get seriously good permit fishing.
Scott landed 2 of these 65 cm spangled emperor when the wind picked up.
Scott hooked up to a big bonefish!
After Scott had finished fishing, True Blue Bones regular, John Waggott, joined us for a few days fishing. It was the same permit gig, with lots of shots at tailing golden trevally being ignored in favour of targeting the most prestigious fly rod target- permit! However, John couldn’t resist catching this metre plus queenfish from less than half a metre of water!
John couldn’t resist this big queenfish in skinny water!
When we catch permit this small it makes me think about my good friend Geoff Volter who has caught a bunch of small blochii permit! Geoff also has not caught a proper sized permit as yet! Hang in there mate!
John has been to the Seychelles but this bonefish is bigger than any he caught there!
Anyway we have lots of space and hope we can take you fishing soon.
Enjoy the permit fishing show on Sunday on GO! digital at 1pm. As far as fly fishing shows go on TV this is seriously good.
FISHING REPORT MARCH 2012
You will see that there are not many photos of bonefish below. The reason is that the boat ramp I use to access the bonefish flats was demolished in November and reconstructed. We now have a two lane boat ramp, complete with twin jetties. The new boat ramp was reopened a few weeks ago, so we again have access to both sides of North West Cape and many more fishing options.
The new twin lane boat ramp at Tantabiddi.
Jason Schratwieser and Dave
Matagiese from the International Game Fishing Association came to Exmouth to put
some satellite tracking tags in some big marlin. Jason is from Florida which is
pretty much the birthplace of bonefishing.
The boys were keen to catch an Aussie bonefish as they are a different species than the Florida bonefish. They were also very keen to catch a big golden trevally. Anyway it wasn’t long before we found some feeding bonefish. Jason made a nice long cast, well out in front of the fish, they lunged at the fly and he was on. At the end of the fight Jason was extremely impressed with the size of his first Aussie bonefish!
Jason Schratwieser was very happy with his first Aussie bonefish – 80cm.
We managed to find some even bigger bonefish, but the wind was getting stronger and I just couldn’t get the boat into a position to give the boys a shot before the bonefish disappeared. Then a school of big golden trevally appeared on the flat. Jason and Dave both hooked up but Jason’s fish fell off. After a strong fight Dave landed his.
Dave with a quality golden trevally.
There are two species of permit in Australia. The species that is most common in our waters is Trachinotus blochii. The other species, T. anak, occurs mostly further north from here. Very few anglers have caught both species.
Peter Morse and Fish Philliskirk are some of the best known salt water fly anglers in Australia. Both of them have caught plenty of anaks but never a blochii. So, Morsie and Fish joined me on a mission to catch their first blochii.
On the first morning the tides were good, the light wasn’t too bad, but for the first few hours we could not find any permit. I knew this was going to happen, two of the finest fly anglers in Australia on my boat, but no permit to cast at (we were ignoring the pods of 20 pound golden trevally that were tailing on the flats and metre plus queenfish that cruised past). Finally we spotted a permit but it was only really half a chance.
Soon after, we spotted another permit coming towards the boat, Morsie made a good cast and the permit moved over to look at his fly. Fish dropped his fly about 5 metres off to one side of the permit, just as a backup in case it refused Peter’s fly. The permit detected the fly landing and deviated away from Morsie’s fly over to Fish’s fly and tilted on it. I told Fish to strike, he did and was on.
It wasn’t too long before I slipped my landing net under Fish’s first blochii.
Fish Philliskirk has caught a lot of permit, but this is his first T. blochii.
After Morsie had finished photographing Fish’s permit we started fishing again. After a few shots Morsie hooked up a nice permit, but about 15 minutes into the fight the hook pulled and team morale went from super high to a fair bit lower.
I moved to a shallower section of the flat and we had a few more shots at permit but had no luck. We spotted a big permit that was tailing and finning in very shallow water, but it was generally heading away from us. We pursued it for quite a long distance over the flat using the Minn Kota electric motor until it finally turned and Morsie made the cast. A few twitches of the crab fly got the permit’s attention, it shuffled over and tilted. I yelled “hit it” and Morsie was on. After a great battle and many tense moments, including the permit charging underneath the boat and trying to wrap the line around the Minn Kota and Yamaha, we landed Morsie’s first blochii.
We kept the permit in the landing net in the water to move it back to some shallow water for some photography, when Fish spotted another nice permit, a quick cast and he was on. The photo below says it all.
Two fine permit for two great anglers.
The following day we were plagued by patchy cloud cover, which seemed to lie exactly between the sun and where we wanted to fish. Morsie did however manage to score his second blochii.
Morsie with his second T. blochii.
The weather forced us to fish the Ningaloo side of North West Cape. I managed to negotiate with the boat ramp builder to use the almost complete boat ramp to launch the boat. Again we were plagued by patchy cloud but Fish managed this bonefish and we caught and lost others.
Fish with a modest (by our standards) 5 pound bonefish.
Morsie couldn’t resist casting the crab fly at the mobs of tailing golden trevally when we were supposed to be permit fishing.
Morsie and Fish then joined the Boneheads fly fishing group from Perth for their annual fly fishing trip. Morsie is the mentor for the group, Fish was tagging along. Anyway a few of the boys enjoyed some success with permit and Morsie caught a big GT on a flat I had never fished before. So Fish encouraged me to join him, on my boat to explore the area.
We immediately found lots of metre plus queenfish in very shallow water but ignored them. I spotted a monster GT (at least 30 kg) picked up my 12 wt and made the cast. The GT chased the fly but did not eat.
Morsie nailed this GT while wading, on a permit fly – fantastic effort!
Anyway Fish and I found lots of permit, but the water was glassy calm and clear, and apart from that, most of them would not even look at the fly. Finally I had a permit tilt on my fly, hit him, and was on. I played it a lot harder than normal as there were a lot of frisky sharks around. I had it all the way back to the boat almost ready to be landed, but the hook pulled – no photo! Soon after, Fish relinquished and caught this nice giant herring (after ignoring many big queenfish)!
Fish with a nice giant herring.
The permit and big queenfish kept filing past and we kept on not catching them. Then I spotted a big GT coming straight at us in half a metre of water. I lay down my permit rod and grabbed my 12 wt. I made a reasonable cast, the 30 kg GT was all over my fly, when suddenly a 10 kg golden trevally came out of nowhere and snatched my fly away from the GT!! In frustration I grabbed the fly line and hand lined the golden trevally. In my haste the 40 pound leader broke!
It wasn’t long before we spotted another really big GT in very shallow water, but it was moving slowly away from us. I started tracking it with the Minn Kota electric motor, when suddenly I spotted 3 other GTs coming straight at us. I made the cast and the GT pictured below monstered my fly. There was some snaggy water between where I hooked the GT and the deeper water but fortunately I had Fish with me to drive the boat to steer the GT through the snags.
My best fly caught GT from less than half a metre of water!
Before we knocked off for the long boat ride home, Fish weakened and cast at this big queenfish.
Kenny Macleod and John Edwards are True Blue Bonefish frequent visitors, but a series of events had meant the guys had not made it to fish with us for a few years. Kenny and John were both keen for permit but there were a few tuna around and I figured it might be a good way to watch some backing disappear while we waited for the permit tides to improve.
Kenny Macleod with the first fish of the trip, a mack tuna.
John Edwards testing the strength of his fly rod on a tuna.
John with his rod bending mack tuna.
To break up the tuna action we went looking for some big queenfish, but instead we found bunches of shark mackerel busting up bait schools. As usual with any sort of mackerel action, we hooked plenty, lost a lot of flies, and landed a few.
Kenny with a sight cast shark mackerel.
When the tides had improved slightly we hit some permit flats. The permit were hard to find but after a few shots John managed the Holy Grail of fly fishing – his first permit!
I promised John a permit, despite unfavourable tides.
Kenny moved to the front of the boat. We were sneaking along quietly using the electric motor, fishing into the rising tide, the water was getting deeper than I liked it to be. I spotted something that looked like a permit, but it wasn’t moving. Then it moved slightly and tilted on its head. Even better, a feeding permit! Kenny cast and let the fly sink to the bottom, twitched it, the permit rushed over, Kenny hit it and was on!
I’m sure Kenny and John will be back soon for more permit and big bonefish- and Kenny still wants to catch a big GT on the flats!
This permit pounced on Kenny’s crab fly, it might look small but Kenny is about 6 foot 5!
Steve and Joan Reem are like most of my clients, an absolute pleasure to take fishing. When I first met Joan, she said all she wanted to do was catch a permit. Arriving at the flat we set up and moved into position, almost immediately I spotted 2 permit cruising the edge of a dropoff. Joan made the perfect cast, but in the early morning glare I lost sight of the permit. Then suddenly I could see one of the permit and it was right where I thought Joan’s fly should be. I told her to strike, she did and eventually came up tight to the permit below!
Joan Reem with her first permit – first cast of the day.
Steve had caught permit before, but not this species. Not long after Joan caught her first permit, Steve got his first T. blochii. Probably the first husband and wife team to catch this species of permit on the same day in Aussie waters?
Steve Reem with his first Aussie permit.
Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Joan got another permit and a huge queenfish. Steve generously gave Joan the best shots!
Joan Reem with her second permit.
Joan with a big queenfish.
On a day off I took my son Sam, my mate Steve Michaels and his son Hayden out fishing for tuna in Exmouth Gulf, not far from the marina. Sam landed this fine tuna below. Then Steve spotted a big black smudge in the water. We debated what it was until a big whaleshark swam up to the boat and hung around us while we all had a swim with it!
Sam with a longtail tuna.
We all had a swim with this Exmouth Gulf whaleshark.
Kevin Sproule has fished for permit in some of the best permit fishing destinations on the planet but had never caught one. On the first morning fishing with me he got three permit!
Kevin Sproule, first of three permit on day one.
And then there were three.
Another permit from a different area- four permit in two days!
Over the next few days we fished Ningaloo Reef and chased tuna in the Gulf not far from Exmouth.
Hooked up to a Ningaloo golden trevally.
Kevin’s first golden trevally.
Longtail tuna from Exmouth Gulf.
Ningaloo hookup while wading.
Between Christmas and New Year I normally have some time off, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do than go permit fishing.
Guides day off- a permit for me!
Boxing Day is my birthday and my birthday wish is always to go fishing. Ben and I were a bit under the weather owing to a little bit too much Christmas cheer, but we managed 3 permit before lunch and I lost another after a long fight.
Ben with permit number one on Boxing Day.
Me with the second permit for the boat on Boxing Day.
Ben with permit number three on Boxing Day.
We have plenty of space for this year so we hope we can take you fishing soon.
FISHING REPORT DECEMBER 2011
Merry Christmas to all of you and best wishes for a fantastic new year. We hope to see you soon for some great fishing!
The latest issue of FlyLife Magazine has an article, “Permit Pressure”, by FlyLife editor and publisher, Rob Sloane, about his recent successful trip to Exmouth to fish with me to catch his first permit. The magazine should be available in your local newsagent, otherwise get on the internet at www.flylife.com.au.
Rob Sloane from FlyLife hooked up to his first permit.
Rob with his first permit- see the latest FlyLife for details.
As predicted the permit fishing has been sensational over the past few months and will remain that way for a lot of months to come. I am learning more everyday about this elusive, and much sought after, pinnacle species of fly fishing. There is no doubt about it, that as a fly fisher you should not go to the grave without a permit capture under your belt! I reckon a double figure bonefish is also very important!
Lately I have been finding big permit in less than a foot of water, tailing and feeding without a care in the world - in the middle of bright sunny days! Seeing that big sickle tail come out of the water gets the most experienced fly casters casting like beginners! If you can hold your nerve together, these fish are very catchable as they are feeding full on over this shallow ground. Just ask Billy Bird- see below!
Yesterday I finally had a day off after a very busy spell of guiding. So I went fishing for permit with my mate Mark Turner. Just as I predicted, with the tides getting less favourable, the permit were not on the flats like they had been while I was working, but we did get a few shots.
It wasn’t long before we spotted a stingray loaded with permit. Mark made the cast and I saw a bunch of permit spook off. Mark twitched his crab, as there were still permit sniffing around the stingray, and soon after came up tight to a permit.
My mate Mark Turner hooked up to a permit on a leisurely day off for me!
Mark with his permit.
It wasn’t long before I got a shot at some more permit feeding on the back of a stingray. I nailed this small one. Catching small permit like this one allows you to join a very elite group of fly fishers called the “Geoff Volter small permit only club”! I’m sure Geoff will be in touch soon to confirm my membership of this exclusive group!
John Philbrick is a well known fly fisher in the south eastern states of Australia. John and his son Andre joined me for some serious permit fishing. Andre had never done any serious saltwater fly fishing, so was happy to catch anything. We pressured him into ignoring all of the queenfish and trevally swimming past. Occasionally he spoke his mind, so we tied on a clouser and he stretched his fly line on queenfish and trevally. On this occasion he had the crab fly tied on and nailed this nice permit. A fantastic capture for a first time salty fly fisher!
Andre’s dad John was over the moon about Andre’s permit capture, but he was now all the more keen to get himself a permit. I lined up a nice permit in very shallow water, John made the perfect cast, twitched the crab perfectly, the permit followed, followed, tilted and the line came up tight! Twenty tense minutes later John had a fish that most fly fishers around this planet only dream of catching!
Billy Bird is one of those Australian characters you will never forget. Bill booked 5 days with the aim to catch only 1 permit. On the first morning Bill nailed this “Voltzy Club” permit off the back of a ray. He was over the moon. I said we could do better - see below!!
Bill playing out a big permit in very shallow water.
Billy Bird with his second permit on the first day of a five day trip to catch one permit. He also snapped off a big permit just before this one (sorry Bill). Big permit like this take a long time to land, this one took about 45 minutes to land and we started to worry it was foul hooked, but as you can see it wasn’t!
Golden trevally were tailing in a foot of water in front of us but we ignored them in favour of catching permit!!! Finally Bill weakened and hooked this one up. It took about 20 minutes to land!! NO MORE GOLDIES!
Bill got his casting back on track to land his third permit!
A group of fishers from Taiwan joined me for a variety of fishing. The most memorable fishing was when my mate Steve Michaels rang me and said he had found a crazy baitball. We followed his careful directions and found him eventually, sitting on his jet ski in the middle of nowhere, on a baitball with sharks at least as twice as big as his jet ski in a feeding frenzy!
On the main baitball were sharks and massive cobia. On the edges were any sort of trevally, queenfish, or tuna you could dream of! Yep, a turkey shoot, but the sharks were so well fed they left our hooked fish alone, especially when we backed the drag off and let the hooked fish swim away from danger.
Any fish down there?
Jamie Ling getting punished by a big baitballing trevally.
Every cast was a fish- Jamie Ling with a big brassy trevally. Photo Jerry Chng.
Dave Chew getting punished by a big trevally.
Dave and a brassy trevally. Photo Jerry Chng.
Jerry with a big cobia. Photo Jerry Chng.
Jamie Ling with a spangled emperor for dinner. Photo Jerry Chng.
Jerry with a Ningaloo goldy. Photo Jerry Chng.
Andrew Martin caught 3 permit while fishing with us last year. In November this year he hooked this permit first cast of the trip to take his permit tally to 4 landed with True Blue Bones.
Hookup to permit number 5 for Andrew.
Permit number 5 was a big fish!
Number 6 permit in 2 trips was probably the most stressful permit of the lot. This fish did not pull out any line but kept swimming under the boat and trying to wrap around the Minn Kota!
Peter Dillon’s wife, Imogen, gave him a gift of a day of guided fishing for his birthday. What better present can you ask for your birthday as a fly fisher- first permit?
Stuart Tait was happy with this nice Exmouth Gulf queenfish.
Stuart hooked up to his first permit!
Stuart and his permit.
There was some cloud about that made the flats fishing tough, so we got out some berley and it wasn’t long before Stuart was way out into the backing with this shark mackerel.
I had a day off so went fishing with my mate Matt Gates from Bluewater Tackleworld in Exmouth. We found two big rays loaded with fish. Matt did the decoy for me and hooked up this big golden trevally, everyone knows I love catching big goldies! Then we towed it around with Matt’s backing running desperately low while I pursued a nice cobia still swimming just out of fly casting range with the rays.
Finally, just before Matt ran out of backing with me towing his goldy around, I nailed the cobia on a DNA clouser.
Arriving at the bonefish flat, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me- surely that wasn’t a massive school of bonefish just behind us? It was, I repositioned the boat so James and Andrew Stevenson could both get a shot. A small golden trevally came off the edge of the school of bonefish and ate James’ fly. Andrew hooked up and landed this big bonefish.
American angler McAndrew Rudisill had never caught queenfish before and was very impressed with this one from shallow water.
This queenfish was in shallower water and was bigger again!
Stuart Fagan joined me to catch a permit. He got this one first cast of the trip. The following day Stuart lost a very big one after having it on for at least 10 minutes.
Stuart hooked up to a big queenfish.
A big queenfish for Stuart.
The ‘Voltzy small permit curse’ got me again on my day off! I saw this one tilting on my fly and hit it and got him.
Nick Pemberton has been a bit crook so wanted to catch a big bonefish. Within the first hour of the first day he got this one. So I lifted the bar and suggested a permit should be included on his bucket list.
So the next day we went permit fishing. It didn’t take long before Nick hooked up a permit.
Nick with his permit.
Two permit are better than one - another permit for Nick!
A queenfish was a nice way to finish off a short day on the flats.
After Rob Sloane got his permit we had a day inside Ningaloo Reef, mostly so Libby could look at the turtles. There weren’t any bonefish on offer so Rob nailed this goldy as a consolation prize.
Ben Diggles from Fishing World was impressed with his first Aussie bonefish.
Ben and I had a rare day off together on the Ningaloo flats. This is the second bonefish that Ben caught within a few minutes.
We didn’t get a photo of Ben’s first bonefish as I had this one attached to my fly line.
We have plenty of space to take you fishing next year so we hope to see you soon.
Best wishes for a fantastic Christmas and even better 2012!
Brett and Simone Wolf
FISHING REPORT AUGUST 2011
The fishing is great at Exmouth for 12 months of the year, but from a guiding perspective I prefer the warmer months. You will see from the fishing report below that there is nothing wrong with the fishing over the cooler months, I just like it better when there are less tourists around (except my clients of course).
The tourists disappear as the temperature climbs and the fish appear in greater numbers. There is no lining up at the boat ramps at the start or end of the day. Permit are more abundant and more aggressive on the shallow flats. There are still plenty of big bonefish to be caught. The marlin and sailfish fire up and increase in numbers, and most other fish you see on my website, or below, are begging to have a suitable fly or lure cast in front of them.
Our warmer months are hot but not humid, just a dry heat. It is always safe to swim here to cool off as we have no box jellyfish or crocodiles, and the snorkelling is incredible.
I caught this sailfish on fly a few days ago, on a friend’s boat. Although my friends were not fly fishers they insisted we try to catch a billfish on fly. Ten minutes of teasing and I had this sailfish on!! That is me on the right and my mate (another) Brett holding the sailfish.
For those of you that missed the Fishing Australia episode,
that was a whole show about permit fishing in Exmouth with True Blue Bonefish, I
have arranged for a small number of dvds to be available. If you would like a
dvd, send me an email, the cost including postage is $22.
For those of you that missed the Fishing Australia episode, that was a whole show about permit fishing in Exmouth with True Blue Bonefish, I have arranged for a small number of dvds to be available. If you would like a dvd, send me an email, the cost including postage is $22.
We hope to see you here soon for some great fishing. Enjoy the fishing report
below, it starts from our most recent fishing and goes back in time to early
We hope to see you here soon for some great fishing. Enjoy the fishing report below, it starts from our most recent fishing and goes back in time to early May.
Brett and Simone Wolf
Marco Guarisco, all the way from Italy, had fished for bonefish in other locations, but could not believe how big our Exmouth bonefish are! This one was 83cm- about 12 pound!
John Lewis and Dave Moxon returned for some great fly fishing. John caught this beautiful bonefish on the morning of the first day to set the trend for a great trip.
John with a nice spangled emperor.
This bonefish was 83cm long- about 12 pounds!
The next day we fished a flat where during the warmer months (and on different tides) we normally see a lot of permit. The tide was running out so we found a gutter that looked ideal for retreating fish. We immediately started seeing permit and big queenfish, so I loaded a crab fly onto John’s rod while Dave stuck with a clouser to intercept any big queenfish. John had a few reasonable shots at permit but did not get a bite. Then there was a permit coming head on and John could not get a shot. Dave dropped his clouser in front of it, gave it a few twitches, the permit was all over it, tilted, Dave gave it a big strip, the permit wanted the fly even more, chased it and ate it.
After lunch we enjoyed a fun session chasing big queenfish in very shallow water. There were plenty there but they were fussy.
Another big queenfish in less than a metre of water.
Dave shows off a quality queenfish.
There were plenty of these around but they were tricky to fool.
After seeing Dave land his permit, John was desperate to get one, so we returned to the same flat the next day. It wasn’t long before John cast his crab fly at a hungry permit, it jumped straight on the fly and took off! Unfortunately a big tangle in the fly line jammed in the rod guides and the hook pulled! Soon after I spotted another permit, John made a perfect cast, the permit came straight over to the crab fly and tilted, I told John, to give it one big strip as I thought the permit had it, he did, the line came up very tight and the permit shot off so fast that there was a big roostertail coming off the fly line. This permit took a lot of backing because instead of heading for deep water it stayed on the shallow flat.
We berleyed up for big Spanish mackerel and had them buzzing around the boat but could not get them to bite. This coral trout was a tasty bycatch!
I had a few days off so I took my mate Steve Michaels out to berley up some mackerel on his second day ever of fly fishing. I got this 13 kg broad-barred mackerel first up. Then I packed my rod up and started really pumping the berley into the water.
Then Steve got this 18+kg Spanish mackerel on his fly rod that would have been an Australian record on fly if I had not slit its throat! Sorry Steve, I had no idea it was an OZ record! After the big Spaniards first run, Steve had no skin left on his knuckles, blood was pouring out of his hand, and his new fly reel was making funny noises! It was a great effort by a novice fly fisher to land this magnificent fish.
Andy Vockler and Geoff Volter joined me for an unusually cloud interrupted week of fishing. These guys can fly fish but we had tough conditions to deal with. On the first morning Geoff landed a thumper of a bonefish, which got the boys both very interested in catching more big bonefish.
Voltzy with a world class bonefish!
On the second day we skipped the bonefish option as there was cloud forecast. We waited for the right tide and hit a barramundi hot spot. An exciting session followed where the 2 V boys landed at least 6 barramundi, all sight cast in less than a few feet of water. Several others were hooked and dropped.
Accurate casting and a deadly fly was the undoing of many a barramundi for Andy.
A big flathead that ate Voltzy’s fly while he was clearing a tangle in his fly line during the barra session.
Happy guide and angler after a hot barra session.
The third day for the V boys offered the best bonefishing conditions for the trip. Five big bonefish were solidly hooked and most ran well into the backing (including this double hookup), but all 5 fell off. It rocked all of our confidence!
As you can see, the cloud moved in so after looking hard for bonefish we tried some other stuff. Voltzy caught this nice spangled emperor and got reefed by a big one.
We moved outside the reef and I started berleying up. Almost immediately Andy hooked a monster reef fish that he couldn’t stop on 50 pound tippet. After rebuilding his leader he hooked up this tuna.
While Andy was hooked up to the tuna, Voltzy hooked up and landed this rankin cod. It tasted beautiful thanks Voltzy!
On the way back to the boat ramp we found this tuna mayhem.
A bit of spangled emperor action and more cloud.
We stopped on a small flat on our way south, as the best bonefishing areas were again covered in cloud, and Voltzy pinned this nice little bonefish.
Phil Tracy joined me to learn to fly fish and caught some fish on fly within the first few minutes of learning to cast. Later we picked up his kids from a nearby beach and caught a bunch of trevally and spangled emperor. The gang kept me so busy that this was the only photo I got of the whole families catch – well done Lucinda.
Charles Burrus and his mate Scott came all of the way from Texas to catch big bonefish. This was the first one that Charles landed.
Unfortunately Scott missed out on a bonefish as we were again plagued by cloud cover.
Charles with a golden trevally.
The sun popped out from behind the clouds for a moment and Charles nailed this big bonefish.
A big blue bastard with a storm brewing behind us.
Double hookup to golden trevally for the Gillies father and son combo.
Alec with his goldy and Sandy still hooked up in the background.
Then Alec got this blue bastard.
We spotted another for Sandy, he dropped the fly in front of it and was on- despite the red camouflaged jacket!
Alec finished off with this hard fighting goldspot trevally.
Former Australian fly casting champion, Peter Wilson, wanted to catch a big Aussie bonefish and got his wish!
Ed Gardner with a nice golden trevally.
James Spicer’s first bonefish ever.
Nemo Neiss with a big golden trevally.
Cloud and rain again! So we berleyed up, this Spanish mackerel took a lot of backing, which isn’t surprising as it was being pursued by sharks!
Some big golden trevally appeared in the berley trail. This is Jon Neiss putting some hurt on one.
Another goldy followed up Jon’s fish so Nemo dropped his fly over and hooked it up.
Craig Covich with a spangled emperor for dinner.
Mark Lee with a mack tuna.
Scott Chesterton with a big golden trevally.
Neil Thomas with a quality bonefish.
Ken Browning with a small bonefish.
When I met Martin Walters at the boat ramp, his wife put a lot of pressure on me to make sure he caught bonefish. I have got to say I was feeling the pressure! He caught bonefish, but they weren’t monsters.
Rob Watt hooked up to his first Aussie bonefish.
Rob with one of two Aussie bonefish he landed.
Golden trevally are a prized capture back on Rob’s home waters!
Taka and Megumi travelled all of the way from Japan to fish some soft plastics. The fishing was slow but they still managed some quality fish like this big golden trevally.
We found a big stingray loaded with golden trevally and one big cobia. I’m not sure how Megumi managed to do it but she got her lure past all of those goldies to catch this cobia!
Another big golden for Taka.
Taka’s first Aussie bonefish.
Megumi hooked up a spangled emperor which fired up this big chinaman cod, which then ate Taka’s lure. A great capture on a light spin stick.
FISHING REPORT APRIL 2011
In March this year Exmouth hosted the Australian International Billfish Tournament, which included a fly fishing section. We put together a team including Ben, our mate Steve Michaels as skipper, young Eddie from Bluewater tackle as deckie, and myself. We had some formidable competition including a team put together by Peter Morse and some local boys who are regular Bluewater fly fishos.
AIBT fishing fleet. Photo courtesy of Exmouth Game Fishing Club and aabz-imaging.
It was a 3 day tournament and on day 3 we needed to tag one marlin to level the competition with Morsie’s mob, however we still would have lost by a count back because they tagged the first fish. All of the fly competitors were fishing the new 15 kg line class which allows for a 1 metre shock tippet.
By lunch time on the final day we had not even seen a fish so the chances of catching 2 fish to take the lead were slim. We had a team meeting and decided to drop our line class back to 10 kg, which only allows for 30 cm of shock tippet. That way one fish would give us the lead if the 10 kg held and so long as the others did not tag more fish! Everyone has to call in tagged fish so you always know exactly where you are placed.
I went into the cabin and found an old spool of orange IGFA rated 10 kg line. Ben got out the measuring tape and a dozen fancy knots later had constructed a 10 kg bright orange billfish leader with a short shock tippet.
With 20 minutes to go before lines out a small marlin came onto one of our teasers, Ben grabbed his fly rod, Eddie cleared the other teasers, and I gradually teased the small angry black marlin to within a few metres of the back of the boat. Steve pulled the boat out of gear I ripped the teaser out and Ben made the cast-nothing, the marlin had disappeared in the wash of the boat!
I lobbed the teaser back in and the marlin appeared from nowhere and was all over it, I ripped it back out of its mouth, Ben recast, the marlin engulfed the fly and starting ripping line off the reel and jumping crazily. After a nervous fight Eddie tagged the small black marlin and we had the lead!
Ben hooked up.
Three minutes to go Ben teased another marlin and it switched beautifully to eat my fly. I hit it hard, it jumped then ran, but the hook fell out. It jumped again after the hook had fallen out! The competition was declared over, we had won the fly section!
Our prize was 2 Tibor reels with matching 13 weight Sage rods.
If anyone is interested the Exmouth Billfish Bonanza is on in November this year and will also include a fly fishing section. It is a great time of year to catch a lot of sailfish and normally there are also plenty of marlin around. The Australian International Billfish tournament will again be hosted by Exmouth next March and again will have a fly fishing section.
Rob Paxevanos with an 85 cm bonefish.
Rob Paxevanos and the Fishing Australia film crew joined me in March with the main aim to catch a permit on fly and film it for Fishing Australia. You might remember a few years ago when Rob captured the massive bonefish pictured above on Australian TV. Anyway in March we allowed 3 days fishing to catch a permit. Catching a permit is difficult enough let alone doing it while being filmed, with a presenter, producer, cameraman and sound guy, all on board!
The show was definitely about the hunt for permit, so we let metre long queenfish and the biggest giant herring I have seen for years swim past in knee deep water. At about midday on the first day Rob hooked up a permit. It peeled all of the fly line off the reel and about 50 metres of backing. I was ecstatic as I thought the odds were stacked against us. This was a strong fish and was getting nervously close to the mangroves, so we made a decision to try and turn the fish by driving the boat between it and the mangroves.
Big mistake, as soon as the permit saw the boat it shot into the mangroves and snapped the 20 pound tippet!
I moved to mud crab alley which is our permit killing zone, but the water was just too dirty there, as it often is. So we moved again to another area that I thought would be suitable for the current phase of the tide.
I spotted a permit that was just nosing along slowly in front us. We followed it using the electric motor until it found a big stingray and sat on its back waiting for tasty morsels to get frightened out from beneath the stingray. Rob made the cast, the crab fly landed just short of the permit and stingray, the permit spotted the crab sinking towards the sand and wandered over, tilted and ate it- Rob was on!
There was a rockbar between the permit and the deeper water and it was heading straight at it. I thought not again, but it turned and fought the whole fight over nice clean white sand. This is probably the first capture on fly of this permit species to be filmed for Australian TV. Morsie filmed a permit capture by Fish Philliskirk on fly in his fantastic Wildfish series years ago but that is a different species, as too are the permit filmed in that great DVD, Heads or Tails, from Broome WA.
Rob Paxevanos with his first ever permit.
Given it was mission accomplished by about 2 pm on the first day, the producer decided to cut our fishing schedule from 3 days to 2 days so they could do some other filming. Just before we knocked off Rob couldn’t help catching this big queenfish that was cruising past.
We were focussed on permit but eventually could not help but to catch one of these!
We met up again a few days later, and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Rob nailed another permit on film. We also captured some very entertaining footage of a big queenfish Rob hooked in very shallow water. I believe the show will go to air in June and the whole show will be on targeting and catching permit as well as some entertaining queenfish footage! I will keep you informed.
Rob with the second permit.
We have plenty of space over the next few months so we hope to see you soon. We can now also cater for non-fly fishers so if you are not a competent fly fisher we can look after you and put you onto some good fish with soft plastics or lures.
Don’t forget that Qantas are now flying from Perth to Exmouth (Learmonth).
Below are some photos of some of the fish we have been catching over the past few months.
Brett and Simone Wolf
This is one of the biggest longtail tuna I have seen- it punished me!
The marine biologists from Aquenal in Tasmania, had a great day out.
Sascha from Aquenal again, but this time with her work shirt on.
Joe from Aquenal, first cast with the fly rod.
This was too easy- 5-10 kg trevally every cast, so we ended up watching.
Xmas Island sized bonefish- won’t be long and it will be Exmouth sized!
This snapper broke my brand new fly rod in half- not my fault!
Dean Rutherford with a big queenfish.
Dean with his first bonefish.
Kylie Horton with her first bonefish.
Andrew Cavello was happy with this golden trevally.
Andrew hooked up to a nice queenfish.
Andrew and his queenfish.
Ningaloo golden this time.
Everett Groseclose shows off a big queenfish.
We should have paid more attention to landing this big golden rather than trying for a double hookup!
Everett’s son in law, Andrew, struggles to hold up this huge queenfish for a photo.
Everett and his first permit.
Ian Hughes with a Ningaloo goldy.
Ian’s wife hooked up while Ian shows off his fish.
Jon Pratt with a Ningaloo queenfish.
Mike Kane with a cobia.
Philip Ngan with a jumping queenfish.
Phil with a gulf queenfish.
Phil with a Ningaloo goldy.
Doug Nylund with a nice goldy.
No permit this year but Ray was happy with this golden trevally.
Tough sky to spot bonefish under but we did.
Mark Turner with his first bonefish.
There was a bunch of these harassing a big baitball.
Mackerel fishing is messy, especially if you are going to gaff one for dinner!
FISHING REPORT NOVEMBER 2010
The fishing has been nothing short of sensational lately. Andrew Martin from Victoria joined me last week for some great fishing. Andrew had planned the trip months ago and was fully prepared with all the right flies and fly gear and it paid off.
This tripletail below was taken on Andrew’s second cast of the trip. A strong fight followed including one massive jump. Despite their great eating qualities this one was released.
On the way to the permit flat I ran into some tuna so Andrew nailed this mack tuna below.
After catching a few small golden trevally, this nice golden jumped on the fly followed by a big queenfish.
The permit were not about in their usual numbers so we moved to another flat. The water was a little bit dirty but it wasn’t long before I spotted a fish cruising in behind the boat. Andrew made a good cast and the fish jumped straight on his fly. Eventually the fish came close enough to identify as our first ever diamond trevally!
We soon spotted a permit feeding close to a mudding stingray. Andrew had tied some perfect copies of the Ray Reed killer permit fly and dropped it next to the stingray. The permit rushed over tilted and he was on, but only briefly- the hook pulled.
It wasn’t long before we spotted another permit, this time in dirtier water. It kept appearing and disappearing from the muddy water so Andrew made a cast to where we thought the fish was. Suddenly we spotted it about seven metres from the fly and it looked like it was spooked as it was moving very fast, but in the direction of the fly. When the permit ate the fly it did not pause, just kept going at a million miles an hour away from us, so the hook set was solid this time!
After a long nervous battle we landed Andrew’s first ever permit.
After dropping another permit we decided to head back to the boat ramp (beach) to knock off. We managed another mack tuna on the way, but I didn’t bother to take a photograph. That was the end of day 1!
Next morning we returned to the same area. Andrew nailed this longtail on the way to the flat.
Arriving at the flat we immediately spotted a huge queenfish in very shallow water but it needed an impossible long cast into a strong gusty breeze. So it swam off unscathed.
A small black GT gave away the presence of a stingray that also had a permit feeding nearby. Andrew didn’t have time to swap to his permit rod so he cast his white clouser at the ray. The GT ducked and dived all over the fly while the permit moved off the ray and slightly away from the boat. Andrew recast back at the ray as the permit was moving back onto it, the permit rushed forward and nailed the clouser and ripped off into the backing!
For the rest of the trip we fished on the Ningaloo Reef side of North West Cape. The bonefish below was Andrew’s first ever. He hooked another soon after but it fell off.
In the afternoon the cloud moved over the sun so we decided to try to tease a billfish or three. In a few hours we had about 4 sailfish all over the teasers but just could not switch them to the fly. One psycho marlin managed to rip a $25 pusher off the end of my teaser rod!
Then up came a big wahoo that ripped the skirt off a $50 pusher. Andrew flicked back his billfish fly and the wahoo nailed it and peeled off about 300 metres of backing. Finally after winding all of the line back on his reel, we had the 20 kg plus wahoo boatside when a huge shark came out of nowhere and took a chunk out of the wahoos shoulder. I quickly grabbed the 100 pound leader and was trying to haul the wahoo over the side of the boat when the shark came back and grabbed the ‘hoo’s tail. It was a little concerning for me as it meant there were now razor sharp teeth at both ends of the ‘hoo. The shark and I had a tug of war until the shark bit through the tail and I managed to salvage enough ‘hoo to feed my family for a month!
The next morning the Ningaloo flats again were covered by a layer of high cloud, so the fish were difficult to find. In the gloom we spotted a feeding stingray that looked suspiciously like it may have some passengers. Andrew dropped his fly right on it, let it sink, twitched it and hooked up the permit below.
While Andrew was playing the permit a school of huge bonefish and some golden trevally swam tantalisingly up to the boat and hung around for a few seconds!
It wasn’t long before we found some more bonefish and golden trevally. Andrew caught one of each before we headed out to the depths looking for some more billfish. We managed to tease another 4 or so sailfish in a few short hours but again could not switch them to the fly.
The following morning we had a quick conference about where we should fish given the heavy cloud cover. The lure of big bonefish resulted in us making the wrong decision! The flats fishing was impossible so I took Andrew to the reef where he quickly got smoked by a big trevally. I had to put my diving gear on to retrieve Andrew’s fly line from Ningaloo Reef, now minus the big trevally.
It was then that we decided to give the billfish another shot. It wasn’t long before I had, what I thought under the poor light was a dolphinfish swirling and flashing at my teaser. I teased it to the boat, pulled the boat out of gear and Andrew flipped in his fly which was taken savagely! After a backing burning run of about 200 meters it turned out it was another wahoo - again hooked perfectly in the corner of the jaw! A great way to finish a big week!
The day Andrew flew home, Ben and I decided to exact revenge on the sailfish. After spotting some free jumping sailfish and watching some frisky birds we knew we were in the hunt. On the sounder I spotted a tight baitball with 3 big shapes on it and seconds later the sailfish were all over the teaser.
One of the fish was extremely angry and obviously enjoyed the taste of wahoo belly flap stitched into the teaser. Just before Ben pulled the teaser from the water the fish was lit up bright blue, its pectoral fins were flared and also lit up. The teaser was pulled and I replaced it with my fly. The sailfish was straight on it. I hit it very hard and off it went!
Soon after we landed my sailfish we repeated the same for Ben- see below!
We have plenty of space for the next few months and hope we can take you fishing soon.