dirk harthog report

hi guys,

 this is my first post on fish wrecked so i thought i might chuck this up as i only got back a couple of weeks ago..


Well, what a big couple of weeks I’ve just had, after a big week on Dirk Harthog with the boys I had to come straight

home, grab the missus and head up to Broome for a week to recover, (but ill put that in another post)


After having visited most of W.A.’s top National parks and Natural wonders I would have to say that Dirk Harthog

Island is one of the most spectacular places that our state  has to offer, Turtle Bay would have to be the standout,

 my self and  good mate Chris were lucky enough to have baby turtles actually  hatch and come storming down the

 beach through our fishing gear and into the ocean. Over the cource of the night we had three lots of turtles from

 the same nest repeat the experience. Every hour or so we would scoop up the little guys scurrying everywhere and

 help them to the water, probably into the waiting jaws of every predatory fish in turtle bay, waiting for a nice little

 turtle snack. I would like to think that one of the little critters would go on to thrive and after Chris and I are dead

 and buried he or she would be swimming the oceans around Dirk Harthog.


The drive in was pretty rough in a fully loaded truck and the going was slow, but we didn’t really mind as our

imaginations were a buzz with all the possibilities and what the next week might hold in store for us, and with

 the amount of fishing gear we had on board as well as a tackle shop worth more that our other mates Moorey

 and Mat were bringing up it would be hard to miss.


As we rounded the cape and passed urchin point campsite we called in to say hi to the guys camped there and

 marvel at the super school working about 300 meters off shore. As one of the guys was cleaning the biggest

 baldie I have ever seen, he told us that the school had been there all morning. Now we were really peaking

and I just couldn’t wait to get a line in the water, massive schools of pelagics and stonking baldies this was

gunna be awesome.


As it turned out, the fishing over the first three days we were there was really hard going, the pelagics were

 there but just wouldn’t take a lure, I could see baldies swimming around but they just weren’t interested in

our crab offerings, we managed a couple of pinkies to about three kilos which kept us interested and we got a

 couple of red throat from turtle bay after dark, which were very good on the BBQ, but from the amount we

were all flogging the water it was pretty disappointing. The highlight of those first 3 days was Moorey’s G.T. and

 Matt’s Spaniard and despite the lack of action, spirits were still high and the booze was flowing freely, they two

 guys that had flown out from the UK were really top guy’s and we spent most nights spinning yarns and pissing

 ourselves laughing at Moorey’s antics.


It was Wednesday morning when things changed, albeit only slightly, after about 2 hours of continually being

 smoked by unstoppable (with our gear anyway) GT’s , I was finally hooked up to something decent, in no

time at all Moorey had the video running and Matt was manning the rope gaff. I knew it was a Spaniard immediately

and waited out the first couple of runs before settling into the ol’ pump and wind. The battle lasted no longer

 than 10 minutes and after a smoothly executed bit of gaff work from Matt I had a nice 20 kilo Spaniard topside,

 Time for some well earned high fives!!!


Chris was up at the camp rigging up his balloon outfit, and had missed the action but was blown away when

I strode up with the slab of fish over my shoulder and after we had squared my quarry away I helped him get his

 balloon rig out quick smart. If the Spaniards had made an appearance and were hungry this may well be our

best chance to nail the double header. After a quick adjustment of balloon size we had the skirted gardie skipping

 across the surface beautifully. The drag was set and I told Chris I would watch the rod while he dashed back up

to camp for some refreshments. I was watching the balloon rig and spinning like mad with a renewed enthusiasm.

 After only 5 minutes the rod bowed slightly and about 20 meters of line slowly peeled of the tld25. I looked

 towards the business end and saw the balloon heading skyward. I can only imagine that at the other end of the

line the monster Spaniard was making massive runs and tearing arse all over the place, but at our end the effects

 were well and truly subdued by 300 meters of 30 pound mono and a hell of a lot of water drag on the line. I

 yelled out to Chris and he sprinted back down with the other boys in tow. No one could pick what it was at the

other end of the line because when the fish was only about halfway  in, in classic Spaniard style it had given its

 all I the fight and was basically dead. I geared up for the gaff shot and after some major heaving we had our

second large Spaniard topside. That night was sashimi heaven, and we cranked up the drinking games to celebrate.

Big Wednesday.


Unfortunately Thursday was back to “all quiet on the western front” so Chris and I decided to head down to mystery

 beach that evening which turned out to be a good move. We had a great session on big tailor all around the 70cm

 mark in the white water and then moved over to the southern end of the beach and landed a bag of good pinkies

 and a painted sweet lip, before the sharks moved in. We arrived back to the camp at about 9.30pm and after filling

the guys in as to our exploits, we were dully informed that Moorey had been in touch with home, and Kieran had called

 his wife and said that if we wanted to defiantly be of the island before Monday we had to be back at the barge pick up

 point by 7am the next morning. Awesome. As I was booked onto a flight to Broome 7am Monday morning, there was

 no option but to pack up and trek the 3 hours of corrugation heaven back to the homestead. We finished packing up

 at 11pm, shook hands with all the lads, and started the drive back. We pulled into the homestead about 2.30am Friday

morning, rolled out our swags and were asleep in seconds. Kieran came and saw us in the morning as we were rolling

 our swags up, and informed us that we were 5th in line to get off the island and that he wouldn’t be round there till about

 8.30am as he would be running about and hour and a half late. All in all 11 cars crossed the channel that morning and

 we finally drove off the barge about 10.30am. Thank god…the mainland!.


While we were waiting for the pick-up we got talking again to the guys from urchin point who we met earlier in the week.

As it turned out, they were veterans of 7 trips to Dirk. They asked us how we went on the baldies (their favoured target)

and we informed them that our count was zero, while there’s was 26 for the same period and that 6 of them were over

5 kilos, what the?? they then went on to tell us how they were fishing for them and crabs probably aren’t the best move

 and that the “baldie ledges” are not that important to doing well on the baldies. They also had to contend with the same

 swell factors that we did. If I was ever to return to Dirk, armed with their info, I reckon id do a lot better on them now.

They also told us that the block is their least favourite place to fish and that the bottom is very snaggy compared to other

 places they fish, and that when fishing the block defiantly stay on top. We had already learned this with shioploads of

lost rigs (and fish).


Am I glad that I made the trip? Defiantly even if its only once, Would I go back?  Not in the foreseeable future, and

 defiantly not the block. Make no mistake it’s a tough trip if the fish aren’t playing nice, and I wasn’t there to photograph

wild flowers. For the $$$$ that it cost me for the week I probably couldn’t justify it again with the other fishing options around.

 The other consideration that puts me off a return trip is the fact that you are fully at the mercy of the weather and the barge.

 I can see that when the fish are really on the bite the fishing could spectacular but you’ve just got to be lucky enough to jag it.

My report may seem a bit harsh but I’m not gunna sugar coat it. The guys that we passed on the way in who had the block

previous to us had an even worse time of it, with only one Spaniard for the week and a few tuna, apparently the pelagics

 just shutdown while they were there, maybe that was why the block was such a pigsty when we got there, they were a

 bit jaded I reckon.


The beach fishing is the standout for me and I would highly recommend people putting in the effort to fish them on sunset

 and after dark, reminded me of Cape Range. To keep busy during the day I would recommend taking a few packs of 5

and 7 inch gulps as they truly did the trick better than any of the other shinny, pretty looking, rubbery pieces of crap that I

 once again fell into the trap of buying, nay wasting money on, due to their flashy packets and claimed results. Gulps kill

 the pig, Matt and myself had a light tackle session from turtle bay to Sandy’s camp over broken ground one afternoon and

 every cast with the gulps was a hit, follow or hook-up. I think I myself landed about 10 different species in an hour.

Bomber minnow’s in fluoro green in the biggest size were also dynamite, had good hits and hook-up on them with a

variety of species, and work really well with a twitching action. Richter plugs under performed which was surprising, but Halco

 roosters and especially hay makers were the large lure of choice as well as big stick baits, Rover 230’s from memory,

Caught an unsuspecting tourist sweetly in the shin and Moorey had to do some neat work with a scalpel.

Halco twisties worked well as always and would not go up there without a few in different sizes. Also if you want to give

the demersals a good nudge take a couple of blocks of occy and mix that up with fresh cut baits, especially when fishing

 off the beach after dark.



cheers russ


Nimbin 157's picture

Posts: 130

Date Joined: 03/05/10

Great report

Thu, 2010-05-13 09:23

Unfortunately it costs a lot of money these days to do a trip like this especially camping. I had the same problem at Quobba last year and allthough we were staying in a shack the weather turned out crap and fish shutdown.

I have done a couple of 3 day charters around DH and found these to be better value .

But hey its an adventure and you got some great fish too well done.

Lucky Tim's picture

Posts: 2536

Date Joined: 28/11/07

nice report and some decent

Thu, 2010-05-13 09:29

nice report and some decent macks too, especially off the shore. What sort of dollars are you looking at for a trip over there? I'd love to do it one day but a bit like you, for the $$$ there's probably better value around.

ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

  hi tim,   it cost me

Thu, 2010-05-13 09:53


hi tim,


it cost me about $1500 bucks all up, but i had a fair bit og gear already, you just have to tottally self sufficient, extra feul, generator, freezer, enough water, enough booze, bait, tackle, enough food, ect ect.


its not like quobba were you can pop into canarvon ect

scere_182's picture

Posts: 335

Date Joined: 27/01/09

top report mate

Thu, 2010-05-13 10:02

dont know if you remember... but we ran into a couple of you blokes and had a yarn at the 440 roadhouse in gero. we were the bunch of blokes in the 2 navaras, heading to wagoe. glad to see you guys had a good weekend at the island. it was a stunning weekend weather wise at least.

they are some great spaniards landed mate... reward for effort i would of thought. those big tailor go hard on poppers too.

lmao... i remember seeing your landcruiser packed to the s***house with all that fishing gear... oh and kegs.



building designer | architectural draftsman


ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

yeah mate i remember...you

Thu, 2010-05-13 10:31



 heres my mates rig, this was a stepp before we headed over...

mate i remember...you guys were off to wagoe huh? how did yas go? any good?

 ive been posting on western angler for the last few years but its been a bit quiet on there latley...

Tigh82's picture

Posts: 225

Date Joined: 04/05/06


Thu, 2010-05-13 10:08

I think we must have seen you guys come across on the barge Russ. We were camped at Blackies at steep point. The guy on the barge would have made a killing that day. We struggled witht he pelagics to out there only picking up 3 macs in 8 days, the weather was also against us. Steep Point is still a good trip and the cost is also a little less than dirk. It is a great place. Tigh

ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

yeah i was expcting hotter

Thu, 2010-05-13 10:26

yeah i was expcting hotter action actually...i usually like to fish the north west when its hotter though..really smoking hot actually..i think it just get the water bubbling more...my mate was at steep in january and got about 8 mack and heaps of other stuff.  the ones we got were 2 at about 20-22 kg's and one at about 8-10.


i think people over estimate the weight quite a bit, ive seen some in mags that people claim to be 25+ but would struggle to be 17 or 18kg IMO.


cheers russ

Lucky Tim's picture

Posts: 2536

Date Joined: 28/11/07

yeah that happens a lot with

Thu, 2010-05-13 18:09

yeah that happens a lot with various magazines and fish. I know sometimes photos don't do the fish justice but I was flicking through a mag a while ago and there was a GT called for 25kg and it was probably more like 12kg.
Anyway, no skin off my nose.

milsey's picture

Posts: 1462

Date Joined: 22/08/07

nice report mate, and some

Thu, 2010-05-13 10:08

nice report mate, and some really good fish off the stones. well done

big john's picture

Posts: 8403

Date Joined: 20/07/06


Thu, 2010-05-13 10:16

Welcome to the forum, great first up report, warts and all. Couple of solid macks from the rocks!


WA based manufacturer and supplier of premium leadhead jigs, bucktail jigs, 'bulletproof' soft plastic jig heads and XOS bullet jig heads.

Jigs available NOR at Shorecatch, Bluewater Joondalup/Myaree or online in my web store!

soupster51's picture

Posts: 2722

Date Joined: 29/11/06

Top Report

Thu, 2010-05-13 10:41

Great first write-up for sure. An awesome trip with lots of individual highlights. Top stuff.


The best reason for doing what's right today is tomorrow.

Colt_Striker's picture

Posts: 623

Date Joined: 26/07/09

Great report & good fish

Thu, 2010-05-13 10:56

Great report & good fish mate. Who did you have to contact to camp on the island?

ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

hey mate, thanks for the

Thu, 2010-05-13 11:41

hey mate, thanks for the compliments


try this website, but beware its not cheap



cheers russ

scere_182's picture

Posts: 335

Date Joined: 27/01/09

well welcome aboard mate

Thu, 2010-05-13 12:25

top bunch of fishos on here, have learnt heaps since signing on.

yeah we did pretty well in the end it was quiet also for the first few days off the reefs but it fired up with that thunderstorm that came thru on the sunday.

plenty of mackies around 150m offshore... i also posted a report on here youll probably be able to find the thread on here somewhere.





building designer | architectural draftsman


Posts: 625

Date Joined: 27/11/09

Great report and a couple of

Thu, 2010-05-13 13:00

Great report and a couple of great fish too!

carnage's picture

Posts: 71

Date Joined: 11/04/10

so this is what russ does at

Thu, 2010-05-13 18:25

so this is what russ does at work. nice report mate ill see if i can get a nice mack on that yo-zuri of yours also. swells n winds lookin bit iffy for my trip but thats fishen might have to just hit the beach up. have to bring those photos into work


fish on...

ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

hey buddy!!!!   did ya see

Thu, 2010-05-13 18:31

hey buddy!!!!


did ya see the yo-zuri just sticking its head out of the mackie?? wikid huh!


have a sweet time up there mate, dont worry about the weather you'll find somthing to keep ya busy, just remember if the fish are on FISH HARD!!!


taket it easy "carnage"


cheers russ

STEVE231's picture

Posts: 1443

Date Joined: 05/01/10

Well done!!

Thu, 2010-05-13 19:16

Great report and fish as well. DHI has been on my to-do list for ages.

Faulkner Family's picture

Posts: 16207

Date Joined: 11/03/08

great read. sounds like you

Thu, 2010-05-13 23:06

great read. sounds like you guys had an absolute ball up there. needless to say it will happen again one day. nice couple of fishy pics to finish it off. gotta be happy


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

Adam Gallash's picture

Posts: 15291

Date Joined: 29/11/05

top report

Fri, 2010-05-14 08:46

Top report Russ and an awesome first up post!




Site Admin - Just ask if you need assistance

SandGroper84's picture

Posts: 329

Date Joined: 06/02/10

wat was the road into steep

Fri, 2010-05-14 22:52

wat was the road into steep point like? going to blackies bay in couple weeks, with a few 4wd's, bad corigations?


Love this Country!

ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

it was nothing compared to

Sat, 2010-05-15 09:21

it was nothing compared to the 3 hours of corrigations on the island...driving into steeps fine...in my opinion people talk it up a bit cos it probably the only bit of off road a lot of people do all year...theres a lot of worse tracks around...tom price to nanutarra road house is a cracker!!!

Brooky's picture

Posts: 74

Date Joined: 25/04/10

Great report, i was recently

Sat, 2010-05-15 08:33

Great report, i was recently up there about a month ago with a few mates but went the 3 day charter option, anchored up at turtle bay and what a beatiful spot we killed the pig on that trip and cant wait to go back next year.


Just get me back on the water

ruste13's picture

Posts: 249

Date Joined: 07/02/10

hey brooky,   was the

Sat, 2010-05-15 09:22

hey brooky,


was the charter ex- denham?? how much was it for the 3 days??


cheers russ

SandGroper84's picture

Posts: 329

Date Joined: 06/02/10

cheers ruste13, great report

Sat, 2010-05-15 12:25

cheers ruste13, great report and pics.


Love this Country!

Goodz's picture

Posts: 2329

Date Joined: 20/07/09

Great write up mate, thanks

Sat, 2010-05-15 14:32

Great write up mate, thanks for sharing the experience! Those are some nice mackies and good tailor on the poppers!




Brooky's picture

Posts: 74

Date Joined: 25/04/10

Charter Ex Denham

Mon, 2010-05-17 18:23

It was fairly pricey at 2k per day but well worth it in my opinion, but between me and 8 of me mates it was very reasonable price at only $670 each, The Charter is called Unreel Charters and the skippers name is Heath (dont have contact details on me at the moment but can get them for you if you wish), he was very knowledgeble and put us on one spot where we got 15 Reds in 15 minutes and at night had the option  to camp on turtle bay but we all opted just to role the swags out on the deck and look at the stars (as well a flick for a couple of squid coming in for the deck lights).

All in all priceless hopefully have me pics up this week. we already have it booked again next year.


Just get me back on the water