Monte Bello Island Safari July 2011
Hi Guys & Girls,
I have just returned from a week long trip to the Monties and really couldnt let the opportunity pass to show some of you a destination that has been a dream of mine for quite some time!
I have seen and heard many stories about the Monties and the week that we had lived up to all expectations! The Monte Bello Islands cater for every type/style of fishing which is just awesome.....but wait there is more! Our week was filled with not only with fishing but snorkelling, scuba, surfing, island tours and just chilling out.
Not having been to the Monties before I opted to go out with a charter group based out of Exmouth. Myself and a few mates did a bit of reseach, found a few spare seats and paid the deposit (now to sell the idea to the wife!!). The mix of people on the charter was pretty diverse and included a couple of ladies. The group was great and the ladies had an absoloute ball, actually out fishing there hubbies on a couple of occasions. The trip was made more enjoyable by the skipper and crew who managed the group and the trip with an air of professionalism but still happily chatting with all on board and really making everyone welcome.
The routine is pretty standard, our first 2 days were bottom bashing. We steamed out on absoloute glassy conditions and anchored on one of the spots. We had a cracker of a day with a full mixed bag and catching our bag limit by 2pm. The catch included Red Emporer, Coral Trout, Scarlet Sea Perch, Robinson Sea Perch, Rankin Cod, Spangled Emporer, Long Nose Snapper, Cobia and Mackeral. As the charter is an extended stay all processing of the fish is done offshore and each person is allowed to take 20kgs of fillets home at the end of the week. After 2 days of bottom bashing we all had our 20kgs of fillets neatly packed in cartons in the freezer and the rest of the week was sports fishing heaven.
The next day was a full islands tour including a visit to ground zero, where the nuclear testing took place back in the 1950's. A quick stop over in a channel with an outgoing tide to cast a few poppers of the ledges didnt produce any fish landed but a small group of GT's ended up with some nice Sebile bling and our tackle bags where lighter to carry back up the cliffs. Lunch back atthe house boat was calling and an afternoon dive and surf was on the cards.
The following morning the call was to head out wide in search of a few billies and be back by lunch to cruise the islands. The crew that went had a ball hooking 8 billies and landing one nice Marlin. They also caught a number of mackeral which provided some entertainment. I opted for a "dingy day" with a mate. It was another total glass off and neap tides, we were trolling and casting lures and poppers for hours which was just awesome, there are a few pics below that give you an idea of the weather we scored. A day like this was perfect do do a bit of reconaissance and suss out a few spots, Ah Chong Island was a perfect spot for a swim quick walk on the beach. It was just amazing, standing on the bow of the dingy while trolling lures and watching hundreds of turtles, a huge variety of fish, dugongs and a few reef sharks slipping by. There are islands everywhere to explore and coral bomies that are lurking in every channel.
We jumped into one of these channels onto a large group of bomies for a quick snorkel but instead of taking the spear gun i was armed with my GoPro camera and Eye of Mine underwater housing. Its a new aquisition so was just getting an idea of how it works but its just point and shoot so off we went. I saw more Coral Trout in one dive than i have seen in my whole life. There was a massive variety of fish and the country is great for a free dive at a max of 6-7 meters on low tide its really something that anyone could do. (i will post some vids soon!)
I am now in planning to do a trip to the Monties out of Dampier or Fortesque with my own boat but there is certainly something to be said about a trip where you dont have to worry about the boat, fuel, water, fridges, freezers or even cooking for yourself after a big day on the water.
Although i would love to keep places like the Monties on the quiet, the Monties should be on everyone's Bucket List. Hope you enjoy the pics!
RUSS - Another punter in the Pilbara!