Sept/ Oct School Holidays - Coral bay report

Recently back from a school holiday trip up north. All up, was an awesome couple of weeks with friends, family, fish and some great weather. Pic heavy, but has to be as it Coral Bay is a pretty special spot.(sorry about sideways photos though)

Day 1 was the trek up there. Wife, sister-in-law and three kids (aged 1, 2 and 3!!) in one car, myself and oldest son in another with the boat in tow. Think I got the best deal here for sure..
Didn’t start though well when I hooked up the trailer at 430am to find no lights or brakes, despite it being serviced by an external party (first time I have ever had it done by someone else) two weeks earlier! Ended up getting on the road at 830am heading North. Fuel stop at the 440 roadhouse, fuel stop at Carnarvon and then pulled into Minilya rest area around 730pm just in time to watch the second half of the footy. Swagged it for the night and then ready for the final run into Coral Bay Saturday morning.

Day 2. Arrived coral bay around 830am and luckily the house we had booked was clearing out as we pulled in. The other car with the kids stayed overnight in Carnarvon so we had some time up our sleeve to get on the water. conditions looked great for the day so a quick unpack of the boat, and myself and #1 son were heading out to the 100m mark – conditions on the water were incredible.

Unfortunately was a really slow bite.
Fished a few spots and got our ten fish – but nothing that great to photograph it seems! From memory it was a couple of reds, couple pearl perch, baldie, tusk fish, big sweetlip and spangleds.

Day 3. Was another great forecast (in front of a few rough looking days), so made the call to head wider out to around the 160-170 mark. Perfect conditions again and perfect drift out wide, but again, could see the fish on the sounder but they just weren’t hungry. #1 dropped a big fish out wide with only about 20 metres to go (and didn’t float up!). next drift I hooked a fish with the same fight but landed this one, a nice little harpuka! Tried a few shallower spots on the way in for a few nice reds, sweetlip, honeycomb etc. perfect conditions, with a few nice fish so probably 7/10 day all things considered.

Day 4. Mate from Perth arrived with his boy. Picked them up from early Learmonth flight and unfortunately the wind was in early – and forecast for the next 5 days didn’t look great at all.
Bit the bullet and punched out to around 70metres.
Sweetlip were everywhere but couldn't tempt anything bigger so decided to have a sound around. Tried another spot in similar depth but by this time we couldn't hold bottom, so ended up trying to hover on the spot with boat in reverse. Technique I hadn’t tried before, but worked ok and we landed some nice reds in pretty quick succession. This saved the day and we headed in with some quality fish.

Day 5. Wind was howling. Some beach time and also got the boat out to try for a few squid. Hard work for 8 – but better than nothing.

Day 6. Blown out again

Day 7. Forecast looking very ordinary (15 -20kt southerlies). But had booked on the charter to get the boys onto some fish again. Charter cancelled due to conditions! Made a call to drag the boat to Exmouth Gulf for a squid (desperate times called for desperate measures). Boat in the water at Exmouth and wind was blowing straight up the gulf! Ended up dropping of to near perfect conditions, but a long way to go for 8 more squid!

Day 8. Mate left to go back to Perth. Conditions still ordinary so another non-boating day and dedicated beach day. More guests (parents) arrived for the next week.

Day 9. Howling nor-wester, not that it would have mattered – Grand Final Day!! Couldn’t have asked for a better result.

Day 10. Future days forecast indicated that winds were dropping, so fishing was deferred again (need to cater to the crew), so another squidding trip today for the young ones. Headed towards north passage and found a dozen in about an hour. Always a bit of fun with ink flying around.

Day 11. Second cruising/ whale watching day as I tried to pick a window in the weather. Headed out North passage for a troll and whale watching. A few whales about, and nailed a shark Mackie on the troll that went back.

Day 12. Dedicated fishing day with the old man and #1 son. Dad had never really come fishing with me before and his best fish to date was probably a herring! This days Forecast had looked to be the pick of the week for days, so it was my time to get him onto a fish! Didn’t start well! Heading out south passage with the aim to hit a spot in 70 metres marked a few days before. Forecast <5kt winds would have been pushing 15kt+ and we were heading straight into it! To be as comfortable as possible, we didn’t get above 7knots, so made for a long trip and had me considering turning back multiple times.

We made it half way and then just kept pressing on as surely the forecast couldn’t have been so wrong – and the wind had to drop at some stage!?! well it did drop, eventually, but only to about 10kts which made it at least bearable and once we were out there, was going to make for at least a decent ride home.
Fished the first spot (from day 4), for one red, honeycomb and a Tusk fish! Wasn’t as productive as I had hoped, so moved on to the new mark. First drift was just a test to have a good look at the ground. Looked promising, and missed a good bite – so back around we went, this time everyone ready to go. Second drift, another good bite to me, this time though I was on. Old man got a bite shortly after and he was on as well. Landed mine for a decent Red and old man’s eyes lit up as I was confident that he had a red on as well. Turned out it was a big sweetlip and I was a bit gutted that he didn’t land a trophy (although he was happy as he had now beaten his best fish to date!). Tally was 1 tusk, 1 honeycomb, 2 reds, 1 sweetlip.
Next drift and it was on again. Don’t think I had even hit the water yet and the old man was on– and looked like an even better fish this time. Fought the fish well and up it came – not one, but a double header of reds! One not big, but still size, and the other a nice 60cm fish. Smile on his face was priceless!
Dispatched these two into the esky and #1 son was on. Had him on some heavier gear and I underestimated what he had. I could tell by his grunting and groaning that it was a keeper, but I wasn’t expecting another thumping double header reds. Smaller one prob 6kg, bigger one closer to 7kg. photos don’t do it justice and easily the biggest double header I have seen.

Dispatched these to the esky, grabbed my rod, and within 5 seconds I was one as well – another nice red.
So esky now has 7 reds, plus others.
I called one more drift and we are done as we had plenty of fish. Either we caught a couple more or we went in with what we got. The drift just gave me a chance to tidy/ clean up before heading in.
Started the drift and immediately the old man was on again. Another nice red in the esky. I didn’t even drop my line in as 9 was our limit – we had 8 and #1 was on the bottom. He actually fished pretty well, keeping on the bottom and tension on his line. Just about to call stumps and he was hit hard! He called it for a shark to start with, as it was pulling string. He started to whinge a little and ask for some help which was denied (a bit of tough love). Anyway, he fished it well and got to the boat the biggest red, and bragging rights for the trip. Didn’t have scales, and don’t think it would have made 10- but would have nudged 9kg – again need some better photo tips!!

Day 13. Last fishing day. Head out to 70m again to try for some last few fish. Conditions were brilliant – shame about the sharks!. Hadn’t had any real trouble with sharks for the whole time but today it seemed they were everywhere. Landed a few nice reds and then the sharks moved in. had a double hookup and could see the shark chasing mine. I managed to land it (after the old man got the net between the fish and the shark!). unfortunately his red wasn’t as fortunate. Shark took it about 10 metres from the boat which was frustrating to watch. Had one more drop and nailed a cobia most likely from one of the sharks, and we were done. Another good haul though of solid reds to 6kg and a big cobia – nothing to whinge about.

Day 14. Last day in the bay so a casual one. Trip out to the coral for a snorkel, then a bit of whale watching and a slow troll out of South Passage. Couple of whales, but nothing on the troll, still a good day to end with. Packed up cars and boat and then dinner at the pub. Not a bad way to end a couple of great weeks.

Day 15. Trek home. 6am departure for 6pm arrival back in Perth. Long drive but great to get it over and done with.

Til next year…

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Faulkner Family's picture

Posts: 16152

Date Joined: 11/03/08

 sounds like you had a great

Thu, 2018-10-11 13:33

 sounds like you had a great time up there. when it comes down to it you had fun as a family with some fishing thrown in for good measure. getting the feeds were a bonus


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

scano's picture

Posts: 1200

Date Joined: 31/05/07

Top fishing!!!

Thu, 2018-10-11 15:26

I know groups of blokes that go for 2 weeks to similar areas, and don’t have that same level of success.

Well done! How was the grey coat / shark population? Really bad or you were fishing a bit deep for them?

I would have thought sharks would have taken at least half of those nice reds off your hooks! 




kirky79's picture

Posts: 1306

Date Joined: 13/01/12

Great trip

Thu, 2018-10-11 15:29

Thanks for spending the time to do a write up. Some beautiful Reds there, your boy would be stoked that he didn't give up the rod when that big Red popped up 

Bucko's picture

Posts: 115

Date Joined: 08/05/10

Hey mate, awesome trip by the

Thu, 2018-10-11 16:06

Hey mate, awesome trip by the looks. Love coral bay.

Do you have any better pics of that Hapuka, does not look quite right to me and I would have thought out of their range.

Just interested.


Posts: 260

Date Joined: 14/05/12


Thu, 2018-10-11 16:24

 hey mate.

nah that is the only photo I took of it.

i agree that it doesn’t/ didn’t exactly fit the hapuka mould, but couldn’t think of anything else it could have been?? Few other at the bench suggested hapuka as well.


was a bit fatter than the photo suggests and happy for people to let me know what it could have been. Was pretty much all grey with no markings or bars- only thing noticeable was a little line of black dots that extended part of its body from around eye level???

Bucko's picture

Posts: 115

Date Joined: 08/05/10

Oz, This s a hapuka approx.

Thu, 2018-10-11 20:00


This s a hapuka approx. the same size.

Pretty clearly grey above and lighter below. No dots.

Seems like your fish is pretty uniform in colour? Maybe more like a Bass Grouper, but wrong shape.

Looks more like some sort of cod?

Posts: 260

Date Joined: 14/05/12


Thu, 2018-10-11 21:00

 yeah also thought bass grouper but didn’t quite fit that mould either.

may never know but will let you know how it tastes!!



Posts: 260

Date Joined: 14/05/12


Thu, 2018-10-11 21:00

 yeah also thought bass grouper but didn’t quite fit that mould either.

may never know but will let you know how it tastes!!



Colt_Striker's picture

Posts: 623

Date Joined: 26/07/09

 Looks & sounds like a top

Thu, 2018-10-11 16:23

 Looks & sounds like a top trip mate & some great fish to top it off

Posts: 317

Date Joined: 29/04/18

 Great report mate looks like

Thu, 2018-10-11 19:23

 Great report mate looks like you guys had a ball what sort of boat do you have and intrested in its length too, looks like  a  beast 


 Happy dayz 

Posts: 260

Date Joined: 14/05/12


Thu, 2018-10-11 20:58

 boat is a sterncraft mate. Tasmanian built. Usually for small commercial outfits. Overall length is around 8 metres so plenty of deck space.

Posts: 317

Date Joined: 29/04/18

 Cheers mate she looks the

Sat, 2018-10-13 07:41

 Cheers mate she looks the goods thats for sure 


 Happy dayz 

Stevo81's picture

Posts: 1245

Date Joined: 16/04/12

Looks like a cracker trip

Thu, 2018-10-11 19:33

Looks like a cracker trip mate! 

We spent 2 weeks in a house there in August. Had such a great trip I told the landlord to keep my bond as deposit for next year and booked the same house again.



                                   ••••••••  Electrical Contractor NOR  ••••••••

ChrisG's picture

Posts: 553

Date Joined: 30/12/11

Epic mate now that’s

Thu, 2018-10-11 20:17

Epic mate


now that’s livin!!!!


Posts: 5919

Date Joined: 17/06/10

Thank you so much for sharing

Thu, 2018-10-11 21:57

Thanks for sharing your great holiday with us and some great pictures.
It simply doesn't get much better than that with the kids and family.

Rick's picture

Posts: 938

Date Joined: 22/12/06

Very Nice

Thu, 2018-10-11 23:05

Thats what its all about

Some good reds thats for sure


PGFC Member


Rob H's picture

Posts: 5186

Date Joined: 18/01/12

 Great trip, havent been

Sat, 2018-10-13 12:32

 Great trip, havent been there for a few years.

Maybe next year...


 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...



The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.


Adam Gallash's picture

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Date Joined: 29/11/05


Mon, 2018-10-15 13:16

 Awesome report, sure got some deck space!


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Posts: 6265

Date Joined: 26/04/14

 One best reports for ages.

Mon, 2018-10-15 13:42

 One best reports for ages. Thanks for going through the ffort. Ripper trip