Trip advice - Monties vs Mackerels vs ?

 Hi guys, 


I've always loved the idea of island hopping on the boat, cruising from island to island and setting up camp on the beach. So we are currently planning a fishing trip for ~2 weeks at the end of March. I have an 17ft swiftcraft with a 80hp 4 stroke yamaha (2013 model with 150 hrs on it). Our current idea is to lauch at fortesque rivermouth and spend a week or so camping and fishing the islands to the west / south-west of the mouth - about 20km from shore (thinking Sholl island, steamboat island etc). Would be doing a bit of everything - fishing the mangroves, trolling, popping and bottom bashing (if we can find some good bottom reef around this area)


Our thoughts are that we should plan for the best case scenario and have enough fuel and supplies on board so that IF the weather was to really turn it on, we could make the long trek out to the monties (perfect case scenario). I wouldn't attempt to head out there unless there was a really good forecast with sustained periods under 10knt's for the trip there and back. I think the main requirement is the additional fuel required which we would probably use if we didn't attempt to make the journey anyway. 


I normally fish out from Rockingham between 10-20nm. So I consider the one way trip to the monties about the same distance I would travel on a day's fishing - except the difference would be the weight on board with all the required fuel (jerry cans), camping gear, ice etc etc. I plan to do a few fully loaded test runs in Rocko in the 2 months before we head off.


I'd hope that the fishing around the more inland islands (steamboat, stewart, sholl etc) would be good enough that we wouldn't even need to consider crossing to the monites. Anyone have much experience around these islands ?


Have done a lot of searching for information, especially on this site and found some good info. Will likely continue this information hunt until the day before we leave ! 


Seeking any and all advice / opinions - would the fishing around the islands near fortesque rivermouth comparable to the mackerel islands ? Should we maybe consider the mackeral islands or perhaps somewhere else ? 

Posts: 3708

Date Joined: 01/02/10

 Mackerel islands arent

Mon, 2018-01-22 07:40

 Mackerel islands arent really as friendly to doing your own thing. 

Fortescue is a good base but the insects can be savage if you are camping and Day tripping. Lots to explore and very good ground. I took my 17r across to montes quite a few times from there. Quite doable. 


Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

gruntre69's picture

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 I camped a night at the

Mon, 2018-01-22 10:12

 I camped a night at the Fortescue mouth a couple of years ago. The sand flies were savage, didn't bother me much because I grew up wityh them and have amunity but my Pommy missers got savaged.... Don't know about boating the area but I'd love a crack at the Monties


 Marine trimmer NOR (available for clears, tops, carpet, upholstery, custom equipment covers)

Francis's picture

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Date Joined: 17/06/08

 I’ve read some horror

Mon, 2018-01-22 12:17

 I’ve read some horror stories about the midgies and sand flies at the river mouth ! Good to know you’ve done the crossing in a 17ft also, I imagine on a reasonable day it’s quite good. I don’t see swell being a big factor like it is when we are offshore in Perth.


Sounds like there is the chance of some good ground between the 20km islands and the monties then? For some reason I feel like I’ve heard/read that ground/bottom fishing between the 2 groups of islands (the ones 20km from the rivermouth and the monties) is few and far between. Not sure where I get that from tho as have read a million sites so far! This was my biggest worry - if we couldn’t get all the way to the monties if we would still be able to find some spots to bottom bash.

crano's picture

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Date Joined: 04/11/09

Not untouched.

Mon, 2018-01-22 17:43

 Keep in mind these islands off fortescue get plenty of boats going there and are not the fishiest places in the world. I have done a bit of spearing around scholl and it was not that exciting. I would do some checking about camping on these islands regarding camping spots and mooring boats.

Check yor PM

deep south's picture

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Date Joined: 28/12/16


Mon, 2018-01-22 18:49

 Have camped on the southern end of steamboat island before on a spearing trip , 6 mates and 2 boats mooring was good but you will need to take your own firewood as alot of the islands have very little on the tide line

We mainly speared and the coral trout were everywhere in 8 to 10 metres but the fishing was hard work , sounds like a good trip !


The next time i see that jig will be in the mouth of something big !!


Francis's picture

Posts: 209

Date Joined: 17/06/08

Thanks for the PM crano Good

Mon, 2018-01-22 22:22

Thanks for the PM crano

Good point re: the firewood, I hadn't thought of that - cheers ! Interesting re: the spearing vs fishing. Would not turn my nose up to a nice bag of coral trout ! 


I'm guessing Dampier sea rescue would be the best place to log on and track our trip - so I might give them a call over the next few weeks to discuss some of our plans.


Also, Is getting a few red's unlikely anywhere on the inside / east side or barrow island and the monties ?

I imagine we'd need to get outside into the 40's and 50's to find the red's. So we are also looking at the potential of spending a few days on Airlie Island to focus on bottom bashing - weather permitting of course and will need to find out if camping is permitted.


Cheers for the feedback - hopefully i can give back by putting up a good report when back. I look forward to getting back behind the camera lens as well.