02 APR – Exmouth to Broome

It was that time of year again, time to head north after being away from Broome for 3 months. The charter north is always a good one, full of surprises and variety. Alan and his sons Ben & Simon, from Esperence joined us for the trip eager to get out of the cold and catch a few fish. Alan had a score to settle, he had been out with us before to the Rowley Shoals and fought a nice Blue Marlin right to the back of the boat before the hooks pulled so he was keen to get a photo with his next one. We spent our first day off Exmouth targeting marlin, as we headed out to deeper water we missed 3 smaller fish, most likely little blacks that struck but didn’t hook up. Our next strike came from a nice Blue approximately 150kg which Ben settled into a good fight with. We had the fish on the leader but the hook came out before we could put the tag in. Soon after Simon also had a taste of battling one of these beasts, another solid Blue putting on an impressive jump display before spitting the hook. It was now up to Alan, finally we landed an estimated 220kg Blue Marlin which was tagged and photographed before being released.

Our first night was spent at North Murion Island where the boys got into some Spangled Emperor on light gear. We were up early the next day and heading towards the southern end of Barrow Island. Along the way we caught a few Mahi Mahi, Mack Tuna and a small Black Marlin. Around Barrow a variety of reef species were caught including Rankin Cod, Coral Trout and more Spangos. A morning snorkel provided some Crayfish and then a session trolling towards Montes caught Queenies, trout, cods and some mackerel.

We anchored off Montes in glassy calm conditions and were treated to a visit from a Whale Shark and Manta Ray. Those quick enough were able to jump in and have a short swim with these impressive animals as they went right past the boat. An amazing experience for Ben and Simon to be part of.  That night we watched schools of bait fish dance around in the blue lights and squid moving in on the attack.  The activity in the water is more mesmerizing than watching an open fire.

The next morning we headed out to Trial Rocks and then onto Rankin Bank. Both spots produced some awesome Spanish Mackerel, Shark Mackerel and Wahoo. Unfortunately the sharks soon moved in at Trial Rocks but at Rankin we were able to avoid them and land some really big macks. There were massive shoals of bait at both spots and so much action in and on the water. The wind blew up though during the afternoon and our night at anchor was extremely rough with no one able to get any sleep. The wind continued for the next 24 hours and throughout the day we encountered some serious wind squalls and driving rain.

Hard to believe after 24 hours of this we could wake to clear skies and glassy calm seas again. An early morning Broadbill troll produced one bite and a short hook up but the fish was lost after a jump. Over the last few days of trolling for Marlin we raised a number of fish and tagged a further 2 more Blue Marlin around 150kg each and 3 smaller Black Marlin. One massive fish was raised on the left rigger where our favourite big lure runs. Ross had a good view of the fish as it cruised up and then engulfed the lure. The fish didn’t do anything, it turned side on and sat there thrashing its head. Somehow the leader must have tangled around the bill and when the line came tight Simon could feel the weight of the fish, it continued to shake violently then suddenly went loose. The fish had snapped 700lb leader, it was badly scuffed all along and had broken a distance up from the lure, we have no idea how and will never know, but another chance at the grander was just lost!!

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