30 Dec Top Australian Fishing Destinations – Flats Fishing the Western Caribbean
Fishing Travel – Wilderness Island – Exmouth West Australia
Wilderness Island is an exclusive island getaway, hidden over the horizon on the eastern fringe of the Exmouth Gulf in North Western Australia. Wilderness Island is a true fishing and ecological paradise. Specialising in catering to small groups, the team at Wilderness Island Safari Holidays offer an exclusive and unforgettable experience for the adventure fisherman.
In a virtually untouched environment guests can expect to experience the beauty of the Island and its surrounding waters and take part in a range of activities including fishing, diving, whale watching, snorkelling, kayaking, bird watching, exploring, star gazing or just simply relaxing.
Living up to the true definition of the term “wilderness”, the island is ideally located in the pristine waters that make up the Eastern passage of the Exmouth Gulf. Small in stature though large in options, the island is just 1.6 kilometres long and 800 metres wide. From sandy beaches and limestone cliffs to mangroves and sand dunes, Wilderness Island delivers much for the explorer to experience.
Your host, Jim Alston has captured the imagination of many travellers with his ‘Robinson Crusoe’ inspired ecological camp. Jim has designed and built the facilities on the island amongst the natural surroundings with the most minimal impact possible. “It’s rustic, simple and homely, with an outback touch to it and good splash of luxury added for good measure”. – Jim Alston
The Fishing – Wilderness Island
Exmouth is home to some of the best fishing Australia has to offer. Wilderness Island is widely recognised as “the best flats fishing destination in Australia”. You can’t get much closer to the action – the camp is located just 15 metres from the high water mark providing ready access to some of the best land based sport fishing in the country.
So what’s on offer from shore? The species are seemingly endless but you can expect a hit from Golden Trevally, Giant Trevally, Giant Herring, Mangrove Jack, Permit, Barramundi, Spanish Mackerel, Queenfish (over 1 metre in length), Longtail Tuna, Snapper, Cod, Bluebone Groper and Coral Trout amongst around 100 other species of fish.
A stay at Wilderness Island ensures that no matter what the wind or weather throws at you, you can continue to fish. Windy days can be spent fishing the prolific mangrove systems and the renowned flats that are protected by the headlands and islands on the eastern side of Exmouth Gulf.
The offshore shoals are very productive with the popular Sailfish, Longtail Tuna, Cobia and Spanish Mackerel. The main aggregation zone for sailfish in the Exmouth Gulf is just 13 miles from the Wilderness Island base camp. If you don’t have a boat, arrangements can be made to hire a vessel to suit your needs.
So, whether you are a fly fisherman, sports fisherman or just a keen amateur angler, whether you want a fully guided fishing charter or you want to bring your own boat and look after yourself, the team at Wilderness Island can provide you with a fishing trip you will remember for a long time to come.
Game Fishing – Wilderness Island
There are two ‘Game Fishing’ options available for guests on Wilderness Island:
Option 1: (Rates start at $1,750.00 per day for 4 guests – All inclusive)
Full Day Game Fishing – An early start will see you heading to where the big fish are. Catching live bait along the way will prove an enjoyable distraction as you head out to the fishing grounds. A spread of lures or slow trolling live baits may be the order of the day. The more adventurous may want to try their hand at ‘tease and switch’, an exciting and productive way of catching billfish.
Or you may prefer…
Full Day Sport Fishing – An early start will have those mackerel wishing they never visited Exmouth Gulf. As you head out to catch some great speedsters of the ocean, you better be prepared! Big Spaniards on light gear, Cobia and Longtail Tuna are all on offer. There are also inshore options with record sized Golden Trevally, Queenfish, Cobia and Mack Tuna all available in the calm waters of the gulf.
Either option includes…
Popper Fishing: Casting big poppers and stick baits to the likes of an angry GT or massive Queenfish is a truly spectacular way of spending a day. All tackle is supplied or you are welcome to bring your own.
Jigging: Jigging for the mighty Amberjack, Trevally and Tuna will have your braid singing with glee (and your back aching by the end of the day). Jigging for tasty species like Pearl Perch or Gold-band Snapper will have you looking forward to a delicious evening meal of fresh caught fish.
Fly Fishing: For those who prefer to fly fish you can visit the inshore reefs and flats casting at Queenfish, GT’s and Golden Trevally. Try your hand at casting for Tuna who are intent on ending a poor baitfish’s life! If getting a bill fish to hit your feather really gets you excited, your guides will happily tease up one of the bountiful Marlin or Sailfish to give you the best shot possible at landing a fly fishing holy grail!
Bottom Fishing: Drop your bait into the abyss and hook a delectable reef fish. All types of bottom fishing are catered for in depths from 20 to 200m. Red Emperor, Coral and Coronation Trout, Blue Line, Spangled and Red Throat Emperor, Cods, Gold Band Snapper and many other tasty fish can be targeted. All tackle is supplied, there are no hand-lines used, and your catch is gutted and gilled for you.
Option 2: (Minimum 3-day adventure $1,800.00 per day for up to 5 anglers)
The waters surrounding Exmouth are home to some of the most amazing reef fishing Australia has to offer. The Wilderness Island Safari’s fishing charters use state of the art equpment, to give guests the best possible chance of landing those fish of a lifetime. Try jigging, twitching a soft plastic or soaking a bait for Red Emporer, Ruby or Goldband Snapper, Coral Trout, Rankin Cod and Norwest snapper.
If sports fishing is more your style, flick lures and poppers at, Queenfish, Cobia, Golden Trevally, Mackerel and Longtail Tuna or get your blood pumping as you try to wrestle one of Exmouths giant trevally out of the reef. The fishing charters cater for small intimate groups of up to 5 passengers and provide a personalised charter you will remember for years to come.
Spear Fishing: Exmouth and its surrounding waters are blessed with some amazing dive sites, A tailored a spear fishing charter can be arranged to suit your needs and abilities.
Spend a day diving the depths targeting Red Emporer, Green Jobfish and Rankin Cod around the offshore reefs or choose to drift dive the blue water surfaces for pelagic species such as Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel, Dolphin Fish and Tuna, whatever your preference there is an option to suit you.
For safety reasons, an experienced guide will be in the water with you at all times and the use of float lines is compulsory. All diving gear can be hired if the idea of carting your equipment with you is not ideal. Spear fishing is totally selective; absolutely no by-catch is tolerated on the charters. As part of the eco management strategy of the camp you are encouraged to limit your catch and asked to take only what you need.
Accommodation on Wilderness Island
Over the summer of 2012 new accommodation was built on the island to cater for a market with more discerning tastes. With only five cabins perched on a secluded cliff top just 15 metres from the waters edge, the cabins are simple yet comfortable with majestic views over the Exmouth Gulf.
The laid back atmosphere at Wilderness Island is stress-free and unpretentious making it the ideal place to discuss the day’s itinerary, relax with a book from the library, listen to some great music or just listen to the whisper of waves upon the beach. Without the daily interruption of crowds, busy schedules, TV, phones and Internet, the Island is the perfect destination to live out a unique wilderness experience.
The focus of the camp is all about minimising impact on the islands environment and eco system. Ensuring that guests can get as close to nature as possible, there is a noticeable emphasis on ecologically sound management.
The Cabins – cater mainly for couples or twin share, although they can be arranged to 4-person occupancy on request. Each has a private deck providing uninterrupted views over the ocean. There’s nothing quite like a quiet afternoon relaxing in your hammock in your own private space.
Cabins include mosquito screens, comfortable beds and all linen is supplied. The bathroom is one of the features of the stay. Built directly into the cliff face on the beach, guests can enjoy a warm bath or shower and watch the spectacular sunset whilst the waves crash onto the shore.
The Camp – is your central hub on the island and is situated on top of an elevated cliff. There’s plenty on offer including indoor and outdoor lounges, dining area, bar, kitchen with pizza oven and a sun deck overlooking the Exmouth Gulf.
Meals include the freshest of seafood delights taken straight from the ocean. The camp offers a well stocked larder if you prefer something other than seafood. Being fully self-contained, the camp also provides fresh rainwater for drinking, gas stove, refrigerators, freezers, lights and power for charging electronic devices.
Wilderness Island Philosophy
The owners understand the need to protect the natural environment for future generations. The philosophy of the island is simple – to be as gentle on the surroundings as humanly possible. Eco management practices include:
- Producing water from solar operated water makers.
- Sustainable fishing measures, no fish are ever taken from the area.
- Use of local produce where possible and they even grow some of their own.
- Solar power is generated and used as much as possible.
- Grey water is recycled for use around the grounds.
Getting to Wilderness Island
Guests are transferred from Exmouth by Plane or boat. There is no direct access from the mainland. The trip by boat takes around one hour (depending on weather conditions). Plane trips to the island take about 20 minutes. If you have your own boat – GPS coordinates are provided prior to your departure.
Both Qantas and Virgin Airlines operate direct flights to Learmonth Airport from Perth every day. Connections are available from other capital cities in Australia via Perth. A short road trip from Learmonth to Exmouth is by bus (a small fee applies). Your bus ticket will need to be pre-booked prior to arrival with Exmouth Bus Charters.
New Novel Reveals Inner Life of Famous Fly Fishing Theodore Gordon
John Gubbins’ new novel The American Fly Fishing Experience: Theodore Gordon: His Lost Flies and Last Sentiments is an enlightening and up-close-and-personal look at its title character, one of the major figures of fly fishing history, but also one who was largely secretive about his private life.
Consequently, some details are missing in Gordon’s life, but Gubbins valiantly fills in the gaps. He also tells the story from Gordon’s viewpoint, placing us directly into the man’s thoughts so we understand his motivations, anxieties, and even some of his deepest secrets.
Gordon, who lived from 1854-1915, is best known for fishing the Catskill region of New York, although he fished throughout the United States. Because of his numerous magazine articles, Gordon became known as the “father of the American school of dry fly fishing.” He adapted English fly-fishing tackle and flies for American creeks and rivers.
He even had his own private mail-order business where he made flies for various fishers. Here is where his cantankerous side comes in. Gubbins depicts Gordon as making flies for his customers, believing in the idea that the customer is always right because he knows his customers would never want the flies he makes for himself; he is content to be paid for making flies the way the customer wants them, even though he knows the flies he makes for himself are superior.
Gordon’s interest in fly fishing resulted from being a sickly child. Fearing that others would see him as weak, he tried to act manly, always talking about fishing and hunting and pursuing those activities when his health permitted. In this way, he was much like his contemporary Theodore Roosevelt, but while Roosevelt grew to be robust, Gordon had consumption, which kept him frequently bedridden and always in fear of how others would treat him.
As Gubbins illustrates, consumption (or tuberculosis as we call it today) was so feared at the turn of the last century that some railroads banned “lungers” from their passenger cars. In the town of Liberty, where Gordon often stayed, it was a crime to let a consumptive spend the night within the town limits. Consequently, Gordon became a criminal, always fearful that the local authorities would learn about his illness and throw him out of town.
Being a fly fisher, author of fly fishing articles, and entrepreneur who made and sold hand-tied flies was the perfect occupation for Gordon because he could not have held down a regular job due to his illness. Ultimately, we might say that fly fishing became the great love of his life, but this is overlooking the fact that he had a romance with a woman whose name we do not even know, even though photographs have survived of her and Gordon together.
Gubbins produces a realistic character named Gail to play the love interest in Gordon’s life; he treats this outspoken woman who is interested in fishing in a realistic manner while plausibly explaining why the romance may have finally dwindled.
And so back to his fly fishing love Gordon went. He was a jealous lover of his passion. At one point in the novel, his friend Anson tells Gordon that people think he’s rude. He doesn’t wish to be rude, but as he admits:
“Prying anglers annoy me… (T)hey want to know where I fish, when I fish, the names of my favorite flies, and, worse, they want all this information for free. Prying anglers do not expect to consult lawyers or doctors for free, but because they believe fishing is a frivolous pursuit and unworthy of their full attention, they pester successful anglers like myself for direction instead of reading and experimenting themselves. If they were truly civilized, they would request my fee schedule before asking me any questions.”
However, Gordon unintentionally reveals that at times he might have pried a bit himself. He began a correspondence with noted British fly fishing author Frederic Halford, considering him a great mentor, but Halford eventually quit replying to his letters. Consequently, Gordon learned not to engage in discussions with any fly fishermen except those who bought his flies.
Despite any possible similarities between Gordon and Halford, in the end, Gordon is the bigger man, explaining to us, “Sometimes I explain my differences with Halford as being due to our natures. It was Halford’s mission to ensure that each day fishing would prove his rules…
My mission is to discover the surprising and revel in the wonder of each day.” Gordon also refuses to engage in controversy, writing generally positive reviews of fly fishing books even when he doesn’t always agree with the author, feeling there has been enough controversy among English fly fishermen, so it is not needed among the Americans.
While Gordon may have been unwilling to reveal his secrets to others, here he does not hold back with the reader, resulting in a magical experience as we learn all the specifics of the numerous flies he tied, including the materials he used and how he tied them.
We get right into the heart and soul of this pragmatical, yet passionate, fly fisher. He shares with us his best day in July 1901 which flowed like the plot of a stage play; he caught twenty-four fish that day and kept twenty.
He shares with us how age affects him, sadly making him lower expectations. We delight in the night he sneaks out of his prying landlady’s boarding house to fish without anyone worrying about him. Gubbins even provides us with maps of the various rivers Gordon fished in so we can understand the fullness of his techniques.
There are no big fish tales in this book, but rather Gordon’s honest musings upon what worked when he fished and what did not. Gordon only allowed a few friends and family members to get close to him, including a couple of nephews who loved to hear his stories. In reading this book, I felt like one of those nephews, enjoying the company of a somewhat curmudgeonly uncle.
I felt like I was standing beside Gordon, listening to his fly fishing wisdom, while a brook babbled in the background. Reading this book is as close as a person can get to meeting Gordon in person and spending considerable time with him.
Few authors have penetrated so thoroughly into the mind of a historical person and fleshed him out so that we come to feel like we know him better than those who knew him in real life. Anyone who loves fly fishing or just a good, deeply introspective novel, will delight in The American Fly Fishing Experience.
If you need to experience some of the best fishing in the world, Alaska fishing is what you want. Set in the remote, clean badlands of Alaska, still untouched by most civilization, an Alaska fishing trip takes you somewhere that gives you access to two the most desired trophy fish, including silver and king salmon.
In addition to this, as most lodges are remote and far from other lodges, especially those in the far north area of Alaska, there’s no competition for good fishing spots.
When you’re planning your Alaska fishing trip, you will need to keep several things in mind. First, it is virtually impossible to go on an Alaska fishing venture for only a day or two. Most trips are planned for 5 or 7 days, giving satisfactory time for you to enjoy the badlands and fishing. This is due to the fact that to get to several of the Alaska fishing resorts, you need to take a chartered plane from Anchorage to your lodge.
This is particularly done in the far north lodges that will not be accessed by road or rail. Because of this, there are a lot more costs related to fly in trips than if you fish closer to home.
Depending on the lodge you select, the price for your stay could be higher than other lodges. The first factor in this is how far by plane you need to go to get to the lodge. When you’re setting up your Alaska fishing trip, there are a few things that you will want to need to remember.
First, certain classes of fish are active in certain parts of the year. Take it slow and select a type of fish you need to fish for. This may identify which time of year that you will want to go on your Alaska fishing journey.
For many, the best time is in late summer, just as the King salmon are migrating and the Silver salmon are becoming active. This enables you to capture both types of these prized fish in good quantity.
However, if you are after just king salmon or just silver salmon, you may opt to go on a trip earlier or later in the season so that you are fishing at the top of when they are several species of fish that are highly active all season long, including Pike, Arctic Grayling and Burn. You will need to plan your Alaska fishing venture ahead, as lodge availability is limited and most lodges operate on a first come reservation basis.