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swoffing safari 2009

17/05/2009  Wilderness Island with Matt from Darwin
My mate Matt Henger flew in from Darwin and we enjoyed 2 weeks of laughing, drinking, fishing and the odd bit of fishing. The first week we went across to the Eastern side of Exmouth Gulf where we stayed at Wilderness Island http://www.wilderness-island.com.au. The second week we would spend with the yearly migration of flyfishers into Exmouth for the week of 'Boneheads'.

Here's what happened:

The boat was loaded with fuel, beer and all our gear and we made the 27 mile journey across the gulf into a 20 knot Easterly. Bash, bash, bash all the way across ... The boat with new Suzuki handles like an absolute dream in these waters and to say I am happy with the boat is an understatement. With both tanks full we are able to fish for 4 days without refuelling, covering most of the gulf, I'm getting better fuel economy out of the new 90 than I did with my 50 4 stroke Yammy.

We made it across no problems and were greeted by Jim the owner who loaded us and our gear onto a quad bike and took us to the 'lodge'.
Matt looking somewhat weary about the rusty trailer though

Wilderness Island is a very cool place indeed. The way it's been setup is very basic and rustic but that's the whole charm of the place. Accommodation is in fixed tents / cabins and the view is due West across the Gulf.

The balcony area that leads out from the communal dining room and kitchen area

If you feel like showering there's a saltwater shower with a 40 gallon drum over a fire that provides hot water

The Eastern side of Exmouth gulf is something very special indeed. Remote, wild, pristine ... all the cliche'd words. Perhaps do yourself a favour and check out what I'm talking about on Google Earth if you get the chance.

We spent a week exploring miles and miles of flats, creeks and shoals and what we experienced would rate as some of the best quality sight fishing experiences that I've had. We saw one other boat in a week and pretty much had the place to ourselves to explore.

Flats, flats and more flats, literally as far as the eye can see, with a barrier of age old mangroves that separate the water with the West Australian desert.

We experienced some sensational sight casting to large queenies and goldens that were cruising in skinny water ... what more do you want as a fly fisher ??

And when the action gets too hot, what better way to cool yourself down than fall off the boat

We spent most of the time out there scouring the endless flats for crusing fish. We saw great quality queenies and golden trevally, tailing and all. We saw no permit but there have been reports of large numbers of them in the water months ... perhaps I should just stay here and find out fist hand when it warms up ?

We also spent some time exploring rockbars, reefs and creeks for jacks, cod and anything else that we could entice with the fly

Poor Matt seemed jinxed by the goldens on the flats ... he popped off six in the week that we were there, including one that was totally my fault where we were on a double hookup and both fish ran around the same mangrove stump. I handed him my rod and jumped into the water trying to land his fish but it popped off, however after throwing my rod into the water around the tree, mine fortunately remained connected and we landed it. Thanks dude !!

Saltwater fly fishing is hard work ... just ask Peter Morse :D

One of the funniest things of the week was when at 3am one morning, Matt started sleep talking. Perhaps popping off 6 goldens got to his brain ... or maybe it was the beer, not sure.

'You're farting too much .... that's why we're not catching any fish on the flats'

Bwaha ahaa - classic line dude!! I won't forget that one

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