Exmouth. The hub of Western Australia’s game fishing. One of the most iconic, incredible, breath-taking fishing locations in our incredible country. The big boats, the big reels, the heavy rods, 24kg line. Guys travel miles out to the back of the reef to fight the monsters of the deep, or shoot out onto the inside of the reef for some shallow water shenanigans.
Dad and I had been doing exactly this in our 14 foot Savage tinny. Flicking plastics through and around the shallow bombies just south of Tandabiddi ramp is some of the best fun and so exciting due to the visual nature. Trevally, Black Snapper, Spangled Emperor, Blue Lined Emperor were all included amongst others and provided us with out fix for the day as
well as a good feed but there was one species missing. Mangrove Jack.
On the way back in we decided to flick some smaller plastics over a few of the smaller bombies as it seemed the larger, more predominant ones had been pilfered by the copious divers and spear fishers. We pulled a few fish yet still no Jack.
After experiencing a bit of motor trouble we decided to call it a day and head back in. The ramp was quiet and we could take our time coming in. I jumped waste deep in the water to guide the boat onto the trailer and noticed some Yellowfin Bream mooching around the ledge at the end of the concrete.
Then I saw a tail with not a yellow but… a red tinge.I reached into the boat (that was still on the ramp next to me) and grabbed my Samurai Infinite 4-10lb which was already rigged with a 2.5” Zman Grub in Bloodworm colour and dropped the offering right on the drop-off.
I lifted straight up and pulled out a solid Mangrove Jack. Measured against the sticker on the boat (which was still on the ramp next to me) it went a devastating 29cm (they need to be 30) so he went straight back. Finally Dad retrieved the boat but I thought I’d have one last cast…
Suddenly I’m dancing over the (extremely) slippery ramp and underneath the finger jetty trying to keep a hold on this beauty that had just smashed my plastic. After a hectic few minutes I was able to slide the fat 36cm Jack onto the ramp and he went straight in the icebox. Dinner was finally served.
A few hours later on the change of the next tide I decided to head back down to the boat ramp yet this time with no boat. I found a school of Blue-Lined Emperor and landed over 15 fish! Also managed to pick up a nice Golden Trevally, Sea Perch, Cod, Dart, and on my very last cast an absolutely beautiful 40cm Mangrove Jack.
This all just goes to show that often in fishing we can tend to over think things. Especially when dealing with as many options as a place like Exmouth provides. Sometimes your best bet is to go back to basics and do what you know. Go with that gut feeling. Often the best fishing can be right under your nose… and you wouldn’t even know it.