Steep Point Fishing with Jacob Crispe
As a land based angler, I’m always looking for destinations that are within a certain distance so I can pack my car and just shoot off on a weekend for a sneaky few days fishing or something I can book a couple of weeks off and go for at least 7-10 days. Depending on the time of the year is what helps me decide on the location and species I intend to target.
For myself and a close group of friends the beginning of each year is a very special time that we hold close to our hearts. 12 months of the year can never pass quick enough for the next trip to come around, that’s our annual trip north to Steep Point, the western most point of mainland Australia.
There’s a lot of organising that goes into a trip like this. It’s a 12 hour long drive to a very remote location where the only thing you have access to when you arrive are the things you bring and a communal long drop toilet. That toilet is most likely to have the best view of any toilets in Australia as it sits up on the hill overlooking the campsite and all the way across the channel to Dirk Hartog Island. For this reason, the door on that toilet is happily left open while business is done.
So after a lot of planning between the boys collaborating and figuring out who needs to bring what, the build up to hitting the road on this epic fishing adventure is huge!
I’m not going to drag on to much about the whole road trip up but I will say that where the adventure begins and the story will always start knowing that the day you finally get to leave on this epic fishing adventure has finally arrived. Rods are packed, beers are cracked and off we go! It’s a long drive but its always fun. The closer you get the more the excitement grows. From when you leave the bitchumen and first hit that gravel, then when the gravel finally turns to a sand track, the 4wd is engaged and the sand track finally puts you insight of your first glimpse of the water, that feeling is priceless!
As we arrive at “The Point” the first thing we are looking at is the colour of the water, this gives us a massive indication to what we can expect to catch. What we are looking for are clear blue waters, this is what we need for such fish as Spanish Mackerel, various species of Tuna and other larger pelagic species like Marlin or Sailfish. When the water is green we know that the pelagic species are shut down and this is when the demersal species such as Pink Snapper, Spangled Emperor also known as North West Snapper and Baldchin Gropper etc. become the main target of interest.
The last trip up for me was January this year. As we were driving in it was still daylight but only just as we got to where our camp was to be set up, it had become fully dark. Some boys were keen to have a fish straight away but we all pulled together and set a massive camp base up, consisting of 3 Gazebos all cable tied together, a few trestle tables, BBQ and a good Honda Generator to power the sight. Once camp was set up then we did some quick rigging for the following days fishing before it was time to catch some zzz’s for the big days fishing ahead.
I was the first to wake up the next morning, I remember being so keen to grab my spinning rod and get over to the low rock and punch some casts out! It didn’t take long before I had my first hook up. It was literally my second cast before I had a fish on. After a couple of blistering runs and watching a sliver bullet speed through the water from left to right I had a nice Spanish Mackerel at the base of the rocks, luckily there were a few guys from another camp there to help me gaff it up. This being the first fish of trip and within minutes on the first morning really set the mood between the boys. It didn’t take long before James was on the ledge spinning and had some awesome luck hooking up straight away also.
As the week went on we were predominantly spinning lures. A couple of us also had helium balloons out. This method is called skip baiting, using large garfish as bait rigged on some 100lb wire with a couple of large 10/0 hooks snelled together and a squid skirt at the top to protect the bait.
Over the 7 days at Steep Point every day was successful, some days more than others. The best day we had was Australia Day. Within a couple of hours of spinning lures we landed 5 good-sized Spanish Mackerel, 3 solid Yellow Fin Tuna and a bunch of Stripy Tuna.
Around 4pm every afternoon we would all sit together and make a few rigs each then head off to find a spot on the back cliffs to fish for Pink Snapper, Baldchin Groper and whatever else may have been lurking in the turbulent waters below.
Between us all we were very successful bottom fishing the back cliffs with a good amount of snapper, Baldies & Mulloway coming up. We were even surprised one night when Dwayne pulled up a Crayfish and following that was a crazy powerful hook up which landed a Red Bass. The experience to be a part of truly adrenalin pumping and one I will remember forever!
When fishing such high cliffs, you must be on the ball at all times. If by chance you to too close to the edge, had a strike, lost your footing and fall into the water the impact alone will severely hurt you if not kill you and there are no spots to just climb out. There are several plaques around the place from other fellow anglers who have lost their lives, which can be quite daunting to see. So be sure to use common sense and have your wits about you at all times.
A much safer approach to having some fun catching monsters is to head down to any of the several beaches with the ballooning setups and put some baits out for sharks. There were a couple of evenings that we cruised down to the beach with a few beers where we could set some baits & just relax. On both occasions we were successful with landing a nice Bull Shark and a couple of Sand Bar Whalers which were all released.
Over the week if you can imagine all these types of fishing mixed together everyday it was pretty action packed and leaves you tired, stretched, sun kissed and very physically broken by the end of it.
Between us boys we filled our quota of fish. 20kg of fillets each is the maximum limit you can travel on the road with at anytime. We even helped the camp next to us get some fillets in the freezer as there luck wasn’t quite as good as ours.
People ask, what’s the worst part of the trip? With 100% honesty it’s having to pack up and leave but as a group, packing up isn’t really the hard part, it’s the leaving that really sucks.
I could write forever on the subject of Steep Point but for this blog I have really tried to shorten & compress it down, however I plan to write more in depth detailed articles in the future. The last memory I will leave you with from the trip is from the day we were leaving. It was absolute kayos! Between the four balloons we had out with our camp and the one next to us we were getting double and triple hook ups for a good hour to hour and a half, people screaming out colours of balloons that were hooking up and scrambling over the rocks to their rods like madmen. I wish we got a video footage of that day but we were all so caught up in the thrill of it all. The fishing was just nuts! Truly had to be seen to be believed.
I cannot wait to get back there!!! February next year just can’t come quick enough! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did re-living it.
Anglers Fishing World