When we first uncovered the trophy bonefish of Ningaloo Reef we pretty much dismissed the numerous permit we were seeing on the flats as just too difficult to catch, in favour of catching trophy bonefish. Eventually we sussed out how to catch the permit. Now we are increasingly being recognised as one of the top, if not the best, permit fly fishing destinations in the world. We have many anglers who come to tick off their first T. blochii, but we also catch the occasional T. anak.
Our discovery of trophy bonefish on the Ningaloo flats formed part of fly fishing history in Australia. It was a very exciting time. The Ningaloo flats are slightly deeper than most traditional bonefish flats, but the bonefish are sight cast and they are big. We catch many double figure bonefish and our best are probably close to 14 pounds. They share the same flats with permit, GT, golden trevally and spangled emperor.
Giant trevally rule the flats of Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth Gulf. Sharks don’t bother them, they swim with dolphins, so they aren’t scared of much. But if you don’t present your fly in front of them, just how they like it, they will disappear off the flat in a flash. Big brutal wimps!
However, when they do decide to eat your well presented fly, the bite is awesome and scary, and what happens after the hook is set cannot be explained here, only experienced first hand.
Before our discovery of trophy bonefish on the Ningaloo flats, golden trevally were the Australian iconic flats species.
Goldens feed in very shallow water and will tail like a permit. They are incredibly strong and are responsible for breaking many fly rods. Your guide, Brett Wolf, is the current IGFA world record captain for golden trevally on fly, the angler was Paolo Pacchiarinii, and the golden was weighed on IGFA certified Bogagrips and released in good health.
Our fishery at Ningaloo Reef is so diverse that bonefish, permit and big GT can be caught on flats within sight of boats targeting marlin and sailfish. Only a few minutes after releasing a bonefish or permit we can have the teasers in the water for billfish on the fly. There is also the opportunity in the blue water for all sorts of big fish including tuna, wahoo, spanish mackerel and mahi-mahi. Our clients have caught them all on fly.
The angler in this photo is Herle Hamon and that is a massive cobia he caught and released on fly. Read all about this capture in Covering All Bases.
Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth Gulf offer a range of marine environments including: crystal clear flats; coral reef; blue water; and mangrove lined creeks. Thus they provide habitats for a huge variety of fish.
Other species that can be targeted on fly include: barramundi, queenfish, tuna, giant herring, cobia, spanish mackerel, milkfish, coral trout, snapper and many more species.
The rich marine environment also offers the opportunity to see dolphins, turtles, whales, whalesharks, dugongs and beautiful sea birds including sea eagles, ospreys and pelicans.