|Whether it's diving, fishing, turtle watching, bird watching or just plain relaxing, the Mackerel Islands in Western Australia's northwest Pilbara Coastal region is the ideal destination for the adventurous or the weary.|
Clear turquoise waters are home to pristine world-class coral reefs that offer a spectacular array of colourful reef fish and coral formations - a diver's/ snorkeller's paradise. And the fishing action is up there with some of the worlds best. Whether you like to fish off the beach or out on the ocean, you won't be disappointed with the smorgasbord of five-star species.
Of the 10 islands that make up the Mackerels group, two provide accommodation - Thevenard Island and Direction Island. The landscape is very much north Western Australian, abounding with vegetation typical of the region. The casual nature of the Mackerel Islands provides an ideal escape for singles, couples, families and group.
Fishing for sport or catching a meal, snorkelling or diving for crayfish. Relaxing along the clean beaches, exploring and discovering rare native island inhabitants, viewing exotic shells, marvelling at the endless sun and blue skies and eating fresh fish to your heart's content – Why Wait?
The Mackerel Islands are situated 22km offshore from the town of Onslow, 1,400km north of Perth in Western Australia's spectacular Pilbara region. Accommodation is available on Thevenard Island and Direction Island. Thevenard Island is a C Class Nature Reserve and as well as providing accommodation for holidaymakers, it also accommodates an oil storage facility.
Fishing at the Mackerel Islands is something special. With so many different varieties of fish, the line action both onshore and offshore is what fishermen dream about. People come from all around Australia to experience the action and they rarely leave disappointed. Spanish mackerel, snapper, red and spangled emperor, queenfish, coral trout, yellow fin tuna, cod, sailfish and marlin are just some of the quality fish you are likely to catch. Whether you’re after the feed or the sport, there’s something for all. Many visitors bring their own boat but for those who don’t, fishing charters are available .
Species Of Fish Around The Mackerel Islands
Yellow fin tuna,
Fly Fishing the Mackerel Islands
Very few places in Australia or in the world for that matter can produce the amount of saltwater action that can be enjoyed in and around the Mackerel Islands.
Fly Fishers have been known to catch as many as 20 species of fish or more during fly fishing trips to the island, including mega class fish, those any fly fisherman dreams of catching. Meter long queenies are beaten to the fly by even bigger models, 25lb golden trevelly, and the ever-present, unstoppable golden trevallys’s have the ability to transform your 10wt or even 12wt rod from a four piece to a six piece in a second, it’s that sort of place. All the Islands and sand cays in the group produce quality fish, both from the shore and from a boat. Both options can produce sessions which would be hard to beat anywhere in the world.
Well-known fly fishing expert David Bell, a visitor to the islands, tells the following tale:
“I planned to walk around a small Island one afternoon. I allowed three hours to cover all the likely looking spots before the boat was due to pick me up. I managed to cover less than 500 meters. I was hooked up solid from the first cast, a hard fighting Trevor and from then on a smorgasbord of quality fish followed, mostly sight casting in crystal clear water. There was everything from queenies, blue fin, golden, brassy gold spot trevor’s, dart, bream, blue nose salmon, the list went on and on. The Mackerel Islands is truly is a special place, one I will gladly return to in the near future. Next time I may strike gold and hook up to Permit or even a bonefish which are caught not too far away in Exmouth and Onslow. You never know your luck in a place like the Mackerels.” David bell, fly fishing expert.”
What Fly Gear To Take
Shore based either 8 or 9wt rod with intermediate line should cover all the bases, from a boat 10-12wt rods with fast sinking line are the go you will encounter larger fish hanging on the drop offs so a fast sinking line will get you in the zone for the trophy fish which are there waiting for your fly.
Staying on Thevenard Island which is some 22 kilometres out from Onslow makes life very easy, it offers a wide range of accommodation options, which can cater for small to large groups. The general store provides all your daily needs with, fuel supplies available for your boat; Thevenard Island also have a restaurant and a bar, great food and great entertainment. The boat anchorage is suitable for all sizes of boats which are moored only meters from your bungalows. But the best thing about the Island is the Island crew who are all committed to providing a very high standard of service. Nothing is too much trouble.
Plakas can be hired per day or per week. Persons are required to have their recreational skippers ticket. Please refer to the 2010 Rates Page. A recreational skippers ticket must be viewed prior to hire. For further information please contact the Island Managers on 9184 6444.
Both Thevenard and Direction Island have moorings available in front of the islands for use by private boat owners at a cost of $10 per day. All moorings are supplied at the risk of the boat owner. Mackerel Islands holds no responsibility for any damages incurred to any private vessels. Please ensure that your boat is insured prior to your holiday.
Vehicle and Boat Trailer Storage
We currently offer compound parking for guests leaving their cars in Onslow. Contact the Onslow Mackerel Motel Managers on your arrival in Onslow to arrange for storage of vehicles and trailers, phone 9184 6586 for information costs and availability.
Fishing Competitions & Events
A popular fishing trip to the Mackerel Islands is Seafari. Led by boating and fishing experts, Seafari participants drive in convoy to Onslow, staying overnight in Carnarvon, and then take their boats over to Thevenard Island for a week of fishing.
Seafari's are open to anyone with a boat and a passion for fishing. They are ideal for the inexperienced boating person or inexperienced fisherman, combining education with a social environment and a great fishing experience. Seafari events are aimed at all levels of boating and fishing skills and participants can have as much or as little guidance as they want. The trips are ideal for new boat owners, those who are lacking experience or those who are perhaps lacking the confidence to take their boat north on their own. Seafari trips combine education with a fun social environment for lovers of boating, fishing and the ocean.
Seasoned Seafari leaders provide not only boating and fishing expertise, but thorough knowledge of the local waters around the Mackerel Islands. Participants will be guided to good fishing spots and advice will be available at all times. Participants can be as competitive as they like or may simply enjoy catching a good feed. Accommodation and all meals in Club Thevenard or a self-contained beach cabin on Thevenard Island, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner (if required), bed and breakfast in Carnarvon on the way up and back are inclusive.