Steep Point: The Nation’s Number One Land Based Game Location

When it comes to land-based gamefishing locations, Steep Point is widely regarded as one of the finest in the world. This remote fishing destination is situated within the Shark Bay World Heritage Site and is the westernmost point on the Australian mainland. Since the late sixties many keen LBG anglers have made the pilgrimage to this legendary location in search of massive gamefish.

The natural geological features of Steep Point make this location the perfect place to target pelagic fish from the shore. The spectacular cliffs that make up this make up this region are known as the Zuytdorp Cliffs and during the summer months the Leeuwin Current pushes hard up against these deepwater ledges. The warm currents funnel through the South Passage between the mainland and Dirk Hartog Island creating a real “super-highway” for migrating predators. Some of the common species found in these fish rich waters include the Spanish mackerel, cobia, yellowfin tuna, longtail tuna, yellowtail kingfish and the Indo-Pacific sailfish.  

GETTING A PERMIT

If you want to book a trip to this sportfishing mecca the first thing you need to organise is a permit from the Steep Point website (www.steeppoint.com.au). During the peak season which is between November and March it’s important to book at least 6mths in advance to secure a spot. Due to the limited space at Steep Point there is a maximum of 35 people allowed to camp at any particular time and to give everyone a go the maximum stay is two weeks. Adam Epifanis with a Steep Pt cobia taken on a soft plastic

BE PREPARED

Due to the extreme isolation of Steep Point, just getting to this remote location with all your gear and tackle is all part of the adventure. To camp at Steep Point you need to be completely self-sufficient. To spend a few weeks at this remote location the basic requirements include a generator, chest freezer or Engel fridge/freezer, camping gear, 100litres of unleaded fuel, 120 litres of drinking water, a first aid kit, and of course all your fishing gear. Forgetting any critical supplies or not bringing enough beer can be a real nightmare as the closest town Denham is approximately 300kms away.

GETTING THERE

Steep Point is approximately 1000kms north from Perth and this drive usually takes around 13hrs to complete. To access this famous rock ledge a 4WD vehicle is essential. Once you turn of the bitumen road near the Overlander Roadhouse the track is full of corrugations and features a few nasty sand dunes. The condition of the track can vary depending on the number of vehicles that have gone through during the season. Once you reach the causeway you need to reduce the pressure in your tyres to around 18-20PSI. When you’re towing a fully loaded vehicle and trailer you need to keep your revs up and maintain momentum to avoid being bogged in the soft sand. Spanish mackerel are the number one targets at Steep Pt

GAS BALLOONING

At Steep Point most of the gas ballooning action occurs between November to March when the trade winds are blowing in a southerly direction. These strong 15-30knot offshore winds usually blow all day during the summer months and you can gas balloon all day long. The most common baitfish used for gas ballooning is a garfish weighing around 150-200gms. When the winds are really strong I often use bigger baits such as tailor, snook and mullet. Once you have rigged your skip bait you can send them out with the aid of a helium or hydrogen filled balloon. A perfectly weighted skip bait will bounce across the water and will attract and entice surface cruising predators. Over the years I have witnessed some excellent runs of Spanish mackerel while gas ballooning at Steep Point. The best numbers of mackerel tend to show up around Christmas time. When the mackerel are going absolutely ballistic you can expect to get plenty of awesome surface strikes. These aggressive fish will hit skip baits with tremendous force and a lot of mackerel will even leap ten feet into mid air to grab a well present skip bait. This awesome sight is known by LBG anglers as a “polaris”. Plenty of other pelagics such as longtail tuna and cobia are also commonly captured on skip baits at Steep Point. In March 2015 Leigh Akins landed a rare14kg yellowfin tuna, exceptional currents are usually required to bring these oceanic speedsters close to the rocks. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SPINNING

At Steep Point most anglers usually spin from the dedicated spinfishing platform at The Oven or from The Faultline. These two sections of rock are reasonably low to the water and you can use a wide variety of lures. The strike zone seems to be a lot closer to shore at Steep Point in comparison to many other ledges on the west coast and plenty of big fish will annihilate lures right at your feet. Lures with plenty of inbuilt swimming action seem to work well at Steep Point and some of the most productive lures include the Rapala X-rap SXR14, Nilsmaster Invincible and the 5inch Mack Bait. Leigh Akins with a nice land based yellowfin tuna

SAILFISH

In my opinion Steep Point is the best location in the country to target a land based sailfish. I have landed two sailfish around 30kgs from these cliffs while gas ballooning. When these fish are hooked from the rocks they really put on an awesome aerial display. These billfish come close to the rocks to feed on fusiliers, small mackerel and other baitfish that thrive in the calm waters of Shark Bay. I have also hooked another estimated 15-20kg sailfish on a Locked Up Pencil Popper. This fish chased my popper for more than 50m and eventually grabbed the lure only 10m from the rocks. Unfortunately this feisty little sail stood its ground and thrashed its bill anger and quickly shook the lure from its mouth and won its freedom.

Steep Point really is an awesome adventure and fishing trip all in one. There are not many fishing spots in the world that are as spectacular as Steep Point. It might be a bit of a mission to get there but with the calibre of fishing swimming around the rewards are definitely worth the effort.

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Goshie

About Goshie

Goshie has been targeting large pelagic gamefish from the ocean rocks for over 16 years and is one of the most experienced LBG anglers in Australia. This keen rockhopper began his LBG career in the late nineties by chasing smaller pelagics such as bonito, rat kings and Aussie salmon from the sandstone ledges in his hometown of Sydney.

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