Steve Riley

Exmouth Fishing Personality

Steve is a fishing tragic, tackle store owner and long-time resident of Exmouth in Western Australia. He’s enthusiastic about sharing his fishing knowledge with our listeners – and he has some pretty damn good stuff to say. It’s hard to feel sorry for Steve – the only thing most anglers could think of that’s better than living in Exmouth is living in Exmouth and owning a tackle store…….

Steve’s Top Tips For Exmouth Sailfish

  • Sailfish fishing is at its best in Exmouth between the months of September/October and April. Smaller fish appear in the gulf early in the season, larger fish appear is smaller numbers and tend to come later in the season. During summer the larger fish tend to appear and are usually caught on the west side. From March onwards the fish are around but start to thin out.
  • Don’t let the weather reports of hot weather discourage you from visiting Exmouth over the summer months. The daytime temperatures on the water are much more pleasant than those in town, so just stay out on the water.
  • Lunar cycles are all-important in sailfish fishing. Four or five days either side of the moon with tide changes around 2.30pm give the best bite windows. Often in summer the wind swings west in the arvo, making the gulf pancake-like and the fish easy to find with birds working. 
  • Sailfish are like packs of wolves over the summer months, herding up and smashing bait balls. 
  • Look for terns circling high above the water and plunge diving into the water, which is a classic sign of sailfish in the Exmouth area.
  • Once you’ve found a bait ball, try not to disturb it – these are magnets for sailfish and other predators. Troll your lures well away (30m or more) from the bait as the sailfish are fast moving and are on the alert for baitfish straggling from the school. The noise and disturbance caused by the boat will attract the pelagics away from the bait and towards your lures. 
  • Using teasers and witch doctors helps attract the fish to the boat. Have the lures riding the clear water of the boat waves so you can see the sailfish coming to the lures.

Steve’s Sailfish Tackle

  • 4000-6000 size spin reels with 10kg braid and matching rods and 100 or 150lb wind-on leader is usually sufficient. Watch the length restrictions on leaders if you’re fishing competitions!
  • As the water warms up and bigger sailfish arrive Steve suggests going to standard game fishing overhead tackle.

Steve’s Recommended Sailfish Lures

  • A Richter Soft Grassy can be trolled in any conditions and at any speed and tends to be taken by most pelagic species. This lure has a soft cone head that creates awesome bubble trails that attract billfish from a distance. Harder head (resin) lures will sit in the water better when you’re trolling faster 
  • Bronze Lures tend to get pulled out of the tackle box when the larger fish arrive. 
  • Rig lures with the correct size hook, so it’s inside the skirt but the bottom of the bend hangs out the bottom. There’s are plenty of options to weight and rig so the lure is balanced and the hook rides straight. 

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