The Wessel Islands are one of Australia’s most remote and untouched fly fishing destinations. Nestled at the top of the Northern Territory, the network of coves and clear sandy flats create a saltwater angler’s paradise.
Two species of Indo-Pacific permit are available – T.Anak and T.Blochii, and the endemic blue bastards and black spotted tusk fish also provide an inviting flats challenge. If you are looking for variety, queenfish, barramundi, giant trevally, Spanish mackerel, coral trout, golden trevally, brassy trevally and giant herring all inhabit the flats, mangrove creeks and rocky island channels.
The diversity of fish is matched only by the remoteness of the location. The fishery has remained largely untouched and ‘The Wessels’, in collaboration with Aussie Fly Fisher & Wildcard Luxury Tours, are currently the only licensed operator accessing these pristine island flats.
The fly fishing is first class, and your trip is completed by a spacious 70ft Mothership – ‘Wildcard’. The Wildcard family have 40 years experience in the region and will ensure your fly fishing trip is a memorable one, both on and off the flats.
The Wessel Islands is a group of islands in the Northern Territory of Australia. They extend in a more or less straight line from Buckingham Bay and the Napier Peninsula of Arnhem Land, and Elcho Island, to the northeast. Marchinbar Island is the largest of the group.
A fly fisher’s paradise filled with numerous species to target, this destination allows for true emersion into the wild in one of the furthest corners of the planet. A true wilderness filled with marine life.
The trip offers six days of fly fishing around the Wessel Islands, with most travel time on the mothership (Wildcard) scheduled on the first afternoon and final evening, to maximise fishing time. Each day it will make anchor in various locations, taking advantage of the best times and tides.
With the sun bright and the fishing brighter, you’ll be sight casting to Spanish mackerel and getting smashed up by coral trout popping over shallow reefs. Monster giant trevally will offer a serious test of your angling skills and there’s barramundi and queenfish in numbers you could previously only dream about. There are rivers, creeks mangrove lined edges and sand flats as far as the eye can see.
Fishing options include: flats fishing, either by shallow wading or purpose built inshore boats; fly fishing in the small mangrove creeks; and fishing the larger blue water channels for pelagic species, such as GTs.
Each fishing day typically runs from 8am to 4pm-5.30pm, depending on group preferences and tidal conditions. That means if the fish are biting early you’ll be on the water first thing, and if they’re biting late expect to be out past dusk.
Your trip will be based predominantly on the 70ft mothership – ‘Wildcard’. The Wildcard family have 40 years of experience in the region, and will ensure your fly fishing trip is a memorable one, both on and off the flats.
Accommodation is based on twin share rooms, each with a private bathroom, individually controlled air-conditioning, TVs with USB port for movies, international power adaptors and blackout curtains.
These two rooms can also be purchased as a single person room, or used for couples.
Their are also two 6-meter purpose-built fishing guide boats fully decked out and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Food & Cuisine
Each day you will be treated to a range of first class dining options, prepared by the experienced onboard chef Prue.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served onboard the Wildcard, however packed lunches can also be prepared on request if you’d rather eat out on the water.
At the end of a long days fishing you’ll return to the Wildcard and enjoy drinks and canapés before tucking into a delicious three-course meal, featuring fresh and locally sourced ingredients – often caught by yourself that same day.
Arrive at Gove Airport. A representative will greet you at the airport and transfer guests to the boat to settle in and enjoy some light refreshments. Depending on tide times, Wildcard will depart the harbour in the evening and travel through the night to the first fishing destination. The voyage is typically calm, with the odd ocean swell passing through some of the island passages. If you struggle with seasickness, crew can assist with medication. Dinner is served either before departing the harbour, or during a calm passage of the voyage.
DAYS 2 – 6
Breakfast is typically served from 7.00am each day. The fishing boats aim to leave the mothership around 8.00am. Guests have the option to maximise fishing time by requesting a packed lunch, or can return to Wildcard for lunch. Each day runs to around 4.00pm-5.30pm, depending on fishing.
At the end of each day the crew will clean your gear, hand you a refreshing face towel and a drink of your choice. You can then retire to the front deck or air conditioned lounge, enjoying a choice of canapés until dinner is served at your group’s preferred time.
Breakfast is served as per your regular schedule and the boats leave for fishing at 8.00am. On the final day, anglers return to the mothership by 4.00pm to ensure all the fishing boats can be tethered to the ship for the return voyage. Wildcard will travel through the night to return guests to Nhulunbuy Harbour.
Breakfast will be served on Wildcard and guests will be transferred to Gove airport for their flights home.
- 6 days guided fishing – one guide per two anglers
- 7 nights accommodation – twin share with private ensuite for each room. Single room supplement is available at $500 per person (limited to 2 rooms per trip).
- Ground transfers in Gove, Northern Territory Australia
- All meals and beverages (excluding alcohol)
- AFF Wessel Islands Gift Pack – Sun Shirt, Cap, 20lb Tippet, Wessels Fly Pack.
- Fishing license and permits
- Laundry services each day
- Mothership crew and fuel
- Return flights to Gove, Northern Territory Australia
- Travel & medical insurance (compulsory)
- Flies & Fly Fishing Gear – Flies are available for purchase on the ship, and 9, 10 and 12 weight rods can be hired for $25 per day or $100 for the week
- Guide tips – Tips are welcome for the guides and crew, but not compulsory.
Do I need a Visa for travelling to Australia?
If you are traveling on a British passport you will be granted 90 free days of travel. If you are traveling on a non-British passport please contact a member of our team for clarity.
Are the Wessel Islands non-fisher friendly?
Although these Australian islands are famous for their idyllic beaches and beautiful scenery, this trip is purpose-designed for fly anglers, so non-fishing activities will be quite restricted.
Why choose LOOP Travel?
LOOP Travel has extensive teams worldwide, all working to give you the best possible advice when travelling the globe in search of top-class fly fishing. Our advice is totally free to you and booking with us comes at no extra cost.
Our years of experience between the teams and plethora of knowledge is second to none. Our team members know these destinations backwards, having spent decades guiding, managing or fishing on these expeditions.
The Wessel Islands require several rods to be used on a single week’s fishing. Flats fishing for bonefish normally requires 7wt rods. Triggerfish, permit and others require a 9/10wt rod, and of course, the giant trevally requires 12wt rods. Please contact us for more information.
Our OPTI fly reel range is available in various diameter sizes and designed for optimised performance for an extensive range of species and fly fishing applications. Each model features a large arbor spool incorporating a unique V-shape designed for faster, more efficient line retrieval and less line memory – making it perfect for the saltwater.
Water-resistant fly boxes are a key element when fishing saltwater. The salt rusts hooks very quickly; so keeping them dry is a must to prevent this. You’ll also want a waterproof bag to keep all of your other gear dry.
Finally, as with most saltwater fishing, sun exposure can be high and temperatures can often exceed 30°C, so UV protective shirts, caps, sunglasses, neck gaiters and plenty of sun cream are a must.