NSW: Lord Howe Island Offshore Fishing

Port of Call - NSW: Lord Howe Island

NSW: Lord Howe Island Offshore Fishing

With Lord Howe Island’s sportfish largely untouched, perhaps it’s time to visit this piscatorial wonderland

Lord Howe Island lies approximately 600km north east of Sydney and on the same line of latitude as Port Macquarie on the east coast. HMS Supply, part of the First Fleet, first discovered the island in 1788, and the island’s surrounds were World Heritage Listed in 1982. Surrounding waters became a Marine Park in 1998.

“Kingies still dominate, with a ‘greenback’ 40-pounder unlikely to raise an eyebrow.”

The scenery is just stunning, with Mounts Gower and Lidgbird dominating the southern skyline, while the spectacular Balls Pyramid – a 562 metre-high finger-shaped spire of rock well known to fishos – lies 20km to the south.

Lord Howe’s a laid-back, tranquil kind of place, with few cars (bicycle is the main mode of transport), reminiscent of coastal holidays many of us enjoyed as kids. Offshore, however, it is anything but tranquil. It’s a piscatorial war zone out there that can see a bluewater warrior hooked up all day long.

Rising up as it does out of the open ocean, Lord Howe Island acts as a giant FAD, and attracts an interesting mix of tropical and temperate species. With the establishment of a genuine sportfishing operation on the island in the 1980s, there was literally a queue out the door to get a spot on one of the two boats working from there. These days it is serviced by a number of charter boats, with perhaps a little less fanfare than previously, but still producing miles of fish at a variety of charter prices.

NSW: Lord Howe Island Offshore Fishing 1

Kingies still dominate, with a ‘greenback’ 40-pounder unlikely to raise an eyebrow. It’s got to be 50-plus before anyone gets too excited. Jigging, trolled skirted lures and minnows, and live slimies are the popular approaches.

There is some good yellowfin tuna fishing to be had in late spring and again in autumn, with multiple hook-ups on the troll being commonplace. Unfortunately, the ever-present mutton birds make cubing for them a near impossibility.

Getting To Lord Howe Island

Qantaslink have regularly scheduled flights from Sydney to Lord Howe and there is a seasonal service from Port Macquarie as well. There are 17 accommodation options, from basic to boutique and self-catered to fully-serviced, covering a range of prices.

Be aware of baggage weight restrictions however, with a maximum of 14kg and 4kg of carry-on. Exceed the limit and there’s no guarantee of carriage on the same flight. If you’re planning to travel with the whole tackle cupboard (especially jigs), it’s best to send it on over as freight a week or so earlier, to avoid any frustration at arriving there without your tackle.

Charter Boats in Lord Howe Island

Greenback (02) 6563 2208. fishlordhowe.com
Oblivienne (02) 6563 2185 fishinglordhoweisland.com.au
Noctiluca (02) 6563 2218
MV Carina (02) 6563 2041
Lulawi (02) 6563 2195

Or visit: www.lordhoweisland.info

Lord Howe Island Captions

  1. Ball’s Pyramid is a distinctive feature of Lord Howe Island – and its surrounding waters are loaded with game fish.
  2. Best known for its heavyweight kings, the waters surrounding Lord Howe Island are also home to wahoo, yellowfin tuna, huge silver trevally, and black and blue marlin.
Author and photography: Glen Booth