Category Archives: Blog

Mackerel Tuna

Mackerel tuna are stubborn fighters when hooked, and can be recognised by a distinct and striking pattern of broken zig-zaggy lines on the upper sides of their bodies, and two or five dark spots above the pelvic fin.

They are in the Scombridae family which includes all mackerel, tuna and bonito.

Macks hunt in large schools to round up baitfish and then smash into them as a gang.
Macks can be regarded as both abundant and elusive at the same time. Abundant in that a feeding school could easily cover an area of 100 square metres or more, and elusive in that getting close enough to them to cast your line near them without spooking them can be very difficult as these fish spook easily.
Recently there have been reports of loads of mackerel tuna in the Exmouth Gulf. These schools have been so large that anglers have been able to successfully get in fly fishing range without spooking them off, which is how these pictured macks were caught!

Bluebone Groper

One of the most prized catches for any fly fisherman is the Blue Bone, correctly known as the blackspot tuskfish or commonly known as bluebone. These fish live in the beautiful northern waters of Western Australia.

They are found along coral reefs and reefy flats hunting for food which include different varieties of crustaceans and  sea urchins including crabs, shells and sea critters.


This bluebone was caught on the flats in only 1.5 metres of water with a crab on the end of a fly.

This technique is lots of fun as is challenges the angler as they have to land the cast precisely on top of the fish. Once you are hooked, hold on tight because these fish will go for every hole they can find to try and snap your line and break loose.

Spectacular Sal Salis

Words & Photos by Nicholas Janzen

You’re reading this blog for one of two reasons – you’ve either visited Sal Salis (or one of the Wild Bush Luxury wilderness retreats around  Australia) or you’re on the lookout for an exceptional holiday experience and have it listed in the ‘options’ category.
For those of you who’ve visited, congratulations on a great choice of holiday. You, like me, now understand what an amazing and unique travel experience Wild Bush Luxury offers. Needless to say you have some memories that, without doubt, will last a lifetime.
As a freelance journalist, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to most parts of the world for business (and, sometimes, pleasure). I’ve stayed at a range of places – from the poshest of palaces to the dirtiest of dungeons – and I believe I’ve a decent idea of what constitutes an amazing travel adventure. I can honestly say (and no, I’m not paid to write this!) no place truly compares to spectacular Sal Salis, nestled on the shores of Ningaloo Reef.
An exclusive safari-style camp hidden in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park, Sal Salis is paradise for nature-loving adventurists. The appeal of the region is unquestionable – the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is one of Earth’s last ocean paradises. Here you can take a dive with hundreds of tropical fish, colourful coral and the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark. Ningaloo is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world and unlike many other famous reef systems, you can get to it just by stepping off the beach – and the reef is just five metres from shore at Sal Salis!
Nothing can compare to Ningaloo’s great attraction – the thrill of swimming beside a whale shark. These big, friendly giants visit the reef each year between April and June. Each day during my stay busloads of tourists return to camp glowing after paddling alongside the “awesome” behemoth of the ocean. I, however, wasn’t there to swim with fish… I was there to fish!
Yellowfin Tuna
Ningaloo Reef is one of the most fertile fishing grounds in the world. In my three days’ angling at Ningaloo, I was blown away by the sheer numbers of fish we landed – and the variety of species we caught. Ningaloo, in my opinion at least, is probably the best open-ocean fishery in the world. Whatever you dream of catching, from marlin and tuna to giant trevally and everything in between, there’s a great chance to do it at Ningaloo. If you’re headed there, prepare for world-class fishing… and with very few neighbouring boats! And when you’ve had enough of fishing from Sal Salis’ well-equipped vessel, try your hand at some fly fishing for bonefish – if you’re a keen angler, targeting these line-tearing speedsters is something you need to try before you die.
Black MarlinSpanish Mackerel
For me though, the best part of my experience wasn’t the fishing – it was the entire experience. Sal Salis offers an eco experience like few other destinations around the world. The supremely comfortable accommodation sans the TV, minibar and telephone, exposes you to the sights and sounds outside your luxury tent – kangaroos graze amongst the dunes; birds bellow beautiful songs; humpbacks breach just beyond the reef. As part of its commitment to nature, Sal Salis abides by strict principles of minimal impact and sustainability to operate in the fragile surrounds of the Cape Range National Park – all power is solar generated, each en suite bathroom has a state-of-the-art composting loo, and water usage is very carefully managed.
The main camp, where beaut brekkies, lush lunches and delicious dinners are served, is raised above the sand and coastal scrub with views out to the reef and breakers beyond. It’s the perfect place for a reflective sundowner after a day to remember – whether you were swimming with whale sharks, snorkelling with the sealife or fighting a fish of a lifetime.
Whatever adventure your heart desires, do yourself a favour this lifetime – head to Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef and go wild. Get your hands dirty, your feet wet and immerse yourself in one of the world’s last-remaining untouched natural wonders. Nothing compares.
– Nicholas Janzen

coral trout on ningaloo reef!

Coral trout are generally caught near reef areas and taken in deep water (upto 100m), however this nice catch was caught in water just 31m deep! 

Below is an impressive 81cm Coral trout caught on our boat Sal Canis.


Sailfish in excellent numbers on the ‘westside’ near sal salis ningaloo reef

Sailfish are a prized game fish known for their incredible jumps and acrobatic displays. They move very fast through the water and some have been clocked at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour!
Sailfish are in good numbers on the ‘Westside’ right now and in the last 7 days our skipper and guests have raised 25 billfish and tagged 20 – brilliant numbers!
In the coming weeks we expect numbers to increase in the Exmouth Gulf.
During October-February Sailfish chase bait into the Exmouth Gulf and their numbers increase signifcantly …. almost to plague like numbers!
Some of our recent catches below

family fun at sal salis

“How do I begin to thank the staff at Sal Salis for such a magical experience. It is impossible to pick a single highlight when there are so many to choose from…. In the mornings as we ate breakfast on the deck, we watched dozens of humpback whales breaching and playing as they migrated south. The guides snorkelled with us each day (armed with a child each) which allowed me to enjoy the wonders of the reef rather than constantly watching the children. The guides were so knowledgeable about the reef and they inspired us all to learn and explore. We spent half a day on the fishing boat where we came close to the whales and giant turtles. A shark even tried to eat my tuna as we were about to pull it onto the boat! The kids tried their hand at fishing too. Between them they caught 7 different species of fish in under an hour (of course returning them all to sea where they belong). We had drinks and canapés as the sunset provided us with the most magnificent of displays. The food was amazing and we were treated to a feast every night.  We walked the Mandu Mandu gorge and Yardi Creek and saw some incredible views and lots of wildlife. We look forward to visiting again”.

Rachel, Peter, Nick (age 9) and Grace (age 8)
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Sal Canis

The Shannon family enjoyed a full days fishing experience on our custom built sportsfisher- Sal Canis.


A couple of the most prized catches was a nice sized yellowfin Tuna and a stunning Sailfish.

Shannon Famil Tuna

Pictured below is Murray our fishing guide with the magnificent Yellowfin Tuna

Shannon family Tuna1

amazing half day fishing charter

Sal Salis guests Marco and his wife Virginie booked a half day’s fishing on our boat- Sal Canis. Our guests and guide’s Jimmy and Murray left at midday to enjoy beautiful weather. 


Before they had even reached the passage, Murray saw a school of shark mackerel eating some small bait fish.  On the first cast, Virginie’s reel was screaming as she was hooked onto a shark mackerel on stick bait. The water was so clear they saw the fish chase the lure and smash it on the surface. They were only in about 3 meters of water!

They found a large school of striped tuna and had some fun catching them. Once they had past the south passage they set up a troll for mackerel. It wasn’t long before the reels were screaming again but after a long fight the first two fish were lost.
Marco hooked a beauty which took a lot of line very quickly. Jimmy cleared the other rods away and after a fair fight they had a big Cobia next the boat for a few photos.  They also noticed a large tiger shark lingering around the boat no doubt looking for an easy feed.
In less than ten minutes Jimmy’s famous Garfish rig was smashed and they had hooked a sailfish.
Virginie was on and almost getting spooled, so Murray had to chase it. This time they had a 4 metre Tiger shark at the boat looking for lunch – the sailfish went hard and fast in an attempt to get away from the danger.
Virginie got tired and handed the rod to Marco and he landed the magnificent sailfish next to the boat to tag and take a few photos with before releasing it to see another day.  It was a great way to finish off a fantastic day on the water. 

Humpbacks on Ningaloo reef

A few of our fishing guests enjoyed the spectacular display from a humpback on Ningaloo Reef – whilst out on our Sal Salis fishing charter.

The ‘humpback highway’ is in full swing along Ningaloo Reef with large numbers of humpbacks being sighted each day along with minke whales and orcas.

Humpback whales visit Ningaloo Reef twice annually, in the autumn when they head north and in the spring on their return journey.  During spring, the waters of Exmouth Gulf provide the ideal spot to see the humpback whales playing and nursing their new born calves.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is offering a complimentary whale watching cruise when you book a 3 night stay from now until 30th October 2011.

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bird’s eye view over sal salis ningaloo reef

One of our staff enjoyed a microlight flight over Ningaloo Reef which flew over our safari camp – Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef.  Our 9 luxury safari tents – the only accommodation in the Cape Range National Park are located in the heart of the World Heritage Area: the Ningaloo coast.     

Microlight flights are available from Exmouth with Bird’s Eye View