Nothing gets the blood pumping more than planning an epic fishing trip, and when you live in the Pilbara nothing gets more epic than planning a trailer boating trip to the far reaches of the Rowley Shoals or Scott Reef. With aqua water, white sandy beaches and phenomenal drop-offs, these offshore atolls are definitely a sight to behold. Additionally, because they are so far offshore they don't get much fishing pressure, so the fishing is amazing.
So when my mate Tas Higgins asked me if I'd be up for the adventure of a lifetime, I said "hell yes!" Tas had spent a few years watching weather patterns and speaking with various operators, and we decided that September would be the best time to go. The wind and seas are usually at their calmest from August to October in the area, and this is not a place where you want to be caught out in a 8m boat. I would also recommend getting a Buoy Weather subscription and FishTrack subscription, as these websites will give you the most accurate forecasts on wind, swell and water temperature.
Armed with what we had learnt, it was time to attempt to trailer boat the Rowley Shoals, 160nm northwest of Port Hedland. After booking our moorings at Clerk Reef and Imperieuse Reef, we started to prep the boat.
Our vessel was Tas' 8m Razorline Ragman, with a Volvo D4D 260hp diesel sterndrive. It's a solid plate boat that's great for offshore fishing, but we needed to perform a few modifications and additions before setting off on such a long trip.
First of all, we needed more storage so we extended the hard top to cover two thirds of the deck and allow for more equipment to be strapped to the roof. This equipment included fuel drums, a life raft and various other items not required on the deck.
Additionally, there was only 350L of fuel under the deck, which was not enough. We calculated that we'd use roughly 240L to travel the 160nm journey, and allowed for 40L a day - which is a lot for this boat, which usually burns 3L an hour on the troll. That's pretty much as quick as you need to go out there, and we have found that this is the best method for catching all our pelagics. We were planning to spend six days out there, so we erred on the side of caution and bought two 180L fuel bladders and two 60L fuel drums.
We carried replacement hoses and belts, along with a comprehensive tool kit, to carry out any repairs in case of a breakdown. As you can imagine, help is a long way away.