An interesting day out yesterday. After the frustration of having to come home early on Sunday when there was a pretty good bite going on with Blue Marlin and Yellowfin on the menu, I was keen to get amongst the action.As soon as we left the Heads it was plain to see something had changed, the water in close had warmed and around the 12 Mile it started to cool and have a greenish tinge. The conditions didn’t vary much at all even well past Browns.
I stared moving South to where the bite had been on Sunday. Though the water was still only about 22.5 C and with that greenish tinge there was bait and lots of it down between 30 to 50 fathoms. With so much bait evident it was only a matter of time before the predators turned up.
In about a thousand fathoms I saw a Long Liner laying his lines, this had to be a good sign. I followed the line for a fair while but the bait had thinned. Consequently I moved in closer to stay with the bait and hope the predators would find it.
Birds started to appear in increasing numbers and anticipation was palpable. In the distance I could see Mutton birds circling and dipping into the water over a small area. We’d found a bait ball on the surface and as we approached the ‘fin charged through it. I maneuvered Ambition to pass the lures through the bait. As the lure passed two lures took hits but didn’t hook up. Only a second later the rigger with Brad ‘J’ screamed off and we were on.
After nearly an hour we had the fish on board, photo’s were taken and it was time to recuperate. Terry and Nick who’s biggest ‘fin to date was around 30 kilo’s couldn’t believe how hard the bigger ones fight.
So that was the day, unfortunately no Marlin but who can complain about Yellowfin…
The good news is that Marlin are still here, Blues and Stripes mostly and amongst them a run of Sydney Yellowfin Tuna. This run of Tuna was a regular occurrence in the past and was the reason the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s ‘Summer point score’ season was extended from mid-April to May. One can only hope this is the start of another period of Yellowfin prevalence. Also, around the FAD’s and traps there are schools of Mahi Mahi. Though not the real big ones they are the good eating schoolies.
The run of Marlin that has kept us on our toes and losing lures for the last few weeks has slowed. The bite has moved a little further South with the prevailing currents. Over the week-end Port Hacking held their annual Tournament. About seventy boats competed, the biggest Marlin a Blue weighing 190kg. and the biggest Tuna a 68 kg. Yellowfin.
I don’t think we have seen the end of this run of Sydney Yellowfin tuna and Marlin. It is still just the end of March, the beginning of autumn. If history is anything to go by we’ll have several more weeks of Marlin and hopefully Yellowfin tuna to enjoy. It’s just a matter of perseverance and patience waiting for the next warm current to pulse down from the North.
This is the best time of year for Sydney Marlin fishing in fact all the gamefish. The ocean current are at their warmest and closest to land and as they stream by they bring the baitfish and their predators.
Over the last few weeks we have witnessed some of the best game fishing I have ever experienced. I have seen years when there were good runs of Black Marlin, good runs of Stripes and less often Blues. This year however has had all three in abundance and to top it off the appearance of the much missed big Yellowfin.
On Saturday I took Jim Nelson and his family out. I couldn’t do a thing right. I went North to the Bait Station where on Friday there was a good bite. After an hour of trolling we had a good hit in 200 fathoms. I knew it was a good fish because it didn’t take off too quickly. However it didn’t take long for it to realise it was hooked and took off at a million miles an hour. Then for some odd reason while I was backing down on it the line broke. When I checked the break it was clean, no abrasions just a nice clean cut. After that it was all downhill. Wherever I went someone had just caught a fish or the ‘fin had just been seen there, I was always one step behind.
I made up for it on Sunday though with Lee and his two friends Glen and Clem. I went North again and ended up tagging two nice Blue Marlin. Glen caught his first after a hard won battle that left him drained and very sea-sick. Clem caught the second and again a really tough battle in the sea conditions. The weather however was not as bad as predicted. It blew from the North-East up to about 20knots but the North-Westerly never showed up offshore. In fact we only experienced it and the heat when we came back to Port. One of the fringe benefits of the weather report was that the radio was quiet and informative.
In all Sunday was not at all like the Friday and Saturday. There was little bait and hardly any bird activity. This could have been because there were far fewer boats out, obviously covering less water. Could also have been that the good water has moved on, only time will tell.
The Marlin fishing off Sydney is coming into its best period. At this time of year the water off Sydney is at its warmest. We generally catch the biggest of species…the quality specimens. The 200 plus kilo Blue Marlin, Stripes over 120 kilo’s, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, big Yellowfin which have already made their appearance felt and even Spearfish. This prime time could and has in the past lasted until as late as mid-May.
I’ve just returned from Port Stephens spending my last day fishing up there on Saturday. I had taken Livio and some friends out for his brother’s birthday. After the break in the weather the ‘Car Park’ fired up again. Double hook-ups seemed the norm.
I started trolling skip baits a few miles North of the ‘Car Park’ hoping to find my own patch of bait and avoid the crowds. As it happens I did find a patch and we soon raised and caught a good sized Black which gave the birthday boy a good work out. Unfortunately I lost the bait so I worked my way down to the ‘Car Park’. It was crowded and the radio was full of boats calling out for others to move out of the way of their hooked fish ( sometimes not in nice terms ) – it was crazy. Anyway we managed to drop a bait to another Black I’d marked and this time Livio had to do battle.
Sunday was home time with Lee his friend Dave my deck hand Howie. We left Port at 6am. I was going to fish down the thousand fathom line looking for Blues and Yellowfin. I did troll down the line in 26 degrees of totally dead water for an hour or so then decided to move back into 500 fathoms on the other side of the eddy. Here there were occasional groups of birds working and patches of bait but no real action. Then as we approached Norah canyons we ran into thick algal blooms which seemed to go forever.
Finally after several miles we came out of the blooms into clean indigo coloured water just South of the canyons. The water was absolutely full of bait which appeared to be pilchards feeding. We went around them a few times with no result so headed off again.
Shortly afterwards I marked a fish. Lee and I turned back to the lures in time to see a big Blue crash the Blue Illusion on the short corner and take off as they do. Dave was on strike and took the rod on what turned out to be a Blue of around 170 kgs.. He’d never caught a Marlin before and had no idea what he was in for. This fish gave him a workout and a half. It didn’t want to give up and stayed just out of range for ages by know we were on sunset and Dave was working hard. Inevitably we tagged the fish and then Dave had to struggle another half hour to get my lure back. No way was it getting away with that one.
We continued on and raised a Striped Marlin of around 70 kilo’s. It hit half the lures we had out before succumbing to the Brad ‘J’ bullet on the shotgun. Lee made quick work of the fish much to Dave’s annoyance.
By the time we had tagged Lee’s fish it was time to pull stumps. We still had forty miles to get home.
As I sit here writing this report I keep getting calls telling me about all the Marlin and even Tuna down here. It appears the water we had at Port Stephens a couple of weeks ago has move down here and brought the fish with it. I need to get out there again…
Port Stephens deep sea fishing is at the best I have ever experienced. All three species of Marlin are there in numbers. Also Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin tuna as well as the occasional Wahoo and Spearfish. During the previous week the ‘Car Park’ really fired and out wider we had caught Blue Marlin and a couple of big Yellowfin. Consequently I decided to take Stephen and his wife out wide to chase Blues. As luck would have it the conditions out wide had changed. The current was from the South and the water cooling so I turned back inshore. On the radio the ‘Car Park’ was really going off. I have never heard so many double hookups nor so many calls for boats to get out of the way of their hooked fish.
As we approached the ‘Car Park’ and we were actually only a half mile away when we had another screaming hookup and a good Blue headed East at a rate of knots. This proved to be a very stubborn fish and poor Dr. Stephen had to work really hard to bring it back to the boat. However, after nearly an hour a very tired Stephen had it boat-side. We took some photo’s and let it go and set off again. Neither really expecting the Doctor to take another fish nor his poor wife who had been sea sick pretty well since we left Port.
Well, as Murphy does it didn’t take long for another Blue to climb aboard the ‘Lumo’ and this was a significantly bigger fish. The Doctor was there in a flash ready to go. Fortunately this was a much easier fish and only took about half an hour to subdue.
Due to the circumstances it was decided that we should head for home. We put the lures out again and headed off for home. As we passed over the shelf we had yet another strike, this time a Striped Marlin which dragged off some line then did as Stripies do and went on its way.
The next two days were not so exciting. For all the fish at the ‘Car Park’ on Saturday there were significantly fewer on Sunday and even less on Monday. The action on both days had moved further South and it was hard fishing for everyone. I reckon that nearly every fish in the area on Saturday had either a toothache or a backache. Or, I guess I could just blame the moon or the water colour or the temperature. Anything but the fact that I couldn’t do a thing right on Sunday or Monday – that’s fishing…