This year’s Port Stephens Interclub could be seen as a make up for last year’s dilemma. The Marlin really turned it on. The Shootout the previous week-end was a preview of what was to come.
Unbelievably the weather held off for the full three days of the Port Stephens Interclub tournament. Resulting in around 430 Marlin tagged by just over 110 boats over three days at the Port Stephens Interclub . Averaging over one Marlin a boat per day, not a bad result. The full results for the tournament may be seen a the NSWGFA Facebook or web site.
We on Ambition didn’t do too badly. We opted to skip baits to cover some ground and locate the bait. I went well North of the crowd at the ‘Car Park’ and managed three tagged Marlin over the day, catching the first within minutes of putting out our first bait. Below us at the ‘Car Park’ there was a bite happening but because of the numbers there the individual results weren’t so great. None the less some of the local boats stood out from the crowd.
I went back to where I’d been the day before but all had changed, the bait had gone. It was much the same all along the shelf. What bait there was, was holding deep . After finally jigging up enough to use I again opted to skip baits and cover ground. I worked my way further North, around November 9, where a few boats were catching fish bombing the deep bait. However after a frustrating time watching several boats catch fish I changed over to dropping baits on the bait schools , not a style of fishing I enjoy, and ended up hooking and tagging a Whaler Shark after a lengthy fight. So, that was enough for me.
It was back to skipping baits. We were a short distance from the crowd dunking their baits when a nice Striped Marlin hammered one of our skippies and we were on. After a short fight the Stripy was tagged and the baits put back out . Unexpectedly just after we had set the baits a Black took a skippy and was off more in the air than the water. It was quickly tagged and we were off again. It took a while but again on the outside of the crowd dunking slimies we hooked and tagged another Striped Marlin, our third for the day.
We headed out with great expectations, back to the same area as the first day. The bait was there again and in fairly quick time we tagged two Striped Marlin, but then the wheels fell off. The bait disappeared so it was off searching again. There was a bite happening further South . When we arrived several boats were fighting fish and all looked good.
I searched and searched but couldn’t find any bait. There were obviously plenty of Marlin and lots of boats hooking up but where was the bait. We unfortunately didn’t end up catching any more fish . Later on talking to other skippers the story was much the same. Whereas some did find bait most didn’t but the marlin were definitely on the bite.
I theorised that the bait was quite sparse, the schools dispersed and broken up by the Marlin to a degree where most sounders couldn’t pick them up. Whereas those boats with more powerful sounders could however mark the bait.
There were a few boats that went out wide and did find Blue Marlin. Two that I know of lost what they called very big fish. The Blues are usually at their best in Autumn as can be see from previous year’s results especially further South around Sydney.
Hopefully the bait will remain in the area and the bite will continue but if it doesn’t it will certainly be worth having a look out wide.