It is Tuna time off Sydney and the bite is in full swing.
We headed out at 5:30 yesterday morning heading for where the bite had been on Wednesday. After my fruitless day on Tuesday I and the crew were keen to play.
We set the lures out North-East of Browns and proceeded to listen in on the radio for clues to where the bite was happening. As is usual when nothing is happening the idiots came on air providing what their small minds consider entertainment. Thankfully word of the fish started filtering through.
I noticed a stationary boat about a mile from us and headed over for a squizzy when a couple of hundred metres from him we had a crashing strike and landed a Bluefin of around 45kilo’s. We no sooner had the lures in the water when the second fish struck. This one was much bigger and gave the ‘newby’ angler a hard time. He eventually brought the fish, which back at the club weighted just on 70 kilo’s, to boat.
Meantime the radio had come alive with reports of Bluefin, Yellowfin as well as a few Albacore coming in. The fish were spread out over quite a large area and being taken on lures, divers and skirts as well as cubes. You just had to find them.
We continued working the same area marking fish down at 40 fathoms but couldn’t get the to come up. I decided to move away and come back a little later. I spent another half hour searching for more fish out wider but nothing. On returning to the previous spot I had no sooner marked the school than we had a double, missing another when it hit a lure as it was being taken out of the water.
These when weighed went just over seventy kilo’s and gave the guys a hard time too. We kept one fish wide while fighting the other at ‘sunset’ so as to get it in fast.
It took a little time but we landed both the Bluefin. Since now we had bagged out we turned for home. It had been a long but very satisfying day.
I went out yesterday looking for the Tuna. I’d heard the long liners were working wide and South of Heatons so headed off in that direction. It was a bit lumpy going through the heads but eased up a few miles out away from the backwash. There were just a few mountains with which to contend. Happily it calmed right down during the day.
Out over the thousand fathom line I picked up a long liner on my radar. He was another ten miles further out. About a mile short of the him we passed through a current line where there was a marked temperature change and lots of bird activity.
I managed to contact the skipper of the fishing boat who told me he’d caught a few fish on their first string and that there were a couple more long liners working 15 to 20 miles South of him.
To cut a long story short I didn’t find any Tuna but I must say it looked really good out there with lots of birds and bait showing.
On returning to Port I was told a boat caught a couple of Bluefin a few miles North-West of me and another wide of Norah Head.
There are quite a few boats going out today so will be interesting to see how they go.
After over three weeks of nothing to say about the Game Fishing off Sydney I needed to say something so…..
Game fishing off Sydney has certainly taken a turn for the worse. Actually it has been pretty hopeless for the last month. The weather hasn’t helped either. After what was amongst the best Smmer and Autumn seasons I can remember it has crashed. All those Marlin and Tuna as well as all the other pelagic species have gone.
Since mid-May the ocean currents and altimetry have conspired to keep the usual run of Tuna down South. There have been a few good sized Yellowfin taken around Wollongong and Kiama but off Sydney nothing.
The Bluefin we are all awaiting showed up on time on the South coast and have been caught as far up as Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. There are rumours of them being as close as the Shoalhaven but only rumours.
Up until last year when the Bluefin showed up off Sydney in early September they had turned up in early July. So far no sign of them up here but the altimetry this year compares with that of September last year. If the offshore ‘High’ moves a little to the South and inshore the water the Bluefin are in could come within range.
Well you have to be optimistic to be a fisherman…
At Browns the Gemfish are starting to run and the Blue Eye are on the bite. Unfortunately the current is pretty fast so though the fish are biting you lose a lot of gear. Also, Mako’s and Blue Sharks are making an appearance.
Kings and Snapper are there for those in the know. The offshore reefs are a day to day proposition and inshore lots of small Kings with the occasional good one thrown in.
So that’s it – hopefully the currents will ease and the Tuna will make an appearance soon.
Yellowfin and Albacore are the prime target at this time of year with Kingies and dropping on Browns thrown in for good measure. The warm currents are slowing and cubing is also on the agenda.
I took Brad, his groomsmen and future father-in-law out on Saturday. The aim was to catch live bait, which we did. Have a jig and drop baits on 12 Mile then a deep drop on Browns followed by a late cubing session out wide.
We arrived at 12 Mile and after several passes sounding it out I couldn’t find anything. There didn’t even appear to be any ‘Jackets, normally a good thing. Irrespective we dropped a couple of live baits down and one of the guys feeling energetic started jigging. Sadly the sounder was telling the truth, not even a nibble.
Consequently we left 12 Mile to troll out to Browns. On the way the radio was telling a sad story of a 3 to 3.5 knot Southerly current making it impossible to hold bottom at Browns; so much for that idea. The only option left was to head out wide and see if we could find some good water to start cubing.
After a couple of hours trolling and reaching the thousand fathom line the only real change was the speed off the current. There was neither bait nor any bird activity so I headed back to an area where the current was slower and we started a cube trail.
To cut a long story short after a couple of hours cubing Brad took a strike and landed a good Albacore of about 7 kilo’s. Unfortunately the guys had to be back early for a dinner pre-wedding so we had to leave early.
I feel sure that if we could had have stayed until dark we would have had more action.
Striped Marlin and Mako Sharks as well as Tigers were all the news off Sydney last week-end. Two Tiger Sharks over 450 kgs. were taken as well as another of unknown size lost after several hours of fighting. With the thought of XOS Tiger sharks in mind I went out with Glen and Karen on their boat ‘Tantrum’ to see if we could find one for their daughter Makira.
We headed out on Sunday to the eighty fathom line off Long Reef where we planned to start our trail. On nearing the area we found large numbers of Gannets diving on schools of bait fish. It was more than one group too. We could see several gatherings all in roughly the eighty fathom area. With so much bait around this had to be a good place to start.
With baits set at varying depths on a couple of 15’s and 24’s and the kids punching the burly, it was that time of waiting. I must say there is something really pleasant about shark fishing, other than the smell and mess. It is quiet and peaceful with a tangible sense of expectation as all on board watch the floats for any sign of movement.
After about an hour one of the reels starting slowly ticking off drawing everyone’s attention. The speed increased then the fish took a run. Makira took the rod and wound in the belly of line and struck when Glen told her. She had weight and was hooked up.
Unusually the fish stayed near the surface then we saw a splash as a bill and head broke the surface. We had a Marlin and after a reasonable fight Makira brought a good sized Striped Marlin to the boat where it was tagged and released – not the 400 kg Tiger we were hoping for but a nice surprise.
All the gear was re-set and again we settled in, watching and waiting. The currents were doing strange thing though. We had drifted through two strong current lines. Now our deep baits were on one side of the boat while our burly was going in the opposite direction. This was obviously due to the very light breeze but still indicated a deeper current going opposite to the surface current. Hopefully our burly was heavy enough to reach the deeper water.
It took a while then at the witching hour a small Mako turned up taking scraps off the surface. We drifted a bait out but no takers and after about ten minutes he/she disappeared. Shortly after our deep bait on 15 kg. started to run and again Makira took the rod and under Dad’s instruction struck the fish. This one took a couple of runs and went deep, this had to be the Tiger. The fish continued to take line with the occasional head shakes causing concern. Eventually Makira started to gain line, slowly at first then steadily. After nearly an hour of give and take she had the double up and we got our first view of the fish. Howy took the leader and much to everyone’s dismay brought up a 30 to 40 kilo Mako hooked in the tail. I don’t think anyone could believe a Mako that size could fight as hard as this one had.
So that was the day, we’d tagged a Striped Marlin and a Mako shark. I heard of another boat losing a Striped Marlin and that Browns was fishing well. Generally it seem it was a very quiet day off Sydney.
Tuna and Marlin: Striped and Blue Marlin along with Yellowfin tuna , Mahi Mahi and some huge Tiger sharks are still haunting Sydney waters. When you consider that it is nearly June the fishing is quite incredible. I suppose what is really remarkable is sea temperatures still around 23 degrees.
Even though all the above species are still around you still have to work hard and have a bit of luck on your side to succeed.
I went out on Sunday expressly to stay out late and cube into the evening. While travelling out I heard that ‘Reef Magic’ had tagged two Marlin, a Striped and a Blue and ‘Murryfin’ had also tagged a Striped Marlin. It was looking good !
We saw loads of Gannets bombarding bait schools as we travelled out but no lookers on the lures. We crossed that 2 degree temperature break that is so well defined on the SST’s but continued out, I wanted to see what was at the thousand fathom line. On the way I crossed another break where the temperature dropped significantly and there was a well defined thermocline below which I marked quite a few fish and bait. However I continued out to the thousand fathoms.
When we finally arrived at the area I wanted it was a marine desert. Neither birds nor bait were present but the water looked better than anything we’d seen on the way out. Never the less I decided to go back to the cooler break a couple of miles back.
We started cubing a little after 3pm., the wind was easing and the ocean glassing out.
It was an hour or so before a big Blue Shark turned up circling checking out the baits. Shortly after another much smaller Blue turned up. Inevitably the larger shark took one of the baits and as Blue Sharks do, it did nothing. With maximum pressure applied it finally moved off and as it did bit through the leader. Unfortunately the sharks stayed with us, enjoying our burly, for a while then disappeared as silently as they had turned up.
As the sun neared the horizon one of the guys had a bite. Not a regular tuna bite, this fish was coming towards the boat. Shark was the call. The fish or shark started pulling drag, slowly at first but increasing in speed as it went. Suddenly after, it had taken a couple of hundred metres of line, it just took off at a thousand miles an hour, much faster than any shark I’d caught. Needless to say a 40 kg. leader can only take so much and inevitably parted and we were left with a mystery.
We had no further action, it was late and time to head for home. On the way I heard that the boys on ‘Carnage’ had weighed a 450 kg. Tiger shark at the club adding to a larger Tiger caught by a Port Hacking boat on Saturday.
Of interest I think is that the guys fishing for Tigers generally start burlying in about 80 fathoms. At present the sea temperature in that area is only 18 degrees and the water green. It poses a conundrum considering that Tigers are a warm water species. I guess though that we’ll never know what lies below.
After the great Yellowfin Tuna bite two week-ends ago when we caught three Yellowfin up to 73 kilos I was really keen to get out there again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the following Wednesday when opportunity arose.
Wednesday was going to be our last chance before the weather moved in. Unfortunately reports that I’d read from the previous two days were less than exciting, irrespective we were going.
I put the lures in at around eighty fathoms and headed to where I had found the fish on Sunday. Where we were there was plenty of bait near the surface and Gannet were diving on it. I wasn’t really surprised when a Striped Marlin popped up behind the Lumo. What did surprise me was that it had one swipe at the lure and disappeared and didn’t come back for another shot.
We continued out with no further action other than that the bait was thinning and the water cooling, not what the charts were showing. Anyway, we arrived at the spot and it was dead, no birds, no bait no nothing. As you do I was listening in on the radio and in amongst the usual garbage I picked up that the Yellowfin had moved North, wide of the bait station. So I pointed Ambition North and off we went.
It was about an hour’s trolling to get to where the fish were. On the way the water cleared up and warmed with bait starting to show. Eventually, I saw the boats ahead and also our first ‘bust up’.
Throughout the rest of the day we trolled the area which was definitely fishy but the action was very slow. The Yellowfin were coming up irregularly in small groups and were not staying up long enough for anyone to get to them, a very frustrating scenario. A couple of boats caught the fin on blind strikes, ‘Little Audrey ll’ tagged a Marlin and ‘The Sheriff’ caught a Wahoo taken.
We had a nearly forty mile run to port by now so I turned for home. Everywhere you looked you could see baitfish flipping undisturbed on the surface. We also saw pods of Dolphins and Pilot whales moving amongst the bait, obviously well sated. One of they guys on deck spotted a log not far off. On passing we had a double hook-up, a good sized Mahi Mahi and the smallest Kingfish I have ever see, the hook was bigger than the fish.
As we neared the shelf and inn near darkness a Marlin came up and swiped at the lumo but again not hooking up and yet again not coming back, so frustrating.
As predicted the weather went bad but should be good by Thursday. Will the Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna still be there ? I don’t know but you can be sure I’ll be going out to find out…
To join us on a Yellowfin charter in Sydney, give me a call!
Yellowfin tuna and big ones too are off Sydney at present. I haven’t caught one weighing less than 60 kgs. in the last few weeks yet, with a few going over 70 kilo’s. How long this will last, who only knows.
I went out on both Saturday and Sunday and the fishing was quite different on both days. My plan on Saturday was to work my way out to Heatons looking
for the Tuna. As luck would have it we started to see small groups of ‘fin busting up from 600 fathoms out. The problem was they weren’t staying up long enough for us to get the lures near them. It turned into a rather frustrating day chasing tuna all over the ocean. There were however a few tuna caught late in the day. Throughout the day a few boats ran into Blue an Striped Marlin also, these were found closer inshore around the 500 fathom line.
On Sunday I took Wahyu and his friends from Global Tackle out. It was a different day in that there were more fin showing. The bust ups lasted a lot longertoo so we had plenty of time to get to them. We just had to get there before the other boats. As is common with most schooling fish and especially with Yellowfin, too much boat traffic spooks them and disrupts the bait killing the action.
We managed three fin upward of 65kilo’s. The first was a blind strike in 600 fathoms. The next two were on a double strike which is always fun with Yellowfin. The last thing you want is two fish circling under the boat. If this happens the probability is that you’ll lose one if not both fish. We held one fish off while working hard on the other consequently catching both. We did lose another fish when as we were about to gaff it the hooks let go.
By mid-afternoon lots of boats had found the Yellowfin and were racing around trying to get to the schools before they went down. We were done, the activity was slowing so we headed for home with a very happy and tired crew.
Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and Striped Marlin are on the bite off Sydney. The Sydney Game Fishing Club got it right for the ‘Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament’ last week-end. Though the weather wasn’t perfect the fishing more than made up for it. Over the last few weeks the fishing off Sydney has been the best in years especially for Blue Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna.
I don’t have the exact numbers of fish caught and tagged but all boats saw action. If you go to the SGFC web site you will find the numbers. Interestingly the action was spread out from the ‘Bait Station’ down past Port Hacking and out over the thousand fathom line. All you had to do was cover the ground, find the bait, work the bait and if luck was on your side you’d find the fish.
On Saturday I was working my way down the thousand fathom line where I found a long liner laying lines. I worked South down his line hoping for a ‘fin . It was looking good with patches of scattered bait fairly near the surface. As I made a turn around some bait the ‘shotgun’ with the ‘Pakula Brad ‘J” let go. A big Blue took off grey hounding, tearing up the ocean. I couldn’t believe such a big fish would take such a small lure.
By the time we had cleared the lines this fish, instead of running straight and sounding must have covered miles going in circles and huge arcs never getting really far from us. It was all I could do to keep the line tight and not allow too much belly. By the time we had the lines in the fish had calmed, slowly swimming away from us down sea and probably stuffed. Backing down wasn’t so comfortable in this sea. I even got wet in the flybridge, the transom regularly under water, poor Ron was drenched even his boots got filled.
After what seemed like ages we had the fish along side finally realising just how big it was. When David took the leader it barely moved so no point tagging. Back at the club it weighed 337.5 kilo’s, a potential Australian and N.S.W. record on 24 kg. line a great effort by Ron. Over the day the number of captured and tagged fish included several Blues between 150 and 250 kilo’s and Yellowfin over 70 kilo’s as well as many lost.
Sunday started much the same as Saturday weatherwise. I went to where I had seen the Long liner the day before. Unfortunately neither it nor the lines were there. I instituted plan ‘B’ – since the warmer water had moved in even closer I also moved in. I found a small temperature break and followed it. In the meantime ‘Tantrum’ skippered by Glen Wright had caught a 204.5 kilo Blue on 15 kg. line a maximum pointer, only 133 points separated us. Meanwhile Jamie Ward of ‘Carnage’ was fighting a big Tiger shark on 15 kilo line yet another threat.
Suddenly in the middle of nowhere we had a massive strike on the shot gun and the reel again screamed, this time a Yellowfin. To complicate matters while Scott and Mark were clearing the other lines both had hits. Scott’s fish hooked up and fortunately Mark’s didn’t. Now we had a double on large Yellowfin tuna which could be disastrous. Consequently I told Greg to just keep tension on his line but not to bring his fish in and for Scott to go to sunset and go hard.
It worked, Scott after much pain got his fish which later weighed 73.5 kilo’s, to the boat and gaffed in 25 minutes. Now it was Greg’s turn, unfortunately his fish was more stubborn. After more than an hour of pain he finally had colour but it took another twenty minutes before we gaffed it. Another good ‘fin which later weighed 72.5 kilo’s, a nice buffer against Glen.
We continued on our way feeling pretty content that the Yellowfin had given us the lead we needed. Well, you know you shouldn’t count your chickens, Tantrum were onto another good Blue on 60kg. line. We desperately needed another fish with only 30 minutes to end of fishing.
“Fish on the rigger”, Ron yelled as a Marlin hit the long rigger, it broke the band but no hook-up. Tension was now extreme, Glen had landed their fish. We waited and watched I circled the area but to no avail. To add to the tension Jamie had landed a 300 kilo plus Tiger on 15kg. Yet another maximum pointer to contend with.
I can’t tell you the final results because I really don’t know them, you’ll have to come to the Club’s presentation tomorrow night ( 1st. May ).
So that was the tournament, for more results go to the club’s web site.
The Long liners are still working off Sydney so the ‘fin must still be in the area. With the water 24C at the shelf, there is no reason why the Blue Marlin won’t still be here.
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I took Tony and his wife Anne from Mackay out Game Fishing off Sydney on Monday. After my success the previous Saturday I decided to go South again. It was a mistake, it was a beautiful day but still a mistake. The only fish I heard about when we got in were a 200 kilo Blue Marlin from Ed Aspden’s boat ‘Malekula’ and a 60 kilo Yellowfin by Robbie Antunes from his boat ‘Angelica’. I had gone the wrong way. I later heard about a Spearfish taken somewhere off Botany.
Ironically the reason for Tony’s visit to Sydney was to fulfil an ambition (no pun intended) to tag all the Billfish species found off Australia in one year. He only needs a Spearfish and a Broadbill to succeed. He’ll probably get the Broady in Tasmania, his next stop, but I don’t like his chances for a Spearfish but you never know.
Yesterday I went North to the area Ed caught his Blue. The water had cooled a little and as I went out developed a greenish tinge. I continued out to what I thought might be a Long Liner some ten miles further. At around 600 fathoms the shotgun went off and we were on. Tony took the rod and after a relatively easy fight of 45 minutes we gaffed a 60.5 kilo Yellowfin. We took photo’s taken and continued out.
It seemed to get more barren as we continued so at around 800 fathoms I turned back to where we had taken the previous fish. I had no sooner turned when a fish crashed the short corner and screamed off. My first thoughts were a Blue but it quickly became apparent it was another ‘fin. This one wasn’t so easy, poor Tony had to fight for every inch. Most of the fight was at ‘sunset’ and took nearly two hours to bring it to gaff much to a relieved Tony. The Yellowfin later weighed at the club went 72.5 kilo’s.
Notwithstanding the fact that Tony didn’t really want to get involved with another Yellowfin anyway, we had now bagged out. So I headed in to safer waters to maybe find a Striped Marlin or two, which incidentally didn’t happen.
Over the last couple of weeks I have found the Yellowfin over a wide area ranging from as close in as 250 fathoms and out beyond 1,000 fathoms. If the Long liners are still around they must be in good numbers too.
Apart from the Yellowfin there are reports of big Blue Marlin too. The boat ‘Doghouse’ killed two weighing 198 and 202 kilo’s from further South. This has always been the time of year for big Blue Marlin off Sydney.
All this action augers well for the upcoming ‘Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament’ this week-end at the S.G.F.C.