Black Marlin were the name of the game last week. They certainly went off with a bang when several boats managed to intercept a run of the Blacks on the Northern reefs.
The Black Marlin turned up last week and amongst the smaller fish were some in the 90 kg. range. Those who fished light got more than they bargained for when they hooked one of those. The fish turned up on the Northern reefs where the bait, Slimies and big Yellowtail, had congregated. Trolling with live or skipped baits has taken most of the Blacks but don’t overlook lures they work too.
Sunday was a wipeout weatherwise but those who went out on Saturday expecting the bite to continue were unlucky. A few Blacks were seen but in general they had either moved on or just weren’t biting. With this current weather pattern calling a halt to fishing for the next couple of days there are a lot of frustrated fishermen champing at the bit.
Wider out Striped Marlin are still appearing along with the occasional Blue. Good sized Mahi Mahi are still around. Strangely they are still not congregating around the traps and FAD’s yet.
I havn’t made it to Port Stephens yet due to a broken fuel line. I’ll be on my way soon though as I have completed the repairs…
The year 2017 certainly ended with a bang. The fireworks celebrated not just the end of a successful year but a great couple of days for me. Hopefully it will continue into my summer Chartering at Port Stephens.
Funnily enough while I was preparing Ambition last week I received a deposit from a passing Gull. What is purported to be good luck certainly proved to be true.
I took Dr. Cody Hanish and Nick Seaward and their friends out chasing their first Marlin last Thursday. Conditions were ideal. It took a while but as I crossed the shelf inside Browns we took a hit from a beautiful Striped Marlin. As with most Stripes it put on a great display before being brought
to the boat, photographed and released. We continued trolling up to the ‘Bait Station’ but with no sign of bait or bird activity it looked grim. I turned to run down sea back to the ’12 Mile’ and hadn’t gone a hundred metres when we hooked up another Stripy, this one smaller than the first but just as feisty. So with two Marlin under our belt we headed for home much to the relief of a seasick angler.
On Friday I took Jesper and his friend from Sweden out. After the previous day’s fishing we and they were all fired up. Again it started out slowly but at least there was a lot of bait showing but still little bird activity. As if to repeat the previous day just as we crossed the shelf inside Browns we connected with a nice Marlin. It went crazy and when it first showed itself I saw it was a Blue of around 120 kilo’s. I was surprised to say the least even though there had been a couple taken previously. Anyway, Jesper handled it like a pro and soon had it boat side.
I repeated my track of the previous day and just as had happened then after turning to run down sea we had another hit. We weren’t so lucky with this one though. For some reason the wind-on failed and all we got back was the loop at the end of the double. Worse I lost my favourite Lumo, now I have to break in another one. As if to make up for this loss shortly after we landed a good sized Mahi Mahi.
So, the next time a present comes down from up high go fishing…imagine your luck if it was a Pelican’s present, the mind boggles.
Most boats trolling are encountering Mahi Mahi and all good sized fish. They don’t seem to be hanging around the traps and FAD’s in numbers yet but they are a welcome catch while chasing Marlin.
Port Stephens fired last week with quite a bit of action around the Norah and Newcastle canyons.
Not long to go now before I’ll be running Charters at Port Stephens.
Tight lines and all the very best for the New Year,
It finally looks as though the currents out wide are stabilising and bringing the Marlin to us. The hope is that the fish will move in closer now, certainly more are being encountered.
I went out with Tom and his workmates on a two boat Charter with Wahoo last Wednesday chasing Marlin.
The first stop though was to have a shot at the Kings. This turned out to be a bad move. We first tried off North Head where in spite of the calm wind conditions the swell bouncing off the cliffs was making it very uncomfortable. Consequently several of the guys were feeling a bit seedy but after giving the 12 Mile a shot most had had enough.
Anyway, Wahoo ended up going back with the sick ones and I continued out after catching a couple of good Kings. Conditions were perfect away from the bounce back and the sea was dead flat. This was the calm before the storm.
Out over the shelf the current was still Southerly. However, the temperature was varying up and down by as much as half a degree over a hundred metres. We persisted and went out over Browns to the thousand fathom line not seeing anything, no bait, not even a bird. At about 1:00pm. the first breaths of the Southerly started to puff so I started trolling home.
By the time we got back to Browns it was still doing only fifteen to eighteen knots. The boys were unconcerned, enjoying the occasional brew. These conditions didn’t last long however and it was soon gusting to twenty five knots. I heard over the radio that it was doing thirty knots off Cronulla so the gear was pulled in and we ran for home.
On Saturday after hearing that the boat ‘Cintra’ from Tasmania had raised six Marlin the day before I went out with renewed confidence. I was doing something I haven’t done for a long, long time. I was working the deck for Mike Clarkson on his boat ‘Reef Magic’.
We put the gear in at the ’12 Mile’ and headed out towards ‘Browns’. Conditions had certainly changed since Wednesday. The temperature was up and not wavering and there was heaps of bait. There were even birds moving around, it was very fishy to say the least. Later, over the radio we heard Bob Curry had raised a Striped Marlin in 250 fathoms and another boat had tagged one inside ‘Browns’.
After working the bait for several hours with no result we left and headed North. We had just crossed the shelf when we had a triple strike and mayhem prevailed but luckily not for long. In short time two of the Marlin jumped off and we ended up catching Striped Marlin of around 70 kgs.
The client, Iano from Italy, was happy with a great Christmas present having succeeded in his first attempt at striped Marlin fishing. We were happy and it was time to go home.
Tight lines and a merry Christmas to all – may the fish be with you,
Here is a short video of the Mark’s Marlin with some Mahi Mahi mayhem at the end…
Striped Marlin, Blue Marlin and Mahi Mahi though not in any numbers yet are all on the menu. They’re not easy to find but all have been caught over the last couple of weeks and conditions are becoming more conducive to their presence every day.
I went out last Thursday on a perfect day in ideal conditions. Out past the shelf there were bait balls all over the place and out to 500 fathoms which was as far as I went. To say expectations were high was an understatement. Unfortunately, all I found was a lone Mahi Mahi of about 7kgs.
On Sunday the weather was just too good not to go out. I didn’t have a charter so there was just me, Pat ( my deck hand ) and Mark his father. We put Mark on strike. On his bucket list were catching Blue Marlin, Mahi Mahi and a Yellowfin so we out we went… hunting.
Conditions had changed markedly since last Thursday. I went North to the ‘Bait Station’ and found there was nowhere near the amount of bait nor bird activity as the previous week. Apparently, it had moved further South. Still, we persisted and after several hours of trolling in what appeared to be a dead sea we had a strike on the short corner and a small Marlin did its window wiper imitation. It pulled off some line and then unfortunately just fell off the lure.
However, disappointment soon turned into panic. Whilst repositioning the short corner the left rigger took off at a thousand miles an hour and a small Striped Marlin took to the air. Incidentally, it took one of Peter Pakula’s Bullet Heads in lumo colours which I’d decided to try out. Obviously a good choice. Mark did well on the rod and we tagged the fish in fairly quick time. Soon after we hooked up a 6 kilo Mahi Mahi so we had dinner.
I had only heard about one other Marlin which had subsequently been lost so I was feeling pretty good about our fish. Then my old friend Rob Curry ( Marquis ) ended up catching Blue Marlin of 250 to 300 kilo’s which had died. He had it at the boat after several hours fighting and lifting it from the bottom but as there were only two on board they couldn’t get the fish into the boat. I have attached a photo in which you can see the Blue doesn’t look real pretty. I suppose though that anything would look pretty battered after being towed for two and a half hour through the sea. Irrespective a damn good fish which when weighed pulled the scales down to 273.5 kilo’s. A great fish at any time but who would expect one like that at this time of the year. Sydney can be one of the best blue marlin fishing Australia.
People often ask us where to catch blue marlin. It all just goes to show that you’ll never know what’s out there unless you go…
All gamefish are sensitive to water temperatures and their movements governed but the ocean currents.
On studying the SST’s you can see that the warm water North of us, on and wide of the shelf is flowing South then out to sea just South of Port Stephens. Conversely the water off Sydney over the shelf is flowing inshore from the South and East and then turning South. It is clear that the fish, probably the Blues, in the warmer water North of us aren’t going to be seen off Sydney until there is a change in the currents.
However, the Northern water inside and along the shelf is flowing South parallel to the coast. This is the water that brings the run of Blacks inshore and further out near the shelf the Striped Marlin. Usually the Blacks show up off Sydney mid to late December but in the last week or so the inshore waters have warmed significantly. Yesterday I noticed a lot of bait just out of the Heads. Lots of Mutton birds were working the area as though waiting for something to push the bait up. This could be an indication that the Blacks are here there has been the occasional report of small Marlin inshore.
Those fishing wide off Sydney haven’t been having much luck but it seems the Kings are another story. The run of Kings outside last week was remarkable with more than a few going over the magic metre mark. Unfortunately that was last week since then the Southerly current has increased. I have been told it was running at 3 to 3.5 knots and when you add the effect of 15 to 20 knots of North Easterly you’d be close to flying.
In the harbour the Kingsfish mixed with Tailor, Bonito and Salmon are still rampaging around chasing schools of baitfish. You can find the schools anywhere from the Heads down the harbour to the Lane Cove river. Find the birds and you’ll find the fish. Frustratingly you will often find the fish under the Harbour Bridge in the 15 knot zone where you are not allowed to stop and fish.
I am looking forward to my annual stay at Port Stephens. I’ll be there and available for Charter and the occasional social day for SGFC members from mid- January until mid-March. If you want to catch Marlin or any of the pelagic species which are so much more common up there give me a call.
I couldn’t make it out fishing on the week-end due to the weather on Saturday and ‘ brownie ‘ point gathering on Sunday.
From what I’ve heard there doesn’t appear to be much happening out there. I did however get a phone call mid-morning telling me about a Marlin, possibly a Black, free jumping about 5 miles out… I can’t tell you how good that made me feel. Apparently there were some Dollies taken and a couple of really nice Yellowfin from somewhere South of Sydney. If anyone knows anymore or can clarify I’d be happy to hear about it.
The SST’s don’t look very exciting either but I don’t know how much they can be relied upon at the best of times because of their lack of resolution. You really have to get out there and see for yourself. The way it appears the current is pushing from the North around Sydney but the temperature within the current varies widely indicating there are breaks in the main current which are always worth a look.
Inshore there are Kings but it requires some hard work and lots of looking to find them. I heard of one that Mike Clarkson of ‘Reef Magic’ caught going 1.2 metres, so they are there.
The harbour is alive with schools of pelagics, Kings, Bonito, Tailor and Salmon. They are not big fish but are still a lot of fun on light gear. You will need very small lures to catch them because they are feeding on very small baitfish.
To me the wide grounds are where I want to be. None of the charts have the resolution to show the spin-off currents and minor eddies that often hold the fish we want. It changes from day to day out ther. By the time the average fisho hears about the bite it’s generally too late…