Category Archives: Fishing Reports

Ambition 21st. April’18

 

Dan's Yellowfin
Dan’s Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowfin Tuna –  after seeing a couple of Longliners coming into port yesterday I thought I’d give the Yellowfin tuna a shot. I planned to head out wide to where the charts were showing a good temperature break then search along it.

As luck would have it I found an area of bird activity and saw a couple of showers of Sauries. I spent some time working the area ultimately raising the ‘fin we caught. Dan fought the fish hard for nearly an hour eventually and to his great relief bringing it to the boat.

I heard reports on the radio of a couple of boats raising Marlin out from Browns so headed off in that direction. On the way I noticed a small boat, a Carribean I think, fighting a fish and there were heaps of birds in the area too.

Magic lure
Magic lure

Dan who has eyes like an eagle spotted a Marlin tailing. I went right past it several times but it kept turning away from me. After working the area for a while we had raised two Striped Marlin that did what they do best by just playing with the lures. Then finally a Blue came in from the side and crashed the Brad ‘J’ behind my teaser, it also did what Blues do best by trying to spool us – it failed !!!

This is all boding well for the ‘Sydney Game Fishing Club’s tournament next week-end

‘The Peter Goadby Memorial’…

Blue and Lumo
Blue and Lumo

So with Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin even a couple of Blacks found through the week-end. Not to mention the Yellowfin and Mahi Mahi all in attendance nor the prizes and trophies. You best come on down…

So that was the day. ..

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 9th.April’18

Whilst there were Marlin, Yellowfin and some big Mahi Mahi caught over the week-end it was pretty slow going considering the number of boats fishing.

Mahi Mahi
A good eating Mahi Mahi…

The water looked great, good temperature the right colour and current lines all over the place. I marked several fish but could not induce them to bite.

There was a reasonably bite inshore South of Botany with quite a few Blacks being taken so that was the place to be. The reefs there held plenty of bait and that’s what you need. Still all in all very late in the season for Black in close…strange season!

Blue Marlin...
Blue Marlin…

The guys bottom fishing Browns have had better luck with ideal conditions during the past week. Small Gemmies, Deep Sea Perch and Blue Eye were all on the menu. As a result of successful prosecutions ,I have heard that Fisheries with the help of the police have and will continue to check on the boats at Browns. Also checking when they return to their home ports. This has to be good news as I am sure we have all seen and know of particular boats openly disregarding the bag limits.

Winter GemFish and Blue Eye
GemFish and Blue Eye

I think once the offshore currents turn around the fishing will improve, also I’m going down to Tasmania for just over a week so that might help too…

Tight Lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 5th.April’18

Autumn is the time for big Blue Marlin and Yellowfin tuna off Sydney.

Game Fishing at its best...
The ultimate Game Fish

Though it has been a little quiet offshore the last few days it is not the end of one of the best Game Fishing seasons I have experienced. This year we saw great numbers of Blue Marlin though not the real big ones yet. Over the last two or three years the Blues have been increasing in numbers, if not size, and now is the time when in the past they have been most prevalent and the biggest in size too. Black Marlin were there in reasonable numbers. However unlike previous years there were more taken on the shelf at the ‘Car Park’ than their usual inshore grounds. The ‘Car Park’ fired with all three species of Marlin there in numbers and an unusual number of Whaler sharks.

Yellowfin on deck...
What we wanted

Good sized Mahi Mahi were prevalent offshore. But there weren’t the usual numbers of smaller fish around the FADs and fish traps. Ironically the smaller ones are there now. You have to be early though as they spook when under pressure.

A beautiful Mahi Mahi...
A beautiful Mahi Mahi…

I regard now, Autumn, as the best time to fish off Sydney. In the past  we caught the biggest Marlin, the big Yellowfin tuna turn up in numbers, as we have already seen. We could see more Spearfish and even Wahoo if the currents are kind.

On checking the results of tournaments held at this time of the year you’ll see it is a great time to fish.  Also why the ‘Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament’ held by SGFC has always been such a success…

Tight lines,
Ivan

Ambition report 28th.March’18

Yellowfin Tuna...
Yellowfin Tuna…

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.

Yellowfin Tuna...
Yellowfin Tuna…

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…

Tight lines,
Ivan


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Ambition report 25th. March’18

 

Yellowfin
Yellowfin on deck…

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.

Mark's Mahi Mahi
The Bucket list Mahi Mahi…

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.An Archive photo...

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 19th. March’18

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.

Blue Marlin
Blue and Lumo…

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.

On the Leader...
On the Leader…

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.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 12th. March’18

 

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.

Brad 'J' does it again...
Brad ‘J’ does it again…

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.

Boatside...
Boatside…

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.

Howie...
Howie…

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…

Tight lines,
Ivan

Ambition report 6th. March’17

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.

Port Stephens Blue...
Port Stephens Blue…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 26th. February’17

At present there is a  Port Stephens Marlin frenzy going on.

Port Stephens Blue
Lumo and Blue Marlin

 

 

 

 

The inshore fishing for the small Blacks hasn’t really taken off being more of a day to day proposition. However it’s more than made up for by the good numbers of larger Marlin further out.

Port Stephens Blue
Lumo and Blue Marlin

At the well known ‘Car Park’ all three species of Marlin ( Blues, Blacks and Stripes ) are feeding in numbers on the schools of mackerel present. It is frustrating when using 10 or 15 kg. line for Striped and Black Marlin and only to hook a rampaging Blue. I can’t give actual numbers but over the last two tournament weekends every boat saw action with the local boats doing exceptionally well tagging up to and over ten a day. For more information on results go to the ‘NSWGFA‘ and ‘Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing Club‘ sites.

Port Stephens Yellowfin
Port Stephens Yellowfin

Wide of the ‘Car Park’ around the shelf you will find more Striped Marlin as well as Blues and Blacks. As you move wider towards the thousand fathom line which is as far as I went, there is bait and birds working and masses of flying fish. There are schools of Striped tuna and if you’re lucky, some very good Yellowfin tuna. I managed a couple going 69 and 59 kilo’s. There are also Blue Marlin both small and large and you won’t know what size will hit next ; the most exciting fishing.

Port Stephens Yellowfin
Port Stephens Yellowfin

The Marlin build hasn’t just happened over night but built up over the last few weeks. I first encountered the increasing numbers of Marlin wide and North of the Port. In one day of trolling I had twelve strikes.

The Blues are in numbers that I have never even heard of before, other than off the Gold Coast. This all bodes well for Sydney in the coming months. March and April and even into May is when the biggest fish ( Marlin etc. ) are caught down here. So, if what is happening at Port Stephens continues moving down with the currents we could be in for a bonanza.

Tight lines
Ivan

 

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Ambition report 12th. February’18

port stephens mahi mahi
Mahi Mahi…

 

 

 

 

 

I have just come back from three days at Port Stephens Game Fishing. No two days were the same and each presented its own challenges. However with perseverance, the rewards were there too.

On Friday I took Matty and his friends out on what was a less than comfortable day. In fact downright uncomfortable but we persevered and finally reached the shelf. There was good bait almost to the surface and a few boats working it. It didn’t take long to jig up enugh to get us going. I thought it was too rough to skip bait so I went with trolling live bait. We soon had our first hit and after nearly drowning the poor angler backing up, tagged a striped Marlin.

Striped Marlin fishing
Striped Marlin…

The baits were put out again and even before we had all the baits out we had another hit, this was looking good. The elation didn’t last long however, when we saw it was a Whaler around 2 metres long. The worst of it though was it was accompanied by about twenty others. That set the scene for the rest of the day and we ended up tagging four Marlin and two sharks, losing another four Marlin probably to sharks and being bitten off about ten times. It was a rough day and not just because of the seas.

Saturday was the exact opposite. It was dead calm. I opted to go to the ‘Car Park’ and was immediately sorry. We counted sixty five boats bombing the bait. The problem with such a large number of boats out there in a relatively small area is the lack of respect shown by some to boats that are hooked up and fighting. Some of the stories I heard make you wonder…

Mahi Mahi fishing charters
Mahi Mahi…

 

 

 

 

Anyway, we eventually caught enough bait and joined the crowd bombing the bait schools. The sea was like a mirror and the fish were certainly shy compared to the day before. We ended up with only one Striped Marlin and caught it after I’d given up bombing and started skipping baits.

Sunday was different again with a strong South-Westerly picking up through the day then backing to the South-East late in the day. Again I went out to the ‘Car Park’, the bait was there and the Marlin too, hard not to go back there. I was hoping the weather might have deterred people from going there. As it happened there were less boats but there were still a lot. Some out there were doing well but most were biding their time waiting for a bite.

I left the ‘Car Park’  and was setting the lures and having no deck hand I was helping out on when a Blue Marlin struck ripping the line out of my hand. The reel screamed in protest as a good sized Blue Marlin raced for the horizon. We did get it under control and tagged a 130 kgs. Blue. Over the next two hours we tagged another Blue around 150 kgs. and kept two Mahi Mahi of 10 an 12 kilo’s.

port stephens fishing tours
Mahi Mahi…

So, that was the week-end, three really diverse days. Next week it is tournament time. There are Stripes, Blacks and Blues as well as all the other Gamefish and that is Port Stephens Game Fishing, anything could and can happen…

Tight lines,
Ivan