Not really much to be said about the offshore fishing over the last week or so, the water within easy reach of most of us has cooled considerably and the current is moving offshore in close and to the North wider out.
There were a few Marlin, both Blue and Striped and Mahi Mahi encountered from Norah canyons North to Port Stephens but with the Marlin you still had to be on the spot to encounter them and even luckier to keep one on the hook.
Inshore the Snapper are showing up and Kings continue both in the harbour and on the inshore reefs as long as you have the right bait namely fresh squid.
There is the hope that the Yellowfin will turn up soon and I think that is what is keeping us motivated to get out there especially while the weather is so good.
Fishing off Sydney was as tough this week-end as it can be at this time of year. Most Game boats headed North to the Norah canyons area where the Blue Marlin bite had been during the previous week but as luck and Murphy would have it the water had cooled and the currents changed and though a few fish were encountered the expected bonanza did not occur. There weren’t too many fish taken but those caught were very good as portrayed by the results of the SGFC ‘Peter Goadby tournament’. The fishing was very typical of this time of year with quality fish rather than quantity.
Two Blue Marlin were taken one 171.5 kg the other 168 kg. as well as a monster Tiger shark weighing 479 kilo’s and a good Yellowfin just shy of 60 kilo’s. hopefully the start of their run also and surprisingly a Wahoo was taken a little further North. There were also several Striped Marlin tagged.
Browns was slow this week compared with last week-end with the Gemmies yet to start their annual migration.
The Kings are still there with quality of bait being the major factor in their capture as well as a bit of luck.
Attached are a couple of shots of a Striped Marlin we caught late on Saturday…
Well after almost 3 months of very mixed fishing especially after the frustration of losing three weeks of prime time due to a blown engine my stay at Port Stephens has come to an end, as much as I love it up there it is good to be back on home territory.
It was a very mixed season starting with a brief run of Striped Marlin which was put to an early end by the strong and very hot Southerly current that has persisted right up until the last couple of weeks. However nothing is entirely without benefit and the current brought with it a huge run of small Black Marlin which stretched all along the East coast and I believe there is still the occasional one being caught. There were numbers of Wahoo, Spearfish and even the occasional Sail that I haven’t seen for ages – but the most amazing capture to me was of a tropical Barracuda caught by Gale Force on their way up to Port. I would love to hear about any other rare northern visitors to out waters.
The numbers of Blue Marlin this year is just phenomenal I have never seen a run like it. There was the occasional big Blue, I mean over 200 kg., amongst them but the smaller fish probably averaging 130 to 150 kg. were just as explosive initially but a lot easier to handle with the benefit of being able to tag and release them.
Back here the Blues are still around though a little harder to find, I tagged one at Port before heading South and ‘Gale Force’ tagging two off Sydney on Saturday both around 150 kg. mark. The good news is the appearance of Striped Marlin with several being tagged and lost in the 80 fathom zone where there is a warmer current running – Micky Doyle from ‘Luna C’ having tagged two.
Sydney at this time of year is at its best, not necessarily with numbers of fish but their quality. In most seasons the biggest of species are caught at this time of year when the water is at its warmest. However with what has happened this whole summer who can say what will be. I personally would like to see the return of Yellowfin, there have been some schools sighted and a couple of good fish caught South of us so there is hope…
The run of Blue Marlin continued up at Port this week and from what I hear further South too those boats lucky enough to get out during the week getting multiple strikes and hook ups. They were a little harder to locate during the week-end as they moved further South.
I found some off the Newcastle canyons on Saturday managing two out of three. They weren’t big fish as Blues go being around 100 and 130 kgs. but they still performed the way only Blues will, that strike and first run electrifying. One good thing about the smaller ones is you generally get them to the boat alive to release for another day.
I can’t remember a season like this with so many Blue Marlin or such a hot current extending down the coast for so long and holding so many good sized Dollies, Wahoo in numbers not seen for years down here as well as the more than occasional Spearfish and even the odd Sailfish.
Up here the current has now eased. The temperature is still 25 to 27 degrees but has slowed to a point where the bait is starting to gather on the shelf. I had a look at Almark and marked what I thought were Kings down there but they didn’t take a jig but on dropping baits we managed a couple of Bar Cod as well as the ubiquitous ‘Jacket.
Whether it is too late or too warm for a late run of Striped Marlin is a matter for speculation but it would be good.
I hope to bring Ambition back to Sydney this week-end depending on the weather. Anyone wanting to come for a last day’s fishing up here on Saturday and/or the trip back on Sunday should give me a call or contact me through my web site.
March, April and even into mid-May is when the fishing off Sydney comes into its own. It is a period when in the past not necessarily the most of species but the largest were caught but the way it has been this year anything could happen.
It looked like the warm water had moved back in close last Saturday but it is very fickle with temperatures around 24 degrees at Seal Rocks last Thursday and back to 21 on Saturday.
While fishing the Gibber I did mark what appeared to be a couple of Marlin but with no takers it remains a matter of speculation, we did manage a couple of Snapper and a Trag as by catch though.
First off we went out wide stopping off at the FAD and managing one good Mahi Mahi before they went off the bite. It was a good to see that the current had eased and the temperature was up around 24 C, there. However, as we went wider the current increased dramatically and with it running South into the building Southerly wind and swell it was becoming quite nasty, at around 80 fathoms the decision was made to fish inshore where we ended up at the Gibber and the ‘V’ catching some nice bottom fish as mentioned but no Marlin.
Looking forward the weather is looking good over Easter, unusual as that may be and with the warm water still moving in we could expect another run in shore and if we keep our fingers crossed and the current eases along the shelf maybe even a late run of Stripies with the Blue Marlin always a possibility. I know it is a lot of ‘ifs’ but if you’re not optimistic you’d never go fishing.
Because of the weather and the potential for a late run I’ll be available up here at Port until after Easter so if anyone wants to give it a go give me a call or email me via my website…
The Blue Marlin bite continued last week at Port Stephens the fish moving South with the current as the week progressed and extending down to Sydney. Amongst the Blues there were quite a few Spearfish and some good sized Black Marlin along with Mahi Mahi and the occasional Wahoo. In short nothing much has changed since the week before.
For those fishing the Newcastle tournament there seemed to be a bonanza of fish but on closer scrutiny it was apparent that for everyone who was lucky enough to have found the Marlin there was someone else with the equivalent bad luck.
Back at Port Stephens were I was fishing we found the Marlin East and North of the Port up to Almark on Friday and by Sunday the concentration was down around the Newcastle canyons. The fish generally around the 100 to 150kg range by no means large for Blue Marlin, there were most definitely some bruisers amongst them, and fairly easy to handle providing you could get the hooks to stick. These Marlin were hitting the lures like express trains and personally I think that because there was and is so much bait around they are hitting out of aggression rather than hunger just using their Bills.
Where they’ll be this week is anyone’s guess. The change in weather and the Southerly blowing this week could send that Southerly current anywhere but if it keeps moving South it will certainly liven up the Broken Bay tournament providing the weather plays ball.
Until next week,
Probably not the report a Charter Boat Skipper should write but I must admit the four days fishing of the Interclub were the most frustrating days and disappointing days I have fished in many a year.
I would like to say there were few fish to be found for though the first week-end as tough fishing in the most uncomfortable conditions on Saturday, there were still good results for those who persevered. All I could manage was a very healthy Mahi Mahi which was tagged, much to the disdain of my crew, and to watch several fish taken on boats nearby.
During the mid-week a bite developed wide of the shelf and continued into the second week-end with Yellowfin tuna, Spearfish, Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Blue Marlin being taken. The Blue Marlin were particularly numerous, in fact the best bite in years. However again all I could manage was another Mahi Mahi which under threat of mutiny I didn’t tag this time. Again and most frustratingly I watched fish after fish being caught where I was going, where I had just been and even alongside – if I could have pulled my hair out I would have !
The interesting thing about the Blue Marlin bite is the number of fish lost. Generally a Blue hits a lure and is hooked and the fight is on but these were biting more like Striped Marlin and
mishitting lures or being lost shortly into the fight. It could have something to do with their size these ones being generally smaller than our usual run of Blues, not to say there aren’t some bruisers amongst them.
Well here’s hoping the bite is continuing this week and I can get my timing right.
It has been a series of ups and downs at Port Stephens for Ambition. Missing the first 3 weeks up there due to an engine failure and having to sit by the sidelines while the bite was running hot is not something I recommend either for the nerves or to appease frustration.
When we did finally got into action the bite had slowed somewhat. There were and still are plenty of small to mid sized Blacks around but you have to work to find them and put up with very crowded conditions . One day they are at Seal Rocks then at the Lighthouse or the Gibber, lucky ones or those in the know manage reasonable numbers while the rest work hard just to get a bite.
Fishing out wide has been complicated by the high temperatures and the speed of the current out there. Whether it is worth going out there to chase Blues is questionable but there have been some good sized Dollies taken as well as an unusually large number of Wahoo, good food fish at least.
With the Interclub competition on this week-end it will be well worth watching the results…
Finally the installation is finished and she ticked over first time; thank God for Danny Frizzel mechanic extraordinaire, there were a few anxious moments with wrong parts but it all came good in the end…
Sea trials tomorrow then its back to the ocean to refill my veins with salt water and maybe catch a Marlin or two…