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Ambition report 3rd.December’18

 

Summertime Marlin...
Marlin !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is summertime and the first Marlin of the season still hasn’t been caught or tagged by a SGFC member in Sydney waters. It was with this in mind that we went out last Saturday. The charts were showing good water wide and North of Browns so that was to be our destination.

I went out with Gerard Searle on his boat ‘Tshukudu’. It was a perfect morning. An unusually calm sea and no wind or rain in sight, a rare thing indeed in Sydney of late.

The water around 12 Mile looked good as we passed and several boats were there chasing Kingfish. I don’t know if they were doing any good but we were after Marlin so in went the lures  and we headed off to Browns.

Just inside the shelf we marked some bait but it was deep so we continued on our way. The water was getting warmer and bluer as we approached Browns. Groups of Mutton birds and Albatrosses became more evident the wider we went. The birds were definitely searching as opposed to travelling.

We continued on out searching with the birds but saw no action other than a couple of big Sunfish. I saw the occasional large splash in the distance which I thought were probably Sunfish too. We continued out to the 500 fathom line and saw a Long liner in the distance . Well obviously we had to have a look. We didn’t find his line but we did find a 0.3 degree temperature break.

In the distance Skip saw a school of Sauries take to the air. There were big splashes behind them as some type of reasonable sized fish, probably tuna, chased them. We spent some time in the area but found no other activity.

So that was the day. Other than the school of Sauries and the Sunfish we saw no other action. But it did look good and we felt something might happen at any second. The water looked good, the colour was good the temperature got to 22 degrees . The birds were definitely acting like something was in the area. The only thing I could fault was that the current was running North. I guess you have to blame something.

Tight lines,
Ivan

Next stop… Port Stephens
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Ambition report 5th. November’18

It’s that time of year again –  Billfish time.

Port Stephens Blue
Lumo and Blue Marlin

 

 

 

 

November is when the warm water currents from the North start to move inshore and push further South. Consequently with this warm water come the great pelagics, MarlinSpearfish, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi. It is also when club fisher people get excited about their first Marlin trophies and the competition can be fierce.

Mahi Mahi
A beautiful Mahi Mahi

So with the ‘First Marlin’ trophy ( tagged ) for the Sydney Game Fishing Club in mind we went out hunting. The plan was to do a drop on Browns and then head out wider to where there was an eddy developing.

On the way we went over a couple of offshore reefs and on the 9 mile the sounder showed a heap of fish in min-water. It was too good an opportunity to miss. So out came the jigs and it wasn’t long before we had a few nice Kings on board.

Kingies anyone ?
Kingies anyone ?

We were after Marlin so with a feed on  board and  temperature over 23 C out went the lures.

To say conditions looked good would be an understatement. Temperature over 23 degrees, a clear deep blue colour, patches of bait in mid-water and enough chop to make it interesting. The stage was set all we needed were the actors.

Unfortunately we reached Browns without interruption. We did a couple of laps without result and decided to do a drop. To cut a long story short we managed a Deep Sea Perch and the smallest Gemfish I have ever seen. Consequently it was back to trolling. In the meantime I heard one of the boats capturing a Spearfish being and another losing  two Marlin around the ‘Bait Station’. Also another boat was fighting a good sized Tiger shark.

We trolled North and out. Unfortunately the water went dirty and cooled so I moved inshore until I found the Southerly current then headed North. Sadly we didn’t find any action and the radio had gone quiet. On a positive note the water warmed as we went North and inshore from the shelf  to around 70 fathoms there was heaps of bait.

November is a very frustrating month…

Tight lines,
Ivan

 

 

Ambition report 29th. October’18

November often sees an early run of the pelagics i.e.  Mahi Mahi and Marlin.  As the warmer water up North really starts pushing down the shelf it bring with it the first of these oceanic wanderers.

Mahi Mahi
A good eating Mahi Mahi…

However this October, after what has seemed the longest run of bad weather and bad timing as far as Charters goes, has come alive.  For those who could take advantage of a break in the weather last week the rewards were there. Don’t get me wrong you’ll still have to work for the results but at least we know it isn’t futile.

The last time I was out conditions looked good. I found blue water nearly 22 degrees with birds searching and small schools of bait down fifteen fathoms. It felt like it was going to happen. I noticed small tuna hitting the swivels on the bigger rigs so put out a feather jig and started catching Striped Tuna. So the bait is there.

Marlin doing it thing...
Marlin doing it thing…

For those who haven’t heard ; at Port Stephens Paul Leaming’s boat ‘Hoodlum’ tagged a good sized Blue Marlin and raised another. Off Broken Bay the Findlay’s boat ‘Murrifin’ also tagged a good sized Blue Marlin. It doesn’t end there. I have also heard of at least one big Mahi Mahi and another Spearfish.

I think the big question is will this season’s run of Marlin, especially the Blues, be as good as the last one ?

Though the current is pushing hard some of the boats bottom dropping are getting results, Blue Eye and Deep Sea Perch being the main catch.

I don’t know how the wider reefs are going for Kings. The last time I was out there was nothing but that changes daily. Closer in shore and in the harbour is where most of the Kingfish action is to be found.

In short, if Game Fishing is your thing the action is definitely on the up. But as is usual the weather is the enemy.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 22nd. October’18

I am afraid I have to say it but the Pakula ‘Brad ‘J” bullet has done it again with the capture of a very early season Spearfish.

October Spearfish
October Spearfish

I went out on ‘Shukudu’ owned by Gerard Searle on Monday to see if we could find those elusive Yellowfin. The damned things are out there but not in great numbers.  Over the last few weeks the ‘fin have been evident with  just enough caught to tease us into chasing them, such is their allure.

The plan was to troll from the shelf, in the hope of a Marlin, then out wide to the thousand fathom line and depending on what we found to turn either North or South. As so happened out wide the current was going hard to the South. We decided to travel down as far as the Southern canyons then turn for home as the radio reports were not very conducive to optimism. And that’s when we got the strike, as we made the turn to head inshore the shot gun with ‘Brad’J” screamed off. The initial run was impressive but after that the fish came in easily. We expected to see a middle sized Yellowfin the last thing we expected was a spearfish. I must say though that later, on the bar BQ at the club it tasted great.

Adam's Spearfish
Adam’s Spearfish

Later I heard there were a few ‘fin taken between Wollongong and wide of Port Hacking as well as a couple of 30 kg.  fish somewhere East of Sydney.

The Kingfish are as elusive as the damned Yellowfin. On the offshore reefs they are on one day and who knows where the next.  The one constant is that the Jackets are always there. The best you can do is keep going, eventually the timing will be right

Now for a bit of advertising:

My charter for the ‘Shootout’ at Port Stephens in mid February has just cancelled. Consequently I am available for one of the best tournaments on the East Coast at one of the best fishing locations in NSW.

Winning Shootout
Winning Team Tag & Release Shootout

 

 

 

 

 

Call or Email if you are interested.

ph   : 0427 887 707
em  : sales@ambitioncharters.com.au

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Ambition report 30th. July’18

Winter and Spring are the time for Sydney’s TunaAlbacore, Yellowfin and Bluefin.  Though it looks like the Bluefin have passed there are enough reports of Yellowfin both North and South to be optimistic.

A Very Big Mako...
A Monster Mako checking us out…

Sadly we are in post Bluefin season though I’m sure we all hope they’ll return. It amazes me how they just disappear, here one day in numbers gone the next.  Interestingly this year there were some good sized Yellowfin amongst the Bluefin.

In this post Bluefin time fortunately for us there are other options. We can concentrate on Kingfish, Blue Eye, Gemfish and Mako sharks as well as hope the Yellowfin turn up.

Last Saturday I took Dan and his friends out looking for the Yellowfin but still hoping a Bluefin might show up. We started by catching some live bait to have a shot on the outer reefs where the Kings were making an appearance. To cut a long story short we caught a few baits which were quite quickly converted into Kingfish. Not really large ones but good enough. However what they lacked in size they made up for in numbers.

Gemfish a Browns
Gemfish a Browns

Dan and his mates shared my love for the horizon and whatever it may hold, they’d caught enough Kingies and wanted bigger game. I headed out toward Heatons with my usual spread and a lot of optimism.

Around the thousand fathom line the temp started to rise and a few birds started to appear. Meanwhile on the radio I heard a couple of boats up North had found Yellowfin. They’d seen them breaking and even caught a couple on cubes. They were North of us but I didn’t know how far so I turned left hoping they weren’t too far. I later found out they were off Port Stephens.

We didn’t end up finding any ‘fin but knowing they were there was interesting enough. I later heard someone caught a couple around Heatons and South around JB too.

Winter mixture from Browns....
Bottom dwellers from Browns…

Meantime the mountain is fishing well for Gemfish and Blue Eye. To cap it off the Mako’s are showing up too just in time for this weekend’s Monster Mako Tournament held by the Sydney Game Fishing Club.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 23rd. July’18

Sydney has been the place for Tuna Fishing with Bluefin the  occasional Yellowfin and even  Albacore taken last week but it is a day to day proposition.

On Thursday we headed out to where the fish had been caught the previous Wednesday.  After my fruitless day on Tuesday I and the crew were keen to play.

Luke's Bluefin Tuna...
Luke’s Bluefin…

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 look 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 weighed just on 70 kilo’s, to boat.

Bagged out...
Bagged out…

Meantime the radio had come alive with reports of Bluefin, Yellowfin as well as a few Albacore coming in. We continued working the same area marking fish down at 40 fathoms but couldn’t get them 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 hooked up, 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 out wide while fighting the other at ‘sunset’ so as to get it in fast.

Tuna time off Sydney...
Tuna time off Sydney…

It took a little time but we landed both the Bluefin. Since now we had bagged out we turned around and headed for home. I must say the only downside to the day was that I lost my favourite Brad ‘J’. Otherwise it had been a long but very satisfying day.

We went out again on the Monday after a week-end of bad weather with Luke who was dead keen to catch a Bluefin. I went back to the area South East of Browns. Reports were coming in of fish being caught down below the Southern Canyons but I noticed a boat that looked like they were fighting. Shortly after they gave their position and that they had the fish under their boat. I and another boat whose name I have forgotten was behind me and heading towards them too.

As we approached the boat behind me hooked up on a triple and Bruce who was on board called me back. I had obviously missed the school and it could have only been by metres. Anyway as we approached we were rewarded with a triple hook up which was a problem since we only had one angler, my deckie, ‘Howie’ and me. Howie went straight to sunset it nearly killed him but he got the fish in in time to gaff Luke’s Bluefin. Then Luke went straight into battle with his second fish. After what seemed an eternity to him a very tired, relieved and happy Luke finally brought the fish to the gaff.

It was time to go home.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 11th.June’17

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.

Brad's Albacore
Brad’s Albacore

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.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 28th. May’18

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.

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 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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