After spending the last couple of weekends up at Port Stephens where the only game in town was to chase small Black Marlin it was a pleasure to come back to home territory to see what is happening down here and chase some February Marlin.
Up at the Port the run of Blacks which I’m sure most of you have heard about has been quite remarkable. The fish ranging from fifteen kilo’s up to forty kilo’s with the occasional larger one thrown in. Those in the know tagging numbers up to the high teens in a day.
For those of us lesser mortals it was still achievable to tag up to four or five a day. Stealth however was required. Light leaders, smaller hooks and light line to fool these fish which were being harassed by innumerable boats every day. In general it paid to fish during the week. There may have been only forty or fifty boats out during the week. Whereas during weekends there were around one hundred and fifty boats. However, you could simply wait for bad weather and hope it keeps the numbers down.
Back in Sydney
I went out yesterday and fished most of the day in a 20 knot North-Easter which is not the most comfortable of conditions to fish in. Fortunately the guys coped very well so we got the whole day in.
I started out trolling in close with small lures hoping for a Black and looking for bait. Neither of which I found. I worked my way out wider. The water temperature and colour getting better as we went out. On the way we caught quite a few Skipjacks but none of the small Yellowfin which I’d heard could be found amongst the Stripies.
To my surprise just inside the shelf the temperature reached 27 degrees Centigrade and over the edge went up to 27.4 C which I thought was too warm. However we saw several groups of birds working on something. There were a few flying fish around but after working around the birds and pods of Dolphins we neither raised nor marked anything and weren’t even catching the Stripies anymore.
I decided to go back into the cooler water where there was some life at least. We had just hit 24.5 C in about 75 fathoms when the shotgun took off at a rate of knots. I could see it was a Marlin and for some odd reason assumed it was a Black. Probably because I’d seen so many lately. But as it neared the boat it was apparent. It was indeed a Striped Marlin which had stayed deep throughout the fight. We did get it boatside but when Rob took the leader it played up and wore through the trace and I lost my favourite Brad ‘J’.
Next time I’m going to try and get to the other side of the hot water. I’ve heard there are Yellowfin and after listening to the scheds from the Port Stephens Shootout over the weekend there should also be some Blue Marlin.
Weather and Sea State :
Bureau of Meteorology
Fishing Tackle :
Campbell’s Pro Tackle