Fishing December 2022
How different can two years be ?
Though I can’t compare fishing December 2022 with December 2021, due to Covid and associated lockdowns. Below is a report from December 2020 to show what should be.
In general, so far this year the offshore has been pretty well non-descript.
I did my first charter on a double with Hammerhead Charters off Port Stephens last week. There were substantiated reports of Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi and Yellowfin and lots of bait in the area the day before I went out. But as luck would have it the weather turned it on on the Friday and we went out into a rising sea and 20 knots of South-Easterly. To the clients credit surprisingly they lasted the whole day.
The warmest water I found was around the FAD , from there on the temperature dropped. Out on the shelf even though it was rough the water looked great but there were only patches of bait and it was all deep and no birds. Hammerhead did manage a 6kg. Mahi Mahi and that was it for the day.
After returning to Sydney I heard that the bait previously reported off Port Stephens had moved down to the Norah Canyons and I later heard there was bait building up on the shelf off Sydney
So it looks like we just need the predators to find their food.
December Reports’20 :-
Reports were coming in of Striped Marlin and some good sized Mahi Mahi around the shelf and the odd Yellowfin further out. So after I cancelled a couple of charters because of the Virus I decided I was going out no matter what. I received quick responses from members wanting to join me after a post to the club’s facebook page so all was set.
Unfortunately due to cloud cover the only SST’s available were from several days beforehand but I’d been told the temps were around the 22 to 23 C so it was all systems go.
The forecast was for light winds and calm seas. However 15 to 18 knots is not exactly light winds and the sea was a mess with a residual swell coming from the yesterday’s Southerly. So, that together with the bounce back from the cliffs made for an uncomfortable ride from which one of the crew succumbed.
We put the lures in just short of the shelf and headed out marking bait as we went but it was all deep. One of the boats out there, ‘Grey Goose’ , had already raised a Marlin but no hook-up. Later on a Mako hit one of their lures; it is not uncommon for Mako’s to hit lures and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke they raised another later in the day.
We continued marking bait and found some birds working on what looked like to be Striped tuna but we raised nothing after chasing them for a while. What we did find sadly was that the warmer water had moved out. The best I found was 21.6 C and that after a temperature break of 0.3 C .
It was while working the break that we had a double hook-up. Marlin was the call, but the sight of green and gold told a different story. We landed two good sized Dollies, supper was provided.
Several other boats reported hits from Striped Marlin, I think one tagged fish was estimated to weigh only 50 kilo’s. And then it was our turn, the shot gun went off, the Marlin took a bit of line then just dropped off. Damned Stripies, however he was still there following the lure. He/she had at least four other shots and missed each time and eventually lost interest.
We pulled the lure in to check it out and I found the leader chafed for nearly a metre above the lure. I know it happens all the time but it is so frustrating, they obviously know they want the lure but just keep missing it. Maybe they should get some lessons from their Black and Blue cousins.
So, that was the day, a good feed to take home and calm seas for the run.
I have booked in at Port Stephens from the 24th.January until the end of February. Not as long as previous years due to the virus but I hope next year’s season will be as good if not better than this year’s. So, if you do want to catch a Marlin, Port Stephens is the place to do it…