Marlin Port Stephens…this year was a far cry from previous years. Maybe it was the effect of La Nina maybe the moon but whatever it was it was tough going while I was there.
The Marlin Port Stephens fishery was seriously affected by the weather this year. Other than having to cancel and postpone several charters I only made it out to the shelf a couple of times. There were great expectations after last year’s season when there was bait and Marlin aplenty on the edge. This year there was hardly any bait out there and with the current raging at near 4 knots and the temperature up to 27 degrees, conditions were not conducive to holding bait, consequently no Striped Marlin. However there were Blue Marlin out there in the current but hard work and perseverance was needed to find them. Most were not big fish by Blue Marlin standards but still exciting to catch and bigger than the average Stripey and monstrous compared to the Blacks in shore.
Because of the weather and conditions off shore most anglers have been concentrating on the Black Marlin on the inshore reefs. These Marlin are ranged from 15 to 60 kilo’s and more in size making for some interesting fights on 10 kilo line.
The small Blacks are, to me at least, the most frustrating fish to catch. Up here at Port there are several well-known reefs and areas which hold bait and consequently the Blacks. The situation occurs when you might have twenty or thirty boats all milling around a relatively small area trolling baits for a limited resource. Watching others catch fish and waiting your turn is to say the least very frustrating. This season, to get away from the crowds, several boats travelled past Seal Rocks almost to Foster looking for the Blacks and I might add they did find them. These Blacks however are fickle, or maybe the boats were putting them down, but you were never sure which reef was going to produce the goods.
Towards the end of my stay the weather eased so after having had enough of the inshore fishery it was out to the shelf to hunt. As I mentioned earlier there was very little bait on the shelf. There had been a few Blue Marlin taken further South, around the Norah Canyons, so it was out with the lures to head out wider. Anyway to cut a long story short we did find Blues but had to cover a lot of miles.
I think that when the current eases the outside scene will take off, both up North and down here off Sydney. Records show that March and sometimes into the middle of May is the best time to go game fishing off Sydney. The fish may not be in huge numbers but they more than make up for it in size. This time of year also often heralds the arrival of big Yellowfin tuna, generally well wide of the shelf.
So here’s hoping…