Off Sydney fishing – as I sit here listening to 30 knots of North Westerly howl against the windows, I am glad I’m not at sea. Especially so because the fishing off Sydney has been less than mediocre.
Off Sydney the Kingfish bite has been the only positive scene outside. The Kingies have been biting well with lots of fish over the magic metre.
The only problem, well one of the only problems is in locating the fish. The Kings are ranging between the inshore, offshore, harbour and coastal reefs, only by checking out the various spots or good intel will allow you to locate them.
Consequently the other problem is that as soon as word gets out every man and his dog jumps in. Therefore those who find the Kings are being very secretive, some to the point of distraction but who can blame them. On a couple of occasions I have seen up to forty boats on one spot. I’m sure they must spook the schools with all their sounders pinging the depths.
On the couple of occasions I have had a shot at the Kingfish bait was a problem for me, probably because I start out too late. However perseverance pays off and by avoiding all the boats on the regular spots I found enough. Ironically when I did get onto the fish the biggest a 105 cm. fish was taken on a jig.
Offshore Game fishing has been for the most part hopeless. There are increasing sightings of Marlin and a couple caught. Yellowfin are also still showing up but generally to the South, from the Southern canyons down past Woollongong. To give an idea how poor the Game fishing is off Sydney at present all I heard about from last week-end was Sydney boat ‘Gale Force’ managing an Albacore near Browns and the Botany Bay boat ‘Marquis’ a decent Yellowfin and someone on a a trailer boat catching a Striped Marlin.
At this time of year most club anglers are out there vying for their prestigious ‘First Marlin’ trophy. Looking at the latest currents and Altimetry it all seems to be coming together. The Zero line is within reach and there is some current from the North wider offshore pushing in. All we need now is for the weather to be kind.
P.S. I will be available at Port Stephens from 1st.February for the month a must especially for those who want to have the best chance at catching a Marlin. If this year’s results are any indication of what to expect next yearit should be a great season – Call me…
Fishing for Game Fish during November can run hot or cold. It is a time when the cooler offshore water starts to warm up under the influence of the East Australia Current. As summer progresses the EAC moves closer inshore and within our reach .
During November along with the EAC come the bait fish namely Slimy Mackerel, Sauries, Garfish, Cowanyoung and Striped Tuna . Naturally the predators follow. Striped, Black and Blue Marlin as well as Mahi Mahi, Spearfish and all the other great Gamefish not to mention the appearance of big Tiger sharks move closer inshore with the current.
November is the month that heralds the changeover from the Winter to Summer species it is also the start of the storm season.
I have noticed over many years that the leading edge of the EAC often bring with it an early unseasonal run of big Mahi Mahi and Striped Marlin with more than one early season Spearfish having been encountered. So far this year as well as a good run of big Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin tuna and Albacore are adding to the mix and continue to tease us offshore.
So as we enter a ‘La Nina’ weather pattern, meaning we’ll have warmer water offshore and more rain to flush out the rivers and estuaries we could and I emphasise could have a bumper season ahead.
On another note I’ll be available at Port Stephens from the end of January until early March. If the Marlin season next year is anywhere near as good as this year’s it won’t be one to miss. Sadly this year’s season was shortened by COVID, let’s hope not again.
Wild and Woolley is the only way to describe the ocean on Saturday. It doesn’t look too bad in the video but let me tell you the 25 knots of North Easterly pushing against the Northerly current created a very short and wild sea.
We had only just put the lures in the water when over the air came a distress call. A boat was sinking with four on board. Consequently I marked their position and found I was twelve miles and 45 minutes away. Fortunately for them another boat was much closer and eventually got them aboard. It was a wild sea. As a result I turned around and went back to fishing.
I can’t imagine what would have been going through those guy’s minds as the boat filled with water. I suppose there was some comfort in knowing that via the radio everyone out there was willing to help. The importance of a good radio cannot be understated. To top it off another boat (I don’t know the exact details) was found floundering near the shelf with no power. Fortunately for them a passing boat was there to help, again a happy ending.
Furthermore it should be remembered that the ocean can be most unforgiving therefore being prepared is essential.
Anyway back to the fishing. There were a few Yellowfin 30 to 35 kilo’s taken South of Browns. Unfortunately I never got the chance to try further North. Since the sea was still building and considering the clients returning home seemed the right option.
It is apparent that these ‘fin are sticking around and are very spread out. Before the week-end they were being caught from wide of the Car Park at Port Stephens down to past the Southern Canyons. Also sightings of Striped Marlin, as well as at least one capture, are becoming more common.
Over the next few weeks the warm current will move in closer and should bring the first of the tropical namely Mahi Mahi and hopefully motivate the Striped Marlin.
Yellowfin off Sydney was the news going around but I’d heard they were off the Norah Canyons. I went out several times last week chasing these so called Yellowfin off Sydney…
On Wednesday I took Sergio and some of his friends out to chase those elusive Yellowfin. Reports had been coming in of them being around Norah Head. However on my previous outing I had found them further South so I headed that way.
Worryingly the three weather reports for the day were stating different outcomes, varying from not too bad to horrible. Anyway we decided to go figuring that the NE would build in the afternoon and we’d come home with it.
It was pretty good until we neared the shelf where the current veered to the South causing the sea to stand up. I thought we’d keep going for a little longer when in 150 fathoms a Marlin showed up behind the Lumo and proceeded to attack it. Sadly it didn’t hook up but the excitement was enough to motivate the guys to keep on going even though a couple of the guys weren’t feeling too well.
To cut a long story short the conditions got worse and it was apparent we weren’t going to get to the area I wanted. So we turned around and trolled home hoping for another Marlin.
Thursday was a totally different story. The wind not more than ten knots all day, a beautiful dead calm day. We had a crew of four girls who started the day with Champagne and Orange juice cocktails which was not the best way to start a day at sea, even on a relatively calm day.
We tried for Kings but to no avail so headed out wide again. Whales and Dolphins were aplenty and even a couple of Sunfish but nothing else. In desperation Ron put out a red and white feather on 15kg. to see if there were any Striped tuna around. A couple of hours passed and we found a good looking patch of water. By then two of the girls were not very well, one of them quite sick. As luck would have it we started to catch Stripies which raised their spirits for a while however the decision was made to start heading back. I then noticed a Gannet hovering so went over to have a look. As we approached we got a hit on the Lumo and one of Peter’s new 3D Jet lures, obviously bigger fish but no hookups. I went around again and this time the Stripy lure went off, except this was no Striped tuna. As it turned out after a good fight Kristen landed a 25 kilo Yellowfin. Just goes to show you can always expect the unexpected.
Saturday started out well, a strong North Easterly predicted for the afternoon but we’d be out there by then, so no problem.
I put the lures, using the same pattern as on Thuesday, out at 80 fathoms hoping to raise another Marlin. Nothing happened until in about 250 fathoms the Lumo went off. I thought we’d found that Striped Marlin and looked back hoping to see it jumping. But no, just then the 3D lure on the rigger took off. We had a double of Yellowfin. The boys did a good job of avoiding crossed lines and soon had the fish on board. I went around again and again a double strike on the same lures but this time one dropped off and the other wore through the leader. After working the area for a while with no luck I headed out wider. The North Easterly started to come away so I turned with it and headed back to where we had caught the fish earlier. And again within a couple of hundred metres of where we had hooked up we hooked up again, this time it was a triple. After much confusion we landed all three. I went around again and managed yet another ‘fin making it just right, a fish for each angler, perfect. So now with a fish each and one man down It was time to head for home.
On the way in I saw some Gannets hovering and as I watched there was a huge bust up below them. They were definitely Yellowfin, but what was surprising was they were in only 65 fathoms.
The attached video shows some of the high lights, enjoy.
For weeks I have been hearing about the Yellowfin Tuna off Port Stephens and the Bluefin Tuna well out of reach down South not getting any closer than Kiama. The action well out reach of most Sydney based boats especially since the weather has been less than favourable.
Finally the mighty Yellowfin Tuna at least are getting closer.
I went out on Saturday a little more optimistic than usual because I’d noticed a couple of long liners working wide and North of Broken Bay. Also a warm current pushing down with the break almost within my reach. However I was a little apprehensive also since the weather report was a little bit iffy. We were going anyway, worst case scenario we’d be coming home with the weather best case the bureau was wrong.
We started trolling in 300 fathoms after passing through some very
green water of 18.5 degrees which was a lot better than the 17 at the shelf. There was still very little life , other than Whales and the occasional Albatross in the area. But with still 14 miles to the break. I noticed a blip on the radar, too small for a tanker and too large and far away for a Game boat, possibly a Long Liner. As we got closer to it , about 5 miles away, the water colour changed and warmed then out of the blue a double strike. After a relatively short fight we landed two Yellowfin 25 to 30 kilo’s.
A little hope…
Consequently I worked the area but there was no sign of life, still neither
birds nor bait so I moved on, out towards the Long Liner. After another hour of searching I decided to head back to where we caught the fish. You wouldn’t believe it, we were within a couple of hundred metres off the spot when we had another strike, this one a much bigger fish. After a solid fight that only a Yellowfin Tuna can put up we landed a 50 kilo fish much to the excitement of the crew , as you can hear in the video, who had never caught a Gamefish before.
And so we headed for home, thirty five miles away.
With some luck the current will move in closer and bring with it the Tuna and bait and hopefully some Marlin will follow.
Sydney Tuna Fishing is frustrating to say the least at present. Listening to the radio while fishing off Sydney and hearing the guys off Kaiama and JB catching Bluefin and those at Port Stephens catching Yellowfin has only added to the frustration.
For those of us here the Sydney tuna fishing is hard work. There have been a few Yellowfin taken out wide but with numbers of Yellowfin only forty miles North and with the Bluefin only fifty miles South there is great expectation that the currents will bring them to us after this blow – one lives in hope.
I went out a couple of times last week and managed two Yellowfin, one of 58.5 kilo’s and another of 34.8 kilo’s. Both times I headed South hoping the Bluefin had moved up in the current which they hadn’t.
The photo’s of Bluefin below show the result of Sam Ayad taking his boat ‘Smart Bill’ down to the bite off Kiama.
So with the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s annual ‘Tuna Slam’ underway and continuing until the end of August and with an opening purse of $2,000.00 and the potential of both Bluefin and Yellowfin on our doorstep in the coming months you’d be crazy not to enter.
By the way there have been NO Bluefin weighed yet and the biggest Yellowfin so far is only 38.7 kilo’s , you could be a winner…
Yellowfin mayhem is the only way to describe what we encountered yesterday fishing wide off Sydney. Though we lost fish and lots of gear it was a fabulous day’s fishing.
With the glorious weather predicted for last Saturday there was no way I was not going out to sea. I’d had a report of a Long Liner off Norah Head doing well so there was some degree of expectation. After checking my last year’s reports I had decided to go cubing and stay until dark. Until then we’d scout around to see what we could find.
The day started very slowly, 12 Mile was pretty dead so out went the lures and off we went. The radio was pretty quiet, especially for a dead calm day when you expect the usual noise makers. However on one boat ‘Shukudu’ , Jared reported seeing some ‘fin but wasn’t able to get them to bite. I did hear another boat had caught a good fish.
We continued trolling and was marking lots of small schools of bait and on one occasion I saw what I thought were Frigate mackerel. With all this bait around it was surprising that there wasn’t more bird activity.
We continued on and in our travels found a long line, so there must be Yellowfin somewhere. I followed the line for a few miles with no activity so moved in closer to shore where I had seen the bait by then it was late enough to start our cube trail.
After only about fifteen minutes of cubing i got a shock when I saw a fish in the trail and shortly after it was followed by a whole school of sixty plus kilo Yellowfin. It was mesmerizing, a sight of Yellowfin I haven’t seen for many a year.
It didn’t take long and we had two fish on. One angler was forced to go to the bow so I felt pretty secure knowing they were well separated – just goes to show how wrong you can be. After a good hour on 24kg. they came together. We did manage to separate the lines but some minutes later one broke off followed shortly after by the other. Heartbreaking is only one word to describe our feelings.
Fortunately the ‘fin were still with us and not long after we were on again sadly we fared no better with this. After nearly an hour of fighting the hook broke.
We had mixed feelings on board. On the one hand frustration at losing those fish after long hard fights mixed with the sight of those beautiful Yellowfin feeding unhindered virtually at our feet, something never to be forgotten.
I have seen this sort of action several times with Bluefin but I don’t even want to guess at how long it has been since I last saw yellowfin feeding at the back of the boat. It was quite common in the past as I’m sure some of the old and not so old timers will tell.
As I look at my past reports I see that during last year’s May and June Yellowfin produced some really good fishing, most fish well over 55 kilo’s, here’s hoping…
Below are a couple of paragraphs from last year’s ‘Ambition Reports ‘….
‘Over the last few weeks Yellowfin tuna running between 25 and 70 kilo’s have been caught off Sydney. These fish are ranging over a wide area having been caught from wide and North of the ‘Bait Station’ all the way down the coast. Consequently they take a lot of finding and the changing conditions at sea every day don’t make it any easier. However once located the fun begins… if you’re lucky.’
‘Even though we arrived at the area late we managed this one fish and had another two strikes that sadly didn’t connect. I would have liked to stay until dark but the wind was picking up, probably doing 25 knots when we eventually left.
The bite was an early one and while we saw the end of it Markoo skippered by Benn Dullard had left port very early and managed four fish around the 35 kilo mark before we got there.
The area was alive. There were more than a few Sperm Whales obviously feeding. Also , Gannets all waiting for the tuna to push the bait to the surface.’
So with restrictions being lifted and competition fishing commencing on 1st. June (tomorrow) it is all starting to come together.
There was a Broadbill taken off the Southern Canyons yesterday and Ben Dullard on his boat ‘Markoo’ went out wide and found some Yellowfin tuna. The one he landed looked a good 60 to 65 kilo’s , unfortunately due to the current restrictions he couldn’t weight it, but that will change from tomorrow.
Unfortunately the weather is not looking too good for the next few days but Friday and Saturday look the goods. If you can trust predictions this far out.
November is proving to be a good month for Yellowfin Tuna. Though not the big ones of a few months ago fish ranging from 8 to 30 kilo’s may be found.
I went out on Saturday after many cancellations due to bad weather, I was going out come hell or high water. As it turned out the marginal forecast for Saturday was wrong and it turned out great, no wind all day, overcast with an oily sea, just perfect.
I targeted an area in 1000 fathoms were it looked like a cooler water eddy was forming . We put the gear out inside the shelf just in case that Striped Marlin just happened to be lurking around. We put out a Stripy lure also.
It was all pretty quiet, with very little bird action though we did manage a couple of Striped Tuna so at least something was moving around. As we moved into the cooler water I started marking small schools of bait ( I assume ) down thirty to forty fathoms. We worked the area for a while and saw a couple of Sun fish and the occasional surface flurry from something unknown.
As I reached the other side of the eddy we had a screamer of a strike on the Shot Gun quickly followed by another on the Stripy lure and as Ron was clearing the lines yet another fish, we were on a triple.
As can only happen when Game Fishing a little madness followed. Ron went to sunset to get one of the fish in quickly which worked well until he got it close to the boat where it unfortunately cut off one of the other fish. That wouldn’t have been so bad but it was my favourite Brad ‘J’ that we lost.
We brought the other two to gaff, both fish in the 20 nto 25 kilo range, took some happy snaps and since it was now late we headed for home.
Spring Gamefishing is always a bit hit and miss but this Spring has been more unusual than most. The weather has been fickle and the currents even more so.
I went out late last week during a break in the weather . The charts showed some good water East of Browns and some colder water out a bit further, the edge was the target. There was a build up of bait just inside the shelf. So, hoping for that first Marlin the lures were put out.
Amazingly from just outside the shelf to about 250 fathoms there was huge amounts of bait. I can truly say I have only seen bait like that at Port Stephens. Needless to say I worked it for a while , didn’t mark anything so after about an hour moved wider to the temperature break.
On the way there was still a lot of bait but in smaller schools. The whole scene looked very fishy and just to prove it as I started to work the area we hooked a Yellowfin of around 25 kilo’s which made the inexperienced angler work for it. Their excitement was palpable.
I went out again on Sunday with some friends and club members. This time aiming for that first Marlin. After all the bait I had seen on my previous trip it had to be on the cards.
I couldn’t believe how much the water had changed. Inshore the water was blue and 20 degree but as we approached the shelf it got cooler and cooler. There was still plenty of bait around the shelf so out went the lures.
Strangely even though the water was getting cooler there was still huge amounts of bait out to 300 fathoms. A couple of boats South of me reported similar bait build ups. I surmise there was a warmer current below the cooler surface . Well we continued out but this time I was marking good fish deep around the bait. I made the decision to bring in my shotgun (Brad ‘J’) and put out a ‘Bluewater Livy’ . The idea was to stop the boat and let it drop into the bait school when I marked bigger fish around them.
As it happened the first time I tried it we hooked up. After a good fight that took two anglers we landed a Yellowfin of around 45 kilo’s. We continued, optimistism running high, unfortunately no more hook ups. Later in the day and well away from the bait I marked what I thought was a Marlin. Sure enough the ‘Lumo’ went off but no hookup. I knew I shouldn’t have left that ‘Bluewater Livy’ out there because Murphy stepped in and it went off in a screaming run and then just stopped.