We went out yesterday, winter fishing, in ideal conditions. I was aiming to have a shot at Kings then go to the Mountain do a drop or two and go wide to have a late cubing session on the thousand fathom line where there were supposed to be long liners.
As it happened live bait was hard to find but we did manage a few. Arriving at 12 mile the soundings looked good but after several lost rigs and a couple of jackets landed it was time to get out of there.
We put the lures out and we headed off to Browns. As we neared the
shelf I sounded schools of bait and they were fairly high in the water column. Even though it was June and the temperature and water colour weren’t great it was looking increasingly fishy.
Just on the edge we had a hit on the shotgun where Brad ‘J’ lives. It took off a bit of line but no hook-up so Howie tried teasing with the lure to no effect then as I made a turn to circle the area the fish hit again we had our hook-up. We’d hooked a good Striped Marlin of around eighty kilo’s which put up a great show for the novice angler.
We ended up coming back inside Browns and starting a cube trail. Rhys put a jig down and to my surprise hooked up on his first drop. We were all speculating as to what it was. The fish was going pretty well so I thought it was an Albacore. Unfortunately it broke the line however later on the guys using cubes caught a couple of big Striped tuna so I guess that was what we lost, I think…
We went out last Wednesday to try and find those mysterious Yellowfin. Reports had been coming in of the Yellowfin ranging along the temperature break South-East of Browns. Along with the‘fin were occasional encounters with Blue and Striped Marlin. One of which we caught last week.
We took Joseph Liu out, he primarily wanted to deep drop on Browns and have a go at Kingfish on the way. Unfortunately the current was not favourable at all.
The Peak were there had been some action over previous days was completely shut down. To top it off there was no way to fish Browns, in my opinion, with 3.5 knots of current. So, the last option was to go wide, find the temperature break and maybe those mysterious Yellowfin and Marlin. Well we did just that and we were working the break when Ben who was just ahead of us in his boat ‘Markoo’ called up to say the were hooked up to a Yellowfin which they ultimately landed, it weighed 62.5 kilo’s. So we were in the right area but unfortunately to no avail. Of interest it was apparent the current was easing.
I got another chance to chase those elusive Yellowfin on Friday. I took out Tim and Scott who had just arrived from Minnesota after an unexpected delay, so were a little fatigued. The aim again was to go to the temperature break, work it and hopefully find them a fish.
We got to the break were it was immediately apparent the current had eased and moved further out. I know a lot of anglers believe in the change of tide but I am a sceptic having caught heaps of Marlin well away from the changes. In this case the change was at 12:38pm. We had a crashing strike at 12:20pm., I’m still a sceptic.
When the fish struck I thought I’d seen a bill but the fish never showed itself, maybe it was a ‘fin. Then after nearly half an hour it started to move up to the surface where I got a glimpse, it was a Marlin and when it jumped a big Stripy revealed itself.
Either because this fish had conserved its energy by staying deep or because Tim and Scott were jetlagged and had had a VB or two it put up a tough fight and both of them fought it a couple of times. As you will see in the video it didn’t want to give in and was incredibly aggressive even at the end .
The current out there has eased further and the fact that there are Long liners working near that break is indicative of Yellowfin in the area. Hopefully when the weather stabilises again we’ll find them, we’ll certainly be looking.
After hearing reports of Yelllowfin and Marlin during the week. We went out with great expectations. I’d also been out on Wednesday with a group of jigging specialist. So a stopover on a couple of the reefs was on the cards too.
Wednesday produced a wide assortment of fish due to the slow jigging technique these guys used. They caught Kings, Bonito,the ubiquitous Leather Jackets and Flutemouths which I have since found are quite a delicacy. The main ambition, no pun intended, however was to jig at Browns where they d told me they had been quite successful. The trouble was the current running South at 2.5 knots made the jigging all but impossible. I did learn a lot though.
Saturday saw us going over the reefs again but all had changed. There was nowhere near the life that had been there on Wednesday, you could blame the moon if you wanted, so it was off to find the Yellowfin and Marlin
Needless to say we covered a lot of ground seeing only Dolphins and the occasional Gannet. The radio wasn’t much help either. I heard of a couple of Marlin tagged, the shark fishermen weren’t doing too well either unlike last week.
However we persisted in the unseasonal warm water moving in to the shelf were there were patches of bait. Still nothing and the boys were getting restless. I moved in even closer hoping for some cooler water and that’s when we got the strike. In only 70 fathoms the water was still 23.5 C and this fish took off at speed but not showing itself. It took a long run and I started to think we had a big ‘fin but then it jumped much to the excitement of Blake and his mates and my relief.
After a reasonable fight we had the fish along side where Ron Kovacs released it. To tell the truth I’m not sure if it was a Stripy or a Blue.
Yellowfin Marlin and Wahoo were caught yesterday even though it wasn’t the very best of days to go fishing. However we were committed. As so often happens when the ocean is less friendly the bite, especially for Yellowfin can be good.
Ours was a story of good and bad luck.
Because of the conditions and with a group of newbies on board it wasn’t long before half of them were sea sick but to their credit they persevered. Their cure came when the first Marlin, a good sized Stripy pounced on the short corner then the rigger and finally the shotgun managing to miss all the hooks. The Marlin was obviously a myopic because it scuffed all the leaders a long way up from the lures,
Listening to the radio scheds from the ‘Port Hacking 100’ tournament it was evident there were quite a few Yellowfin around, varying from so called ‘Jelly beans’ up to 40 kilo’s jobs.
We ended up catching a couple of Yellowfin and losing another when the tag line tangled up with the main line. Later on another Marlin hit the shotgun but again missed the hooks.
The results from the week-end tournament indicated the number and range of fish still out there. ‘Carnage’ weighed a Tiger Shark of 470.5 kilos. There were also Mako’s and at least one Whaler and a Hammerhead weighed. ‘Game Changer’ caught a Blue Marlin of 138 kilo’s for junior Makaira Wright. There were several Yellowfin and Striped Marlin tagged. However, the biggest surprise to me was of a 42kg. Wahoo.
It is turning into a very late season with the warm currents still within range and with the range of warm water species still out there long may it continue.
While there are Blue and Striped Marlin as well as Yellowfin around it is hard fishing.
The weather has been perfect over the last few days consequently a lot of people are getting out wide, very wide. Out there the warmer water is running and fortunately coming in closer.
The Striped Marlin are hanging around the shelf where there is a lot of bait while the Blues are out wider however there is a lot of water separating them. The Yellowfin on the other hand tend to be in closer in the cooler water and if you can find it the break with the greenish water.
Where the Yellowfin are there are also heaps of Dolphins (the mammalian kind) they are pushing the bait up bringing them within range. Mind you, you have to be fast to get to the action before they sound again. Some are being taken on blind strikes but it pays to look for the surface action. The ‘fin are coming in all sizes from Jellybean size up to seventy kilo jobs, well worth the effort.
I went out yesterday with Glen, Karen, Howie and their daughter Makaira, the Tantrum crew. After a lot of looking we eventually found where the Yellowfin were feeding and where there were several boat that had taken fish.
We got one shot after I saw a few fish jumping amongst some Sauries. The hookup was on a 15kg. outfit which Makaira took up. Unfortunately after a screaming run the fish dropped off. A lot later while trolling home crossing the shelf we picked up a Striped Marlin, Makaira took the rod again and made short work of the fish.
Game fishing at the very least is a very fickle game. So dependant on the weather, currents and lots of other things we can blame for not catching a fish. However if there is a shortage of fish there isn’t much we can do except persevere.
This season at Port Stephens has been exceptional, exceptional in the lack of fish. What is strange though is that the conditions at sea were similar to last year yet last year the fishing was fabulous.
However it was not all in vain there were some reasonable days. My last couple of weeks up there were undoubtedly the best, the best of a bad lot.
I am back in Sydney now and usually April and May produce some of the best fishing for Marlin, of the three species and the other summer pelagics as well. We don’t usually get big numbers in autumn but we do get big fish. Blue Marlin over 200 kgs. and occasional ones over 300 kgs. have won the Sydney Game Fishing club’s Peter Goadby Tournament nearly every year. Not to mention the yellowfin tuna around 70 kgs. encountered.
What this autumn will produce is anyone’s guess but we’ll be out there hunting…
After fishing at Port Stephens for the last few days, I must say it hasn’t been great fishing. In fact by Port Stephens standards it is terrible.
Conditions at sea hadn’t changed much since I arrived at Port. The water out to 76 fathoms was cold and green. Beyond the colour changes until at around the 80 fathoms line it is deep blue and the temp. gets up to 27C and running at up to three knots.
On board I had Tony and three of his friends making up a team from Mackay for the ‘Shootout’.
Ironically on the two days before the tournament we raised four Marlin and a Mahi Mahi. We tagged a Black but the other three were small Stripies that took a run or two then dropped off. After examining the leaders it was apparent they were bill-wrapped. Such is the frustration of fishing for these fickle fish. All the fish we raised were on the edge of the hot water in the clean green stuff. During the first day of the ‘Shootout’ we fished the same area and couldn’t raise a scale. I couldn’t believe it. We never saw a fish the whole day. On the second day we went out wide, to the area where last year I had taken Tony to try and catch his first Spearfish and where I first used Peter’s Brad ‘J’.
As it happens someone was looking down on Tony. It was his turn on strike when we had a hit which turned out to be a Spearfish of around 20kgs. Well we thought our luck had finally changed but no, we didn’t see anything else all day. In passing I have never heard of so many Spearfish being caught in one day. I believe there were eleven taken and tagged. Interestingly there were also quite a few Yellowfin around also.
Who knows what will happen over the next few weeks. With so much happening weatherwise all along the coast anything could happen.
The juvenile Blacks should be at Port Stephens now so should the Stripes and even the Blues, but where are they ? Fisher people are finding the occasional fish, mostly small Blacks, but up until now there is no consistency.
I went out on Saturday with great expectations. Last week out wide there were big Mahi Mahi and we found a few Marlin. The currents have since moved closer inshore and even slowed a little. All seemed well and on the improve.
We went wide, out into the hot current which had gotten even hotter. Whereas last week my guage ( I stress my guage ) was showing 25.8 to 26 degrees this day it went over 27 degrees. Also, compared to last week there was no live other than the occasional Flying fish.
In my travels and after hours of fruitless trolling I passed over ‘Almark’. To my surprise I marked fish mid-water. I was surprised because with the current racing I didn’t expect to see anything. Consequently to save the day I suggested a jigging session to at least curb my clients frustration.
It took a drift or two to locate the fish, the wind and current making it quite a chore. However once I got it right the Kings started coming in. We ended up with twelve fish between 75 and 90 cm. with one over a metre. It was especially interesting when we had triple hook-ups as the boys had had more than a couple of drinks, but we won’t go there.
As for the Marlin…there is plenty of bait inshore so hopefully if the current finally moves in close it will trigger the action. In the meantime all we can do is give it a go. Interestingly there have been a few Longliners in Port so we might get a run of Yellowfin like last year. If the Yellowfin turn up the Blue Marlin won’t be far behind – how’s that for optimism.
The fishing clinics we held over the last week surprisingly produced small Black Marlin. Not the fish you normally expect in 500 fathoms.
The fishing at Port Stephens is really tough at present. Inshore the water is dirty green and cold. However, there is good bait in close so hopefully when the warm water moves in the Black Marlin and the others will follow.
When you get out to 75 fathoms the water changes dramatically. The current increases from the North to nearly 4 knots and the colour changes to blue. I saw Mutton birds hunting flying fish. Occasionally you will see Mahi Mahi getting in on the action pushing the flying fish into the air so the Mutton birds could scoop them up as they landed.
It was while working these areas of activity that we raised three Black Marlin and a good sized Mahi Mahi during the Pakula Fishing clinics.
On the first clinic we found a Black of around 65 kilo’s which Samantha Guest, the only lady on board, fought well in quite rough seas. It took a Brad’J’ bullet on the shotgun, surprise , surprise.
On the second clinic young Ethan Moses caught a good sized MahMahi which he handled like a pro. We then had a hit from a Black which took a good run only to fall off the hooks shortly afterward.
Shortly after Sergio hooked up on what was one of the smallest Black Marlin I have seen. Sergio brought it to the boat fairly quickly and it went crazy. It charged the boat and looked like coming aboard for a second. Unfortunately in a combination of rough sea and crazy Black, the tag pole tangled with the leader and broke it, so was lost at the boat. The video shows the scenario very well.
In summary we raised three Black Marlin and a Dollie which I thought was pretty good in the conditions. Another local boat ‘SECA’ caught a 60 plus kilo Yellowfin and I did hear of a Wahoo capture.
Mahi Mahi are apart from being a great sportfish and incredible eating are often the saving grace of a fishing trip.
After a frustratingly tedious trip up to Port Stephens in dirty, green cold water completely devoid of live Sunday past was a joy. Finally there was a break in the weather and the charts were showing the hot current was within range.
We left Port with high expectations heading to the shelf in a bit of a lumpy sea but it was the most horrible greeny grey water I have seen. It wasn’t until we were in about 75 fathoms that the temperature started to climb. Not only did the temperature rise quickly but so did the sea. Within a mile the temperature rose from 19.5 degrees up to 26 degrees. We were in the Southerly current and it was pushing hard against a Southerly breeze causing the sea to stand on it head. To give an idea of how fast the current was going I had a 40 degree difference between my Heading and my Course over ground.
However we were in beautiful indigo water, there were schools of flying fish so all was looking good. As we moved away from the edge the current eased a little and the seas calmed.
As I worked one of these gatherings of birds we had our first strike. A good sized Mahi Mahi of around 10 kgs. which Tom brought to the boat after a good fight, unfortunately Rob gaffed it only to have it jump off, most frustratingly. It wasn’t long after I found another flock and again received a solid hook up but this was a much larger Mahi Mahi. Tom again had the rod and again brought it to the boat where Rob’s reputation was at stake. Fortunately this fish of at least 15 kgs. stayed on the gaff. It caused quite a commotion on deck but was soon dispatched.
By now all on board but Rob and I had succumbed to seasickness so we decided to head for home.
I must say it looked good out there to me and there were lots of flying fish and bird activity. I marked some deep bait and the water was the colour we love to see. Consequently it must surely be just a matter of time before the other predators turn up.