Yesterday in perfect conditions I took Brian, his father and his two young sons out fishing. They were visiting from America and wanted to experience Game Fishing. Sadly, they didn’t get the full experience though they did enjoy the day and succeeding in taking home a nice feed of Mahi Mahi.
The aim was to get out to the warm current the charts were showing running south behind Browns.
Leaving the harbour the water was a very dirty green. I had expected the water to clear up around the 12 mile but it was only slightly better, being what I call ‘clean green’ and slightly warmer. At ninety fathoms it was improving but strangely whereas I hadn’t noticed any floating debris in the water up until now between eighty and ninety fathoms there was a lots of it, ranging in size from small twigs to decent sized branches, a time for caution.
Finally, in about 120 fathoms the water went that ‘beautiful blue’ we want to see and the temperature reached 25 degrees with the current running South at 2.5 knots. It was a slow transition up to the 25 degrees and in it we caught a big striped tuna, close to 9 kilo’s, that put on
good show for Brian, lucky they don’t grow to Yellowfin proportions.
We did cover a lot of water, going out to a thousand fathoms, down the thousand fathom line, back into Browns, up the shelf, down the shelf and finally back into the 12 mile. We did catch several Mahi Mahi on our travels, all in the middle of nowhere and curiously none around any floating material. There were also lots of Dolphins but they weren’t stopping just travelling North.
On the radio I did hear of what was described as a big Striped Marlin but it was taken off Shellharbour. In fact I heard nothing locally the whole day and only saw two other boats out wide.
So that was the day, a nice feed some great weather and good company, what more could you ask for – would a marlin or two be too much !!
After much toing and froing about whether to hold the Peter Goadby Tournament over one or two days; the number of entries and the weather being the matters of contention, the decision to go ahead was bravely made by President Karen at the last minute; it would be a two day tournament.
As predicted Saturday’s weather was pretty horrid. The ocean was all over the place, very short and nasty. I know everyone my boat was feeling the ‘mal de mer’, however not enough to stop neither us nor any of the others out there either.
Sadly, the fishing was not up to standard for this time of year. The water colour varied from chocolate crap to what I call clean green. In places it almost made it to blue but always with that tinge of green, however it did get up to 24.4 degrees in places. And to make matters worse there was lots of debris of all sizes drifting in the current.
Saturday saw ‘Smartbill’ tag two Marlin and both ‘Kill Tank’ and ‘Tantrum’ a Yellowfin each. On the capture side ‘Reaper’ killed two Mako sharks, one, a magnificent fish of 330.50 kilo’s by Jayden Hudson and Mia Wright a junior on dad’s boat Tantrum weighed a Striped Marlin of 101.20 kilo’s.
Sunday was a much kinder day, weatherwise any way, the fishing didn’t get much better. Jack Jones on ‘Rampage’ after a very long fight weighed a Striped Marlin of 68.50 kilo’s on 10 kilo line and both ‘Smartbill’ and ‘Sniper’ each tagged Marlin.
Overall seventeen boats fished for a total of five Marlin, six Yellowfin, two sharks and eighteen Mahi Mahi. Incidentally the Yellowfin weighed went 27.20 and 27.50 kilo’s respectively.
It was good to see the appearance of Yellowfin even though we generally expect much bigger ones at this time of year.
So let’s hope that the crappy water clears up and we get the Autumn we’re used to.
To say that this year’s ‘La Nina’ event has caused unmitigated disruption would be a monstrous understatement. Other than the floods and onshore destruction it has affected the fishery all the way down the coast. The flooding pushing water like mud out to the shelf and down the coast bringing down huge amounts of debris. Consequently, making the need for great caution while travelling offshore. I know I am not the only one but I have never seen anything like this summer that was. By far the worst fishing I have experienced. Even when the weather did clear, you had to be either very good or very lucky to find anything.
As with all things time fixes all and though the water has cleared a fair bit there is still a lot of debris being carried in the currents. One boat travelling down from Port Stephens reported a huge tree which they saw only because as it rolled in the sea a branch rose above the surface. They said the tree was huge.
Over the last couple of weeks the Marlin fishing has been improving up around Port Stephens. And it appears the fish are moving South.
‘Reef Magic’ travelling down from Port Stephens raised several fish and tagged three Striped Marlin and a Black, another boat ‘Riverview’ was pack attacked, haveing four or five Marlin hitting their lures. All this action happened at the Norah Canyons.
So, it would appear the bite is moving South and with a bit of luck arrive on our doorstep to coincide with the ‘Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament’ run by the Sydney Game Fishing Club. Entry forms available from the club’s web site www.sgfc.com.au
Additionally, and historically, Autumn has been the best time to fish for big fish off Sydney. Especially for big Blue Marlin but there are also the bigger Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi and even Wahoo and Spearfish.
Nearly every year the ‘PG Tournament’ capture section is won by Blues over two hundred kilo’s with fish over three hundred kilo’s regularly encountered.
With bad weather predicted until early next week chances are that the Tournament weekend will be good and the fish up North will be here, I hope !
After all the bad weather and floods of the last few weeks Sydney Blues took new meaning last weekend. This time of year usually heralds the arrival of Sydney Blues, that is Blue Marlin. If you look at the results of the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s annual ‘Peter Goadby Tournament’ which is coming up soon, you’ll find it has been dominated by big Blue Marlin, fish over 200 kilo’s with more than a few over 300 kilo’s.
On Saturday I took Leina and a few of her girlfriends out in the hope of a Marlin or even a Yellowfin. We went out not knowing what to expect what with all the flooding up and down the coast and the debris being pushed out to sea.
At the heads the water was like mud as expected, but as we worked our way out past twenty fathoms then thirty, forty, fifty and sixty fathoms it was not getting any better but the amount of debris was increasing.
Finally, out near the shelf it started to clear up and by the time we reached a hundred and twenty fathoms we had beautiful clear indigo blue water and 25 degrees. It looked good.
It looked good but there was no life in it. Then one of the girls spotted some birds working. As we got closer I saw Striped Tuna rounding up bait. We worked the area until the action dispersed and only catching some Stripies. Later on I was told over the radio by someone who’s boat’s name I can’t remember that they had caught a good sized Blue Marlin near Browns. We however had no more luck and turned for home.
On Sunday we had Scott and some of his friends. Little did they know what was in store for them.
Because of all the debris I trolled out and was surprised to find the Blue water had moved in to the eighty fathom line. We continued on seeing nothing but the occasional tree and pillow etc.
In about seven hundred fathoms I saw some Dolphins that looked like they were feeding so I headed towards them. Suddenly the rigger went off and the Tiagra screamed. I looked back to see a really good Blue tearing the water apart; Lumo’s turn to shine. Pandemonium ensued. Scott took the rod and could only hang on as the Blue screamed off. It took over an hour of hard work before Scott got the fish boat side and we got a better idea of how big it was. Meantime poor Scott was f—–ed and could hardly move. He had done a great job and will probably suffer tomorrow.
Meanwhile we continued on hoping for another bite but no luck other than a couple of Mahi Mahi we found near the edge of the Blue and Brown water.
Generally speaking from now and hopefully until mid-May we see the biggest of species. Blue and Striped Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and Mahi Mahi along with Wahoo and Spearfish. What they may lack in numbers they make up in size.
Fishing Port Stephens was really tough this season. The main problem being the lack of bait, the big schools of Slimey Mackerel were not on their usual grounds, either inshore or offshore. Also, along with the lack of bait the juvenile Black Marlin had not shown up in their normal numbers. Offshore the Southerly current racing along at 3.5 to 4 knots and water temperatures up to 29 degrees Centigrade in early February was unheard of. However, it did come down to a more reasonable 26-27 degrees later in the month.
There were those who persisted with the inshore fishery chasing the Blacks going far and wide in search of their quarry. Some of the more experienced fishermen did manage a few fish but they were far from consistent.
To top off the lack of inshore Blacks, the weather didn’t help for those going wider chasing Stripes and Blues. The first day of the Garmin Shootout was very rough. So, once you reached the 3.5 to 4 knot Southerly current pushing into a 20 to 25 knot South-Easter the sea, with a 3 to 4 metre swell on it just stood up. Consequently lots of boats returned to Port and but some persisting inshore.
Fortunately, the sea eased off after that first day, but the fishing didn’t get much better. Those that put in the hard yards got results and there were some really good catches made. However, it was only on the last day of the Interclub Tournament that fishing got significantly better. And the last few hours saw a marked increase in the fishing results both inshore and offshore.
Incidentally, the winning T&R boat for the Interclub was ‘Doghouse’ with a number of Blues amongst which were two taken on 15kg. line, I still don’t know how you catch Blue Marlin, especially big ones, on such light line.
Sadly, though the fishing picked up on the Sunday of the Interclub and was looking like returning to the fishing we normally expect at Port the weather has done it again and who knows what we can expect now.
I have just spent 3 days, 3 very different days due to the varying weather conditions fishing out of Port Stephens. On the first day, last Thursday, because the usual bait gathering areas were virtually devoid of bait I decided to go wide. Levi and Matty were keen to get out there too. To say the weather Gods where kind would have been a gross understatement. But it was the only very calm day I encountered.
On leaving the entrance the water temperature was well over 23 degrees. Incredibly the radio had reported 25 degrees on the One Mile Beach. As it happens in 500 fathoms my sounder registered 28.7 degrees, a photo of which is below.
The water even in close looked fabulous, that deep indigo blue and it was the same all the way out, only the temperature changing.
I put the lures in at 80 fathoms in ideal great conditions. Even though I hadn’t seen any sign of life all the way out expectation was high. We trolled East to the second drop off then North towards Almark. A couple of times I noticed Mutton birds working around what appeared to be Frigate Mackerel feeding near plankton lines. I worked them for a while all to no avail then continued on. Then the shotgun let go in a screaming run. Bloody ‘Brad’ had done it again. After a good fight which taught Matty how tough being on the rod can be we got the fish, a nice Blue, to the boat were we swam it and let it go.
Friday and Saturday we didn’t fish due to the weather. On Sunday it was still pretty lively but predicted to ease. As a result I decided to give the inshore fishery a go. As expected live bait was hard to find but we did manage some. We put out some small lures and trolled up to the lighthouse then out to the FAD where we used some of the live bait to catch some Dollies, then back into Broughton. We did get more Dollies, some so small I don’t know how they ate the lures. Surprisingly we also caught a small Yellowfin.
So, after experiencing the inshore and seeing the results of those much more skilled on the inshore reefs than I it was back to the wide grounds.
It was Tony’s turn to catch a fish. I trolled out from the FAD and again not seeing much sign of life. We were in about 350 fathoms when again ‘Brad’ took off. All was looking good until the Marlin charged the boat and the hook just fell out. I could go into a long story about having banana’s on board and Tony saying that that was why we lost the fish. I don’t really think he believed me that banana phobia is bunkum until we hooked another Blue. This one came in and hit ‘Evil’ on the short corner first, missed, and went out taking ‘Brad’ on the way. This one put up a great fight and really made poor Tony work. He did a great job getting it to the boat where we took photo’s and let the Blue go.
In summary, though the fishing was tough they are there to be found. It appears that there are Small Black just North of Port and a few more being taken around Seal Rocks.
To me it looks as though the stage is set, we just need the proverbial actors. If and when the current eases as predicted the bait will build up and it will take off, I hope.
First of a Happy New Year to everyone and hopefully a Healthy one too.
I went out finally after what seemed an eternity of bad weather. Reports came in of Striped Marlin around the shelf and good-sized Dollies appearing too.
I decided to stay in close for the first couple of hours for a couple of reasons. Firstly the water is exceptionally warm for this time of year and secondly, generally around Christmas, New Year the Black Marlin show up on the inshore reefs.
I ran some small Pakulas in my favourite colours and headed North. Conditions were fabulous to say the least. We passed over huge bait schools, didn’t mark anything but it certainly looked the goods.
After going around the Whale a couple of times we had a hit on the Lumo and a small, very small Black came to the surface but sadly missed the hooks. Further on another strike but this one stayed attached and we landed a Mahi Mahi, on one of Peter’s Fish Prints, which went 110 cm. A surprising fish to catch so close to shore.
In our travels we found several private FAD’s and caught another couple of Mahi Mahi’s.
A couple of boats on the shelf reported catching Striped Marlin however they were really spread out. One tagged by John Sartori from his boat Shoki was out in 400 fathoms were he also saw some Yellowfin jumping. Another a Black was taken around the 12 Mile.
A surprising catch, also inshore was a very small Wahoo (see the photo attached) subsequently released from David Moses’ boat My Molly. Wahoo are a rare catch off Sydney these days.
Well, we continued in our hunt going wide to the Bait Station and beyond. There was heaps of bait pretty well everywhere, there was bird activity, the stage was set but sadly for us the show didn’t get under way.
The fact is, it is still fairly early in the season but with the amount of bait both inshore, out around the shelf and wider it is surely only a matter of time
To get back out to sea was indeed good for the soul. Though the relief was great the results left a lot to be desired at least as far as the Game Fishing went.
We left the harbour on Saturday in beautiful weather it being a surprise that the BOM were quite accurate.
Reports from out wide indicated that there were Yellowfin and Marlin off Port Stephens and that the Yellowfin run to the South had eased but there had been Marlin encountered down there. So again Sydney was missing out. Consequently Kingfish became the best option. Reports through the week indicated good catches of sizeable fish on the offshore reefs. However when we got to there there were a million and one boats already hard at it. We dropped a couple of baits to no avail and didn’t see anyone else catching so I moved off to try the other reefs sadly all with the same result. Whether we’d missed the bite or the full moon or the number of boats had anything to do with the shut down we’ll never know but at least we had excuses.
We ended up going wide on the off chance that something would give.
I did end up finding birds working over some bait and Striped tuna just over the shelf. I worked the area for some time but there were no takers so headed off to home.
On the way in we had another shot at the Kings but there was even less showing on the sounder that earlier. Again we had no takers so we were throttles down and homeward bound.
Though it was frustrating as far as the fishing went it was still great to be at sea again and in good weather to boot.
Well thankfully it seems as though we are on track to open up Mid-October. I am pretty sure there are lots of anglers out there just waiting to reconstitute the salt concentration in their blood.
It appears from those who have been able to get out to sea that we have missed a really good Tuna bite. Though it is too late to expect the Bluefin the Yellowfin are still to be found off Sydney. From what I have seen on the charts there should also be a Marlin or two to be found.
Just to remind those who might have forgotten I have uploaded a couple of video’s from October’s past to show that the Tuna season is not over done.
So yes, we are ready to go fishing just as soon as the lockdown is lifted. And yes I am taking bookings from the 20th. October’21 out of Sydney and I’ll be chartering off Port Stephens during February next year. The only proviso is that you must be Double vaxxed.
The most amazing thing about Easter this year was the weather. It could not have been more conducive to good fishing. It was just a shame that the Easter fishing wasn’t as good as the weather.
Not to say there were no fish around, it was just difficult to keep up to the Yellowfin once found and the Marlin either weren’t sticking or they just hit and the wrong lures, by that I mean they would hit the Profrigies or Squidgies (or whatever they are called) which are not really designed for Marlin and they do like them. The problem being that their weight, even though they are meant to slide up the leader, makes them easy for the Marlin to throw.
As it happened there were good days when the fish bit more readily and those not so good days when try as you might the fish just stayed out of reach.
I went out on Saturday after hearing of a good bite on Friday when quite a few Yellowfin and Marlin were caught. Saturday was one of those not so good days. We put the lures in at the shelf and proceeded to troll out to the wide grounds. There was bait in the form of Striped tuna and flying fish aplenty around the shelf but no hits.
We reached an area in 700 fathoms where the water was ideal and a few birds were scouting around. There was another boat in the area also. So the hunt began. Eventually I spotted some fish busting up a few hundred metres ahead. I put the throttles down to try and get to them whilst they were feeding and as I did you wouldn’t believe it the other boat hooked up. I think he caught his fish and we followed the school until they vanished.
We continued on our search hearing about the occasional encounters with Tuna and Marlin.
Then just ahead some bait started jumping and was quickly followed up by a school of Yellowfin busting up right in front of us. They were so close I couldn’t avoid running through them.
As I turned to make another pass the shotgun took a hit but sadly no hook-up. I think another case of a Marlin hitting the wrong lure. As evidenced by the scuffing in the leader.
On our way home there was bait everywhere, Striped tuna on the shelf in closer frigate mackerel and off the heads slimy mackerel everywhere.
All the ingredients are there for a great late season bite. As I have mentioned before the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament has in the past been when it all comes together. So with the tournament on in a couple of weeks ( 17th. and 18th. April ) all fingers crossed and sacrifices made to the weather Gods we can look forward to some good if not great fishing.