Sydney Marlin continue to be a frustration. There was and I think still is a good bite up at Port Stephens which continued down to the Norah canyons and hasn’t yet made it to Sydney waters yet.
The ‘Car Park’ at Port Stephens turned it on over the last week or so. Striped Marlin putting on a good show for those able to get there. The bite continued South as far as the Norah Canyons but there the currents moved offshore taking the Marlin out with it.
Off Sydney there have been a few encounters with the Stripies but not many solid hookups, Striped Marlin being as frustrating as they can be. Interestingly there are still schools of Yellowfin moving around temperature breaks in the 500 fathom area. The Tuna are hard to find but it really is a matter of putting the time in, keeping you eyes open and look for birds and the temperature breaks.
Looking at the latest charts it appears the 23 degree current has moved inshore and is eddying back into striking distance.
So let’s hope it is bringing those Stripies down to us poor Sydney fishers.
P.S.: I’ll be available at Port Stephens from 20th.January’20 until 18th.March’20. So for a guaranteed Game Fishing experience come and join me.
At this time of year the keen Game Fisher people are out looking for the first Marlin of the season. In most clubs this is a much contested trophy with a great degree of kudos and boasting rights to the winner.
With that in mind and seeing that the water was warming up I and a four other members of SGFC went out hunting. On the way we had a look at the 12 Mile but it was loaded with Jackets and after losing two rigs we were off. Out went the lures and the hunting began. It was pretty lumpy going for a while and I lost sight of a couple of crew members for a while, sleeping they said.
There was no apparent bait or birds working around the shelf so we moved on, working our way out. It wasn’t until near the thousand fathom line that we saw any life.
A couple of Sunfish showed up near a temperature break in a thousand fathoms and I saw a school of what I thought were Striped Tuna. There was life here so I worked the break and was eventually rewarded with a crashing strike on the short corner. The fish took such a long first run I thought at first we might have found our Marlin. However the fish never jumped but it did stay near the surface . It must have taken two hundred meters on that first run and poor Rob had to work really hard to get it back. When we did eventually see it was a Yellowfin we were a little surpised. It never went deep and never did that gut wrenching circling.
So even though that elusive Marlin eluded us we did have a good 40 kilo’s of Yellowfin to satisfy our needs. At least until we get out again to chase that elusive first Marlin.
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.
Due to the weather the Game Fishing November has been pretty dismal. It seemed that the weather is programmed to go bad on week-ends. However even those who managed to get out found the going tough. There had been a few Yellowfin and more that a couple of Marlin seen previously so it would be great to get out there again.
On another note the charts are showing the warm water moving closer inshore. All we need now is a weather window to find out what is going on.
Inshore the Kings are providing sport with some very large fish being caught. However the offshore reefs are a day to day proposition. A word of warning though – I remember November as being a stormy month and especially for very strong North-Westerly winds preceding Southerly changes so be careful.
As summer approaches my thoughts turn to Port Stephens and Marlin.
I will be available up there from 18th.January ’20 until mid-March. I anticipate travelling up on the 18th. so if anyone wants to join me for the trip give me a call. At this point in time I am still available for the ‘SHOOTOUT’ in mid-February.
Also, my regular crew for the INTERCLUB are all away at that time so if there are any SGFC Club member who would like to fish the tournament in late February, call me.
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.
Decisions, decisions, which way to go – do I go North or South, stay here or keep looking . These dilemmas are what I suppose most of us face every day we head out.
These were the thoughts going through my head as I headed out last Friday. In previous days other boats found Yellowfin East and South of Sydney between five hundred and a thousand fathoms. However I liked a patch of water showing on the charts to the North -East.
Because of the weather conditions I decided to go East, work my way South and come back with the wind.
Inside the shelf I found heaps of bait so put the lures out hoping for a Marlin which didn’t happen. We pushed on to the area were previous reports indicated Yellowfin encounters but there was no sign no life, no birds and no bait. I worked the area for a while to no avail. To save the day we put out a Stripy lure and caught a few Striped Tuna which as a fringe benefit cured some seasickness.
So Saturday came around and there was no decision to make. We were going North-East to the patch of water in three hundred fathoms.
Again , around the shelf there was a good build up of bait so we put the Marlin lures out in anticipation as well as a Stripy lure for insurance. We didn’t catch a Marlin but we did get a couple of Striped tuna. Then in the middle of nowhere the rigger with Blue Illusion went off and it definitely wasn’t a Stripy.
After a short fight before a very excited and less than experienced crew , as can be seen on the video, we landed a Yellowfin of around 25kgs. Photo’s taken we continued on. At this stage one of the clients who was quite sick started looking really bad with a couple of the others also looking the worst for wear. So with a nice fish on board we made the decision to head back. However since we were still in fishy waters I suggested we continue trolling for a little longer . Unbelievably another strike , Blue Illusion again, from obviously a much bigger fish this time and remarkably within a hundred metres of were we caught the first fish.
This Yellowfin went through two anglers and after and hour they brought to gaff. Back at the club it weighed in at 69 kilo’s.
Interestingly we caught both ‘fin on blind strikes with no indication of bait or bird life and in much shallower water than previous reports indicated. It makes you wonder just how many fish we drive over.
The other thing of interest is the build up of bait on and around the shelf . I don’t think it will be long before the Striped Marlin become more prevalent.
Sydney tuna fishing is fickle at present but not to the North and South. Yellowfin and Albacore are still to the South with some still to the North. However, it was looking promising off Sydney last week before the weather set in. So I was really keen to get out there once it settled down.
Last Sunday was the day, so off we went. Latest reports indicated
the Southern Canyons and further South was the place to be and that’s where the ‘zero’ line was within range. On the way we saw lots of Whales out wide travelling South, a reminder to be careful on our return. We had just crossed into five hundred fathoms when I saw birds working and showers of what we thought were Sauries showering. Over the next couple of hours we saw several bust ups but they were difficult to approach. However I did get close enough to one school to elicit a strike and hook up. Rob did a good job on the fish and landed a 30 kilo Yellowfin. By the time we put the gear back in the water the area had gone dead, no birds, no baitfish and no tuna, I still don’t know how they can just disappear like that.
We kept on hunting and covered quite a lot of ocean seeing nothing until about 3:30pm. It started with a few birds appearing then the Sauries followed by the ‘fin. Unfortunately I couldn’t get near them and it was time to head for home. Incidentally one of my friends who stayed out had two hookups later in the day .
And then the weather did its thing so I had to wait another few days to get out again to what I thought was the start of the run. Unfortunately when we did get out everything had changed. The water was green and lifeless. Again I headed down to the Southern canyons but radio talk indicated it wasn’t worth it. So I turned East heading for Heatons, had to try something. At around eight hundred fathoms we had a blind strike which most surprisingly turned out to be a Mahi Mahi of about 6kilo’s, strange times. To finish the day we did some cubing until dark and again saw nothing.
I learned after returning that a couple of Yellowfin were taken off Broken Bay and a couple further South of the Southern Canyons.
What the future holds is anyone’s guess but I’ll still be out there looking.
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.
April and it promise of big fish is living up to its reputation. The ‘Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament’ held off Sydney last week-end produced some great fish and as many frustrating moments. The boat ‘Rabbit’ took out the money with a 288 kilo Blue Marlin. Also, Zorro won the tag and release tagging five Striped Marlin. There were lots of Striped Marlin up North, Yellowfin out wide and Sharks in shore. As well there were Tigers , a couple of Mako’s one over 200 kilo’s, Whalers and Blue sharks.
Saturday dawned with perfect weather, was almost too good to be true, dead calm seas with virtually no swell and it didn’t change all day. Reports from Friday told of an aggregation of bait North of the ‘Bait Station’ with Striped Marlin in attendance. So at start of fishing those into Tag & Release headed North, those after the big Blue headed wide, both North and South and the shark fishermen set up around the shelf.
The results after the first day were of a couple of Blue Marlin weighed the bigger going 176 Kg. , somewhere around 15 Striped Marlin tagged with quite a few lost and most interestingly quite a few Yellowfin tuna out wide. However, no Yellowfin were weighed since they were caught by those chasing the big Blue on heavy gear. Meantime the boat ‘Casey’ had hooked up onto what they called a giant Yellowfin tuna which they unfortunately lost after five hours when the hook pulled. Those guys have caught a lot of fish so when they say giant it must have been giant. As a consolation they backed up on Sunday with a 189 kilo Blue Marlin.
Sunday wasn’t quite as friendly as Saturday had been with a lumpy sea and the threat of Storms moving in from the South-East. As a result some of the boats out wide experienced some very nasty weather but fortunately it didn’t last too long. Early in the day ‘Rabbit’ called in that they had taken a 3.3 metre Blue Marlin, the money fish.
Sadly, the Striped Marlin had moved away from the ‘Bait Station’ but most boats that persisted out there and had a very tough day.
The official results from the tournament are available on the SGFC web site. However the results do show that Autumn is still the big fish time of year off Sydney so get out there while the weather holds.
I brought Ambition back from Port Stephens on Saturday fishing the whole way down.
The weather was spectacular by any standard . We ran out to the ‘Car Park’ where we put the lures in. Unbelievably we hadn’t had the lures in for ten minutes when we had a strike from a good sized Mahi Mahi which was quickly dispatched and put on ice.
We worked our way down the coast going out past the thousand fathom line looking for Yellowfin. As we moved out wider the water just got hotter and hotter. Out wide of the Norah Head canyons we ran into masses of dead plankton so I decided to go in back to the shelf.
The temperature decreased after we cleared the plankton lines and bird life started to appear along with masses of Dolphins. It was starting to look good. Anticipation was running high. Then it happened, a swirl behind the Lumo on the rigger. In typical Stripy fashion he or she followed the lure hitting and missing a couple of times before Ron teased it into striking. Unfortunately it started to do its imitation of a window wiper and threw the lure, must have been Bill wrapped. I did a lap around the area not really expecting the Marlin to have another go.
Well, whether it was the same fish or not we’ll never know but we had a no holds barred hit on the Shotgun and we were in. This fish only jumped once or twice so Ron had his work cut out for him. To cut a long story short Ron survived, and we tagged the Marlin which swam away appearing to look back with disdain.
The only other bit of excitement we had was when a Marlin free jumped in front of us. Then instead of continuing on its way it turned and charged straight at us. It would have gone under the boat and seen our lures but there was no interest at all.
Over the last few days there have been an increasing number of Blue and Striped Marlin off Sydney. There is still a lot of water between them but it is looking good for Sydney Game Fishing Club’s Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament in a couple of weeks.