Tag Archives: Blue Marlin

Ambition report 17th. February’21

At Port Stephens  Black Marlin are the name of the game at present.
The Port Stephens Black Marlin of varying  sizes are chasing bait on the inner reefs. A lot of anglers expecting to find the usual inshore run of 20 to 30 kilo’s fish are being beaten on light tackle by Blacks  getting up to 80kgs. with reports of even larger fish too.
 Mel first Port Stephens Black......
Mel first Black……
Sadly, I think mostly because of the weather, the offshore scene is bit of an unknown. A few boats have ventured out wide but not with any great success. Further South, around the Norah Canyons, the results are a little better though still not what we would expect at this time of year.
Troy's first Port Stephens Black......
Troy’s first Black……

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next two weeks with many boats fishing the local tournaments here at Port Stephens.

If the weather doesn’t stabalise there will be an awful lot of boats on those inshore reefs.
I for one can’t wait to go out wide…
Tight lines,
Ivan

Ambition report 12th.January’21

Well the Marlin bite is on, any Game Fisherman who hasn’t heard about the Marlin bite off Sydney must live in a cave.

The Marlin bite came on a while ago but really stepped up to a new level several days ago. The bait in the form of Slimy Mackerel and Yellowtail came in from the shelf with the East Australia Current and built up on the shelf and inshore reefs. At the same time the annual run of Black Marlin reached Sydney waters; perfect timing.

Usually this run of Blacks are on the smaller size but this year there are some good sized fish among them. Those using lighter lines are having a lot of unexpected fun fighting Blacks of seventy kilo’s and larger.

At the same time further offshore, around the shelf, Striped Marlin have turned up in numbers. They are fairly widespread but if you are lucky enough to find them you will be rewarded with multiple hook ups. Striped Marlin being what they are can be difficult to hook on lures but by using bait, either Skipping, live or switching you increase the odds. Also, as with the Blacks, there are some larger fish among them.

I was out on Saturday in quite a lively sea and because I couldn’t find the bait was using lures. However I did manage one Striped Marlin from three strikes which was frustrating especially since several boats further South and North had had multiple hook-ups. What was interesting was that the water wasn’t terribly warm at only 21.6C and on the shelf green in colour whereas inshore it was a good blue colour. However neither the colour nor the temperature seemed to affect the fish the only problem for most was getting a solid hook up.

Sunday was a totally different day, dead calm and the water a lot warmer. Inshore there was a lot more bait and a better bite than the previous day. Several boats ended up tagging multiple Blacks however it was still apparently hard work. I didn’t bother looking for bait inshore and headed directly for the shelf because of my results the previous day. I trolled lures for most of the day only getting one strike which didn’t hold. There was plenty of bait so after finding a good school up high we managed to jig some. They weren’t as big as the inshore Slimy Mackerel but we rigged them and went hunting with skip baits. I won’t go on with the boring details but we never saw another fish. Meanwhile both South and North of us there were boats doing well with multiple strikes and hook ups.

The one thing of interest for me anyway, was that the water along the shelf started to warm up and at one stage I registered over 26 degrees though it was still green. Over the radio a couple of boats further out talked of Blue Marlin which was highly credible considering the temperature and bait.

In general it does look like a great start to the Marlin season so here’s hoping.

Many years ago one of the greats of Game Fishing, one Jack Farrell told me that the wet years are the good years for Game Fishing. So, with the onset of a ‘La Nina’ weather system which promises rain we could indeed expect a good season.

P.S. I’m off to Port Stephens soon and still have a few free days left so get in fast…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 20th.December’20

December Reports :-

Reports were coming in of Striped Marlin and some good sized Mahi Mahi around the shelf and the odd Yellowfin further out. So after  I cancelled  a couple of charters because of the Virus I decided I was going out no matter what. I received quick responses from members wanting to join me after a post to the club’s facebook page so all was set.

Unfortunately due to cloud cover the only SST’s available were from several days beforehand but I’d been told the temps were around the 22 to 23 C so it was all systems go.

The forecast was for light winds and calm seas. However  15 to 18 knots is not exactly light winds and the sea was a mess with a residual swell coming from the yesterday’s Southerly. So, that together with the bounce back from the cliffs made for an uncomfortable ride from which one of the crew succumbed.

We put the lures in just short of the shelf and headed out marking bait as we went but it was all deep. One of the boats out there, ‘Grey Goose’ , had already raised a Marlin but no hook-up. Later on a Mako hit one of their lures; it is not uncommon for Mako’s to hit lures and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke they raised another later in the day.

We continued marking bait and found some birds working on what looked like to be Striped tuna but we raised nothing after chasing them for a while. What we did find sadly was that the warmer water had moved out. The best I found was 21.6 C and that after a temperature break of 0.3 C .

It was while working the break that we had a double hook-up. Marlin was the call, but the sight of green and gold told a different story. We landed two good sized Dollies, supper was provided.

December Mahi Mahi
December Mahi Mahi

Several other boats reported hits from Striped Marlin, I think one tagged fish was estimated to weigh only 50 kilo’s. And then it was our turn, the shot gun went off, the Marlin took a bit of line then just dropped off. Damned Stripies, however he was still there following the lure. He/she had at least four other shots and missed each time and eventually lost interest.

We pulled the lure in to check it out and I found the leader chafed for nearly a metre above the lure. I know it happens all the time but it is so frustrating, they obviously know they want the lure but just keep missing it. Maybe they should get some lessons from their Black and Blue cousins.

So, that was the day, a good feed to take home and calm seas for the run.

I have booked in at Port Stephens from the 24th.January until the end of February. Not as long as previous years due to the virus but I hope next year’s season will be as good if not better than this year’s. So, if you do want to catch a Marlin, Port Stephens is the place to do it…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 14th. December’20

PORT STEPHENS:

With the warm ocean currents moving in closer and the water temperature out wide approaching 24 degrees it was time to give it a go. Added to that there have been reports of Black Marlin in close further North and even sightings off Sydney.

Back here because of the warm ocean currents moving in reports of Striped Marlin both tagged and lost are becoming more frequent. I heard one report of what sounds like a Blue Marlin from Mark Gunning who fought a big Marlin for 2 hours before losing it. Surprisingly those Yellowfin are still around however they do take a bit of finding.

Therefore it was with great expectation that I went out with David Lo  and Jamie McKay on his boat ‘Groundswell’. As an added bonus even the weather came good for us.

Sadly the weather was the best part of the day. We put the gear in just before the shelf hoping for a Striped Marlin and headed for Browns and then towards New Zealand.

Nothing eventuated until we were somewhere near Heatons where we spotted lots of Mutton birds working. Even from a distance we could see the water shimmering with what we thought were baitfish. As we got closer we could make out huge numbers of what looked like Striped or maybe Mackerel tuna scooting around in the waves chasing small bait.

We worked the area for quite a while with great anticipation but all to no avail.  Consequently we finally gave up and headed for home and on the way have a shot at one of the FADs. One of the guys on board, Grayson, is a keen spear fisherman and wanted to go for a dive there. As an aside, after hearing the stories and seeing the photo’s of the Kingfish he has speared off Sydney and I mean 20 to 30 kilo fish, I could only wonder why more aren’t caught by anglers. Maybe they should try New Zealand methods, live salmon.

Grayson jumped in at the FAD and came back telling of lots of undersize Kingfish with a few Mahi Mahi amongst them.  So out came the light gear and soft plastics. We had a bit of fun catching the Kings but sadly couldn’t raise a Mahi Mahi.

Next we went and had a look at the 12 Mile but that also was a waste of time. The sounder didn’t show anything and the guys jigging only got sore backs.

All in all it was a good day, great boat, good company and good weather.

It does look promising out there. December is always a tough month both weather and fish wise but it will get better. Jack Farrell, one of the great SGFC game fishermen always said that the wet years were the good ones. So with the forecast of a ‘La Nina’ weather cycle we could be lucky.

I have booked in at Port Stephens from the 24th.January until the end of February. Not as long as previous years due to the virus but I hope next year’s season will be as good if not better than this year’s. So, if you do want to catch a Marlin, Port Stephens is the place to do it…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 29th. November’20

Sydney Fishing
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.
A metre Kingy...
A metre Kingy…
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.
Kingfish....
Kingfish….
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.
Game fishing
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.
Tight lines,
Ivan
LINKS…

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…

Ambition Report 20th.September’20

The Mighty Yellowfin Tuna:

At last something to write about…

The Mighty Yellowfin
The Mighty Yellowfin

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

A Double on Yellowfin
A Double on Yellowfin

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

The Mighty Yellowfin
Mighty Yellowfin

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.

September Yellowfin
September Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS…

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Ambition report 14th.July’20

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.

Rob 's Yellowfin
Rob ‘s Yellowfin

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.

Ambition's Yellowfin
Ambition’s Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo’s of Bluefin below show the result of Sam Ayad taking his boat ‘Smart Bill’ down to the bite off Kiama.

SmartBill Bluefin
SmartBill Bluefin

 

 

SmartBill Bluefin
SmartBill Bluefin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 23rd.March’20

March Yellowfin…

 

Autumn is a great time to be fishing off Sydney. Currently March Yellowfin are the go but there are also Striped and Blue Marlin in the mix.

After hearing reports during last week  of yellowfin  ranging from mid 40 kilo’s to around 70 kilo’s I was obviously keen to get out there. I managed to raise a crew and headed out on Saturday. Reports during the week had been from widen of Broken Bay down to the Southern canyons. Since there was a Southerly due I went South. Just wide of Browns the water had reached 24 degrees so the lure were deployed and we went hunting. There was little action in the form of birds and bait until I found a temperature break from 24 degrees down to 23.6 degrees.

March Yellowfin...
March Yellowfin…

Further down the coast on the break birds started to appear then suddenly they were everywhere. I worked the birds for a couple of hours seeing the yellowfin busting up but unable to get to them in time.

I decided to look further afield and hadn’t gone more than a  couple of hundred metres when the ‘shotgun’ went off.

The One that Got away
The One that Got away

Sadly after nearly an hour and with the fish just out of gaffing range the ‘wind-on’  gave way.  It was devastating to lose such a good fish after a very tough fight so near to the end. Anyway these things happen.

On the radio during the day there were several reports of Striped Marlin on the shelf both up around the ‘Bait Station’ and further down inshore of where I was. There was  one Blue

The One that Got away
The One that Got away

Marlin being fought but after a 2 hour fight  I didn’t  hear  whether they caught it. There were also  quite a few Yellowfin taken .

So though Saturday was a great day to be out wide  after hearing the reports  it was decidedly better on Sunday.

It is such a shame that this  unbelievable bite is coinciding with this virus.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 13th.March’20

]Port Stephens to Sydney

I brought Ambition back from Port Stephens last Monday. I fished all the way down starting just North of the ‘Car Park ‘ trolling skip baits.

The plan was originally to come back on Sunday but due to the weather on Saturday my charter was pushed back to Sunday. Consequently we made the  trip back from Port Stephens  on Monday. Surprisingly the weather was pretty good as we left the Port even though the week-end’s weather  pad been pretty ordinary.

On the Leader…
Blacks in action...
Adam takes the leader…

The plan was to run out North of the ‘Car Park’, find some bait and troll skippies for an hour or so then put out the lures and work our way back  home to Sydney.

All went to plan, we found some bait and slowed down to put out the skippies, Adam had just put out one . Then as he was setting the  second one it was pulled out of his hand and a good sized Black tore off at a million miles an hour, so to speak. This fish gave a good account of itself giving us a good run for our money however the 24 kg. inevitably took its toll and the Black was soon released. Excitement all round as it was the angler’s first marlin.

A good Black…
A nice Black...
A nice Black…

 

 

 

 

So, with one fish under our belt, with the baits deployed we started again. It took a little longer to find the second fish and a bit more difficult to finally hook it. This Black came in on one of the skipped baits , hit it and dropped back without getting hooked. We then put out a live bait which it again picked up and again no hook up. Then while we were waiting and hoping for it to take the live bait again the other skipped bait was taken while it was sinking and this time the Black was hooked.

It was a strange fight in that the fish , quite a large Black that we called at least 120kg.,  never took a run and didn’t even go deep as you’d expect from a Black , So after a  very short  fight we dully released the Marlin .

Continuing our trip down we had changed over to lures. Oddly just past the Newcastle canyons the water started going green and cooling. I went closer looking for better water, no go. I went out to 500 fathoms , no change.  Conditions didn’t change for the rest of the run down. We did however get a strike from a good sized Striped Marlin on the Southern edge of the Norah Canyons. On examining the leader it was obviously the fish had been bill wrapped. The water was only 21.5 C , green and apparently lifeless.

Conditions don’t seem to be getting any better off Sydney as we approach what I’ve always considered the best time of year for our offshore fishing.

But ever being the optimist , it will get better.Nothing stays the same for long in the ocean.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 2nd.March’20

Port Stephens Billfish in the form of Striped Marlin along with Blacks and the appearance of Blue Marlin were on the bite last week-end. Also amongst the Billfish  a good run of Mahi Mahi.

 

The Port Stephen Billfish turned on again last week-end. They were

Port Stephens March'20
Port Stephens March’20

big fish too. I heard of Stripies around the one hundred kilo mark and of at least one Black estimated at a hundred and fifty kilo’s by a very experienced skipper. Though they weren’t  in the same numbers as the Interclub the previous week there were  still enough  to go round. As usual it was a matter of find the bait and find the Marlin, so what’s new.

The baitfish along the shelf  were flighty and  difficult to stay in touch  with, however that is where the Marlin were. Those guys dunking bait into the schools didn’t fare as well as those covering ground by skipping rigged baits  or trolling live baits. Also, to make life more interesting for those dunking baits there were quite a few Whaler sharks in the mix.

Port Stephens March'20
Port Stephens March’20

The boats trolling lures also raised plenty of Marlin but as is usual the hook up rate not as good as with baits especially for the Striped Marlin. They did have the advantage though of raising the occasional Blue Marlin some of which I heard were on the large size. Apparently you didn’t have to go far to find the Blues either,  just wide of the ‘Car Park’ and other well known areas just over the shelf.

AMBITION…

I fished away from the crowds hovering over and trolling around the bait schools, looking for my own patch. I had quite a successful week-end skipping baits. The highlight, was after marking three or four fish under the boat , seeing four big Striped Marlin trying to eat two baits. We did hook two of them but unfortunately one was tail wrapped and while trying to keep up with it the other dropped off. It was pandemonium for a while  but we did get one of them.

Port Stephens March'20
Port Stephens March’20

So, Port Stephens Marlin. It would be hard to find a more productive area for catching all three species of our Marlin as well as all the other tropical species. The currents the bait  add up to a game fish  have.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS
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