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.
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.
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.
Winter is coming.
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.
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…
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.