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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The photo’s of Bluefin below show the result of Sam Ayad taking his boat ‘Smart Bill’ down to the bite off Kiama.
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…
As I look at my past reports I see that during last year’s May and June Yellowfin produced some really good fishing, most fish well over 55 kilo’s, here’s hoping…
Below are a couple of paragraphs from last year’s ‘Ambition Reports ‘….
‘Over the last few weeks Yellowfin tuna running between 25 and 70 kilo’s have been caught off Sydney. These fish are ranging over a wide area having been caught from wide and North of the ‘Bait Station’ all the way down the coast. Consequently they take a lot of finding and the changing conditions at sea every day don’t make it any easier. However once located the fun begins… if you’re lucky.’
‘Even though we arrived at the area late we managed this one fish and had another two strikes that sadly didn’t connect. I would have liked to stay until dark but the wind was picking up, probably doing 25 knots when we eventually left.
The bite was an early one and while we saw the end of it Markoo skippered by Benn Dullard had left port very early and managed four fish around the 35 kilo mark before we got there.
The area was alive. There were more than a few Sperm Whales obviously feeding. Also , Gannets all waiting for the tuna to push the bait to the surface.’
So with restrictions being lifted and competition fishing commencing on 1st. June (tomorrow) it is all starting to come together.
There was a Broadbill taken off the Southern Canyons yesterday and Ben Dullard on his boat ‘Markoo’ went out wide and found some Yellowfin tuna. The one he landed looked a good 60 to 65 kilo’s , unfortunately due to the current restrictions he couldn’t weight it, but that will change from tomorrow.
Unfortunately the weather is not looking too good for the next few days but Friday and Saturday look the goods. If you can trust predictions this far out.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
After reports of the Black Marlin at Coffs Harbour and South West Rocks coming down the coast they have arrived. Port Stephens Blacks are here. Over the last week or so the currents have pushed further inshore . With the currents have come the Black Marlin and the occasional Striped too.
Those who got wind of the bite have had great results tagging multiple fish a day. But fishing being as fickle as it is who knows what tomorrow will bring. Reports are still coming in of Blacks at Coffs and South West Rocks so with luck we’ll have a bumper season ahead.
These Port Stephens Blacks are just in time for the tournament sesason.
Because of the conditions I went out wide on Saturday. There was bait early on just inside the shelf but only in patches. However, after working it for a while the bait disappeared. It became apparent that nothing was going to happen so I went out wide. I heard on the radio of Blue Marlin, Yellowfin and Mahi Mahi down off Lake Macquarie so I thought it was a chance.
All was quiet but the water was getting bluer and bird activity was increasing. At around 500 fathoms there were patches of birds working on something that was fast moving, I assumed they were Yellowfin. It took a bit of doing but we eventually got a hit. Sadly after a short fight it escaped. On checking the lure I am pretty sure it was a Yellowfin.
Sunday morning was not what the BOM forecast so we filled up with bait and headed North. I put the lures in off Broughton Island and in minutes we had a Small Black having a go. Problem was it kept hitting the swivel so no luck.
We arrived at the Gibber only to find all my bait was dead; pump failure. I persevered using skip baits while looking for some more bait to jig up, and was eventually rewarded with of all things a Striped Marlin.
So, a frustrating week-end all round but at least with promise of what is to come. Meanwhile it is Port Stephens Blacks.
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.
Albacore and Kingfish were the name of the game off Sydney last week. However there were enough encounters with Yellowfin to keep the hope alive. Unfortunately since then the weather has intervened and looks like doing so for another few days. So we must wait. Sadly it looks as though the ‘Low’ system that held the Yellowfin up North moved through very quickly but last Wednesday we were still able to reach the Northern edge.
I went out primarily to chase Kingfish but then to go wide and if conditions permitted to have a late afternoon cubing session.
With Wahyu from ‘Global Tackle’ and Lloyd we headed out. We didn’t take any live bait just jigs. A moderate Westerly was blowing but not enough to stop us. When we reached the reef there were a few boats as well as a ‘Pro’ drop lining . A quick pass over the area to locate the fish and down went the jigs.
It was quite interesting to watch. Wahyu was using an electric reel and a ‘knife’ jig and LLoyd jigging the hard way with a ‘flutte’r jig. Surprisingly, to me at least, the slow worked flutter jig consistently caught the larger fish.
After an hour or so we had caught enough Kings and the wind had dropped so we headed out to do some trolling. We hoped to find those elusive Yellowfin. The plan was to go out to the thousand fathom line then go South and hopefully reach the ‘Low’ system.
I was just passing Browns when I got a call from the boat ‘El Patrone’ advising me that he’d caught Yellowfin and Albacore at a position roughly14 miles South East of me. Then another call came in about Yellowfin in the same sort of area.
I made the decision to pull in the gear and run out . Even knowing how quickly the ‘fin move around and the chances they would still be there in the 45 minutes it would take to get to the area, it was worth the risk.
On the run out I noticed a half degree temperature break with a few birds in area, just not enough to stop us from our goal – a mistake.
We finally reached the spot and the only action was another boat working the area. After setting the gear again we continued on our quest. It became apparent that the fish had moved on and since we were in a radio dead area could not get any further information. We ended up trolling back to the temp. break and to set up a cube trail.
It was a beautiful afternoon and just as the sun was setting Lloyd took a hit and after a good fight landed a 7 kilo Albacore. We took another two strikes after sunset and after very lively fights landed 7 and 8 kilo Striped Tuna. If Stripies grew to the size of Yellowfin we would be in trouble.
So that was the day.
After getting back in radio land I heard of a few more Yellowfin and Albacore being taken. So now we have to again wait until the weather clears before we can find out if the fish are still here.
With Yellowfin and Bluefin tuna on the menu it couldn’t be better for the SGFC Tuna Slam which starts tomorrow. There are Yellowfin out wide and Bluefin on their way.
For an entry fee of $250.00 per boat for the months of July and August you could win thousands by catching Yellowfin and Bluefin tuna as other winners have in the past. Go to the SGFC site for more info or follow the link below.
As you can see from the photo we found the Yellowfin tuna. It was with the help of good information from Alex Quasabian from ‘The Fishing Station’ and by tracking the Long liners.
Even though we arrived at the area late we managed this one fish and had another two strikes that sadly didn’t connect. I would have liked to stay until dark but the wind was picking up, probably doing 25 knots when we eventually left.
The bite was an early one and while we saw the end of it Markoo skippered by Benn Dullard had left port very early and managed four fish around the 35 kilo mark before we got there.
The area was alive. There were more than a few Sperm Whales obviously feeding. Also , Gannets all waiting for the tuna to push the bait to the surface.
So now we wait for the weather which this week looks perfect and the much anticipated arrival of the Bluefin within our range.
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…