Well the trophy for the first Marlin of the season for the Sydney Game Fishing Club has been taken out. Coincidently the first Marlin for the Broken Bay Club was also taken out. Artie Saren caught Sydney’s first a Striped Marlin from the boat Compton. A bitter sweet day for many of us as it is a much vied for Trophy. On one hand it means the Marlin season has started on the other the pressure is off and we can save a lot of fuel looking for that first fish.
I was out on Sunday looking for Marlin. The conditions were almost ideal with lots of bait around the shelf, good water colour and temperature but no birds. We did get a strike late in the afternoon which I’d like to think was a Marlin. A few boats encountered Marlin further North, around the Norah canyons, but I didn’t hear of any other than Compton’s.
Inshore the Kingfish are around but you have to put in a lot of time to catch the bait needed to attract them. Even when you do get the bait it is tough to find a keeper fish. I fished on Friday trolling live baits close to the rocks in quite rough conditions but only caught undersized Kings and a couple of Bonito.
Browns also seem to be running hot and cold with Gemmies and a few Blue Eye still on offer. From what I have gathered fresh bait is necessary.
Overall the fishing is on the quiet side. Whether you are fishing inshore or offshore perseverance is the key and of course good bait…
I don’t know why but I still get surprised when the SST’s don’t reflect what I experience at sea. I shouldn’t I know because the charts don’t have the resolution to show the minor eddies that hold the fish we chase. This is especially important when chasing Marlin and other pelagics.
When I went out on Sunday the SST’s showed a relatively warm current coming down the coast running quite quickly at the shelf and out from there. I headed out East from the heads planning to troll North at the shelf and go out wide. Without going into details, as I trolled North and out the temperature increased as expected. At around two hundred fathoms the temperature started to cool off which I did not expected. I turned around and started to work my way back to the warmer water. Here the bait was also building up. Most interestingly the current varied, as I moved in so as to make me think there was an eddy somewhere around the ‘Bait Station’. As the day progressed we raised two Marlin and one probable Marlin. Each of the fish hit the lures more than once but we just couldn’t sink the hooks.
Through the day several boats saw and hooked Striped Marlin. Jeff Manson from his boat ‘Spindrift’ hooked a Blue Marlin in four hundred and fifty fathoms when it took a 10kg. outfit. As you would expect the fight didn’t end well and that’s what I call sporting. I only heard of one boat catching a Marlin a small Stripy. If you are into sharks the boat ‘Undertaker’ fishing just inside the shelf caught a couple of good sized Tiger Sharks and a small Blue Shark.
Fishing for Kingfish is patchy at present because most of the reefs are being adversely affected or is that infected by Barracouta and Leatherjackets. There are some good fish coming out of the harbour though and some from surprisingly far down past the Bridge.
The numbers of Marlin sighted is definitely increasing. This increase should continue as the water warms and the currents push inshore. November usually sees an increase in the warm water pelagics with larger than usual Mahi Mahi often encountered.
Not much to report on today. Due to my involvement with the ‘Go Fishing’ day via the Sydney Game Fishing Club, I didn’t manage to get out or even listen to the radio though I did hear about a few Kingfish.
It is very gratifying to take the kids and their parents out for a day of fun fishing. When the kids catch a fish the excitement expressed on their faces and the pride their parents exhibit is hard to beat. It must surely add to their self esteem – the day was a great success.
As far as the fishing scene goes I don’t know that many went out. I have heard the Kingfish are a daily proposition both on the inshore reefs and offshore. The Kings are there one day and the next all you can catch are either Barracouta or the dreaded Jackets. The fact that there are ‘Couta around would imply there is cold water down deep.
This is the time of year when the currents are changing over to the warmer water of Summer. The charts are showing the current strengthening from the North and hopefully with it the pelagic speedsters. As I mentioned last week their are enough sightings and hooking of Marlin and Mahi Mahi not to mention a Spearfish to make the offshore trek worthwhile. You never know you might get lucky and find the elusive Yellowfin.
I fished on Friday and Sunday and both days had nothing in common at all.
On Friday I had the gun jigging crew on board. Thien ( Timpon ) and his friends who can jig like machines all day long. It’s tiring just watching them. However this day we were chasing those Yellowfin. After hearing the report from Bushy about the ‘fin just South of Sydney and some wide off Broken Bay we had to give it a shot.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very kind with a South-Wester doing its best to blow us off the water and make us as miserable as possible.
The first stop was to warm up with a jigging session chasing Kingfish. However the gusting wind was making it difficult to control the drift. After a frustrating half hour the attraction of Yellowfin out wide won out so off we went. We trolled for a few hours making it to the thousand fathom line with no sign of activity. No birds, no temp breaks and no info from other boats. We were on our own.
Then in the distance I spotted something red floating. So I we went to investigate. As we got closer I could see it was a couple of very large red buoys apparently holding up something very heavy. My first thought was that it was a long line float but there was neither a radio beacon nor any identifying markings. Also there were no other floats in the surrounding area – a mystery.
We passed by the floats and I presented the lures as close as I dared. A double strike took us all by surprise. The water was green and only 18.5 degrees and we were hooked up to two Mahi Mahi. We managed to land one of around 6 kilo’s which was a good effort in those seas.
After a few more fruitless hours trolling with only one Mahi Mahi to show we decided to give the Kings another shot. By now the wind had eased to only 15 to 20 knots.
At the reef the sounder revealed a lot more activity than it had in the morning. The drift was a lot more manageable and the Kings started to come aboard. At the same time a school of Bonito showed up consequently if the jig missed out on a King a tasty Bonito was to be had. However there was still the ever present danger of Leatherjackets to steal the jigs.
I didn’t go out on Saturday. The weather was supposed to ease through the day but with Sunday looking so much better I postponed the outing.
Sunday dawned a perfect day. Simon Fisher had fished on Saturday and talked of Yellowfin out wide and of losing a Blue Marlin. We went out with great expectations on a magic day.
I started trolling near the shelf. Gannets were diving on schools of Slimy Mackerel and Dolphins were harassing them from below. The whole area was alive. We worked the area for a while only catching Striped Tuna, but big Striped tuna. From what I gathered over the radio nearly every boat out there saw a Marlin. Unfortunately no one actually caught one in our area but Ed Ingram on his boat ‘Hold Up’ managed a very out of season Spearfish (pictured). It was also one of the biggest I’ve seen. Peter Pakula caught one on my boat a few years ago weighing 32.5 kilo’s .
It was only on our way home in about 300 fathoms we encountered our Marlin. As is usual for the species it ripped off some line without hooking up then a few minutes later had another go. This time we thought t was hooked but after a reasonable run it just simply dropped off.
So, though no one found any Yellowfin so many Marlin appearing and so much bait building on the shelf is gratifying. The water is warming and the EAC getting stronger. You just have to be optimistic about this upcoming season. Especially with so many juvenile Blacks up North.
Well, all I, on Ambition Fishing Charters, can say is bring on another Bluefin ! this run just keeps on giving. The eddy South of Browns is pretty well stagnant so who knows how long it may last. One thing is for sure I’m not making another prediction about their movements, not after my last one anyway.
On Friday I spent the day fishing in close with Jamion and his friends looking for Kings. We did get a couple of undersize fish and a few Bonito but that was all we caught between Googee and Long Reef. All the while I was hearing about the Bluefin bite going on out wide, a very frustrating experience.
On Saturday there was only one place to be and that was just South of Browns. We ran out hearing on the way that a couple of boats had already located the school. By the time we arrived there were about twenty boats in a small area cubing with several guys fighting fish.
I trolled around the group and managed to pick up a fish on one of my skirted lures, I don’t need to tell which one. We immediately started cubing and in short time two of the guys hooked up, one on ten kilo line the other on fifteen. After a really good fight while winning on the ten, we lost the fish when the lines crossed. Unfortunately we lost a couple of fish that way but still ended up bagging out. The ‘fin weren’t the biggest being 35 to 45 kilo’s but still great fun on light line and very good to eat too.
At present off Sydney the only game in town is Bluefin. This is the best run we’ve had, at least in the last forty or fifty years. Since their numbers are on the increase it is feasible that their range will continue to expand and we’ll see more of them but that may be more dependant on the prevailing currents and with global warming who knows…