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…
We went out last Wednesday to try and find those mysterious Yellowfin. Reports had been coming in of the Yellowfin ranging along the temperature break South-East of Browns. Along with the‘fin were occasional encounters with Blue and Striped Marlin. One of which we caught last week.
We took Joseph Liu out, he primarily wanted to deep drop on Browns and have a go at Kingfish on the way. Unfortunately the current was not favourable at all.
The Peak were there had been some action over previous days was completely shut down. To top it off there was no way to fish Browns, in my opinion, with 3.5 knots of current. So, the last option was to go wide, find the temperature break and maybe those mysterious Yellowfin and Marlin. Well we did just that and we were working the break when Ben who was just ahead of us in his boat ‘Markoo’ called up to say the were hooked up to a Yellowfin which they ultimately landed, it weighed 62.5 kilo’s. So we were in the right area but unfortunately to no avail. Of interest it was apparent the current was easing.
I got another chance to chase those elusive Yellowfin on Friday. I took out Tim and Scott who had just arrived from Minnesota after an unexpected delay, so were a little fatigued. The aim again was to go to the temperature break, work it and hopefully find them a fish.
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.
When the fish struck I thought I’d seen a bill but the fish never showed itself, maybe it was a ‘fin. Then after nearly half an hour it started to move up to the surface where I got a glimpse, it was a Marlin and when it jumped a big Stripy revealed itself.
Either because this fish had conserved its energy by staying deep or because Tim and Scott were jetlagged and had had a VB or two it put up a tough fight and both of them fought it a couple of times. As you will see in the video it didn’t want to give in and was incredibly aggressive even at the end .
The current out there has eased further and the fact that there are Long liners working near that break is indicative of Yellowfin in the area. Hopefully when the weather stabilises again we’ll find them, we’ll certainly be looking.
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.
While there are Blue and Striped Marlin as well as Yellowfin around it is hard fishing.
The weather has been perfect over the last few days consequently a lot of people are getting out wide, very wide. Out there the warmer water is running and fortunately coming in closer.
The Striped Marlin are hanging around the shelf where there is a lot of bait while the Blues are out wider however there is a lot of water separating them. The Yellowfin on the other hand tend to be in closer in the cooler water and if you can find it the break with the greenish water.
Where the Yellowfin are there are also heaps of Dolphins (the mammalian kind) they are pushing the bait up bringing them within range. Mind you, you have to be fast to get to the action before they sound again. Some are being taken on blind strikes but it pays to look for the surface action. The ‘fin are coming in all sizes from Jellybean size up to seventy kilo jobs, well worth the effort.
I went out yesterday with Glen, Karen, Howie and their daughter Makaira, the Tantrum crew. After a lot of looking we eventually found where the Yellowfin were feeding and where there were several boat that had taken fish.
We got one shot after I saw a few fish jumping amongst some Sauries. The hookup was on a 15kg. outfit which Makaira took up. Unfortunately after a screaming run the fish dropped off. A lot later while trolling home crossing the shelf we picked up a Striped Marlin, Makaira took the rod again and made short work of the fish.
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.
Fishing is a fickle game at the best of times. But at present the fishing and the currents seem more fickle than normal. I went out on several days last week and conditions changed each day. The end result was a couple of good days and a couple of bad ones.
After the first day, last Tuesday, when the water was relatively cool
the current from the South not to mention quite rough, everything changed. To my great surprise when we went out on Wednesday the temperature was up and the colour what we like to see unfortunately the fish hadn’t arrived yet.
On Thursday I had Robert and his friend from California. There were reports of some Yellowfin out wide and the occasional Blue Marlin.
We were on the thousand fathom line East of Browns heading into what looked like a storm front with a couple of water spouts spooking about when we took the strike. I was sure it was a Blue , a huge hole inn the water and a screaming run. But after a short time it became apparent we were into a good sized Yellowfin which later weighed in at 65kg. During the fight the weather front hit us and the rain was so heavy I could only just see the front of the boat. Robert was stoked, very wet and basically stuffed.
Saturday was the day, perfect conditions weatherwise but the water temperature had dropped a half a degree from Thursday. I put the lures in just short of the shelf and started heading out. I wasn’t long before I marked a couple of fish on a bait school . As I looked back to check the lures the rigger went off and a good sized Striped Marlin took to the air. After a short but spectacular fight we had the fish along side and Howie, my deckie, released the fish after it gave him a good workout on the leader.
So the lures went back out and within minutes we had another
Stripy hooked up and jumping in our wake. While the guys were clearing the other lines another Stripy came in and had a shot but it was only a half hearted effort. That was it for the day. There was quite a bit of action further South with Blue Marlin and Yellowfin but we had no other takers.
In general it is looking good off Sydney this week-end both weatherwise and for the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s ‘Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament with $50,000.00 up for grabs.
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…
After fishing at Port Stephens for the last few days, I must say it hasn’t been great fishing. In fact by Port Stephens standards it is terrible.
Conditions at sea hadn’t changed much since I arrived at Port. The water out to 76 fathoms was cold and green. Beyond the colour changes until at around the 80 fathoms line it is deep blue and the temp. gets up to 27C and running at up to three knots.
On board I had Tony and three of his friends making up a team from Mackay for the ‘Shootout’.
Ironically on the two days before the tournament we raised four Marlin and a Mahi Mahi. We tagged a Black but the other three were small Stripies that took a run or two then dropped off. After examining the leaders it was apparent they were bill-wrapped. Such is the frustration of fishing for these fickle fish. All the fish we raised were on the edge of the hot water in the clean green stuff. During the first day of the ‘Shootout’ we fished the same area and couldn’t raise a scale. I couldn’t believe it. We never saw a fish the whole day. On the second day we went out wide, to the area where last year I had taken Tony to try and catch his first Spearfish and where I first used Peter’s Brad ‘J’.
As it happens someone was looking down on Tony. It was his turn on strike when we had a hit which turned out to be a Spearfish of around 20kgs. Well we thought our luck had finally changed but no, we didn’t see anything else all day. In passing I have never heard of so many Spearfish being caught in one day. I believe there were eleven taken and tagged. Interestingly there were also quite a few Yellowfin around also.
Who knows what will happen over the next few weeks. With so much happening weatherwise all along the coast anything could happen.