Tag Archives: Game Fishing

Ambition report 10th.September’18

Spring is usually a great time for fishing off Sydney. Out wide Tuna usually show up with Albacore and Yellowfin in the mix. Also on the offshore reefs the Kingies should be in residence. Around Browns Gemmies are still around with the occasional Blue Eye as well as Mako and Blue sharks ready to steal your hard won catch.

High Flying Mako Shark...
High Flying Mako…

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately so far this Spring the weather has been abysmal. Over the last few weeks while waiting for a break in the weather I noticed Long Liners working fifty to sixty miles out. I know that just because there are Long Liners in the area it doesn’t mean we as line fishermen can catch them but it does indicate there are fish in the area.

Yellowfin Tuna...
Yellowfin Tuna…

So Sunday was the first time in weeks I have been able to get out and anticipation was high. It was pretty lively going for the first few hours but as the day warmed the sea calmed right down. We had a jigging session on the 12 Mile but when the guys brought up a couple of Barracouta it was obviously time to move on.

Gemfish a Browns
Gemfish a Browns

Heading East we put the lines in on the shelf where there was some bird life, hoping for an early season Marlin.  The only marine life we did see were whales, lots of whales. In fact on our way home in the evening I had the closest encounter with whales I have ever had. If I had have been going any faster there would have been a collision.

I didn’t end up finding the tuna but the water looked good. There were areas where birds were obviously searching. We saw a couple of schools of Striped Tuna and bait fish. We found bait down deep as well as on the surface out around the thousand fathom line. It looked alive but alas not while we were there.

So here’s hoping…

Again as a reminder, I’ll am taking bookings for Port Stephens where I’ll be available from mid-January until mid-March.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 16th. August’18

I want to take this opportunity to say that I am taking bookings for the upcoming Port Stephens 2019 season. I will be available from mid-January until mid-March’19.

As most would know this year’s Marlin season at Port Stephens was the best in many years. Best of all was the fabulous run of Blue Marlin. In fact out on the Car Park all three species of Marlin were biting their heads off, a rarity in itself. Unfortunately there were lots of Whaler sharks amongst them.

Sadly I haven’t had much to write about these last few days. The weather has been disastrous for anyone who has wanted to go to sea.

Never the less  there are Long Liners working wide off Sydney. This would indicate there are Yellowfin or maybe even some late season Bluefin out there. There are reports of Bluefin off the South coast but then again the weather is keeping all but the professionals in the harbour.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 6th. August’18

It is Shark time off Sydney at present with Mako’s,  Blues and Whalers on the bite. On the  week-end  a  rare Thresher Shark was also caught and a couple of Whites were encountered.

A Beautiful Mako Shark...
A Beautiful Mako Shark…

 

 

 

Now that the Bluefin have moved on and the Yellowfin haven’t turned up Sharks have become the mainstay of game fishermen. These sharks are widespread, other than Blue sharks which are  rarely found inside the shelf all the others can be caught from close inshore out to as far as you want to go.

High Flying Mako Shark...
High Flying Mako…

Of all the available sharks Mako’s are the most spectacular. When hooked they make long, fast runs and they can jump. I have seen them reach up to at least four metres into the air; they are truly spectacular. Seeing a big Mako come out of the water rollover and come down head first is something not to be forgotten . Sadly as a result of these huge leaps more than a few unlucky anglers have ended up with a Mako in their boat.

A Mako Shark being tagged...
A Mako Shark being tagged…

One of the hot spots for Mako’s is Browns mountain where they congregate to feed on the Gemfish. Consequently because of the number of boats in close proximity also trying for the Gemmies and Blue Eye there is a real danger of having an uninvited guest drop in , literally.

As for the Yellowfin I’m still hearing of the occasional fish being caught but I guess it is just a waiting game.

In the meantime Kings are showing up on the inshore and offshore reefs but are being hit very hard by both professional and amateur fishermen. One has to wonder at how sustainable this resource is.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 30th. July’18

Winter and Spring are the time for Sydney’s TunaAlbacore, Yellowfin and Bluefin.  Though it looks like the Bluefin have passed there are enough reports of Yellowfin both North and South to be optimistic.

A Very Big Mako...
A Monster Mako checking us out…

Sadly we are in post Bluefin season though I’m sure we all hope they’ll return. It amazes me how they just disappear, here one day in numbers gone the next.  Interestingly this year there were some good sized Yellowfin amongst the Bluefin.

In this post Bluefin time fortunately for us there are other options. We can concentrate on Kingfish, Blue Eye, Gemfish and Mako sharks as well as hope the Yellowfin turn up.

Last Saturday I took Dan and his friends out looking for the Yellowfin but still hoping a Bluefin might show up. We started by catching some live bait to have a shot on the outer reefs where the Kings were making an appearance. To cut a long story short we caught a few baits which were quite quickly converted into Kingfish. Not really large ones but good enough. However what they lacked in size they made up for in numbers.

Gemfish a Browns
Gemfish a Browns

Dan and his mates shared my love for the horizon and whatever it may hold, they’d caught enough Kingies and wanted bigger game. I headed out toward Heatons with my usual spread and a lot of optimism.

Around the thousand fathom line the temp started to rise and a few birds started to appear. Meanwhile on the radio I heard a couple of boats up North had found Yellowfin. They’d seen them breaking and even caught a couple on cubes. They were North of us but I didn’t know how far so I turned left hoping they weren’t too far. I later found out they were off Port Stephens.

We didn’t end up finding any ‘fin but knowing they were there was interesting enough. I later heard someone caught a couple around Heatons and South around JB too.

Winter mixture from Browns....
Bottom dwellers from Browns…

Meantime the mountain is fishing well for Gemfish and Blue Eye. To cap it off the Mako’s are showing up too just in time for this weekend’s Monster Mako Tournament held by the Sydney Game Fishing Club.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 23rd. July’18

Sydney has been the place for Tuna Fishing with Bluefin the  occasional Yellowfin and even  Albacore taken last week but it is a day to day proposition.

On Thursday we headed out to where the fish had been caught the previous Wednesday.  After my fruitless day on Tuesday I and the crew were keen to play.

Luke's Bluefin Tuna...
Luke’s Bluefin…

We set the lures out North-East of Browns and proceeded to listen in on the radio for clues to where the bite was happening. As is usual when nothing is happening the idiots came on air providing what their small minds consider entertainment. Thankfully word of the fish started filtering through.

I noticed a stationary boat about a mile from us and headed over for a look when a couple of hundred metres from him we had a crashing strike and landed a Bluefin of around 45kilo’s. We no sooner had the lures in the water when the second fish struck. This one was much bigger and gave the ‘newby’ angler a hard time. He eventually brought the fish, which back at the club weighed just on 70 kilo’s, to boat.

Bagged out...
Bagged out…

Meantime the radio had come alive with reports of Bluefin, Yellowfin as well as a few Albacore coming in. We continued working the same area marking fish down at 40 fathoms but couldn’t get them to come up. I decided to move away and come back a little later. I spent another half hour searching for more fish out wider but nothing. On returning to the previous spot I had no sooner marked the school than we hooked up, a double, missing another when it hit a lure as it was being taken out of the water.

These when weighed went just over seventy kilo’s and gave the guys a hard time too. We kept one fish out wide while fighting the other at ‘sunset’ so as to get it in fast.

Tuna time off Sydney...
Tuna time off Sydney…

It took a little time but we landed both the Bluefin. Since now we had bagged out we turned around and headed for home. I must say the only downside to the day was that I lost my favourite Brad ‘J’. Otherwise it had been a long but very satisfying day.

We went out again on the Monday after a week-end of bad weather with Luke who was dead keen to catch a Bluefin. I went back to the area South East of Browns. Reports were coming in of fish being caught down below the Southern Canyons but I noticed a boat that looked like they were fighting. Shortly after they gave their position and that they had the fish under their boat. I and another boat whose name I have forgotten was behind me and heading towards them too.

As we approached the boat behind me hooked up on a triple and Bruce who was on board called me back. I had obviously missed the school and it could have only been by metres. Anyway as we approached we were rewarded with a triple hook up which was a problem since we only had one angler, my deckie, ‘Howie’ and me. Howie went straight to sunset it nearly killed him but he got the fish in in time to gaff Luke’s Bluefin. Then Luke went straight into battle with his second fish. After what seemed an eternity to him a very tired, relieved and happy Luke finally brought the fish to the gaff.

It was time to go home.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 13th. July’18

It is Tuna time off Sydney and the bite is in full swing.

Tuna time off Sydney...
Tuna time off Sydney…

We headed out at 5:30 yesterday morning heading for where the bite had been on Wednesday. After my fruitless day on Tuesday I and the crew were keen to play.

We set the lures out North-East of Browns and proceeded to listen in on the radio for clues to where the bite was happening. As is usual when nothing is happening the idiots came on air providing what their small minds consider entertainment. Thankfully word of the fish started filtering through.

Tuna time off Sydney...
Tuna time off Sydney…

I noticed a stationary boat about a mile from us and headed over for a squizzy when a couple of hundred metres from him we had a crashing strike and landed a Bluefin of around 45kilo’s. We no sooner had the lures in the water when the second fish struck. This one was much bigger and gave the ‘newby’ angler a hard time. He eventually brought the fish, which back at the club weighted just on 70 kilo’s, to boat.

Tuna time off Sydney...
Tuna time off Sydney…

Meantime  the radio had come alive with reports of Bluefin, Yellowfin as well as a few Albacore coming in. The fish were spread out over quite a large area and being taken on lures, divers and skirts as well as cubes. You just had to find them.

We continued working the same area marking fish down at 40 fathoms but couldn’t get the to come up. I decided to move away and come back a little later. I spent another half hour searching for more fish out wider but nothing. On returning to the previous spot I had no sooner marked the school than we had a double, missing another when it hit a lure as it was being taken out of the water.

These when weighed went just over seventy kilo’s and gave the guys a hard time too. We kept one fish wide while fighting the other at ‘sunset’ so as to get it in fast.

It took a little time but we landed both the Bluefin. Since now we had bagged out we turned for home. It had been a long but very satisfying day.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 11th. July’18

I went out yesterday looking for the Tuna. I’d heard the long liners were working wide and South of Heatons so headed off in that direction. It was a bit lumpy going through the heads but eased up a few miles out away from the backwash. There were just a few mountains with which to contend. Happily it calmed right down during the day.

Yellowfin Tuna...
Yellowfin Tuna…

Out over the thousand fathom line I picked up a long liner on my radar. He was another ten miles further out. About a mile short of the him we passed through a current line where there was a marked temperature change and lots of bird activity.

I managed to contact the skipper of the fishing boat who told me he’d caught a few fish on their first string and that there were a couple more long liners working 15 to 20 miles South of him.
To cut a long story short I didn’t find any Tuna but I must say it looked really good out there with lots of birds and bait showing.

Ronny struggling

On returning to Port I was told a boat caught a couple of Bluefin a few miles North-West of me and another wide of Norah Head.
There are quite a few boats going out today so will be interesting to see how they go.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 4th’ July’18

After over three weeks of nothing to say about the Game Fishing  off Sydney I needed to say something so…..

A very good Yellowfin
A very good Yellowfin

Game fishing off Sydney has certainly taken a turn for the worse. Actually it has been pretty hopeless for the last month.  The weather hasn’t helped either. After what was amongst the best Smmer and Autumn seasons I can remember it has crashed. All those Marlin and Tuna as well as all the other pelagic species have gone.

A good day's fishing...
A good day’s fishing…

Since mid-May the ocean currents and altimetry have conspired to keep the usual run of Tuna down South. There have been a few good sized Yellowfin taken around Wollongong and Kiama but off Sydney nothing.

The Bluefin we are all awaiting showed up on time on the South coast and have been caught as far up as Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. There are rumours of them being as close as the Shoalhaven but only rumours.

The Groups Yellowfin
The Groups Yellowfin

Up until last year when the Bluefin showed up off Sydney in early September they had turned up in early July. So far no sign of them up here but the altimetry this year compares with that of September last year. If the offshore ‘High’ moves a little to the South and inshore the water the Bluefin are in could come within range.

Well you have to be optimistic to be a fisherman…

At Browns the Gemfish are starting to run and the Blue Eye are on the bite. Unfortunately the current is pretty fast so though the fish are biting you lose a lot of gear. Also, Mako’s and Blue Sharks are making an appearance.

Winter GemFish and Blue Eye
GemFish and Blue Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kings and Snapper are there for those in the know. The offshore reefs are a day to day proposition and inshore lots of small Kings with the occasional good one thrown in.

So that’s it – hopefully the currents will ease and the Tuna will make an appearance soon.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 28th. May’18

Striped Marlin and Mako Sharks as well as Tigers were all the news off Sydney last week-end. Two Tiger Sharks over 450 kgs. were taken as well as another of unknown size lost after several hours of fighting. With the thought of XOS Tiger sharks in mind I went out with Glen and Karen on their boat ‘Tantrum’ to see if we could find one for their daughter Makira.

We headed out on Sunday to the eighty fathom line off Long Reef where we planned to start our trail. On nearing the area we found large numbers of Gannets diving on schools of bait fish. It was more than one group too. We could see several gatherings all in roughly the eighty fathom area. With so much bait around this had to be a good place to start.

With baits set at varying depths on a couple of 15’s and 24’s  and the kids punching the burly, it was that time of waiting. I must say there is something really pleasant about shark fishing, other than the smell and mess. It is quiet and peaceful with a tangible sense of expectation as all on board watch the floats for any sign of movement.

After about an hour one of the reels starting slowly ticking off drawing everyone’s attention. The speed increased then the fish took a run. Makira took the rod and wound in the belly of line and struck when Glen told her. She had weight and was hooked up.

Unusually the fish stayed near the surface then we saw a splash as a bill and head broke the surface. We had a Marlin and after a reasonable fight Makira brought a good sized Striped Marlin to the boat where it was tagged and released – not the 400 kg Tiger we were hoping for but a nice surprise.

All the gear was re-set and again we settled in, watching and waiting. The currents were doing strange thing though. We had drifted through two strong current lines. Now our deep baits were on one side of the boat while our burly was going in the opposite direction. This was obviously due to the very light breeze but still indicated a deeper current going opposite to the surface current. Hopefully our burly was heavy enough to reach the deeper water.

It took a while then at the witching hour a small Mako turned up taking scraps off the surface. We drifted a bait out but no takers and after about ten minutes he/she disappeared. Shortly after our deep bait on 15 kg. started to run and again Makira took the rod and under Dad’s instruction struck the fish. This one took a couple of runs and went deep, this had to be the Tiger. The fish continued to take line with the occasional head shakes causing concern. Eventually Makira started to gain line, slowly at first then steadily. After nearly an hour of give and take she had the double up and we got our first view of the fish. Howy took the leader and much to everyone’s  dismay brought up a 30 to 40 kilo Mako hooked in the tail. I don’t think anyone could believe a Mako that size could fight as hard as this one had.

So that was the day, we’d tagged a Striped Marlin and a Mako shark. I heard of another boat losing a Striped Marlin and that Browns was fishing well. Generally it seem it was a very quiet day off Sydney.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 21st. May’18

Tuna and Marlin: Striped and Blue Marlin along with Yellowfin tuna , Mahi Mahi and some huge Tiger sharks are still haunting Sydney waters. When you consider that it is nearly June the fishing is quite incredible. I suppose what is really remarkable is sea temperatures still around 23 degrees.

Glowing Gold Yellowfin
Glowing Gold Yellowfin

Even though all the above species are still around you still have to work hard and have a bit of luck on your side to succeed.

I went out on Sunday expressly to stay out late and cube into the evening. While travelling out I heard that ‘Reef Magic’ had tagged two Marlin, a Striped and a Blue and ‘Murryfin’ had also tagged a Striped Marlin. It was looking good !

We saw loads of Gannets bombarding  bait schools as we travelled out but no lookers on the lures. We crossed that 2 degree temperature break that is so well defined on the SST’s but continued out, I wanted to see what was at the thousand fathom line. On the way I crossed another break where the temperature dropped significantly and there was a well defined thermocline below which I marked quite a few fish and bait. However I continued out to the thousand fathoms.

Golden Yellowfin
Golden Yellowfin

When we finally arrived at the area I wanted it was a marine desert. Neither birds nor bait were present but the water looked better than anything we’d seen on the way out. Never the less I decided to go back to the cooler break a couple of miles back.

 

 

We started cubing a little after 3pm., the wind was easing and the ocean glassing out.

It was an hour or so before a big Blue Shark turned up circling checking out the baits. Shortly after another much smaller Blue  turned up. Inevitably the larger shark took one of the baits and as Blue Sharks do, it did nothing. With maximum pressure applied it finally moved off and as it did bit through the leader. Unfortunately the sharks stayed with us, enjoying our burly, for a while then disappeared as silently as they had turned up.

As the sun neared the horizon one of the guys had a bite. Not a regular tuna bite, this fish was coming towards the boat. Shark was the call. The fish or shark started pulling drag, slowly at first but increasing in speed as it went. Suddenly after, it had taken a couple of hundred metres of line, it just took off at a thousand miles an hour, much faster than any shark I’d caught. Needless to say a 40 kg. leader can only take so much and inevitably parted and we were left with a mystery.

We had no further action, it was late and time to head for home. On the way I heard that  the boys  on ‘Carnage’ had weighed a 450 kg. Tiger shark at the club adding to a larger Tiger caught by a Port Hacking boat on Saturday.

Of interest I think is that the guys fishing for Tigers generally start burlying in about 80 fathoms. At present the sea temperature in that area is only 18 degrees and the water green. It poses a conundrum considering that Tigers are a warm water species. I guess though that we’ll never know what lies below.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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