Tag Archives: Game Fishing

Ambition report 21st. January’19

Tom's Mahi Mahi
Tom’s Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi are apart from being a great sportfish and incredible eating are often the saving grace of a fishing trip.

After a frustratingly tedious trip up to Port Stephens in dirty, green cold water completely devoid of live Sunday past was a joy. Finally there was a break in the weather and the charts were showing the hot current was within range.

High flying Mahi Mahi
High flying Mahi Mahi

We left Port with high expectations heading to the shelf in a bit of a lumpy sea but it was the most horrible greeny grey water I have seen. It wasn’t until we were in about 75 fathoms that the temperature started to climb. Not only did the temperature rise quickly but so  did the sea. Within a mile the temperature rose from 19.5 degrees up to 26 degrees. We were in the Southerly current and it was pushing hard against a Southerly breeze causing the sea to stand on it head. To give an idea of how fast the current was going I had a 40 degree difference between my Heading and my Course over ground.

Flying Mahi Mahi
High flying Mahi Mahi

However we were in beautiful indigo water, there were schools of flying fish so all was looking good. As we moved away from the edge the current eased a little and the seas calmed.

As I worked one of these gatherings of birds we had our first strike. A good sized Mahi Mahi of around 10 kgs. which Tom brought to the boat after a good fight, unfortunately Rob gaffed it only to have it jump off, most frustratingly. It wasn’t long after I found another flock and again received a solid hook up but this was a much larger Mahi Mahi. Tom again had the rod and again brought it to the boat where Rob’s reputation was at stake. Fortunately this fish of at least 15 kgs. stayed on the gaff. It caused quite a commotion on deck but was soon dispatched.

The mighty Mahi Mahi
The mighty Mahi Mahi

By now all on board but Rob and I had succumbed to seasickness so we decided to head for home.

I must say it looked good out there to me and there were lots of flying fish and bird activity. I marked some deep bait and the water was the colour we love to see. Consequently it must surely be just a matter of time before the other predators turn up.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 7th. January’19

Maddening Marlin – of all the Marlin the Striped Marlin are the most maddening. They will follow lures for an eternity, hitting and missing continually,  testing each lure in your spread. You can tease them with lures and bait but even if you can get them to eat you’re never sure of how well they are hooked.

At present the Striped Marlin are even more obtuse than usual. Though these maddening Marlin are finnicky biters at best for some reason they are even more touchy than usual. Just to tease us there are still enough being hooked to make the hunt frustratingly worthwhile.

In my last couple of days out the water has got greener and cooler each day.  However there is still plenty of bait around. Inshore it is made up of Slimey Mackerel but offshore I don’t know what makes up the schools. I have seen Sauries out there but they don’t often show on sounders. If anyone has jigged up any bait from near the shelf I would love to know what it is. Personally I think it could be made up of Mackerel as well as Toads, Bellows fish and even Leatherjackets, in which case the Marlin are very well fed.

Mahi Mahi have shown up on some of the FAD’s with the occasional decent sized one turning up so there must be some good water around, maybe a little deeper, below the green stuff.

Whatever the case the charts show a very warm current out wide. At Port Stephens it looks to be within range but it veers out just above the canyons. Inshore of this current the water is unusually cool for this time of year. Hopefully this situation will change in the near future.

Apparently this situation is caused by the ‘Coriolis effect’ on the surface currents caused by the strong North Easterlies we have experienced. With a bit of luck the Southerlies of late will reverse the situation and bring the warm water within reach.

Well I’m off to Port Stephens on Saturday and looking forward to it. After hearing about the Wahoo caught there last week and that hot current within reach I am confidant of good fishing.

 

Tight Lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 28th.December’18

Summer and the Mighty Marlin go hand in hand. Reports and contacts are becoming more frequent each day. Black Marlin are showing up inshore around the bait schools though not many have been caught yet. Out wider Striped Marlin are coming down the coast with the warmer water and Mahi Mahi are turning up in numbers around the many ‘secret’ FAD’s.

Striped Marlin
Striped Marlin

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been out a couple of times this week with different results. On Christmas eve I took Levi and his friend out on a beautiful day weatherwise. Unfortunately as often happens on perfect days the fish were shy. Inshore the water was still coolish even though there was plenty of bait. I went out looking for warmer water.

It never really did warm up, the best temp. I got was 21.8C but it was a good colour so in 80 fathoms out went the lures. Well, after several hours of trolling and seeing the occasional bait school, lots of Dolphins, a few Manta Rays and no Marlin it was time to give up our hunt for the mighty marlin.

The weather then intervened and I didn’t get out for another couple of days. Again there was lots of bait inshore in fact there were schools of Slimies on the surface at the Heads. The water was still coolish so I went back to where I’d been previously. This time however it was rough, blowing 20 to 25 knots from the North-East and there was a colour change with a slight increase in temperature. The lures went out and I watched as one of the clients slowly turned a light shade of green. His friend, Walter was immune andraring to go.

Nice Stripy
Nice Stripy

I don’t know if it was the rougher conditions or not but there was bait and it was high up.

About half hour into the troll the lure on the short rigger took off at a rate of knots and just kept going. I actually thought it was a Blue. Walter’s friend took the rod and the greenish tinge slowly took on a reddish hue as he fought to both stand up and keep winding as I backed up into the sea. We eventually tagged the fish, a Striped Marlin and not even a big one, which had been tail wrapped. A little later on we had another Stripy come into the spread, have a look at all our lures, hit the lumo and after a decent run just drop off – now that is frustrating. By then Walter was sympathising with his friend  whose greenish tinge had returned and called an end to the fishing.

We ended up raising six Marlin, hooking two and tagging one. Ben Dullard in his boat Markoo tagged one near us.  Also a  couple of others boats around Terrigal encountered some Black Marlin in close. There is obviously some really good water just to the North. From Norah Head up to Port Stephens those fishing for Marlin are having a lot more success than us. Hopefully over the next few days that current will move down and closer to shore.

Also the much vied for Sydney Game Fishing Club’s trophy for the first Marlin tagged has finally been taken out. Congratulations to the winner Michael Kirby, in his boat Gale Force, who tagged a Striped Marlin off Terrigal on his way to Port Stephens.

Finally I wish all and sundry a Happy New Year and hope the next one is as good if not better than this one…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 21st.December’18

Marlin madness is a strange condition. For those smitten it is usually after an encounter with one of these remarkable predators. I could go on about Marlin for hours but those smitten know without me saying anything further. All I will say is, it is Marlin madness season.

Whether you are a died in wool Game fisher or a novice, catching or tagging  your first Marlin or the first of the season has special meaning.

AMBITION'S first of the Season
AMBITION’S first of the Season

Mike Schlezinger in his boat ‘Restless’  raised eight Marlin and tagged two on his way up to Port Stephens a couple of days ago. Also I heard of several boats from Lake Macquarie to Port Stephens encountering numbers of Striped and Blue Marlin. So obviously the time was drawing near. I had a charter booked and they were keen to catch Marlin, perfect.

The plan was to work from the ‘Bait Station’ up to the ‘Norah Canyons’, a long way but that’s where the fish were. I hoped that now the current was running South it would bring the fish closer.

December Stripe Marlin
December Stripe Marlin

Finally wide of Broken Bay in about 200 fathoms the water warmed to just over 23 degrees and went blue; time to put the lures in. About an hour into the troll we raised a Striped Marlin which hit the ‘Lumo’ on the rigger but didn’t come back. A little further on Lindon spotted a Marlin tailing. I ran the lures right in front of it but it just dived and we didn’t see it again. From there the troll to the canyon was uneventful. We did see a couple of Manta Rays lots of Dolphins and mutton birds searching. Further South another boat, I think it was called Sea Strike, had dropped a Marlin wide of the Bait Station and had caught a nice Mahi Mahi  and several 15 to 20 kilo Yellowfin Tuna indicating there could be some Blue Marlin about.

We reached the Southern canyon, did a lap with no result and started the long downhill run home. Just when we were losing hope the ‘Lumo’ on the rigger took off, then the other rigger with ‘Blue Illusion’ screamed.  On deck they were calling double strike but I was fighting one on the teaser and Lindon while pulling in the shot gun had  another hitting it and I could see yet another one about to inhale the Blue Angel.

We had been pack attacked…

In the end we tagged one of them but lost one of the others after a short fight. Pure pandemonium reigned for a short time and that’s what Game Fishing is all about. Those moment of utter mayhem.

I would like to clarify the fact that this fish does not qualify for the First Marlin Trophy at Sydney Game Fishing Club. Firstly it was not caught by a member and secondly was caught on a charter.

So boys and girls go for it…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 3rd.December’18

 

Summertime Marlin...
Marlin !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is summertime and the first Marlin of the season still hasn’t been caught or tagged by a SGFC member in Sydney waters. It was with this in mind that we went out last Saturday. The charts were showing good water wide and North of Browns so that was to be our destination.

I went out with Gerard Searle on his boat ‘Tshukudu’. It was a perfect morning. An unusually calm sea and no wind or rain in sight, a rare thing indeed in Sydney of late.

The water around 12 Mile looked good as we passed and several boats were there chasing Kingfish. I don’t know if they were doing any good but we were after Marlin so in went the lures  and we headed off to Browns.

Just inside the shelf we marked some bait but it was deep so we continued on our way. The water was getting warmer and bluer as we approached Browns. Groups of Mutton birds and Albatrosses became more evident the wider we went. The birds were definitely searching as opposed to travelling.

We continued on out searching with the birds but saw no action other than a couple of big Sunfish. I saw the occasional large splash in the distance which I thought were probably Sunfish too. We continued out to the 500 fathom line and saw a Long liner in the distance . Well obviously we had to have a look. We didn’t find his line but we did find a 0.3 degree temperature break.

In the distance Skip saw a school of Sauries take to the air. There were big splashes behind them as some type of reasonable sized fish, probably tuna, chased them. We spent some time in the area but found no other activity.

So that was the day. Other than the school of Sauries and the Sunfish we saw no other action. But it did look good and we felt something might happen at any second. The water looked good, the colour was good the temperature got to 22 degrees . The birds were definitely acting like something was in the area. The only thing I could fault was that the current was running North. I guess you have to blame something.

Tight lines,
Ivan

Next stop… Port Stephens
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Ambition report 5th. November’18

It’s that time of year again –  Billfish time.

Port Stephens Blue
Lumo and Blue Marlin

 

 

 

 

November is when the warm water currents from the North start to move inshore and push further South. Consequently with this warm water come the great pelagics, MarlinSpearfish, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi. It is also when club fisher people get excited about their first Marlin trophies and the competition can be fierce.

Mahi Mahi
A beautiful Mahi Mahi

So with the ‘First Marlin’ trophy ( tagged ) for the Sydney Game Fishing Club in mind we went out hunting. The plan was to do a drop on Browns and then head out wider to where there was an eddy developing.

On the way we went over a couple of offshore reefs and on the 9 mile the sounder showed a heap of fish in min-water. It was too good an opportunity to miss. So out came the jigs and it wasn’t long before we had a few nice Kings on board.

Kingies anyone ?
Kingies anyone ?

We were after Marlin so with a feed on  board and  temperature over 23 C out went the lures.

To say conditions looked good would be an understatement. Temperature over 23 degrees, a clear deep blue colour, patches of bait in mid-water and enough chop to make it interesting. The stage was set all we needed were the actors.

Unfortunately we reached Browns without interruption. We did a couple of laps without result and decided to do a drop. To cut a long story short we managed a Deep Sea Perch and the smallest Gemfish I have ever seen. Consequently it was back to trolling. In the meantime I heard one of the boats capturing a Spearfish being and another losing  two Marlin around the ‘Bait Station’. Also another boat was fighting a good sized Tiger shark.

We trolled North and out. Unfortunately the water went dirty and cooled so I moved inshore until I found the Southerly current then headed North. Sadly we didn’t find any action and the radio had gone quiet. On a positive note the water warmed as we went North and inshore from the shelf  to around 70 fathoms there was heaps of bait.

November is a very frustrating month…

Tight lines,
Ivan

 

 

Ambition report 29th. October’18

November often sees an early run of the pelagics i.e.  Mahi Mahi and Marlin.  As the warmer water up North really starts pushing down the shelf it bring with it the first of these oceanic wanderers.

Mahi Mahi
A good eating Mahi Mahi…

However this October, after what has seemed the longest run of bad weather and bad timing as far as Charters goes, has come alive.  For those who could take advantage of a break in the weather last week the rewards were there. Don’t get me wrong you’ll still have to work for the results but at least we know it isn’t futile.

The last time I was out conditions looked good. I found blue water nearly 22 degrees with birds searching and small schools of bait down fifteen fathoms. It felt like it was going to happen. I noticed small tuna hitting the swivels on the bigger rigs so put out a feather jig and started catching Striped Tuna. So the bait is there.

Marlin doing it thing...
Marlin doing it thing…

For those who haven’t heard ; at Port Stephens Paul Leaming’s boat ‘Hoodlum’ tagged a good sized Blue Marlin and raised another. Off Broken Bay the Findlay’s boat ‘Murrifin’ also tagged a good sized Blue Marlin. It doesn’t end there. I have also heard of at least one big Mahi Mahi and another Spearfish.

I think the big question is will this season’s run of Marlin, especially the Blues, be as good as the last one ?

Though the current is pushing hard some of the boats bottom dropping are getting results, Blue Eye and Deep Sea Perch being the main catch.

I don’t know how the wider reefs are going for Kings. The last time I was out there was nothing but that changes daily. Closer in shore and in the harbour is where most of the Kingfish action is to be found.

In short, if Game Fishing is your thing the action is definitely on the up. But as is usual the weather is the enemy.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 22nd. October’18

I am afraid I have to say it but the Pakula ‘Brad ‘J” bullet has done it again with the capture of a very early season Spearfish.

October Spearfish
October Spearfish

I went out on ‘Shukudu’ owned by Gerard Searle on Monday to see if we could find those elusive Yellowfin. The damned things are out there but not in great numbers.  Over the last few weeks the ‘fin have been evident with  just enough caught to tease us into chasing them, such is their allure.

The plan was to troll from the shelf, in the hope of a Marlin, then out wide to the thousand fathom line and depending on what we found to turn either North or South. As so happened out wide the current was going hard to the South. We decided to travel down as far as the Southern canyons then turn for home as the radio reports were not very conducive to optimism. And that’s when we got the strike, as we made the turn to head inshore the shot gun with ‘Brad’J” screamed off. The initial run was impressive but after that the fish came in easily. We expected to see a middle sized Yellowfin the last thing we expected was a spearfish. I must say though that later, on the bar BQ at the club it tasted great.

Adam's Spearfish
Adam’s Spearfish

Later I heard there were a few ‘fin taken between Wollongong and wide of Port Hacking as well as a couple of 30 kg.  fish somewhere East of Sydney.

The Kingfish are as elusive as the damned Yellowfin. On the offshore reefs they are on one day and who knows where the next.  The one constant is that the Jackets are always there. The best you can do is keep going, eventually the timing will be right

Now for a bit of advertising:

My charter for the ‘Shootout’ at Port Stephens in mid February has just cancelled. Consequently I am available for one of the best tournaments on the East Coast at one of the best fishing locations in NSW.

Winning Shootout
Winning Team Tag & Release Shootout

 

 

 

 

 

Call or Email if you are interested.

ph   : 0427 887 707
em  : sales@ambitioncharters.com.au

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Ambition report 24th. September’18

Reports of Yellowfin tuna have been coming in over the last couple of weeks. Those ‘fin encountered have been in two basic classes, biggish ones over forty kilo’s and others going fifteen to twenty five kilo’s. However as we all know any Yellowfin is a good one. The main problem other than locating the fish is the weather. It seems to go bad on the weekends and whenever I have a charter. It seems mother nature is enforcing its own lock out.

School Yellowfin...
School Yellowfin…

 

 

 

 

 

On my way back from Botany where I was having some repairs and my annual survey done, I was told of good sized Yellowfin wide of the Southern canyons. I hadn’t planned to go out on the Saturday but there was a break in the weather and the lure of Yellowfin too great.

We went out heading directly to the Southern canyons, put the lures in South of Browns and started hunting. There were whales everywhere and strangely there were an inordinate number of them  breaching. Also millions of Mutton birds on their migration back from Siberia making difficult to find birds that were working. As we approached the area where Bob Curry had seen the ‘fin in clean bluish water I noted that the water was now a dirty green and running hard to the South. I had been told the current was Northerly but today it was running South with no sign of life in it – what a difference a day can make.

12 Mile Kingfish...
12 Mile Kingfish…

I headed out wider and slowly the temperature rose until about the thousand fathom area there was a distinct colour change and the temperature rose to just over 19 C.

We followed this break North and other than a big Sun fish and a couple of small groups of birds circling an area didn’t find any tuna. I did work the area for a while but didn’t mark anything so moved on towards the Bait Station.

In about seven hundred fathoms just South of the Bait Station I marked a Long Liner some four miles East. At the same time I heard that Mike Clarkson had found a school of Yellowfin and caught five. They were another eight miles North East of me but  since it was getting late now and there was two knots of current against us  I decided to just troll towards home. After all we were in the same patch of water and there are no fences out here.

Interestingly there were also reports of the fin being found wide and South of the Southern canyons.

As for the other goings on. There are Kings on the offshore reefs but they are here today and gone tomorrow. There are lots of undersize Kings inshore too. It seems the bottom fishing at Browns is also a day to day proposition and even the shark fishing is slow. Though it was definitely slow fishing last week-end you could always blame  the moon or the increased currents. So if you believe the moon has anything to do with it next week should be better.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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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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