Well after almost 3 months of very mixed fishing especially after the frustration of losing three weeks of prime time due to a blown engine my stay at Port Stephens has come to an end, as much as I love it up there it is good to be back on home territory.
It was a very mixed season starting with a brief run of Striped Marlin which was put to an early end by the strong and very hot Southerly current that has persisted right up until the last couple of weeks. However nothing is entirely without benefit and the current brought with it a huge run of small Black Marlin which stretched all along the East coast and I believe there is still the occasional one being caught. There were numbers of Wahoo, Spearfish and even the occasional Sail that I haven’t seen for ages – but the most amazing capture to me was of a tropical Barracuda caught by Gale Force on their way up to Port. I would love to hear about any other rare northern visitors to out waters.
The numbers of Blue Marlin this year is just phenomenal I have never seen a run like it. There was the occasional big Blue, I mean over 200 kg., amongst them but the smaller fish probably averaging 130 to 150 kg. were just as explosive initially but a lot easier to handle with the benefit of being able to tag and release them.
Back here the Blues are still around though a little harder to find, I tagged one at Port before heading South and ‘Gale Force’ tagging two off Sydney on Saturday both around 150 kg. mark. The good news is the appearance of Striped Marlin with several being tagged and lost in the 80 fathom zone where there is a warmer current running – Micky Doyle from ‘Luna C’ having tagged two.
Sydney at this time of year is at its best, not necessarily with numbers of fish but their quality. In most seasons the biggest of species are caught at this time of year when the water is at its warmest. However with what has happened this whole summer who can say what will be. I personally would like to see the return of Yellowfin, there have been some schools sighted and a couple of good fish caught South of us so there is hope…
The run of Blue Marlin continued up at Port this week and from what I hear further South too those boats lucky enough to get out during the week getting multiple strikes and hook ups. They were a little harder to locate during the week-end as they moved further South.
I found some off the Newcastle canyons on Saturday managing two out of three. They weren’t big fish as Blues go being around 100 and 130 kgs. but they still performed the way only Blues will, that strike and first run electrifying. One good thing about the smaller ones is you generally get them to the boat alive to release for another day.
I can’t remember a season like this with so many Blue Marlin or such a hot current extending down the coast for so long and holding so many good sized Dollies, Wahoo in numbers not seen for years down here as well as the more than occasional Spearfish and even the odd Sailfish.
Up here the current has now eased. The temperature is still 25 to 27 degrees but has slowed to a point where the bait is starting to gather on the shelf. I had a look at Almark and marked what I thought were Kings down there but they didn’t take a jig but on dropping baits we managed a couple of Bar Cod as well as the ubiquitous ‘Jacket.
Whether it is too late or too warm for a late run of Striped Marlin is a matter for speculation but it would be good.
I hope to bring Ambition back to Sydney this week-end depending on the weather. Anyone wanting to come for a last day’s fishing up here on Saturday and/or the trip back on Sunday should give me a call or contact me through my web site.
March, April and even into mid-May is when the fishing off Sydney comes into its own. It is a period when in the past not necessarily the most of species but the largest were caught but the way it has been this year anything could happen.
It looked like the warm water had moved back in close last Saturday but it is very fickle with temperatures around 24 degrees at Seal Rocks last Thursday and back to 21 on Saturday.
While fishing the Gibber I did mark what appeared to be a couple of Marlin but with no takers it remains a matter of speculation, we did manage a couple of Snapper and a Trag as by catch though.
First off we went out wide stopping off at the FAD and managing one good Mahi Mahi before they went off the bite. It was a good to see that the current had eased and the temperature was up around 24 C, there. However, as we went wider the current increased dramatically and with it running South into the building Southerly wind and swell it was becoming quite nasty, at around 80 fathoms the decision was made to fish inshore where we ended up at the Gibber and the ‘V’ catching some nice bottom fish as mentioned but no Marlin.
Looking forward the weather is looking good over Easter, unusual as that may be and with the warm water still moving in we could expect another run in shore and if we keep our fingers crossed and the current eases along the shelf maybe even a late run of Stripies with the Blue Marlin always a possibility. I know it is a lot of ‘ifs’ but if you’re not optimistic you’d never go fishing.
Because of the weather and the potential for a late run I’ll be available up here at Port until after Easter so if anyone wants to give it a go give me a call or email me via my website…
The Blue Marlin bite continued last week at Port Stephens the fish moving South with the current as the week progressed and extending down to Sydney. Amongst the Blues there were quite a few Spearfish and some good sized Black Marlin along with Mahi Mahi and the occasional Wahoo. In short nothing much has changed since the week before.
For those fishing the Newcastle tournament there seemed to be a bonanza of fish but on closer scrutiny it was apparent that for everyone who was lucky enough to have found the Marlin there was someone else with the equivalent bad luck.
Back at Port Stephens were I was fishing we found the Marlin East and North of the Port up to Almark on Friday and by Sunday the concentration was down around the Newcastle canyons. The fish generally around the 100 to 150kg range by no means large for Blue Marlin, there were most definitely some bruisers amongst them, and fairly easy to handle providing you could get the hooks to stick. These Marlin were hitting the lures like express trains and personally I think that because there was and is so much bait around they are hitting out of aggression rather than hunger just using their Bills.
Where they’ll be this week is anyone’s guess. The change in weather and the Southerly blowing this week could send that Southerly current anywhere but if it keeps moving South it will certainly liven up the Broken Bay tournament providing the weather plays ball.
Until next week,
I went out on Sunday with a plan which is unusual for me since I generally let the conditions on the day govern my approach. But after looking at Saturday’s chart with a ‘Zero’ line close inshore and hearing from the local ‘bottom bouncers’ that the water was hot in close, almost lapping up to the cliffs I planned to look for Marlin in close.
However, on Sunday there was no hot water in close and the current was raging so it was off to look for the good stuff. The temperature and colour didn’t get appreciably better until into the 80 fathom area but we kept going. After the 300 fathoms the water cooled to less than 20 degrees with no appreciable life but I was going out.
In the 700 fathom area it started to warm again I and there were birds both searching and working but on something small which I couldn’t make out.
Anyway to cut a long story short I found a Long liner and he was setting so I spent some time in the area where there were groups of birds heavily working on baitfish being pushed up but because of the current they were moving by quickly. As I worked one of the groups we had a triple strike and I saw the ‘Shotgun’ explode and really scream off, unfortunately whatever it was straightened one of the hooks. One of the others fish just threw the hooks so we ended up with one out of three, a nice 38 kilo Yellowfin.
Through the day there were some nice Mahi Mahi taken one of which is a potential Junior record going 22 kilo’s on 15 kilo line. – a good effort.
Went out yesterday in glorious conditions, at last, with the guys from Global Tackle to test some new gear the plan was to chase a few Kings then go out wide to see what was out there.
At the Peak there were plenty of fish showing on the sounder but we couldn’t entice them onto the deck either with live bait, squid or jigs.
We then went for a troll out to the FAD but nothing showed there, then out over the shelf where the current picked up and pushing into a Southerly breeze really lifted the sea. I didn’t even go to Browns as the couple of boats out there and wider indicated colder green water, possibly a result of the fresh pushing out after the stormy weather from the Northern and far North coast rivers. The radio especially during the week can be a great source of information unlike during the week-ends but we won’t go there.
At the 12 Mile a similar story to the Peak but after a lot of effort hooked a large fish, between losing rigs to Jackets, that beat the poor angler to the bottom on a jig then after what seemed like ages hooked another that went 94cm. but put up a fight like a much larger fish, guess that’s why we love our Kings.
There are good sized Kings being caught inshore on live squid and down-rigging and trolling along the cliffs is producing Salmon, Bonito and in places heaps of undersized Kings.