Wild and Woolley is the only way to describe the ocean on Saturday. It doesn’t look too bad in the video but let me tell you the 25 knots of North Easterly pushing against the Northerly current created a very short and wild sea.
We had only just put the lures in the water when over the air came a distress call. A boat was sinking with four on board. Consequently I marked their position and found I was twelve miles and 45 minutes away. Fortunately for them another boat was much closer and eventually got them aboard. It was a wild sea. As a result I turned around and went back to fishing.
I can’t imagine what would have been going through those guy’s minds as the boat filled with water. I suppose there was some comfort in knowing that via the radio everyone out there was willing to help. The importance of a good radio cannot be understated. To top it off another boat (I don’t know the exact details) was found floundering near the shelf with no power. Fortunately for them a passing boat was there to help, again a happy ending.
Furthermore it should be remembered that the ocean can be most unforgiving therefore being prepared is essential.
Anyway back to the fishing. There were a few Yellowfin 30 to 35 kilo’s taken South of Browns. Unfortunately I never got the chance to try further North. Since the sea was still building and considering the clients returning home seemed the right option.
It is apparent that these ‘fin are sticking around and are very spread out. Before the week-end they were being caught from wide of the Car Park at Port Stephens down to past the Southern Canyons. Also sightings of Striped Marlin, as well as at least one capture, are becoming more common.
Over the next few weeks the warm current will move in closer and should bring the first of the tropical namely Mahi Mahi and hopefully motivate the Striped Marlin.
Yellowfin off Sydney was the news going around but I’d heard they were off the Norah Canyons. I went out several times last week chasing these so called Yellowfin off Sydney…
On Wednesday I took Sergio and some of his friends out to chase those elusive Yellowfin. Reports had been coming in of them being around Norah Head. However on my previous outing I had found them further South so I headed that way.
Worryingly the three weather reports for the day were stating different outcomes, varying from not too bad to horrible. Anyway we decided to go figuring that the NE would build in the afternoon and we’d come home with it.
It was pretty good until we neared the shelf where the current veered to the South causing the sea to stand up. I thought we’d keep going for a little longer when in 150 fathoms a Marlin showed up behind the Lumo and proceeded to attack it. Sadly it didn’t hook up but the excitement was enough to motivate the guys to keep on going even though a couple of the guys weren’t feeling too well.
To cut a long story short the conditions got worse and it was apparent we weren’t going to get to the area I wanted. So we turned around and trolled home hoping for another Marlin.
Thursday was a totally different story. The wind not more than ten knots all day, a beautiful dead calm day. We had a crew of four girls who started the day with Champagne and Orange juice cocktails which was not the best way to start a day at sea, even on a relatively calm day.
We tried for Kings but to no avail so headed out wide again. Whales and Dolphins were aplenty and even a couple of Sunfish but nothing else. In desperation Ron put out a red and white feather on 15kg. to see if there were any Striped tuna around. A couple of hours passed and we found a good looking patch of water. By then two of the girls were not very well, one of them quite sick. As luck would have it we started to catch Stripies which raised their spirits for a while however the decision was made to start heading back. I then noticed a Gannet hovering so went over to have a look. As we approached we got a hit on the Lumo and one of Peter’s new 3D Jet lures, obviously bigger fish but no hookups. I went around again and this time the Stripy lure went off, except this was no Striped tuna. As it turned out after a good fight Kristen landed a 25 kilo Yellowfin. Just goes to show you can always expect the unexpected.
Saturday started out well, a strong North Easterly predicted for the afternoon but we’d be out there by then, so no problem.
I put the lures, using the same pattern as on Thuesday, out at 80 fathoms hoping to raise another Marlin. Nothing happened until in about 250 fathoms the Lumo went off. I thought we’d found that Striped Marlin and looked back hoping to see it jumping. But no, just then the 3D lure on the rigger took off. We had a double of Yellowfin. The boys did a good job of avoiding crossed lines and soon had the fish on board. I went around again and again a double strike on the same lures but this time one dropped off and the other wore through the leader. After working the area for a while with no luck I headed out wider. The North Easterly started to come away so I turned with it and headed back to where we had caught the fish earlier. And again within a couple of hundred metres of where we had hooked up we hooked up again, this time it was a triple. After much confusion we landed all three. I went around again and managed yet another ‘fin making it just right, a fish for each angler, perfect. So now with a fish each and one man down It was time to head for home.
On the way in I saw some Gannets hovering and as I watched there was a huge bust up below them. They were definitely Yellowfin, but what was surprising was they were in only 65 fathoms.
The attached video shows some of the high lights, enjoy.
For weeks I have been hearing about the Yellowfin Tuna off Port Stephens and the Bluefin Tuna well out of reach down South not getting any closer than Kiama. The action well out reach of most Sydney based boats especially since the weather has been less than favourable.
Finally the mighty Yellowfin Tuna at least are getting closer.
I went out on Saturday a little more optimistic than usual because I’d noticed a couple of long liners working wide and North of Broken Bay. Also a warm current pushing down with the break almost within my reach. However I was a little apprehensive also since the weather report was a little bit iffy. We were going anyway, worst case scenario we’d be coming home with the weather best case the bureau was wrong.
We started trolling in 300 fathoms after passing through some very
green water of 18.5 degrees which was a lot better than the 17 at the shelf. There was still very little life , other than Whales and the occasional Albatross in the area. But with still 14 miles to the break. I noticed a blip on the radar, too small for a tanker and too large and far away for a Game boat, possibly a Long Liner. As we got closer to it , about 5 miles away, the water colour changed and warmed then out of the blue a double strike. After a relatively short fight we landed two Yellowfin 25 to 30 kilo’s.
A little hope…
Consequently I worked the area but there was no sign of life, still neither
birds nor bait so I moved on, out towards the Long Liner. After another hour of searching I decided to head back to where we caught the fish. You wouldn’t believe it, we were within a couple of hundred metres off the spot when we had another strike, this one a much bigger fish. After a solid fight that only a Yellowfin Tuna can put up we landed a 50 kilo fish much to the excitement of the crew , as you can hear in the video, who had never caught a Gamefish before.
And so we headed for home, thirty five miles away.
With some luck the current will move in closer and bring with it the Tuna and bait and hopefully some Marlin will follow.
Sydney Tuna Fishing is frustrating to say the least at present. Listening to the radio while fishing off Sydney and hearing the guys off Kaiama and JB catching Bluefin and those at Port Stephens catching Yellowfin has only added to the frustration.
For those of us here the Sydney tuna fishing is hard work. There have been a few Yellowfin taken out wide but with numbers of Yellowfin only forty miles North and with the Bluefin only fifty miles South there is great expectation that the currents will bring them to us after this blow – one lives in hope.
I went out a couple of times last week and managed two Yellowfin, one of 58.5 kilo’s and another of 34.8 kilo’s. Both times I headed South hoping the Bluefin had moved up in the current which they hadn’t.
The photo’s of Bluefin below show the result of Sam Ayad taking his boat ‘Smart Bill’ down to the bite off Kiama.
So with the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s annual ‘Tuna Slam’ underway and continuing until the end of August and with an opening purse of $2,000.00 and the potential of both Bluefin and Yellowfin on our doorstep in the coming months you’d be crazy not to enter.
By the way there have been NO Bluefin weighed yet and the biggest Yellowfin so far is only 38.7 kilo’s , you could be a winner…
Yellowfin mayhem is the only way to describe what we encountered yesterday fishing wide off Sydney. Though we lost fish and lots of gear it was a fabulous day’s fishing.
With the glorious weather predicted for last Saturday there was no way I was not going out to sea. I’d had a report of a Long Liner off Norah Head doing well so there was some degree of expectation. After checking my last year’s reports I had decided to go cubing and stay until dark. Until then we’d scout around to see what we could find.
The day started very slowly, 12 Mile was pretty dead so out went the lures and off we went. The radio was pretty quiet, especially for a dead calm day when you expect the usual noise makers. However on one boat ‘Shukudu’ , Jared reported seeing some ‘fin but wasn’t able to get them to bite. I did hear another boat had caught a good fish.
We continued trolling and was marking lots of small schools of bait and on one occasion I saw what I thought were Frigate mackerel. With all this bait around it was surprising that there wasn’t more bird activity.
We continued on and in our travels found a long line, so there must be Yellowfin somewhere. I followed the line for a few miles with no activity so moved in closer to shore where I had seen the bait by then it was late enough to start our cube trail.
After only about fifteen minutes of cubing i got a shock when I saw a fish in the trail and shortly after it was followed by a whole school of sixty plus kilo Yellowfin. It was mesmerizing, a sight of Yellowfin I haven’t seen for many a year.
It didn’t take long and we had two fish on. One angler was forced to go to the bow so I felt pretty secure knowing they were well separated – just goes to show how wrong you can be. After a good hour on 24kg. they came together. We did manage to separate the lines but some minutes later one broke off followed shortly after by the other. Heartbreaking is only one word to describe our feelings.
Fortunately the ‘fin were still with us and not long after we were on again sadly we fared no better with this. After nearly an hour of fighting the hook broke.
We had mixed feelings on board. On the one hand frustration at losing those fish after long hard fights mixed with the sight of those beautiful Yellowfin feeding unhindered virtually at our feet, something never to be forgotten.
I have seen this sort of action several times with Bluefin but I don’t even want to guess at how long it has been since I last saw yellowfin feeding at the back of the boat. It was quite common in the past as I’m sure some of the old and not so old timers will tell.
As I look at my past reports I see that during last year’s May and June Yellowfin produced some really good fishing, most fish well over 55 kilo’s, here’s hoping…
Below are a couple of paragraphs from last year’s ‘Ambition Reports ‘….
‘Over the last few weeks Yellowfin tuna running between 25 and 70 kilo’s have been caught off Sydney. These fish are ranging over a wide area having been caught from wide and North of the ‘Bait Station’ all the way down the coast. Consequently they take a lot of finding and the changing conditions at sea every day don’t make it any easier. However once located the fun begins… if you’re lucky.’
‘Even though we arrived at the area late we managed this one fish and had another two strikes that sadly didn’t connect. I would have liked to stay until dark but the wind was picking up, probably doing 25 knots when we eventually left.
The bite was an early one and while we saw the end of it Markoo skippered by Benn Dullard had left port very early and managed four fish around the 35 kilo mark before we got there.
The area was alive. There were more than a few Sperm Whales obviously feeding. Also , Gannets all waiting for the tuna to push the bait to the surface.’
So with restrictions being lifted and competition fishing commencing on 1st. June (tomorrow) it is all starting to come together.
There was a Broadbill taken off the Southern Canyons yesterday and Ben Dullard on his boat ‘Markoo’ went out wide and found some Yellowfin tuna. The one he landed looked a good 60 to 65 kilo’s , unfortunately due to the current restrictions he couldn’t weight it, but that will change from tomorrow.
Unfortunately the weather is not looking too good for the next few days but Friday and Saturday look the goods. If you can trust predictions this far out.
It has certainly been a long time between drinks on Ambition. At least now it looks like the bars are opening again. This metaphor for chartering is bringing some hope. We may not be able to take our full capacity of anglers but at least we’ll be able to get out there and get that much needed refill of salt into our veins.
Interestingly for those who have been able to get out results have been pretty good even though for some fish, namely Kingfish it has been a day to day proposition on both the inshore and offshore reefs.
Browns has apparently been doing ok for those deep dropping but over the last few days the current has made it difficult.
The Game Fishing scene is also hot and cold but that could be due to lack of fishing pressure. There have been a couple of Blue Marlin tagged and a couple of Striped Marlin lost. There are also a couple of Long Liners still working out wide. However I haven’t heard of any Yellowfin being taken recently.
I went out on Sunday for a look and stayed out cubing into the evening. We didn’t have any great success but did find there was heaps of bait . We found Slimies, Frigate Mackerel and Striped tuna well out beyond the shelf. In fact while we were cubing all we raised was a huge school of Slimies however nothing was eating them.
Being optimistic as you have to be to be a fisherman, I would like to believe that if the bait’s there the fish will come…
After hearing reports during last week of yellowfin ranging from mid 40 kilo’s to around 70 kilo’s I was obviously keen to get out there. I managed to raise a crew and headed out on Saturday. Reports during the week had been from widen of Broken Bay down to the Southern canyons. Since there was a Southerly due I went South. Just wide of Browns the water had reached 24 degrees so the lure were deployed and we went hunting. There was little action in the form of birds and bait until I found a temperature break from 24 degrees down to 23.6 degrees.
Further down the coast on the break birds started to appear then suddenly they were everywhere. I worked the birds for a couple of hours seeing the yellowfin busting up but unable to get to them in time.
I decided to look further afield and hadn’t gone more than a couple of hundred metres when the ‘shotgun’ went off.
Sadly after nearly an hour and with the fish just out of gaffing range the ‘wind-on’ gave way. It was devastating to lose such a good fish after a very tough fight so near to the end. Anyway these things happen.
On the radio during the day there were several reports of Striped Marlin on the shelf both up around the ‘Bait Station’ and further down inshore of where I was. There was one Blue
Marlin being fought but after a 2 hour fight I didn’t hear whether they caught it. There were also quite a few Yellowfin taken .
So though Saturday was a great day to be out wide after hearing the reports it was decidedly better on Sunday.
It is such a shame that this unbelievable bite is coinciding with this virus.
I brought Ambition back from Port Stephens last Monday. I fished all the way down starting just North of the ‘Car Park ‘ trolling skip baits.
The plan was originally to come back on Sunday but due to the weather on Saturday my charter was pushed back to Sunday. Consequently we made the trip back from Port Stephens on Monday. Surprisingly the weather was pretty good as we left the Port even though the week-end’s weather pad been pretty ordinary.
On the Leader…
The plan was to run out North of the ‘Car Park’, find some bait and troll skippies for an hour or so then put out the lures and work our way back home to Sydney.
All went to plan, we found some bait and slowed down to put out the skippies, Adam had just put out one . Then as he was setting the second one it was pulled out of his hand and a good sized Black tore off at a million miles an hour, so to speak. This fish gave a good account of itself giving us a good run for our money however the 24 kg. inevitably took its toll and the Black was soon released. Excitement all round as it was the angler’s first marlin.
A good Black…
So, with one fish under our belt, with the baits deployed we started again. It took a little longer to find the second fish and a bit more difficult to finally hook it. This Black came in on one of the skipped baits , hit it and dropped back without getting hooked. We then put out a live bait which it again picked up and again no hook up. Then while we were waiting and hoping for it to take the live bait again the other skipped bait was taken while it was sinking and this time the Black was hooked.
It was a strange fight in that the fish , quite a large Black that we called at least 120kg., never took a run and didn’t even go deep as you’d expect from a Black , So after a very short fight we dully released the Marlin .
Continuing our trip down we had changed over to lures. Oddly just past the Newcastle canyons the water started going green and cooling. I went closer looking for better water, no go. I went out to 500 fathoms , no change. Conditions didn’t change for the rest of the run down. We did however get a strike from a good sized Striped Marlin on the Southern edge of the Norah Canyons. On examining the leader it was obviously the fish had been bill wrapped. The water was only 21.5 C , green and apparently lifeless.
Conditions don’t seem to be getting any better off Sydney as we approach what I’ve always considered the best time of year for our offshore fishing.
But ever being the optimist , it will get better.Nothing stays the same for long in the ocean.
Port Stephens Billfish in the form of Striped Marlin along with Blacks and the appearance of Blue Marlin were on the bite last week-end. Also amongst the Billfish a good run of Mahi Mahi.
The Port Stephen Billfish turned on again last week-end. They were
big fish too. I heard of Stripies around the one hundred kilo mark and of at least one Black estimated at a hundred and fifty kilo’s by a very experienced skipper. Though they weren’t in the same numbers as the Interclub the previous week there were still enough to go round. As usual it was a matter of find the bait and find the Marlin, so what’s new.
The baitfish along the shelf were flighty and difficult to stay in touch with, however that is where the Marlin were. Those guys dunking bait into the schools didn’t fare as well as those covering ground by skipping rigged baits or trolling live baits. Also, to make life more interesting for those dunking baits there were quite a few Whaler sharks in the mix.
The boats trolling lures also raised plenty of Marlin but as is usual the hook up rate not as good as with baits especially for the Striped Marlin. They did have the advantage though of raising the occasional Blue Marlin some of which I heard were on the large size. Apparently you didn’t have to go far to find the Blues either, just wide of the ‘Car Park’ and other well known areas just over the shelf.
I fished away from the crowds hovering over and trolling around the bait schools, looking for my own patch. I had quite a successful week-end skipping baits. The highlight, was after marking three or four fish under the boat , seeing four big Striped Marlin trying to eat two baits. We did hook two of them but unfortunately one was tail wrapped and while trying to keep up with it the other dropped off. It was pandemonium for a while but we did get one of them.
So, Port Stephens Marlin. It would be hard to find a more productive area for catching all three species of our Marlin as well as all the other tropical species. The currents the bait add up to a game fish have.