Tag Archives: Port Stephens Charters

Ambition report 30th. Sept’19

Unseasonal seems to be the catch cry at present. Even though the water temperature is  quite normal for this time of year  there have been species off Sydney that normally aren’t seen until the summer currents  come in.

Though we do often see a run of bigger Mahi Mahi in November a few have turned up  over the last couple of months in cold water. On Friday John Sartori in his new boat caught a good sized Spearfish  that he estimated at 40kgs. and yesterday both Rob Curry and we on Ambition both hooked Spearfish also.  Spearfish normally show up in the warmest water with Blue Marlin not in 19 degrees. Over winter a couple of Tiger sharks turned up . Whereas the normal run of Mako’s and Blue sharks didn’t eventuate  nor did the  much anticipated run of Bluefin.

We went out on Saturday in less than favourable conditions but it was forecast to abate . Also I know how Yellowfin like rough water. It was getting rough past the 12 mile so we put out the lures in anticipation.   All was going well until we reached the current, a Southerly current of at least 2knots and  the sea really stood up. The plan was to work down the edge of the current staying outside the rough water until I was South of Browns then to work out wider with the following sea.  Well the best made plans of mice and men, what was supposed to abate went the other way and the wind was doing a steady 25 knots.

The new plan was to run in, catch some live bait and hopefully a King. This plan worked until it came to catching a King and after a fruitless hour or two we gave up and returned to the club. The funny thing was that after the clients left, Rob my deckhand decided to put out one of the livies while we cleaned up. As luck would have it he ended up the a 70cm King.

Sunday was the opposite of Saturday, calm seas and a light breeze, hard to believe it was the same ocean. Without going into to much detail we trolled out to the thousand fathom line then worked North. We saw lots of Whales and Dolphins but little else. The radio however was really annoying. Yellowfin everywhere were the constant calls which would have been great  but they where all off Kiama, I had to turn the radio off.

I picked up a boat in the distance which looked like a long liner so headed towards it.  To cut a long story short as we approached  the boat we had a strike on the short corner. At first it looked like a Marlin doing its window wiper  imitation.  However as it settled down I could see it was much too small for a Marlin and was in fact a Spearfish.

So, that was the weekend two totally different days but both frustrating.

Tight lines,
Ivan

P.S.  – I will be in Port Stephens from mid-January until mid-March and am taking bookings now…

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Ambition report 16th.September’19

The  offshore fishing off Sydney is all about the Fickle Yellowfin Tuna. Here one day gone the next. There are long liners working offshore so they must be somewhere.

After the spell of bad weather last week I was keen to get out on Friday since there had been a few ‘fin previously. The ocean still looked a bit lively on Friday morning but the decision was to go.  So we set off.

Inshore Yellowfin
Inshore Yellowfin

 

I planned to run out to the shelf before putting the lures out. Unfortunately with wind against current I was forced to slow down  and as it happened, fortunately.

September Yellowfin
September Yellowfin

The lures went out in about 70 fathoms, at least there was the chance of an early season Striped Marlin. Surprisingly it was only a few minutes after the lures went out that the shotgun, with you know what lure, screamed off. My first thoughts were of a Marlin, but no jumping and running too hard to be a Striped tuna. So you can imagine my surprise  at seeing the yellow sickles of a 30 kilo Yellowfin in only 75 fathoms, something I haven’t seen in many a year. The interesting thing about this fish is that we caught it on the ‘Zero’ line. Maybe we should take more notice of it even when it is close inshore.

Photo’s taken and gear reset we continued on our way. My original aim was to reach the other side of the ‘Zero’ line in a thousand fathoms.

The further we moved offshore the greener and warmer the water, and also more lifeless . Then just inside the thousand fathom line we had a double strike. We  saw no birds and no bait,  absolutely no sign of life yet we were hooked up. We landed one of the fish, a Yellowfin about 30 kilo’s but lost the other when it crossed one of the the lines as it was being cleared.

After Friday’s fishing I was keen to get out again on Sunday. Unfortunately at the last minute my clients cancelled their charter so I never made it out . However  after talking to some of my friends who were out it  appears as though the  fish have moved on again.  Though they found long lines and Long liners setting their  gear I didn’t hear of anything caught off Sydney but there was some action around the Norah canyons.

Even the Kingfish are playing hard to get. One reef one day another the next. However they are still making an appearance in the harbour especially middle harbour.

Until next time…

Tight lines,
Ivan

 

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Ambition report 8th.August’19

Sydney doldrums is certainly  the best way to describe the Game Fishing off Sydney over the last couple of weeks. That is certainly not to say there haven’t been occasional catches  of Yellowfin, just enough to tempt you out .  However here it has been a hard slog. Especially when you keep hearing about what is going on both North and South of us .

Big Yellowfin  and numbers of them seem to have taken up residence off Jervis Bay. The same can be said of Port Stephens and Norah Heads to the North.

Unfortunately, we poor soles without the mobility of trailer boats have had to cover an awful lot of water just to have a chance at finding the occasional school  of Yellowfin as they pass through.  Furthermore over the last week or so  there has been an increase in these numbers  but it is still hard going. Hopefully after this next bout of weather moves through it will all change…can’t help the optimism.

Bob Curry from his boat  ‘Marquis’ was one of the lucky ones to find some action . They picked up a fortyish kilo Yellowfin on a blind strike.   Apparently after an incident filled fight, which I won’t go into,  somewhere on the Southern canyons they boated the fish. There have been other captures, enough to  tease,   as a result and as I have said you have to cover a lot of water.

Marquis' Yellowfin
Marquis’ Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

There have been a few Marlin encountered as often happens at this time of year.  But, most noteworthy and even stranger  are the numbers of Mahi Mahi  showing up. Several of the boats out Shark fishing have seen them schooled under their boats. Sadly  they have proved to be difficult to tempt onto a hook.

Consequently, I for one am waiting for this next bout of weather to pass on to find out what has changed.

The big question is , where are the Bluefin ?

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Ambition report 16th.June’19

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.

 
Winter Striped Marlin
Winter Striped Marlin

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

Striped Marlin

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.

Winter Striped Marlin
Winter Striped Marlin
 
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…
 
www.ambitioncharters.com.au
 
Tight lines,
Ivan
 
 
 

Ambition report 9th.April’19

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

Yellowfin
Yellowfin

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.

Storm
Storm

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.

Striped Marlin
Striped Marlin

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 on the line...
Stripy on the line…

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.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition Report 25th. March’19

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.

Mahi Mahi on board
Mahi Mahi on board

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.

Gaffed...
Gaffed…

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.

A  Striped Marlin close...
A Striped Marlin close…

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.

Tagged...
Tagged…

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.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 21st. March’19

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.

Blue Marlin…
Striped Marlin...
Striped Marlin…

 

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.

Mahi Mahi for dinner...
Mahi Mahi for dinner…

 

 

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.

Triple on Yellowfin...
Triple on Yellowfin…

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.

Fighting Blue...
Fighting Blue…
Blue on a string...
Blue on a string…

 

 

 

 

What this autumn will produce is anyone’s guess but we’ll be out there hunting…

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Ambition report 19th.February’19

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’.

Tonys Spearfish
Tonys Spearfish

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.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 11th. February’19

The juvenile Blacks should be at Port Stephens now so should the Stripes and even the Blues, but where are they ? Fisher people are finding the occasional fish, mostly small Blacks, but up until now there is no consistency.

I went out on Saturday with great expectations. Last week out wide there were big Mahi Mahi and we found a few Marlin. The currents have since moved closer inshore and even slowed a little.  All seemed well and on the improve.

We went wide, out into the hot current which had gotten even hotter. Whereas last week my guage ( I stress my guage ) was showing 25.8 to 26 degrees this day it went over 27 degrees.  Also, compared to last week there was no live other than the occasional Flying fish.

In my travels and after hours of fruitless trolling I passed over ‘Almark’. To my surprise I marked fish mid-water. I was surprised because with the current racing I didn’t expect to see anything. Consequently to save the day I suggested a jigging session to at least curb my clients frustration.

 

Almark King...
Almark King…

It took a drift or two to locate the fish, the wind and current making it quite a chore. However once I got it right the Kings started coming in. We ended up with twelve fish between 75 and 90 cm. with one over a metre. It was especially interesting when we had triple hook-ups as the boys had had more than a couple of drinks, but we won’t go there.

Almark King...
Some more Almark King…

 

 

 

 

 

As for the Marlin…there is plenty of bait inshore so hopefully if the current finally moves in close it will trigger the action. In the meantime all we can do is give it a go. Interestingly there have been a few Longliners in Port so we might get a run of Yellowfin like last year. If the Yellowfin turn up the Blue Marlin won’t be far behind – how’s that for optimism.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 30th. January’19

The fishing clinics we held over the last week surprisingly produced small Black Marlin. Not the fish you normally expect in 500 fathoms.

The fishing at Port Stephens is really tough at present. Inshore the water is dirty green and cold.  However, there is good bait in close so hopefully when the warm water moves in the Black Marlin and the others will follow.

When you get out to 75 fathoms the water changes dramatically. The current increases from the North to nearly 4 knots and the colour changes to blue. I saw Mutton birds hunting flying fish. Occasionally you will see Mahi Mahi getting in on the action pushing the flying fish into the air so the Mutton birds could scoop them up as they landed.

It was while working these areas of activity that we raised three Black Marlin and a good sized Mahi Mahi during the Pakula Fishing clinics.

On the first clinic we found a Black of around 65 kilo’s which Samantha Guest, the only lady on board, fought well in quite rough seas. It took a Brad’J’ bullet on the shotgun,  surprise , surprise.

Samantha's first Marlin
Samantha’s first Marlin

On the second clinic young Ethan Moses caught a good sized MahMahi which he handled like a pro. We then had a hit from a Black which took a good run only to fall off the hooks shortly afterward.

Ethans Mahi Mahi
Ethans Mahi Mahi

Shortly after Sergio hooked up on what was one of the smallest Black Marlin I have seen. Sergio brought it to the boat fairly quickly and it went crazy. It charged the boat and looked like coming aboard for a second. Unfortunately in a combination of rough sea and crazy Black, the tag pole tangled with the leader and broke it, so was lost at the boat. The video shows the scenario very well.

In summary we raised three Black Marlin and a Dollie which I thought was pretty good in the conditions.  Another local boat ‘SECA’ caught a 60 plus kilo Yellowfin and I did hear of a Wahoo capture.

We did OK…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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