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