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…
Yellowfin Marlin and Wahoo were caught yesterday even though it wasn’t the very best of days to go fishing. However we were committed. As so often happens when the ocean is less friendly the bite, especially for Yellowfin can be good.
Ours was a story of good and bad luck.
Because of the conditions and with a group of newbies on board it wasn’t long before half of them were sea sick but to their credit they persevered. Their cure came when the first Marlin, a good sized Stripy pounced on the short corner then the rigger and finally the shotgun managing to miss all the hooks. The Marlin was obviously a myopic because it scuffed all the leaders a long way up from the lures,
Listening to the radio scheds from the ‘Port Hacking 100’ tournament it was evident there were quite a few Yellowfin around, varying from so called ‘Jelly beans’ up to 40 kilo’s jobs.
We ended up catching a couple of Yellowfin and losing another when the tag line tangled up with the main line. Later on another Marlin hit the shotgun but again missed the hooks.
The results from the week-end tournament indicated the number and range of fish still out there. ‘Carnage’ weighed a Tiger Shark of 470.5 kilos. There were also Mako’s and at least one Whaler and a Hammerhead weighed. ‘Game Changer’ caught a Blue Marlin of 138 kilo’s for junior Makaira Wright. There were several Yellowfin and Striped Marlin tagged. However, the biggest surprise to me was of a 42kg. Wahoo.
It is turning into a very late season with the warm currents still within range and with the range of warm water species still out there long may it continue.
While there are Blue and Striped Marlin as well as Yellowfin around it is hard fishing.
The weather has been perfect over the last few days consequently a lot of people are getting out wide, very wide. Out there the warmer water is running and fortunately coming in closer.
The Striped Marlin are hanging around the shelf where there is a lot of bait while the Blues are out wider however there is a lot of water separating them. The Yellowfin on the other hand tend to be in closer in the cooler water and if you can find it the break with the greenish water.
Where the Yellowfin are there are also heaps of Dolphins (the mammalian kind) they are pushing the bait up bringing them within range. Mind you, you have to be fast to get to the action before they sound again. Some are being taken on blind strikes but it pays to look for the surface action. The ‘fin are coming in all sizes from Jellybean size up to seventy kilo jobs, well worth the effort.
I went out yesterday with Glen, Karen, Howie and their daughter Makaira, the Tantrum crew. After a lot of looking we eventually found where the Yellowfin were feeding and where there were several boat that had taken fish.
We got one shot after I saw a few fish jumping amongst some Sauries. The hookup was on a 15kg. outfit which Makaira took up. Unfortunately after a screaming run the fish dropped off. A lot later while trolling home crossing the shelf we picked up a Striped Marlin, Makaira took the rod again and made short work of the fish.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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, Marlin, Spearfish, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi. It is also when club fisher people get excited about their first Marlin trophies and the competition can be fierce.
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.
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.