Tag Archives: Striped Marlin

Ambition Report 24th.October’21

To get back out to sea was indeed good for the soul. Though the relief was great the results left a lot to be desired at least as far as the Game Fishing went.

We left the harbour on Saturday in beautiful weather it being a surprise that the BOM were quite accurate.

Reports from out wide indicated that there were Yellowfin and Marlin off Port Stephens and that the Yellowfin run to the South had eased but there had been Marlin encountered down there. So again Sydney was missing out. Consequently Kingfish became the best option. Reports through the week indicated good catches of sizeable fish on the offshore reefs. However when we got to there there were a million and one boats already hard at it. We dropped a couple of baits to no avail and didn’t see anyone else catching so I moved off to try the other reefs sadly all with the same result. Whether we’d missed the bite or the full moon or the number of boats had anything to do with the shut down we’ll never know but at least we had excuses.

We ended up going wide on the off chance that something would give.

I did end up finding birds working over some bait and Striped tuna just over the shelf. I worked the area for some time but there were no takers so headed off to home.

On the way in we had another shot at the Kings  but there was even less showing on the sounder that earlier. Again we had no takers  so we were throttles down and homeward bound.

Though it was frustrating as far as the fishing went it was still great to be at sea again and in good weather to boot.

Tight lines
Ivan

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Ambition report 22nd.September’21

Mid-October opening, start fishing, start fishing, start fishing…

Well thankfully it seems as though we are  on track to open up  Mid-October. I am pretty sure there are lots of anglers out there just waiting to reconstitute the salt concentration in their blood.

Sydney October Yellowfin
Sydney October Yellowfin

 

Sydney October Yellowfin
Sydney October Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

 

It appears from those who have been able to get out to sea that we have missed a really good Tuna bite. Though it is too late to expect the Bluefin the Yellowfin are still to be found off Sydney. From what I have seen on the charts there should also be a Marlin or two to be found.

Just to remind those who might have forgotten I have uploaded a couple of video’s from October’s past to show that the Tuna season is not over done.

So yes, we are ready to go fishing just as soon as the lockdown is lifted. And yes I am taking bookings from the 20th. October’21 out of Sydney and I’ll be chartering off Port Stephens during February next year. The only proviso is that you must be Double vaxxed.

So come on mid-October…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 7th.April’21

EASTER

The most amazing thing about Easter this year was the weather. It could not have been more conducive to good fishing. It was just a shame that the Easter fishing wasn’t as good as the weather.

Yellowfin
Yellowfin

Not to say there were no fish around, it was just difficult to keep up to the Yellowfin once found and the Marlin either weren’t sticking or they just hit and the wrong lures, by that I mean they would hit the Profrigies or Squidgies (or whatever they are called) which are not really designed for Marlin and they do like them. The problem being that their weight, even though they are meant to slide up the leader, makes them easy for the Marlin to throw.

Yellowfin
Yellowfin

As it happened there were good days when the fish bit more readily and those not so good days when try as you might the fish just stayed out of reach.

I went out on Saturday after hearing of a good bite on Friday when quite a few Yellowfin and Marlin were caught. Saturday was one of those not so good days. We put the lures in at the shelf and proceeded to troll out to the wide grounds. There was bait in the form of Striped tuna and flying fish aplenty around the shelf but no hits.

OUT WIDE

We reached an area in 700 fathoms where the water was ideal and a few birds were scouting around. There was another boat in the area also. So the hunt began. Eventually I spotted some fish busting up a few hundred metres ahead. I put the throttles down to try and get to them whilst they were feeding and as I did you wouldn’t believe it the other boat hooked up. I think he caught his fish and we followed the school until they vanished.

Yellowfin
Yellowfin

We continued on our search hearing about the occasional encounters with Tuna and Marlin.
Then just ahead some bait started jumping and was quickly followed up by a school of Yellowfin busting up right in front of us. They were so close I couldn’t avoid running through them.

As I turned to make another pass the shotgun took a hit but sadly no hook-up. I think another case of a Marlin hitting the wrong lure. As evidenced by the scuffing in the leader.

On our way home there was bait everywhere, Striped tuna on the shelf in closer frigate mackerel and off the heads slimy mackerel everywhere.

All the ingredients are there for a great late season bite. As I have mentioned before the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament has in the past been when it all comes together. So with the tournament on in a couple of weeks ( 17th. and 18th. April ) all fingers crossed and sacrifices made to the weather Gods we can look forward to some good if not great fishing.

TightLines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 29th.March’21

Sydney’s Game Fishing is at its best from the middle of March through April and sometimes into the middle of May  Sydney’s Game Fishing is the best . It is also why the Sydney Game Fishing Club holds its annual Peter Goadby Memorial Tournament at this time of year, actually on the 17th. and 18th. April this year.
 Yellowfin off Sydney
Yellowfin off Sydney

Over the years Blue Marlin over 250 kilo’s have usually taken out the heaviest trophy and a couple of years Blues over 300 kilo’s have done the job with bigger ones lost. There have been Yellowfin over 70 kilo’s, Striped and Black Marlin in their larger sizes as well as Mahi Mahi and the occasional Wahoo that make their presence felt and the tournament a success.

 Yellowfin off Sydney
Yellowfin off Sydney

So back to my report…finally this year the weather has stabalised to a degree giving us the opportunity to go out and see what’s there. After all the flooding up and down the coast we had no idea of what to expect. Checking out the ‘True Colour’ charts showed muddy water out to near the shelf. However with fine weather predicted we just had to go out and have a look.

To say the water was like chocolate out to 60 fathoms would be an understatement however it was still surprisingly warm. At 80 fathoms it turned to what I call a clean green and just over the shelf it started to Blue up, near the 140 fathom it was the colour we want and 25.5 C and there were Striped tuna everywhere so many so the I pulled in the smaller lures to stop from hooking them.
 Yellowfin off Sydney
Yellowfin off Sydney
Al McGlashin came over the radio saying he’d caught a Yellowfin and while pulling it in a couple of Blue Marlin followed it right up to the boat. Jeff Manson of ‘Spindrift’ tagged a 2.4 metre Blue Marlin as a first for a lady angler and Bob Curry of ‘Marquis’ had a stellar day tagging two Striped Marlin and catching a 50 kilo Yellowfin.
All around us reports were coming in of schools of Yellowfin tuna from 200 fathoms out past the 1,000 fathom line.
As we continued out we found groups of Mutton birds working in small areas over baitfish and Striped tuna. Other groups showed what I considered to be Yellowfin marking deeper down. I made the decision to pull in my shotgun lure and put out a Squidgy I don’t like to do this when there are Marlin around, I should know better. I would like to say at this point that Murphy and his law are a bitch.   The Squidgy hadn’t been out for five minutes when a Blue Marlin came in and destroyed it, a lesson learned again.
We continued on working the bait schools without anything happening when again in another bait school I marked fish deeper down.  With a fair degree of apprehension we changed over to the Squidgy again. After quite a while working around this school we got the hit which thankfully was a Yellowfin.
So it appears that it is all coming together out there. We have hot water, Blue Marlin and Yellowfin who could ask for more.
April and our tournament should live up to their reputations.
Tight lines,
Ivan

Ambition report 15th.March’21

It constantly surprises me how the sea conditions can change from one day to the next.

I went out last Friday in less than ideal sea conditions which were supposed to ease through the day. Anyway at the Heads the water temperature was nearly 24 degrees and blue. On Saturday in much calmer conditions the temperature had dropped by about one and a half degrees and was dirty green.

Steve tracing a Black...
Steve tracing a Black…
Conditions on Friday were such that because I couldn’t travel comfortably I started trolling just off the Heads. Even though it has happened often in the past I was still taken by surprise when the small lure on the rigger was hit and a baby Black started bouncing in towards us. Sadly as often happens when the fish comes straight at you the hooks were thrown. We continued on out towards the wave rider where the sea was really standing up, in fact I dipped one of the riggers. There were birds working around the wave rider but we never raised anything and only saw some very very small Mahi Mahi. Conditions weren’t getting any better so I decided to do a downhill troll to the Peak to give the guys a rest. On the way we raised a Striped Marlin which proceeded to attack all our lures without even breaking a band.
Damien's Marlin
Damien’s Marlin

So because of the sea conditions I stayed inshore and in the course of the day we tagged two Black Marlin, raised another two which came unstuck as well as a Striped Marlin. Even though it was quite rough it was pleasant being out there alone with a quiet radio.

Saturday was another story but at least the sea was quite calm (relatively anyway). As I said the water was much cooler and a dirty green out for quite a distance. Again I started trolling in close but it soon became apparent that everything had changed. There were still a few Blacks taken in close on live baits but it hardly seemed worthwhile. So out we went. The water did warm up and turned the blue colour we like. There was a bit of deep bait and plenty of both small and large flying fish which the Mutton birds were trying to catch. There were also lots of Striped Tuna which were a nuisance on my smaller lures. To top things off the current was raging, doing three to four knots to the South. Definitely not conducive to allowing the bait to hold station.
Sadly the day was a dud.
Being ever hopeful the current will ease soon and allow the bait to hold on the shelf and the inshore reefs and attract the pelagics. This is usually the time of year for the big fish. They might not be around in numbers but they usually make up for it in size.
Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition Report 6th.March’21

Marlin Port Stephens…this year was a far cry from previous years. Maybe it was the effect of La Nina maybe the moon but whatever it was it was tough going while I was there.

The Marlin Port Stephens  fishery was seriously affected by the weather this year. Other than having to cancel and postpone several charters I only made it out to the shelf a couple of times. There were great expectations after last year’s season when there was bait and Marlin aplenty on the edge. This year there was hardly any bait out there and with the current raging at near 4 knots and the temperature up to 27 degrees, conditions were not conducive to holding bait, consequently no Striped Marlin. However there were Blue Marlin out there in the current but hard work and perseverance was needed to find them. Most were not big fish by Blue Marlin standards but still exciting to catch and bigger than the average Stripey and monstrous compared to the Blacks in shore.

Port Stephens 2021
Port Stephens 2021

Because of the weather and conditions off shore most anglers have been concentrating on the Black Marlin on the inshore reefs. These Marlin are ranged from 15 to 60 kilo’s and more in size making for some interesting fights on 10 kilo line.

Port Stephens 2021
Port Stephens 2021

The small Blacks are, to me at least, the most frustrating fish to catch. Up here at Port there are several well-known reefs and areas which hold bait and consequently the Blacks. The situation occurs when you might have twenty or thirty boats all milling around a relatively small area trolling baits for a limited resource. Watching others catch fish and waiting your turn is to say the least very frustrating. This season, to get away from the crowds, several boats travelled past Seal Rocks almost to Foster looking for the Blacks and I might add they did find them. These Blacks however are fickle, or maybe the boats were putting them down, but you were never sure which reef was going to produce the goods.

Port Stephens 2021
Port Stephens 2021

Towards the end of my stay the weather eased so after having had enough of the inshore fishery it was out to the shelf to hunt. As I mentioned earlier there was very little bait on the shelf. There had been a few Blue Marlin taken further South, around the Norah Canyons, so it was out with the lures to head out wider. Anyway to cut a long story short we did find Blues but had to cover a lot of miles.

I think that when the current eases the outside scene will take off, both up North and down here off Sydney. Records show that March and sometimes into the middle of May is the best time to go game fishing off Sydney. The fish may not be in huge numbers but they more than make up for it in size. This time of year also often heralds the arrival of big Yellowfin tuna, generally well wide of the shelf.

So here’s hoping…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 17th. February’21

At Port Stephens  Black Marlin are the name of the game at present.
The Port Stephens Black Marlin of varying  sizes are chasing bait on the inner reefs. A lot of anglers expecting to find the usual inshore run of 20 to 30 kilo’s fish are being beaten on light tackle by Blacks  getting up to 80kgs. with reports of even larger fish too.
 Mel first Port Stephens Black......
Mel first Black……
Sadly, I think mostly because of the weather, the offshore scene is bit of an unknown. A few boats have ventured out wide but not with any great success. Further South, around the Norah Canyons, the results are a little better though still not what we would expect at this time of year.
Troy's first Port Stephens Black......
Troy’s first Black……

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next two weeks with many boats fishing the local tournaments here at Port Stephens.

If the weather doesn’t stabalise there will be an awful lot of boats on those inshore reefs.
I for one can’t wait to go out wide…
Tight lines,
Ivan

Ambition report 12th.January’21

Well the Marlin bite is on, any Game Fisherman who hasn’t heard about the Marlin bite off Sydney must live in a cave.

The Marlin bite came on a while ago but really stepped up to a new level several days ago. The bait in the form of Slimy Mackerel and Yellowtail came in from the shelf with the East Australia Current and built up on the shelf and inshore reefs. At the same time the annual run of Black Marlin reached Sydney waters; perfect timing.

Usually this run of Blacks are on the smaller size but this year there are some good sized fish among them. Those using lighter lines are having a lot of unexpected fun fighting Blacks of seventy kilo’s and larger.

At the same time further offshore, around the shelf, Striped Marlin have turned up in numbers. They are fairly widespread but if you are lucky enough to find them you will be rewarded with multiple hook ups. Striped Marlin being what they are can be difficult to hook on lures but by using bait, either Skipping, live or switching you increase the odds. Also, as with the Blacks, there are some larger fish among them.

I was out on Saturday in quite a lively sea and because I couldn’t find the bait was using lures. However I did manage one Striped Marlin from three strikes which was frustrating especially since several boats further South and North had had multiple hook-ups. What was interesting was that the water wasn’t terribly warm at only 21.6C and on the shelf green in colour whereas inshore it was a good blue colour. However neither the colour nor the temperature seemed to affect the fish the only problem for most was getting a solid hook up.

Sunday was a totally different day, dead calm and the water a lot warmer. Inshore there was a lot more bait and a better bite than the previous day. Several boats ended up tagging multiple Blacks however it was still apparently hard work. I didn’t bother looking for bait inshore and headed directly for the shelf because of my results the previous day. I trolled lures for most of the day only getting one strike which didn’t hold. There was plenty of bait so after finding a good school up high we managed to jig some. They weren’t as big as the inshore Slimy Mackerel but we rigged them and went hunting with skip baits. I won’t go on with the boring details but we never saw another fish. Meanwhile both South and North of us there were boats doing well with multiple strikes and hook ups.

The one thing of interest for me anyway, was that the water along the shelf started to warm up and at one stage I registered over 26 degrees though it was still green. Over the radio a couple of boats further out talked of Blue Marlin which was highly credible considering the temperature and bait.

In general it does look like a great start to the Marlin season so here’s hoping.

Many years ago one of the greats of Game Fishing, one Jack Farrell told me that the wet years are the good years for Game Fishing. So, with the onset of a ‘La Nina’ weather system which promises rain we could indeed expect a good season.

P.S. I’m off to Port Stephens soon and still have a few free days left so get in fast…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 20th.December’20

December Reports :-

Reports were coming in of Striped Marlin and some good sized Mahi Mahi around the shelf and the odd Yellowfin further out. So after  I cancelled  a couple of charters because of the Virus I decided I was going out no matter what. I received quick responses from members wanting to join me after a post to the club’s facebook page so all was set.

Unfortunately due to cloud cover the only SST’s available were from several days beforehand but I’d been told the temps were around the 22 to 23 C so it was all systems go.

The forecast was for light winds and calm seas. However  15 to 18 knots is not exactly light winds and the sea was a mess with a residual swell coming from the yesterday’s Southerly. So, that together with the bounce back from the cliffs made for an uncomfortable ride from which one of the crew succumbed.

We put the lures in just short of the shelf and headed out marking bait as we went but it was all deep. One of the boats out there, ‘Grey Goose’ , had already raised a Marlin but no hook-up. Later on a Mako hit one of their lures; it is not uncommon for Mako’s to hit lures and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke they raised another later in the day.

We continued marking bait and found some birds working on what looked like to be Striped tuna but we raised nothing after chasing them for a while. What we did find sadly was that the warmer water had moved out. The best I found was 21.6 C and that after a temperature break of 0.3 C .

It was while working the break that we had a double hook-up. Marlin was the call, but the sight of green and gold told a different story. We landed two good sized Dollies, supper was provided.

December Mahi Mahi
December Mahi Mahi

Several other boats reported hits from Striped Marlin, I think one tagged fish was estimated to weigh only 50 kilo’s. And then it was our turn, the shot gun went off, the Marlin took a bit of line then just dropped off. Damned Stripies, however he was still there following the lure. He/she had at least four other shots and missed each time and eventually lost interest.

We pulled the lure in to check it out and I found the leader chafed for nearly a metre above the lure. I know it happens all the time but it is so frustrating, they obviously know they want the lure but just keep missing it. Maybe they should get some lessons from their Black and Blue cousins.

So, that was the day, a good feed to take home and calm seas for the run.

I have booked in at Port Stephens from the 24th.January until the end of February. Not as long as previous years due to the virus but I hope next year’s season will be as good if not better than this year’s. So, if you do want to catch a Marlin, Port Stephens is the place to do it…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 14th. December’20

PORT STEPHENS:

With the warm ocean currents moving in closer and the water temperature out wide approaching 24 degrees it was time to give it a go. Added to that there have been reports of Black Marlin in close further North and even sightings off Sydney.

Back here because of the warm ocean currents moving in reports of Striped Marlin both tagged and lost are becoming more frequent. I heard one report of what sounds like a Blue Marlin from Mark Gunning who fought a big Marlin for 2 hours before losing it. Surprisingly those Yellowfin are still around however they do take a bit of finding.

Therefore it was with great expectation that I went out with David Lo  and Jamie McKay on his boat ‘Groundswell’. As an added bonus even the weather came good for us.

Sadly the weather was the best part of the day. We put the gear in just before the shelf hoping for a Striped Marlin and headed for Browns and then towards New Zealand.

Nothing eventuated until we were somewhere near Heatons where we spotted lots of Mutton birds working. Even from a distance we could see the water shimmering with what we thought were baitfish. As we got closer we could make out huge numbers of what looked like Striped or maybe Mackerel tuna scooting around in the waves chasing small bait.

We worked the area for quite a while with great anticipation but all to no avail.  Consequently we finally gave up and headed for home and on the way have a shot at one of the FADs. One of the guys on board, Grayson, is a keen spear fisherman and wanted to go for a dive there. As an aside, after hearing the stories and seeing the photo’s of the Kingfish he has speared off Sydney and I mean 20 to 30 kilo fish, I could only wonder why more aren’t caught by anglers. Maybe they should try New Zealand methods, live salmon.

Grayson jumped in at the FAD and came back telling of lots of undersize Kingfish with a few Mahi Mahi amongst them.  So out came the light gear and soft plastics. We had a bit of fun catching the Kings but sadly couldn’t raise a Mahi Mahi.

Next we went and had a look at the 12 Mile but that also was a waste of time. The sounder didn’t show anything and the guys jigging only got sore backs.

All in all it was a good day, great boat, good company and good weather.

It does look promising out there. December is always a tough month both weather and fish wise but it will get better. Jack Farrell, one of the great SGFC game fishermen always said that the wet years were the good ones. So with the forecast of a ‘La Nina’ weather cycle we could be lucky.

I have booked in at Port Stephens from the 24th.January until the end of February. Not as long as previous years due to the virus but I hope next year’s season will be as good if not better than this year’s. So, if you do want to catch a Marlin, Port Stephens is the place to do it…

Tight lines,
Ivan

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