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…
We went out last Wednesday to try and find those mysterious Yellowfin. Reports had been coming in of the Yellowfin ranging along the temperature break South-East of Browns. Along with the‘fin were occasional encounters with Blue and Striped Marlin. One of which we caught last week.
We took Joseph Liu out, he primarily wanted to deep drop on Browns and have a go at Kingfish on the way. Unfortunately the current was not favourable at all.
The Peak were there had been some action over previous days was completely shut down. To top it off there was no way to fish Browns, in my opinion, with 3.5 knots of current. So, the last option was to go wide, find the temperature break and maybe those mysterious Yellowfin and Marlin. Well we did just that and we were working the break when Ben who was just ahead of us in his boat ‘Markoo’ called up to say the were hooked up to a Yellowfin which they ultimately landed, it weighed 62.5 kilo’s. So we were in the right area but unfortunately to no avail. Of interest it was apparent the current was easing.
I got another chance to chase those elusive Yellowfin on Friday. I took out Tim and Scott who had just arrived from Minnesota after an unexpected delay, so were a little fatigued. The aim again was to go to the temperature break, work it and hopefully find them a fish.
We got to the break were it was immediately apparent the current had eased and moved further out. I know a lot of anglers believe in the change of tide but I am a sceptic having caught heaps of Marlin well away from the changes. In this case the change was at 12:38pm. We had a crashing strike at 12:20pm., I’m still a sceptic.
When the fish struck I thought I’d seen a bill but the fish never showed itself, maybe it was a ‘fin. Then after nearly half an hour it started to move up to the surface where I got a glimpse, it was a Marlin and when it jumped a big Stripy revealed itself.
Either because this fish had conserved its energy by staying deep or because Tim and Scott were jetlagged and had had a VB or two it put up a tough fight and both of them fought it a couple of times. As you will see in the video it didn’t want to give in and was incredibly aggressive even at the end .
The current out there has eased further and the fact that there are Long liners working near that break is indicative of Yellowfin in the area. Hopefully when the weather stabilises again we’ll find them, we’ll certainly be looking.
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.
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.
November often sees an early run of the pelagics i.e. Mahi Mahi and Marlin. As the warmer water up North really starts pushing down the shelf it bring with it the first of these oceanic wanderers.
However this October, after what has seemed the longest run of bad weather and bad timing as far as Charters goes, has come alive. For those who could take advantage of a break in the weather last week the rewards were there. Don’t get me wrong you’ll still have to work for the results but at least we know it isn’t futile.
The last time I was out conditions looked good. I found blue water nearly 22 degrees with birds searching and small schools of bait down fifteen fathoms. It felt like it was going to happen. I noticed small tuna hitting the swivels on the bigger rigs so put out a feather jig and started catching Striped Tuna. So the bait is there.
For those who haven’t heard ; at Port Stephens Paul Leaming’s boat ‘Hoodlum’ tagged a good sized Blue Marlin and raised another. Off Broken Bay the Findlay’s boat ‘Murrifin’ also tagged a good sized Blue Marlin. It doesn’t end there. I have also heard of at least one big Mahi Mahi and another Spearfish.
I think the big question is will this season’s run of Marlin, especially the Blues, be as good as the last one ?
Though the current is pushing hard some of the boats bottom dropping are getting results, Blue Eye and Deep Sea Perch being the main catch.
I don’t know how the wider reefs are going for Kings. The last time I was out there was nothing but that changes daily. Closer in shore and in the harbour is where most of the Kingfish action is to be found.
In short, if Game Fishing is your thing the action is definitely on the up. But as is usual the weather is the enemy.
I am afraid I have to say it but the Pakula ‘Brad ‘J” bullet has done it again with the capture of a very early season Spearfish.
I went out on ‘Shukudu’ owned by Gerard Searle on Monday to see if we could find those elusive Yellowfin. The damned things are out there but not in great numbers. Over the last few weeks the ‘fin have been evident with just enough caught to tease us into chasing them, such is their allure.
The plan was to troll from the shelf, in the hope of a Marlin, then out wide to the thousand fathom line and depending on what we found to turn either North or South. As so happened out wide the current was going hard to the South. We decided to travel down as far as the Southern canyons then turn for home as the radio reports were not very conducive to optimism. And that’s when we got the strike, as we made the turn to head inshore the shot gun with ‘Brad’J” screamed off. The initial run was impressive but after that the fish came in easily. We expected to see a middle sized Yellowfin the last thing we expected was a spearfish. I must say though that later, on the bar BQ at the club it tasted great.
Later I heard there were a few ‘fin taken between Wollongong and wide of Port Hacking as well as a couple of 30 kg. fish somewhere East of Sydney.
The Kingfish are as elusive as the damned Yellowfin. On the offshore reefs they are on one day and who knows where the next. The one constant is that the Jackets are always there. The best you can do is keep going, eventually the timing will be right
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Reports of Yellowfin tuna have been coming in over the last couple of weeks. Those ‘fin encountered have been in two basic classes, biggish ones over forty kilo’s and others going fifteen to twenty five kilo’s. However as we all know any Yellowfin is a good one. The main problem other than locating the fish is the weather. It seems to go bad on the weekends and whenever I have a charter. It seems mother nature is enforcing its own lock out.
On my way back from Botany where I was having some repairs and my annual survey done, I was told of good sized Yellowfin wide of the Southern canyons. I hadn’t planned to go out on the Saturday but there was a break in the weather and the lure of Yellowfin too great.
We went out heading directly to the Southern canyons, put the lures in South of Browns and started hunting. There were whales everywhere and strangely there were an inordinate number of them breaching. Also millions of Mutton birds on their migration back from Siberia making difficult to find birds that were working. As we approached the area where Bob Curry had seen the ‘fin in clean bluish water I noted that the water was now a dirty green and running hard to the South. I had been told the current was Northerly but today it was running South with no sign of life in it – what a difference a day can make.
I headed out wider and slowly the temperature rose until about the thousand fathom area there was a distinct colour change and the temperature rose to just over 19 C.
We followed this break North and other than a big Sun fish and a couple of small groups of birds circling an area didn’t find any tuna. I did work the area for a while but didn’t mark anything so moved on towards the Bait Station.
In about seven hundred fathoms just South of the Bait Station I marked a Long Liner some four miles East. At the same time I heard that Mike Clarkson had found a school of Yellowfin and caught five. They were another eight miles North East of me but since it was getting late now and there was two knots of current against us I decided to just troll towards home. After all we were in the same patch of water and there are no fences out here.
Interestingly there were also reports of the fin being found wide and South of the Southern canyons.
As for the other goings on. There are Kings on the offshore reefs but they are here today and gone tomorrow. There are lots of undersize Kings inshore too. It seems the bottom fishing at Browns is also a day to day proposition and even the shark fishing is slow. Though it was definitely slow fishing last week-end you could always blame the moon or the increased currents. So if you believe the moon has anything to do with it next week should be better.