Tag Archives: Tuna Fishing

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

Weather and Sea State :

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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

Weather and Sea State :

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Seabreeze
Weatherzone
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C.S.I.R.O.
N.S.W Bluelink

Fishing Tackle :

Pakula Tackle
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Electronics :

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Ambition report 29th. November’20

Sydney Fishing
Off Sydney fishing –  as I sit here listening to 30 knots of North Westerly howl against the windows, I am glad I’m not at sea. Especially so because the fishing off Sydney has been less than mediocre.
Off Sydney the Kingfish bite has been the only positive scene outside. The Kingies have been biting well with lots of fish over the magic metre.
A metre Kingy...
A metre Kingy…
The only problem, well one of the only problems is in locating the fish. The Kings are ranging between the inshore, offshore, harbour and coastal reefs, only by checking out the various spots or good intel will allow you to locate them.
Consequently the other problem is that as soon as word gets out every man and his dog jumps in. Therefore those who find the Kings are being very secretive, some to the point of distraction but who can blame them. On a couple of occasions I have seen up to forty boats on one spot. I’m sure they must spook the schools with all their sounders pinging the depths.
Kingfish....
Kingfish….
On the couple of occasions I have had a shot at the Kingfish bait was a problem for me, probably because I start out too late. However perseverance pays off and by avoiding all the boats on the regular spots I found enough. Ironically when I did get onto the fish the biggest a 105 cm. fish was taken on a jig.
Game fishing
Offshore Game fishing has been for the most part hopeless. There are increasing sightings of Marlin and a couple caught. Yellowfin are also still showing up but generally to the South, from the Southern canyons down past Woollongong. To give an idea how poor the Game fishing is off Sydney at present all I heard about from last week-end was Sydney boat ‘Gale Force’ managing an Albacore near Browns and the Botany Bay boat ‘Marquis’ a decent Yellowfin and someone on a a trailer boat catching a Striped Marlin.
At this time of year most club anglers are out there vying for their prestigious ‘First Marlin’ trophy. Looking at the latest currents and Altimetry it all seems to be coming together. The Zero line is within reach and there is some current from the North wider offshore pushing in. All we need now is for the weather to be kind.
Tight lines,
Ivan
LINKS…

P.S.  I will be available at Port Stephens from 1st.February for the month a must especially for those who want to have the best chance at catching a Marlin. If this year’s results are any indication of what to expect next yearit should be a great season – Call me…

Ambition report 26th.October’20

Fishing for Game Fish during November   can run hot or cold. It is a time when the cooler offshore water starts to warm up under the influence of  the East Australia Current.   As summer progresses the EAC moves closer inshore  and within our reach .

During November  along with the EAC come the bait fish namely Slimy Mackerel, Sauries, Garfish, Cowanyoung and Striped Tuna . Naturally the predators  follow. Striped, Black and Blue Marlin as well as Mahi Mahi, Spearfish and  all the other great Gamefish not to mention the appearance of big Tiger sharks move closer inshore with the current.

Ethans Mahi Mahi
Ethans Mahi Mahi

November is the month that heralds the changeover from  the Winter to Summer species it is also the start of the storm season.

I have noticed over  many years that the leading edge of the EAC often bring with it an early unseasonal run of big Mahi Mahi and Striped Marlin with more than one  early season Spearfish having been encountered. So far this  year as well as a good run of big Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin tuna and Albacore are adding to the mix and continue to tease us offshore.

October Spearfish
October Spearfish

So as we enter a ‘La Nina’ weather pattern, meaning we’ll have warmer water offshore  and more rain to flush out the rivers and estuaries  we could and I emphasise could have a bumper season ahead.

On another note I’ll  be available at Port Stephens from the end of January until early March. If the Marlin season next year is anywhere near as good as this year’s it won’t be one to miss. Sadly this year’s season was shortened by COVID,  let’s hope not again.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS…

Weather and Sea State :

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Fishing Tackle :

Pakula Tackle
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Melton Tackle
Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle

Electronics :

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Olectric Systems

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Ambition report 5th. October’20

Yellowfin off Sydney was the news going around but I’d heard they were off the Norah Canyons. I went out several times last week chasing these so called Yellowfin off Sydney…

On Wednesday I took Sergio and some of his friends out to chase those elusive Yellowfin. Reports had been coming in of them being around Norah Head. However on my previous outing I had found them further South so I headed that way.

Sydney October Yellowfin
Sydney October Yellowfin
Worryingly the three weather reports for the day were stating different outcomes, varying from not too bad to horrible. Anyway we decided to go figuring that the NE would build in the afternoon and we’d come home with it.
It was pretty good until we neared the shelf where the current veered to the South causing the sea to stand up. I thought we’d keep going for a little longer when in 150 fathoms a Marlin showed up behind the Lumo and proceeded to attack it. Sadly it didn’t hook up but the excitement was enough to motivate the guys to keep on going even though a couple of the guys weren’t feeling too well.
To cut a long story short the conditions got worse and it was apparent we weren’t going to get to the area I wanted. So we turned around and trolled home hoping for another Marlin.

Thursday was a totally different story. The wind not more than ten knots all day, a beautiful dead calm day. We had a crew of four girls who started the day with Champagne and Orange juice cocktails which was not the best way to start a day at sea, even on a relatively calm day.

Sydney October Yellowfin
Sydney October Yellowfin
Sydney October Yellowfin
Sydney October Yellowfin
We tried for Kings but to no avail so headed out wide again. Whales and Dolphins were aplenty and even a couple of Sunfish but nothing else. In desperation Ron put out a red and white feather on 15kg. to see if there were any Striped tuna around. A couple of hours passed and we found a good looking patch of water. By then two of the girls were not very well, one of them quite sick. As luck would have it we started to catch Stripies which raised their spirits for a while however the decision was made to start heading back. I then noticed a Gannet hovering so went over to have a look. As we approached we got a hit on the Lumo and one of Peter’s new 3D Jet lures, obviously bigger fish but no hookups. I went around again and this time the Stripy lure went off, except this was no Striped tuna. As it turned out after a good fight Kristen landed a 25 kilo Yellowfin. Just goes to show you can always expect the unexpected.
Saturday started out well, a strong North Easterly predicted for the afternoon but we’d be out there by then, so no problem.
I put the lures, using the same pattern as on Thuesday, out at 80 fathoms hoping to raise another Marlin. Nothing happened until in about 250 fathoms the Lumo went off. I thought we’d found that Striped Marlin and looked back hoping to see it jumping. But no, just then the 3D lure on the rigger took off. We had a double of Yellowfin. The boys did a good job of avoiding crossed lines and soon had the fish on board. I went around again and again a double strike on the same lures but this time one dropped off and the other wore through the leader. After working the area for a while with no luck I headed out wider. The North Easterly started to come away so I turned with it and headed back to where we had caught the fish earlier. And again within a couple of hundred metres of where we had hooked up we hooked up again, this time it was a triple. After much confusion we landed all three. I went around again and managed yet another ‘fin making it just right, a fish for each angler, perfect. So now with a fish each and one man down It was time to head for home.
On the way in I saw some Gannets hovering and as I watched there was a huge bust up below them. They were definitely Yellowfin, but what was surprising was they were in only 65 fathoms.
The attached video shows some of the high lights, enjoy.
Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS…

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Electronics :

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Ambition Report 20th.September’20

The Mighty Yellowfin Tuna:

At last something to write about…

The Mighty Yellowfin
The Mighty Yellowfin

For weeks I have been  hearing about the Yellowfin Tuna off Port Stephens   and the Bluefin Tuna well out of reach  down South not getting any closer than Kiama.  The action well out reach of most Sydney based boats especially since the weather  has been less than favourable.

 

 

Finally the mighty Yellowfin Tuna  at least are getting closer.

I went out on Saturday a little more optimistic than usual  because I’d noticed a couple of long liners working wide and  North of Broken Bay. Also a warm  current  pushing down with the break  almost within my reach.  However I was a little apprehensive  also since the weather report  was a little bit iffy.  We were going anyway, worst case scenario  we’d be coming home with the weather best case the bureau was wrong.

We started trolling in 300 fathoms after passing through some very

A Double on Yellowfin
A Double on Yellowfin

green water of   18.5 degrees which was a lot better than the 17 at the shelf. There was still  very little  life , other than Whales and the occasional Albatross in the area. But with still 14 miles to  the break. I noticed a blip on the radar, too small for a tanker and too large and far away for a  Game boat, possibly  a Long Liner. As we got closer to it , about 5 miles away, the water colour changed and warmed  then out of the blue a double strike. After a relatively short fight we landed two Yellowfin 25 to 30 kilo’s.

A little hope…

Consequently I worked the area but there was no sign of life, still neither

The Mighty Yellowfin
Mighty Yellowfin

birds nor bait so I moved on,  out towards the Long Liner. After another hour of searching I decided to head back to where we caught the fish.  You wouldn’t believe it, we were within a couple of hundred metres off the spot when we had another strike, this one a much bigger fish. After a solid fight that only a Yellowfin  Tuna can put up we landed a 50 kilo fish much to the excitement of the crew , as you can hear in the video, who had never caught a Gamefish before.

September Yellowfin
September Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so we headed for home, thirty five miles away.

With some luck the current will move in closer and bring with it the  Tuna and bait and hopefully some Marlin will follow.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS…

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Electronics :

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Ambition report 14th.July’20

Sydney Tuna Fishing is frustrating to say the least at present. Listening to the radio while fishing off Sydney and hearing the guys off Kaiama  and JB catching Bluefin and  those  at Port Stephens catching Yellowfin  has only added to the frustration.

For those of us here  the Sydney tuna fishing is hard work. There have been a few Yellowfin taken out wide but with numbers of Yellowfin only forty miles North and with the Bluefin  only fifty miles South there is great expectation that the  currents will bring them to us  after this blow – one lives in hope.

Rob 's Yellowfin
Rob ‘s Yellowfin

I went out  a couple of times  last week and managed two Yellowfin, one of 58.5 kilo’s and another of 34.8 kilo’s. Both times I headed South hoping the Bluefin had moved up in the current which they hadn’t.

Ambition's Yellowfin
Ambition’s Yellowfin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo’s of Bluefin below show the result of Sam Ayad taking his boat ‘Smart Bill’ down to the bite off Kiama.

SmartBill Bluefin
SmartBill Bluefin

 

 

SmartBill Bluefin
SmartBill Bluefin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So with the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s annual ‘Tuna Slam’ underway and continuing until the end of August and with an opening purse of $2,000.00  and the potential of both Bluefin and Yellowfin on our doorstep in the coming months you’d be crazy not to enter.

By the way there have been NO Bluefin weighed yet and the biggest Yellowfin so far is only 38.7 kilo’s , you could be a winner…

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS
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Fishing Tackle :

Pakula Tackle
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Otto’s Tackle
Melton Tackle
Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle
Electronics :

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric System

Ambition report 7th.June’20

Yellowfin mayhem is the only way to describe what we encountered yesterday fishing wide off Sydney. Though we lost fish and lots of gear it was a fabulous day’s fishing.

With the glorious weather predicted for last Saturday there was no way I was not going out to sea. I’d had a report of a Long Liner off Norah Head doing well so there was some degree of expectation. After checking my last year’s reports I had decided to go cubing and stay until dark. Until then we’d scout around to see what we could find.

Glowing Gold Yellowfin
Glowing Gold Yellowfin

The day started very slowly, 12 Mile was pretty dead so out went the lures and off we went. The radio was pretty quiet, especially for a dead calm day when you expect the usual noise makers. However on one boat ‘Shukudu’ , Jared reported seeing some ‘fin but wasn’t able to get them to bite. I did hear another boat had caught a good fish.

We continued trolling and was marking lots of small schools of bait and on one occasion I saw what I thought were Frigate mackerel. With all this bait around it was surprising that there wasn’t more bird activity.

We continued on and in our travels found a long line, so there must be Yellowfin somewhere. I followed the line for a few miles with no activity so moved in closer to shore where I had seen the bait by then it was late enough to start our cube trail.

After only about fifteen minutes of cubing i got a shock when I saw a fish in the trail and shortly after it was followed by a whole school of sixty plus kilo Yellowfin. It was mesmerizing, a sight of Yellowfin I haven’t seen for many a year.

It didn’t take long and we had two fish on. One angler was forced to go to the bow so I felt pretty secure knowing they were well separated – just goes to show how wrong you can be. After a good hour on 24kg. they came together. We did manage to separate the lines but some minutes later one broke off followed shortly after by the other. Heartbreaking is only one word to describe our feelings.

Fortunately the ‘fin were still with us and not long after we were on again sadly we fared no better with this. After nearly an hour of fighting the hook broke.

We had mixed feelings on board. On the one hand frustration at losing those fish after long hard fights mixed with the sight of those beautiful Yellowfin feeding unhindered virtually at our feet, something never to be forgotten.

I have seen this sort of action several times with Bluefin but I don’t even want to guess at how long it has been since I last saw yellowfin feeding at the back of the boat. It was quite common in the past as I’m sure some of the old and not so old timers will tell.

Tight Lines,
Ivan

LINKS
Weather and  Sea State  

Buoyweather
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C.S.I.R.O.
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Fishing Tackle :

Pakula Tackle
Global Tackle
Otto’s Tackle
Melton Tackle
Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle
Electronics :

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric System

Ambition report 31st.May’20

Bluefin off Sydney a couple of years ago…

As I look at my past reports I see that during last year’s May and June  Yellowfin produced some really good  fishing, most fish well over 55 kilo’s, here’s hoping…

Below  are   a couple  of paragraphs from last year’s    ‘Ambition Reports ‘….

Over the last few weeks Yellowfin tuna running between 25 and 70 kilo’s have been caught off Sydney. These fish are ranging over a wide area having been caught from wide and North of the ‘Bait Station’ all the way down the coast. Consequently they take a lot of finding and the changing conditions at sea every day don’t make it any easier. However once located the fun begins… if you’re lucky.’

Tuna time off Sydney...
Tuna time off Sydney…
Tuna time off Sydney…

Even though we arrived at the area late we managed this one fish and had another two strikes that sadly didn’t connect. I would have liked to stay until dark but the wind was picking up, probably doing 25 knots when we eventually left.

The bite was an early one and while we saw the end of it Markoo skippered by Benn Dullard had left port very early and managed four fish around the 35 kilo mark before we got there.

The area was alive.  There were more than a few Sperm Whales obviously feeding.  Also , Gannets all waiting for the tuna to push the bait to the surface.’

So with restrictions being lifted and competition fishing  commencing on 1st. June (tomorrow)  it is all starting to come together.

There was a Broadbill taken off the Southern Canyons yesterday and Ben Dullard on his boat ‘Markoo’ went out wide and found some Yellowfin tuna. The one he landed looked a good 60 to 65 kilo’s , unfortunately due to the current restrictions he couldn’t weight it, but that will change  from tomorrow.

Ben's May Yellowfin
Ben’s Yellowfin

Unfortunately  the weather is not looking too good for the next few days but Friday and Saturday look the goods. If you can trust predictions this far out.

Hopefully the fish will still be there…

Tight  lines,
Ivan

LINKS
Weather and  Sea State  

Buoyweather
Bureau of Meteorology
Radar
Seabreeze
Weatherzone
Weather cams
Ripcharts
C.S.I.R.O.
N.S.W Bluelink

Fishing Tackle :

Pakula Tackle
Global Tackle
Otto’s Tackle
Melton Tackle
Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle
Electronics :

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric Syste

Ambition report 19th.May’20

Port Stephens in view...
Port Stephens in view…

It has certainly been a long time between drinks on Ambition. At least now it looks like the bars are opening again. This metaphor for chartering is bringing some hope. We may not be able to take our full capacity of anglers but at least we’ll be able to get out there and get that much needed refill of salt into our veins.

Interestingly for those who have been able to get out results have been pretty good even though for some fish, namely Kingfish it has been a day to day proposition on both the inshore and offshore reefs.

Browns has apparently been doing ok for those deep dropping but over the last few days the current has made it difficult.

The Game Fishing scene is also hot and cold but that could be due to lack of fishing pressure. There have been a couple of Blue Marlin tagged and a couple of Striped Marlin lost. There are also a couple of Long Liners still working out wide.  However I haven’t heard of any Yellowfin being taken recently.

I went out on Sunday for a look and stayed out cubing into the evening. We didn’t have any great success but did find there was heaps of bait .   We found Slimies, Frigate Mackerel and Striped tuna well out beyond the shelf. In fact while we were cubing all we raised was a huge school of Slimies however nothing was eating them.

Being optimistic as you have to be to be a fisherman, I would like to believe that if the bait’s there the fish will come…

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS
Weather and  Sea State  

Buoyweather
Bureau of Meteorology
Radar
Seabreeze
Weatherzone
Weather cams
Ripcharts
C.S.I.R.O.
N.S.W Bluelink

Fishing Tackle :

Pakula Tackle
Global Tackle
Otto’s Tackle
Melton Tackle
Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle
Electronics :

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric Syste