Tag Archives: Tuna Fishing

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
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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

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Electronics :

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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
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Fishing Tackle :

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Melton Tackle
Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle
Electronics :

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric Syste

Ambition report 23rd.March’20

March Yellowfin…

 

Autumn is a great time to be fishing off Sydney. Currently March Yellowfin are the go but there are also Striped and Blue Marlin in the mix.

After hearing reports during last week  of yellowfin  ranging from mid 40 kilo’s to around 70 kilo’s I was obviously keen to get out there. I managed to raise a crew and headed out on Saturday. Reports during the week had been from widen of Broken Bay down to the Southern canyons. Since there was a Southerly due I went South. Just wide of Browns the water had reached 24 degrees so the lure were deployed and we went hunting. There was little action in the form of birds and bait until I found a temperature break from 24 degrees down to 23.6 degrees.

March Yellowfin...
March Yellowfin…

Further down the coast on the break birds started to appear then suddenly they were everywhere. I worked the birds for a couple of hours seeing the yellowfin busting up but unable to get to them in time.

I decided to look further afield and hadn’t gone more than a  couple of hundred metres when the ‘shotgun’ went off.

The One that Got away
The One that Got away

Sadly after nearly an hour and with the fish just out of gaffing range the ‘wind-on’  gave way.  It was devastating to lose such a good fish after a very tough fight so near to the end. Anyway these things happen.

On the radio during the day there were several reports of Striped Marlin on the shelf both up around the ‘Bait Station’ and further down inshore of where I was. There was  one Blue

The One that Got away
The One that Got away

Marlin being fought but after a 2 hour fight  I didn’t  hear  whether they caught it. There were also  quite a few Yellowfin taken .

So though Saturday was a great day to be out wide  after hearing the reports  it was decidedly better on Sunday.

It is such a shame that this  unbelievable bite is coinciding with this virus.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS
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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 Syste

Ambition report 13th.March’20

]Port Stephens to Sydney

I brought Ambition back from Port Stephens last Monday. I fished all the way down starting just North of the ‘Car Park ‘ trolling skip baits.

The plan was originally to come back on Sunday but due to the weather on Saturday my charter was pushed back to Sunday. Consequently we made the  trip back from Port Stephens  on Monday. Surprisingly the weather was pretty good as we left the Port even though the week-end’s weather  pad been pretty ordinary.

On the Leader…
Blacks in action...
Adam takes the leader…

The plan was to run out North of the ‘Car Park’, find some bait and troll skippies for an hour or so then put out the lures and work our way back  home to Sydney.

All went to plan, we found some bait and slowed down to put out the skippies, Adam had just put out one . Then as he was setting the  second one it was pulled out of his hand and a good sized Black tore off at a million miles an hour, so to speak. This fish gave a good account of itself giving us a good run for our money however the 24 kg. inevitably took its toll and the Black was soon released. Excitement all round as it was the angler’s first marlin.

A good Black…
A nice Black...
A nice Black…

 

 

 

 

So, with one fish under our belt, with the baits deployed we started again. It took a little longer to find the second fish and a bit more difficult to finally hook it. This Black came in on one of the skipped baits , hit it and dropped back without getting hooked. We then put out a live bait which it again picked up and again no hook up. Then while we were waiting and hoping for it to take the live bait again the other skipped bait was taken while it was sinking and this time the Black was hooked.

It was a strange fight in that the fish , quite a large Black that we called at least 120kg.,  never took a run and didn’t even go deep as you’d expect from a Black , So after a  very short  fight we dully released the Marlin .

Continuing our trip down we had changed over to lures. Oddly just past the Newcastle canyons the water started going green and cooling. I went closer looking for better water, no go. I went out to 500 fathoms , no change.  Conditions didn’t change for the rest of the run down. We did however get a strike from a good sized Striped Marlin on the Southern edge of the Norah Canyons. On examining the leader it was obviously the fish had been bill wrapped. The water was only 21.5 C , green and apparently lifeless.

Conditions don’t seem to be getting any better off Sydney as we approach what I’ve always considered the best time of year for our offshore fishing.

But ever being the optimist , it will get better.Nothing stays the same for long in the ocean.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS
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Fishing Tackle :

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Aftco
Campbell’s Pro Tackle
Electronics :

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric Syste

Ambition report 2nd.March’20

Port Stephens Billfish in the form of Striped Marlin along with Blacks and the appearance of Blue Marlin were on the bite last week-end. Also amongst the Billfish  a good run of Mahi Mahi.

 

The Port Stephen Billfish turned on again last week-end. They were

Port Stephens March'20
Port Stephens March’20

big fish too. I heard of Stripies around the one hundred kilo mark and of at least one Black estimated at a hundred and fifty kilo’s by a very experienced skipper. Though they weren’t  in the same numbers as the Interclub the previous week there were  still enough  to go round. As usual it was a matter of find the bait and find the Marlin, so what’s new.

The baitfish along the shelf  were flighty and  difficult to stay in touch  with, however that is where the Marlin were. Those guys dunking bait into the schools didn’t fare as well as those covering ground by skipping rigged baits  or trolling live baits. Also, to make life more interesting for those dunking baits there were quite a few Whaler sharks in the mix.

Port Stephens March'20
Port Stephens March’20

The boats trolling lures also raised plenty of Marlin but as is usual the hook up rate not as good as with baits especially for the Striped Marlin. They did have the advantage though of raising the occasional Blue Marlin some of which I heard were on the large size. Apparently you didn’t have to go far to find the Blues either,  just wide of the ‘Car Park’ and other well known areas just over the shelf.

AMBITION…

I fished away from the crowds hovering over and trolling around the bait schools, looking for my own patch. I had quite a successful week-end skipping baits. The highlight, was after marking three or four fish under the boat , seeing four big Striped Marlin trying to eat two baits. We did hook two of them but unfortunately one was tail wrapped and while trying to keep up with it the other dropped off. It was pandemonium for a while  but we did get one of them.

Port Stephens March'20
Port Stephens March’20

So, Port Stephens Marlin. It would be hard to find a more productive area for catching all three species of our Marlin as well as all the other tropical species. The currents the bait  add up to a game fish  have.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS
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Fishing Tackle :

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

Furuno
Keogh’s Marine Electronics
Olectric Systems

Ambition report 20th.January’20

Saturday…

I along with Ron Kovacs and Lee Cheeseman took Ambition up to  Nelson Bay at Port Stephens last Saturday. And what a trip it was. It poured the whole way up.  The sea wasn’t too bad to start with,  being about 15 knots of South-Easter with a Northerly current.  However as we moved wider the current turned to the South and increased markedly and so did the wind. The 1.5 to 2 metre Southerly swell jumped up to 3 to 4 metres and shortened making for a very uncomfortable ride.

Beautifully lit up Striped Marlin...
Beautifully lit up Striped Marlin…

We didn’t see anything on the way up and it wouldn’t have been much fun if we had hooked up anyway. When we reached Port Stephens the water temperature had dropped down to 22.5 C and off the lighthouse we marked lots of bait and since the current was coming from the South in close it was a lot more comfortable, but still raining. It was a pleasure to reach our berth at Nelson Bay and relax with a beer or two.

Sunday…

Sunday dawned a perfect day. It was hard to believe it could have calmed so quickly overnight.

Ron holding on tight
Ron holding on tight

We headed out to the lighthouse where there had been lots of bait and bird activity  the previous day. Surprise , surprise, there was no bait, no bird life and the water had jumped up to 25 C.

We’d caught bait at Cabbage Tree and I wasn’t going out to the shelf so we skipped a couple of  slimies close in shore.

Up near the V Reef I started  to mark bait and after working the area for an hour or so, we were rewarded with a strike. It turned out to be a Striped marlin of about 70kg. which sadly didn’t put up much of a fight however it was a first for  Grant . So, one more off his bucket list.

I worked the area for a little longer but with the tide starting to run out I worked my way back to the entrance intending to get back  to the lighthouse.

However, we never made it back, this time it was a Black, a very stubborn Black which gave Grant’s son a  very hard time. Then an even harder time to Ron when he traced it as you’ll see in the video.

So one quite  successful day after one very miserable day. Two firsts to two very excited and satisfied fishermen.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS…

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Ambition report 13th.January’20

Experience Sydney’ hot Marlin bite , at present possibly one of the best bites for this time of years in years. It is ironic that I am taking Ambition up to Port Stephens in a couple of days  while Sydney’s hot Marlin bite continues.

Lee in action...
Lee in action…

Over the last couple of weeks Striped Marlin of varying sizes have been on the bite around the shelf. Just where they have been is the question. Generally you find them near the temperature breaks  where the bait is stacking up. So, find the bait and you find the fish.  Having  said that finding the fish can be the start of the problem. Striped Marlin being what they are can be the most frustrating of fish to hook up and keep hooked up. Small lures or bait are the go but even then nothing is sure.

Nice Stripy
Nice Stripy

In closer to shore where the bait has stacked up on the inshore reefs and off the headlands the Black Marlin have appeared. There was the occasional Black seen last week but since the water has warmed up inshore their numbers have increases significantly.  Reports of numbers of Blacks from further up the coast, around Coffs indicate  there could be more on their way down.

As I mentioned earlier in the report  I’m taking ‘Ambition’ to Port Stephens missing Sydney’s hot Marlin bite and will be there for the next couple of months fishing the tournaments and chartering . I still have a few days free and will keep you informed.

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS…

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Electronics :

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Keogh’s Marine Electronics
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Ambition report 17th.December’19

One of the biggest frustrations of running a charter boat is not being able to go out whenever you want. Especially frustrating is when you know the fish are there or when the bite is on. My situation last week-end.

Port Stephens Blue...
Blue Marlin…

And just to add to the  frustrations just hearing about the Striped Marlin bite off Port Stephens and Norah Canyons the previous week and the many encounters off Sydney last week. It finally happened, the greater body of Marlin moved into Sydney waters.

From what I have heard there were lots of boats out there with most if not all at least seeing a fish. As is usual with Striped Marlin for every fish hooked many were lost.

The Stripies seemed to come in a range of sizes with a few boats and experienced fishermen from SGFC tagging fish of around 100 kg. as well as fish in the 60 kg. range. It would appear there are a couple of year classes involved.

Port Stephens Blue...
Another Mighty Blue…

Will it continue ? Yes, it is the beginning. But at this early stage of the season the currents haven’t yet settled in so you still have to find the water and the bait.

I don’t know if anyone has heard about the Blacks moving down the coast in their annual run. I have heard there is plenty of bait waiting for them up the North but have heard nothing.

http://www.ambitioncharters.com.au

Tight lines,
Ivan

Don’t forget Port Stephens, the best Game fishing spot in NSW, I’ll be there and available from 20th.January’20 until 16th.March’20…

Blue Msrlin tagged
Tagged

LINKS…

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Electronics :

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Ambition report 25th.November’19

 

Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowfin Tuna

November is proving to be a good month for Yellowfin Tuna. Though not the big ones of a few months ago fish ranging from 8 to 30 kilo’s  may be found.

I went out on Saturday  after many cancellations due to bad weather, I was going out come hell or high water. As it turned out the marginal  forecast for Saturday was wrong  and it turned out great, no wind all day, overcast with an oily sea,  just perfect.

I targeted an area  in 1000 fathoms were it looked like a cooler water eddy was forming . We put the gear out  inside the shelf  just in case that Striped Marlin just happened to be lurking around.  We put out a Stripy lure  also.

Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowfin Tuna

It was all pretty quiet, with very little bird action though we did manage a couple of Striped Tuna so at least something was moving around. As we moved into the cooler water  I started marking small schools of bait ( I assume ) down thirty to forty fathoms. We worked the area for a while and saw  a couple of Sun fish and the occasional surface flurry from something unknown.

As I reached the other side of the eddy  we had a screamer of a strike on the Shot Gun  quickly followed by another on  the Stripy lure and as Ron was clearing the lines yet another fish, we were on a triple.

As can only happen when Game Fishing a little madness followed. Ron went to sunset to get one of the fish in quickly which worked well until he got it close to the boat where it unfortunately cut off one of the other fish. That wouldn’t have been so bad but it was my favourite Brad ‘J’ that we lost.

We brought the other two to gaff, both fish in the 20 nto 25 kilo range, took some happy snaps and since it was now late we headed for home.

All in all a good day…

Tight lines,
Ivan

LINKS..
Weather and  Sea State :
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Electronics :
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