Tag Archives: Tuna Fishing

Ambition report 18th.April’22

Mahi Mahi

Yesterday in perfect conditions I took Brian, his father and his two young sons out fishing. They were visiting from America and wanted to experience Game Fishing. Sadly, they didn’t get the full experience though they did enjoy the day and succeeding in taking home a nice feed of Mahi Mahi.

Mahi Mahi
Mahi Mahi
The aim was to get out to the warm current the charts were showing running south behind Browns.
 
Leaving the harbour the water was a very dirty green. I had expected the water to clear up around the 12 mile but it was only slightly better, being what I call ‘clean green’ and slightly warmer. At ninety fathoms it was improving but strangely whereas I hadn’t noticed any floating debris in the water up until now between eighty and ninety fathoms there was a lots of it, ranging in size from small twigs to decent sized branches, a time for caution.
 
Hot Currents…

Finally, in about 120 fathoms the water went that ‘beautiful blue’ we want to see and the temperature reached 25 degrees with the current running South at 2.5 knots. It was a slow transition up to the 25 degrees and in it we caught a big striped tuna, close to 9 kilo’s, that put on
good show for Brian, lucky they don’t grow to Yellowfin proportions.

Mahi Mahi
Mahi Mahi
 
We did cover a lot of water, going out to a thousand fathoms, down the thousand fathom line, back into Browns, up the shelf, down the shelf and finally back into the 12 mile. We did catch several Mahi Mahi on our travels, all in the middle of nowhere and curiously none around any floating material. There were also lots of Dolphins but they weren’t stopping just travelling North.
 
On the radio I did hear of what was described as a big Striped Marlin but it was taken off Shellharbour. In fact I heard nothing locally the whole day and only saw two other boats out wide.
 
So that was the day, a nice feed some great weather and good company, what more could you ask for – would a marlin or two be too much !!
 
Tight lines,
Ivan
 

Ambition report 15th.March’22

Autumn Sydney Blues…

After all the bad weather and floods of the last few weeks Sydney Blues took new meaning last weekend. This time of year usually heralds the arrival of Sydney Blues, that is Blue Marlin. If you look at the results of the Sydney Game Fishing Club’s annual ‘Peter Goadby Tournament’ which is coming up soon, you’ll find it has been dominated by big Blue Marlin, fish over 200 kilo’s with more than a few over 300 kilo’s.

Sydney Blue Marlin
Sydney Blue Marlin

On Saturday I took Leina and a few of her girlfriends out in the hope of a Marlin or even a Yellowfin. We went out not knowing what to expect what with all the flooding up and down the coast and the debris being pushed out to sea.

Sydney Blue Marlin
Sydney Blue Marlin

At the heads the water was like mud as expected, but as we worked our way out past twenty fathoms then thirty, forty, fifty and sixty fathoms it was not getting any better but the amount of debris was increasing.

Finally, out near the shelf it started to clear up and by the time we reached a hundred and twenty fathoms we had beautiful clear indigo blue water and 25 degrees. It looked good.

Sydney Blue Marlin
Sydney Blue Marlin

It looked good but there was no life in it. Then one of the girls spotted some birds working. As we got closer I saw Striped Tuna rounding up bait. We worked the area until the action dispersed and only catching some Stripies. Later on I was told over the radio by someone who’s boat’s name I can’t remember that they had caught a good sized Blue Marlin near Browns. We however had no more luck and turned for home.

On Sunday we had Scott and some of his friends. Little did they know what was in store for them.

Dirty Water…

Because of all the debris I trolled out and was surprised to find the Blue water had moved in to the eighty fathom line. We continued on seeing nothing but the occasional tree and pillow etc.

In about seven hundred fathoms I saw some Dolphins that looked like they were feeding so I headed towards them.  Suddenly the rigger went off and the Tiagra screamed. I looked back to see a really good Blue tearing the water apart; Lumo’s turn to shine. Pandemonium ensued. Scott took the rod and could only hang on as the Blue screamed off. It took over an hour of hard work before Scott got the fish boat side and we got a better idea of how big it was. Meantime poor Scott was f—–ed and could hardly move. He had done a great job and will probably suffer tomorrow.

Meanwhile we continued on hoping for another bite but no luck other than a couple of Mahi Mahi we found near the edge of the Blue and Brown water.

Generally speaking from now and hopefully until mid-May we see the biggest of species. Blue and Striped Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and Mahi Mahi along with Wahoo and Spearfish. What they may lack in numbers they make up in size.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 17th.February’22

Port Stephens February’22

I have just spent 3 days, 3 very different days due to the varying weather conditions fishing out of Port Stephens. On the first day, last Thursday, because the usual bait gathering areas were virtually devoid of bait I decided to go wide. Levi and Matty were keen to get out there too. To say the weather Gods where kind would have been a gross understatement. But it was the only very calm day I encountered.

On leaving the entrance the water temperature was well over 23 degrees. Incredibly the radio had reported 25 degrees on the One Mile Beach. As it happens in 500 fathoms my sounder registered 28.7 degrees, a photo of which is below.

High Temperature
High Temperature

The water even in close looked fabulous, that deep indigo blue and it was the same all the way out, only the temperature changing.

I put the lures in at 80 fathoms in ideal great conditions. Even though I hadn’t seen any sign of life all the way out expectation was high. We trolled East to the second drop off then North towards Almark. A couple of times I noticed Mutton birds working around  what appeared to be Frigate Mackerel feeding  near plankton lines. I worked them for a while all to no avail then continued on. Then the shotgun let go in a screaming run. Bloody ‘Brad’ had done it again. After a good fight which taught Matty how tough being on the rod can be we got the fish, a nice Blue, to the boat were we swam it and let it go.

Blue Marlin
Blue Marlin

Friday and Saturday we didn’t fish due to the weather. On Sunday it was still pretty lively but predicted to ease. As a result I decided to give the inshore fishery a go. As expected live bait was hard to find but we did manage some. We put out some small lures and trolled up to the lighthouse then out to the FAD where we used some of the live bait to catch some Dollies, then back into Broughton. We did get more Dollies, some so small I don’t know how they ate the lures. Surprisingly we also caught a small Yellowfin.

So, after experiencing the inshore and seeing the results of those much more skilled on the inshore reefs than I it was back to the wide grounds.

It was Tony’s turn to catch a fish. I trolled out from the FAD and again not seeing much sign of life. We were in about 350 fathoms when again ‘Brad’ took off. All was looking good until the Marlin charged the boat and the hook just fell out. I could go into a long story about having banana’s on board and Tony saying that that was why we lost the fish. I don’t really think he believed me that banana phobia is bunkum until we hooked another Blue. This one came in and hit ‘Evil’ on the short corner first, missed, and went out taking ‘Brad’ on the way. This one put up a great fight and really made poor Tony work. He did a great job getting it to the boat where we took photo’s and let the Blue go.

In summary, though the fishing was tough they are there to be found. It appears that there are Small Black just North of Port and a few more being taken around Seal Rocks.
To me it looks as though the stage is set, we just need the proverbial actors. If and when the current eases as predicted the bait will build up and it will take off, I hope.

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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 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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