Tag Archives: Yellowfin

Ambition Report 30th.October’23

Striped Marlin…

At last something to write about – October Marlin. Though over the last couple of weeks a few Striped Marlin have shown up October Marlin start the run, the last couple of times I’ve been out have been a misery of bad weather with cold and green water. Though there was plenty of bait around there was little if any bird activity… the water just seemed dead.

Mark's Marlin
Mark’s Marlin

Yesterday was a whole different kettle of fish, no pun intended. I headed out towards Browns put the gear in at the Twelve Mile, trolling out from there. The water wasn’t a great colour but at least it wasn’t that dirty green and the temperature was increasing with the current coming in from the East and the bait was building up.

Mark's Marlin
Mark’s Marlin

I was several miles North of Browns when I saw a heap of birds working, they weren’t going South with their migrating mates. It took a fair while to catch up to them since out there the current was going North and with the Northerly wind it made for a less than comfortable ride. I did catch up eventually and found they were chasing a school of Striped Tuna one of which took old ‘Brad’.

Yellowfin Tuna…

I decided then to go downwind to Browns to ease the pain for one of the guys who was not feeling very well. As it so happened after only a few minutes we had a double strike on the riggers with ‘Lumo’ and ‘Illusion’ hooked up on Yellowfin. The fish were around twenty to twenty-five kilo’s. We got one in but sadly lost the other at the boat when it took a last desperate run.

On the radio I heard there were a couple of boats around the ‘Bait Station’ and that they were working over large schools of bait. I stayed out in the deep water hoping to find the Yellowfin again. As I went North the temperature increased and the current swung more to the East. I didn’t find the ‘fin again but around mid-day a solid strike on ‘Lumo’ resulted in a good-sized Striped Marlin charging in at the boat. We actually thought it was coming aboard when it slammed into the starboard corner forcing Mark to duck for cover. It was a very active fish and Ace who had been very sick all day had to hand the rod over to Mark who brought it to boat.

I kept trolling North to give us a better run home and on the way marked incredible amounts of bait, the sounder virtually blacking out. Then again from eighty five to sixty fathom found birds and dolphins rounding the bait up.

With all the bait out there and with that warm Southerly current pushing down it can’t possibly be too long before the scene comes alive. Optimistic! maybe, too optimistic! probably but you never never know.

I also had confirmation from Rob the owner of ‘On Call’ that they had caught a good-sized Mahi Mahi and saw a couple of Striped Marlin wide of the shelf on Sunday too.  This reminds me that over the years large Mahi Mahi have become a common capture during November. To me indicating the warm edge is not far away.

Tight Lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 14th.September’23

Daniel’s Group…

I went out yesterday with Daniel’s Group, American soldiers here for the exercises, again not really confident, especially after looking at the SST charts. They were not showing any real feature. No temperature breaks, in fact hardly any temperature variation between shore and a thousand fathoms. The only reasonable feature being the zero line was reachable.

Daniel's Yellowfin
Daniel’s Yellowfin
Anyway, I went out despite the SST’s hoping that because of their low resolution I’d be able to find something to work with.

We put the lures in at the Twelve Mile, always the chance of an early season Marlin there, and worked our way out. As I neared the shelf I got a call from ‘Finfinder’ telling me they had landed a Yellowfin of around fifteen kilo’s wide of Browns. Well, that was incentive enough and I headed off that way.

Whales and Dolphins

There were plenty of Whales, Dolphins and Pilot Whales to see but bait and birds were scarce. Still we continued on getting out to the thousand fathom line sadly with no result, so headed back in.

On the way in I saw a ‘bust up’ but by the time I got there it was all over. I worked the area for a while however they never came up again so continued on my merry way. ‘Finfinder’ had also found nothing out wider so was also on their way back in. Just as I noticed them on the horizon I saw another ‘bust up’ and this one was close by, as I skirted the area we hooked up. I called ‘Finfinder’ in and within minutes they also hooked up. Both fish eventually landed and both roughly the same size, 25 to 30 kilo’s.
Interestingly the Yellowfin we caught had been eating Sauries which were hardly digested. Yet in all the time we trolled the area we never saw a single sign of Sauries.
We both worked the area for quite a while with no result.
So, there are still some Yellowfin around and should make it interesting for this week-end’s Sydney Game Fishing Club’s Monster Mako Tournament since there is a major prize for both the biggest and most tagged Yellowfin.
Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition Report 9th.September’23

September Yellowfin…

Went out last Thursday with Chuck, his wife and son on board from New York State chasing September Yellowfin. I was not very optimistic about the day. The weather wasn’t as good as expected in fact verging on horrible and recent fishing reports were hopeless. There were a few Yellowfin off Kiama and further South and the Marlin and Yellowfin reports I’d heard from the Port Stephens area had dried up. However, on the way out I did hear a couple of boats fishing inshore catching what sounded like some good Snapper.

September Yellowfin
September Yellowfin

When I went past the 12 mile there was one boat there and with the North Easterly already doing fifteen to eighteen knots and the residual sea from the day before it wasn’t pleasant, so I can’t imagine they stayed there for very long.

September Yellowfin
September Yellowfin

Chuck and his family were still happy to be there, so we continued on. I went North to at least get a comfortable ride home. It really wasn’t looking good. No bait schools around the shelf, no birdlife to mention and only eighteen degrees water temperature with no breaks, but there were lots of whales.

September Yellowfin
September Yellowfin
Unseasonal MahiMahi…

I got a huge surprise when in two hundred fathoms the rigger went off with what appeared to be a good fish running hard, sadly it dropped off just as quickly. Then in around three hundred fathoms I saw a heap of Gannets sitting on the water with some occasionally diving in. As we drew closer I saw there was a big block of wood with a big Mako lying under it, a good sign for next weekend’s Mako Tournament. I passed the lures close to the block of wood and to my surprise a school of Mahi Mahi charged in. The SST was only eighteen degrees and the water green. We ended up with two nice Mahi Mahi before they spooked. I worked the area for a while but nothing else appeard.

Further on we got a good hit on the shotgun and line screamed off, this was a Yellowfin. After a good fight Chuck’s son brought it to gaff for a very happy and tired angler.

And so ended the day. The wind had picked up to over twenty knots and the decision was made to head for home – nice down hill run it was too.

That’s how it goes what looked like it was going to be a futile day ended well with the guys catching their biggest fish and something to eat to boot.

Tightlines,
Ivan


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Ambition report 17th.August’23

It is fair to say that this winter’s fishing has been unusual to say the least. Earlier on, just a few weeks ago we had a run of big Yellowfin, what I have heard called the Fijian Yellowfin. It would be interesting to know if these fish have actually come in on a current of tropical origin, i.e. Fijian Yellowfin, it would go a long way into explaining the appearance of some of the other warm water fish we have seen lately.

Winter Yellowfin
Winter Yellowfin

At the same time as these Yellowfin, I will call them the Fijian Yellowfin, turned up we experienced a very short run of Bluefin with several over one hundred kilo’s caught. Yet at the same time there were a couple of Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin taken, sighting of Mahi Mahi and the weirdest of all more than a few Spearfish caught. So, a strange mix of warm and cold water species.

Winter Yellowfin

At present we are catching smaller Yellowfin in the twenty five to forty kilo range though a couple of bigger ones have been taken. In the past these smaller fish were found in large schools, often busting up, and when you found them you’d get multiple hook-ups. However, lately to find the fish you have to cover a lot of ground and the hook-ups are from blind strikes in the middle of nowhere with little if any bird activity to indicate their presence.

The last time I was out, a couple of days ago, we caught a couple of thirty kilo ‘fin. The first in three hundred fathoms South-East of Browns and the second in seven hundred fathoms on the same line. There were few birds around in fact for all intents and purposes the area looked barren. What was of interest was that the fish had been eating what looked like baby octopus or squid, hard to tell at the size they were, about two centimetres long and transparent. It amazed me that the fish were feeding on really small bait and yet still took old ‘Brad’.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 2nd.July’23

Sydney Yellowfin Tuna…

Sydney Yellowfin tuna have been showing up in reasonable number. Everyone want to have a go at these Sydney Yellowfin tuna.

After checking the weather reports and seeing three different scenarios I thought I’d give Mikko and his friends the option to postpone. However, the lure of the fish ruled and the decision was made to go on out and see what the weather does. Exactly what we used to do before ( in the old days ) before everyone had computers and GPS.

Mikko and Yellowfin
Mikko and Yellowfin

The plan was to head out to where some fairly slack water was edging up to a slightly warmer and faster Southerly current.

Mikko and Yellowfin
Mikko and Yellowfin

When we headed out the weather was quite good but at around 10:30 the South Wester started to show it teeth and that combined with a building Southerly swell in the warmer water made it quite ugly.

I worked the edge for a while unsuccessfully and since couple of the guys were decidedly green I moved back into the slack water which was marginally calmer and headed to where we had caught the fish on the last trip. We had just reached the general area when we had a double hook up. It’s amazing what a shot of adrenalin can do. All hands were on deck and ready to go. The rough sea made it tough going but both fish around the 30 to 40 kilo’s mark were brought in.

Rising Seas…

Meanwhile the South-Easter had dropped off a little so I headed back out to sea and was rewarded with another double hookup and almost twin Yellowfin of the previous pair were brought on board. Rob hadn’t even reset the gear when we had another strike and while that was happening something grabbed my teaser and was stripping line off the teaser reel. I have never had a Yellowfin do that, plenty have hit the teaser but none have tried to escape with it. I guessed it might have been a Marlin but not having seen anything, who knows.

In the mean time the wind had turned to the South and picked up again. So, with five Yellowfin aboard and a happy crew I started trolling home.

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Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition Report 26th.June’23

Yellowfin Tuna…

 

The Sydney tuna run is coming. With a much-awaited moderation in the weather and reports of the Sydney Tuna with Yellowfin North of us and Bluefin to the South with both groups getting closer I had to get out there.
Colins Yellowfin
Colins Yellowfin
The plan was to head East around to where there was some interesting looking water around Heatons. Out there a cooler Northerly current was eddying on the Eastern edge of a warmer tongue of water from the North, all looking very fishy in theory.
Colins Yellowfin
Colins Yellowfin
We put the lures in at eighty fathoms after dodging all the whales, there’s always the chance of a Striped Marlin around the shelf and headed out.
Colin's Yellowfin
Colin’s Yellowfin
As it was we didn’t encounter anything on the way and as you can see or rather hear in the video below the wind was howling. When we reached the warmer water, the conflicting currents caused the already uncomfortable sea to stand up. To my great surprise there were a couple of smaller boats out there too – I know I wouldn’t have been there in those conditions in a boat smaller than mine – hell, I didn’t even like it in mine.
We spent a little time in the area but there was neither bird activity nor bait so I picked a relatively comfortable course and started heading inshore. On the way I heard one boat say they had caught a couple of Albacore wide of Heatons, another had caught a Yellowfin somewhere inside Heatons yet another had caught a Spearfish wide of the Bait Station. Oddly enough it was the third Spearfish I’ve heard of recently…strange times.
On the way Home…
To cut a long story short I was trolling towards the Bait Station when if five hundred fathoms we were rudely awakened by three rods screaming off. Fortunately, since there were only three of us on board, myself the client and my deckhand, one dropped off. Rob took one of the rods and muscled the Yellowfin to the boat in ten minutes while Colin kept tension on his fish keeping it out of the way until the other was landed. Colin took a little longer but he duly brought his fish to the gaff.
So, an interesting day with a good result and hopefully the start of a good Tuna season. The Bluefin aren’t far away and there are enough Yellowfin to make it interesting.
Inshore there are Kings on the reefs and in the harbour and for those in the know some good Snapper too.
So, get on out there…
Tightlines,
Ivan

Ambition report 2nd.May’23

This Peter Goadby Blue

The Peter Goadby Tournament was certainly held on an interesting week-end.

Peter Goadby Blue...
Peter Goadby Blue…
Saturday…
Saturday saw seventeen boats head out into what were ideal conditions. There had been reports of Yellowfin a little South of us, Blue Marlin were evident, Striped Marlin were apparent having pack attacked a couple of boats including mine, there was a Black Marlin speared at Long Reef and to top it off the FAD’s were loaded with Mahi Mahi. In the past this tournament has produced big Blue Marlin and Yellowfin so anticipation was high.
Peter Goadby Blue...
Peter Goadby Blue…
Sadly, the fish just weren’t there. The water was good, over 24 degrees at the shelf. There was bird and bait activity to be found out wide though you did have to cover some ground to find it. Trouble was, to the detriment of a couple of boats, that were the birds and bait were there were no predators.
There was, however, bait on the shelf and as Little Audrey and Greyhound found it did produce some Striped Marlin. Little Audrey tagging three and Greyhound one. Most other boats found Mahi Mahi many of which were in the middle of nowhere, shame was there were none of the usual bigger ones.
Peter Goadby Blue...
Peter Goadby Blue…
I started trolling just inside the shelf and found patches of bait then worked my way out to the thousand fathom line. On the way out the water was cooling and the birds and bait thinned out. By then both Little Audrey and Greyhound had each tagged a Marlin so I started coming back in. I was around the two hundred fathoms area, no bait nor birds, when the rigger went off.
The fish didn’t jump just screamed off, so thoughts were of a Yellowfin.  This  was a very strange fish,  Black in colour…not a Black Marlin but a very dark coloured Blue Marlin, unlike anything I have ever seen before. Still it put up a solid fight certainly making Mark work, but we did eventually tag it. Then we heard Little Audrey had tagged another two Striped Marlin, tomorrow has got to be good.
Sunday…
Sunday’s weather wasn’t looking too good but you have to be in it to win it so I headed off to the club in high spirits only to have them dashed as a Gale warning was issued for waters South of Port Hacking meaning we could not go fishing. NSWGFA rules stipulate that if there is a Gale warning in your zone fishing is cancelled. We made the decision to wait for the 10:00 am. weather update and hope for the lifting of the Gale.
The Gale warning was lifted. We could go out which was interesting in itself. The wider we went the bigger the swell got and near the shelf it got even steeper but it wasn’t too bad and was dropping off. Through the day the seven boats that went out caught only one Marlin, a Stripy and several Mahi Mahi.
It was an interesting two days, sadly the fish weren’t there but there is always next time.
Tight lines,
Ivan

Ambition report 24th.March’23

Rob’s Blue Marlin…

Rob’s Blue Marlin…After the last couple of day’s out and checking the SST charts it was apparent that little had changed. In fact the zero line was still pretty well encompassing Browns and the warmer current still running hard out wide with very little current inside.

Rob's Blue
Rob’s Blue

Maybe it is just me but it seems strange that with such warm water persisting the Dollies are not in the numbers I would have expected. However, reports are saying there are Dollies to be had around the various FAD’s but you have to get there early with live bait preferable.

Anyway, I was after Marlin so headed out to work the zero line planning to go out to the thousand fathoms line, where a lot of fish have been caught recently, later.

Rob's Blue
Rob’s Blue

I put the lures in at the 12 Mile which is always worth a shot and trolled out. The water was 23 C pretty well all the way to the shelf where it slowly started to rise. We started seeing birds in groups obviously looking and occasionally coming together. After spending some time following and working the area it became apparent the Mutton birds were chasing Flying Fish.

Continuing on in the middle of nowhere we had a massive strike on the rigger and Grasshopper took off at a thousand miles an hour. There was no jumping just one long run that threatened to spool us. Could be a Yellowfin was the thought and if it was it was huge. The fish stayed near the surface most of the time going deep occasionally, I thought it had to be a Marlin no Yellowfin I have ever caught has gone this hard.

After nearly an hour Rob brought the fish which indeed turned out to be a Blue Marlin around 140 kilo’s to the boat. Sometime during the fight the line had become wrapped around its pectoral fins, the angle of pull impeding it from jumping. Even worse when my deckie finally took the trace he had little control over the fish. He did win in the end and eventually freed the lure and let the fish go.

We continued out finding more Mutton birds working but they all seemed to be on Flying fish. On the thousand fathom line we got a massive strike leaving a big hole behind Evil on the short corner. The Blue missed the lure but came flying out of the water. If I’d have had a looping camera I would have had a great shot of a 150 plus kilo Blue Marlin high in the air and broadside to the transom but alas.

Shortly afterwards I could just make out a fish following the Illusion. I couldn’t quite make out what it was but after it had had a couple of shots at the lure I figured it was a small Striped Marlin but in retrospect I think it was a Spearfish.

So, with three fish up within the last couple of hours I thought this is going to be a great day. As it happens we saw nothing else for the rest of the day – I guess that’s fishing.

Tight lines,
Ivan

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Ambition report 19th.February’23

February Marlin

After spending the last couple of weekends up at Port Stephens where the only game in town was to chase small Black Marlin it was a pleasure to come back to home territory to see what is happening down here and chase some February Marlin.

February Stripy
February Stripy

Up at the Port the run of Blacks which I’m sure most of you have heard about has been quite remarkable.  The fish ranging from fifteen kilo’s up to forty kilo’s with the occasional larger one thrown in. Those in the know tagging numbers up to the high teens in a day.

For those of us lesser mortals it was still achievable to tag up to four or five a day. Stealth however was required. Light leaders, smaller hooks and light line to fool these fish which were being harassed by innumerable boats every day. In general it paid to fish during the week.  There may have been only forty or fifty boats out during the week. Whereas during weekends there were around one hundred and fifty boats. However, you could simply wait for bad weather and hope it keeps the numbers down.

February Stripy
February Stripy
Back in Sydney

I went out yesterday and fished most of the day in a 20 knot North-Easter which is not the most comfortable of conditions to fish in. Fortunately the guys coped very well so we got the whole day in.

I started out trolling in close with small lures hoping for a Black and looking for bait. Neither of which I found. I worked my way out wider. The water temperature and colour getting better as we went out. On the way we caught quite a few Skipjacks but none of the small Yellowfin which I’d heard could be found amongst the Stripies.

February Stripy
February Stripy

To my surprise just inside the shelf the temperature reached 27 degrees Centigrade and over the edge went up to 27.4 C which I thought was too warm. However we saw several groups of birds working on something. There were a few flying fish around but after working around the birds and pods of Dolphins we neither raised nor marked anything and weren’t even catching the Stripies anymore.

I decided to go back into the cooler water where there was some life at least. We had just hit 24.5 C in about 75 fathoms when the shotgun took off at a rate of knots. I could see it was a Marlin and for some odd reason assumed it was a Black. Probably because I’d seen so many lately. But as it neared the boat it was apparent. It was indeed a Striped Marlin which had stayed deep throughout the fight. We did get it boatside but when Rob took the leader it played up and wore through the trace and I lost my favourite Brad ‘J’.

Next time I’m going to try and get to the other side of the hot water. I’ve heard there are Yellowfin and after listening to the scheds from the Port Stephens Shootout over the weekend there should also be some Blue Marlin.

Tightlines,
Ivan

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Fishing December 2022

Fishing December 2022
How different can two years be ?

Though I can’t compare fishing December 2022 with December 2021, due to Covid and associated lockdowns. Below is a report from December 2020 to show what should be.

In general, so far this year the offshore has been pretty well non-descript.

I did my first charter on a double with Hammerhead Charters off Port Stephens last week. There were substantiated reports of Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi and Yellowfin and lots of bait in the area the day before I went out. But as luck would have it the weather turned it on on the Friday and we went out into a rising sea and 20 knots of South-Easterly. To the clients credit surprisingly they lasted the whole day.

The warmest water I found was around the FAD , from there on the temperature dropped. Out on the shelf even though it was rough the water looked great but there were only patches of bait and it was all deep and no birds. Hammerhead did manage a 6kg. Mahi Mahi and that was it for the day.

After returning to Sydney I heard that the bait previously reported off Port Stephens had moved down to the Norah Canyons and I later heard there was bait building up on the shelf off Sydney

So it looks like we just need the predators to find their food.

December Reports’20 :-

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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