All indications are we are looking at a one in ten year event, a bit like the floods, as far as the run of black marlin are concerned this year. As an example, the Sunshine Coast Gamefishing Club has tagged over 400 billfish already this season. Their best year was 800 though. We realistically have up to May to still catch them in good numbers and sailfish should be around all autumn and winter. Weather has been the biggest thing holding us back from getting more during February. That is just light tackle, we are right in the guts of heavy tackle season. It will be interesting to see if the blue marlin turn up in big numbers this year or not.
Numbers wise the best day I know about in South East Queensland has been SCGFC vessel Kamikaze, a 33’ Obrien owned by Heath Irvine during the 2013 SCGFC Classic Tournament. The team tagged 15 black marlin on the Saturday and a sailfish on the Friday to win. With their 67 fish haul from Fraser Island over three days they have now tagged over 100 fish for the season. BIGFC 35’ Caribbean Too Easy had a 12 fish day the last Saturday in November and a 17 fish weekend. Redcliffe Riviera, Big Business, Dave Trask’s 51’er tagged 11 from 17 one recent Friday and he had 50+ bites for the day on all species. Consistently consistent 7.2m SCGFC Kevlacat Reel Capture owned by Craig McCulloch has had a ten fish and nine fish day during the season. They are over 50 fish for the season from local Mooloolaba waters. Another SCGFC boat, Keneka, a 40’ White Cap owned by Wayne Finlay had a 9 tagged fish day also during the SCGFC classic. Down at the Gold Coast the action was earlier than normal in November. Seaeagle a SPGSFC Albermarle made the most of the action out most days with the Lythgo boys over 30 for the season. Gav Woodbury of Seaprobe Charters was putting his clients onto a lot of fish as well during this period on his 36’ Black Watch, Watchtower.
Tournament wise Peter Distel took out the Mooloolaba Billfish Bash Tournament with six tagged marlin and a line class wahoo on his Riviera Liquid Assets. This nudged out Galaxy II, Jim McKinnon’s 1972 model 233 Formula by the wahoo as they also tagged six. All boats fishing the area at Cape Moreton had their chances but were struggling to keep the hooks in the small fish. Galaxy II made the most of a line class wahoo to win the Little Ship Gamefish Tournament in some pretty rough weather. A tagged yellowfin for the junior on Kitty Katt, Wayne Thomson’s 5.2m Kevlacat got them the junior prizes. The Gold Coast Light Tackle Masters was also contested in some rough but fishable weather. The fish three and only count your best two days made for an interesting end to it. 35’ Caribbean Game Day out of Brisbane were the eventual winners with a couple of tagged marlin each day of the tournament. Mistress a local gamefishing charter boat from the Gold Coast was also in the mix and the SPGSFC Albermarle Seaeagle took out the small boat section. The hard luck story went to Kitty Katt who had some fish not counted due to technicalities in the rules but who had tagged three fish the first day of the tournament and who fished Pt Lookout all weekend. There were 9+ DQs at the Gold Coast Tournament due to technical breaches of the rules regarding lure length etc. but luckily none at the SCGFC Classic Tournament. At the SCGFC tournament it was four straight wins in a row for President Brent Higgins, two on Kamikaze and two on his own 19’ centre console, Walk the Line. Jamie Behrens and crew took out the small boat section with a couple of tagged marlin and some line class wahoo on his 5.2m Haines Hunter centre console Reel Hunter.
I was lucky enough to tag one for my sponsors aboard from the Telstra Shop at Kawana Waters and we couldn’t believe it when after cease fishing on day two while pulling the lines in at dead slow idle we hooked and got our second black for the weekend for “Boof” Ruffles. My boat has now caught close to 35 for the season and I am gunning for the 52 in a season I racked up one year with the Stabicraft. We are in the best time of the year for the bigger wahoo and Spanish mackerel and if the weather allows I hope to be getting into a few of these fish. From May on I will probably switch back to reef fishing mode. The old Queens Birthday weekend in early June can often be the last bite of the Spanish mackerel here. A few big stragglers can be caught all winter and the Gold Coast has a run on the 24 fathoms reef in June but we don’t seem to get them on the Sunshine Coast. Hopefully we get a good run of winter snapper and they come in a bit closer this year.
Give me a call at Smithys Fishing Charters on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.smithysfishingcharters.com.au) to get out there and get into some fish!