Traditionally the summer run of baby Black Marlin turn up on the Gold Coast the week before Christmas. This year they didn’t read the script but turned up en-force two weeks before Christmas and in numbers that will make everyone forget the abysmal 2006 season. The Moreton Trench started to fire at the same time but the fish seemed to bypass the Sunshine Coast. Sunshine Coast anglers had been plucking away at a steady stream of fish on the local grounds all through November but the fish didn’t turn up in December in numbers like were experienced on the Gold Coast. Maybe they were picked up in different currents or followed the bait until they turned up West of Hutchison Shoal or places further South. All is not lost as another good bite is going on at the top of Fraser Island as I write this report so another wave of fish is on it way. Lets hope they decide to call the Sunshine Coast home for a couple of weeks on their way south. The Fraser grounds were certainly pretty barren by usual Fraser Island standards when we were there for the Albermarle Hervey Bay Boat Club Gamefish Club Classic but local Sunshine Coast Kevlacat Tanjian has been making the most of their sneaky trips across the bar up there tagging many Marlin and Sailfish each trip.
Personally I have just come off a great session in the Trench aboard the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club vessel Ymer a 34’ Black Watch. It was a day of firsts for two of our anglers with Scott Baker from Kingaroy getting his first Marlin tagged and released and nine year old Daniel Brooks angled his first as well as second and third which were tagged and released successfully including one on six kilo line. Most tournament anglers in South East Queensland fish eight kilo line as a perfectly matched size line to the typical run of 20 kilogram fish we see over summer but club members often take the chance to fish lighter line classes to hone their skills or accrue greater club points. In our instance we ended up with young Daniel on our lightest rod at one stage with Lee Serial Fisher Bradford driving. This was Lee’s first go at driving a diesel game boat with twin propellers and twin throttles but he picked it up reasonably quickly and the fish was successfully tagged for Daniel.
On the tournament scene, the Powercat Marine Bribie Island Gamefish Club 21st Tournament of Champions will be next on the calendar. This tournament will be run on the weekend of the 4th to 7th of January and I should have the results in the next edition. The results of the Gold Coast Gamefish Club Riviera Light Tackle Masters to be held once again at Hope Harbour Resort will also be known by then. The dates for it are the 20th and 21st of January. Into February and the first weekend of the month will see the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Classic contested out the Kawana Waters Hotel. This tournament sees heavy tackle fish tagged in waters greater than 150 metres and with line greater than 15 kilogram breaking strain worth three times the points of a light tackle Billfish tagged on eight kilogram line. It then becomes a tactical decision as to whether you concentrate on the numbers game of light tackle fish or go to the shelf and target lesser numbers of Blue Marlin but hope you get enough to see your points get you through. Throw into the mix that other species such as Mahi Mahi and Wahoo that go greater than the breaking strain of the line class being used counting for points and the tournament can come down to mere grams as has happened in the past. Later in the month is traditionally the Little Ship Gamefish Club Yamaha Lees Industries Gamefish Classic held out of the One Mile at Dunwhich on North Stradbroke Island which is also a light tackle/heavy tackle tournament. It will interesting to see if the hot bite is at the Gold Coast again, the Moreton Island Trench, Point Lookout or the Sunshine Coast which did run hot for a couple of years. Following that one and into March will be the Surfers Paradise Gamefish Club All Tackle All Species Couran Tournament. This is scheduled for the 17th and 18th of March and takes in ultra-light, light, medium and heavy tackle as well as inshore and offshore categories. There are trophies for most things in this tournament. Easter will see the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club’s Billfish Bonanza and April/May should see the Gold Coast Gamefish Club Heavy Tackle Tournament conducted once again.
Just a reminder to tournament or club anglers that fish to GFAA/QGFA rules to check that their gear complies with the rules. Some tournaments now scrutinise the gear any fish has been caught on with a few teams having fish disqualified due to technical breaches over lengths of leaders, hook placement, etc. This is good move so anglers fishing far flung tournaments all over the globe or even just Australian tournaments like the New South Wales Interclub are familiar with gear scrutiny. Some of the bigger tournaments overseas even have IGFA certified observers aboard to make sure you are doing the right thing, not just the big money $1,000,000 jackpot tournaments either. The IGFA Rolex Offshore Championships at Cabo San Lucas in May is not a big money tournament but the observers are there as it is still a very prestigious tournament to win.