Apologies for no report last month. I attended the Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo, the first time in quite a few years and thoroughly enjoyed it picking up a couple of daily prizes for a Spanish mackerel one day and a wahoo another. This only gave me a couple of days to get my report in and unfortunately it just didn’t happen. Hopefully you will enjoy this read. Even though winter is traditionally slow on the gamefish front, combining two months worth of news should make something worthwhile for you to read about.
The end of May saw the blue marlin bite continue between the Noosa Canyons and Cape Moreton with the dog leg proving to be one of the more reliable spots. A smattering of sailfish were mixed in with the blues as they moved in from wherever it is they disappear to and this pointed to something good. The Sails didn’t disappoint and turned up on the close Sunshine Coast grounds enforce for a week or so in numbers not seen for a couple of years. The bait looked good and everything looked set to explode but unfortunately the hot bite only lasted a bit over a week. The bites only last a week or two these days, not months on end like the end of the 90’s. Mixed in with the sails were small black marlin on a ratio of about 3:1 sailfish to blacks. With them were untold numbers of wahoo that proved expensive on skirts/hooks and mono leader whilst they were on. Boats to capitalise on this bite included Scotty Trafford’s 36’ Black Watch, Watch Ya Problem, Felix Yeh’s 34’ Black Watch Outside Edge (www.outsideedge.com.au) driven by son Captain Andrew Yeh and Christopher Yeh’s AMM centre console No-name. Young Darren Lee aboard the 5.2m half cab Misty seconded mum Diane into driving him down to the boat ramp and fishing with him mid week as both Darren and Christopher are only 17-18 years old with no cars of their own and between themselves tagged around 17 billfish. Other boats to get in on the action were Steve Turner’s Kevlacat Reel Turner, Jeff Oates’ Mustang Mustang, Adrian Traynor’s home built custom centre console, Evolution, CJ Maycock’s Bertram Fin Atic and Scott Baker’s Cairns Custom Craft Xtasea. The bite coincided with the first decky school of many conducted out of Mooloolaba by David Granville (davidgranvillephotography.com) who charted Captain Andrew for a couple of days for his students. The first morning of the fishing school they had 13 billfish up light tackle then went to the shelf for the afternoon and saw a blue marlin and a sailfish out there. How would that have been for the students? Pretty good I reckon! Reel Turner did the next best with a 4 from 9 day on billfish plus wahoo but the young Christopher and Darren certainly held their own, in fact for a late charge by Rod Fett’s 43’ Obrien Palagero, Misty was looking like being the champion boat Heavy Tackle for theSunshineCoast club.
The tail end of the bite was during the Bribie Island Tournament. After doing the starboard engine on Ymer the 34’ Black Watch ANZAC Day, owners Lee Bradford and Steve Brooks made the call to fish out of Lee’s plate Fisher, Serial Fisher in the Bribie Tournament. Nine year old Daniel Brooks tagged a black marlin, a sailfish a yellowfin tuna and weighed five wahoo between ten and eleven kilograms to scoop the pool. Dad Steve tagged a black marlin to make sure of the result. Dan walked away with Champion Junior, Champion Tuna Angler, Champion Light Tackle Angler and the team won Champion Team under 7.5m.
The same weekend Captain Luke Fallon bought the 47’ Obrien Kekoa (www.kekoa.com.au) back from fishing the waters ofFraserIsland with world record chaser Gary Carter aboard. Gary chartered the boat for 18 days straight chasing the blue marlin World Records on 3kg, 4kg and 6kg line. The boat fished everywhere from the tip of Fraser Island to Ballina in NSW during that time clocking up over 300 hours and nearly a 1,000 sea miles. Gary was presented with a couple of world record fish nearly every day but it just didn’t come off for the team. Along the way they look like setting an Australian wahoo record on 2kg line and yellowfin tuna record on 3kg line. When they arrived back at Mooloolaba the weekend of the Bribie Tournament they went chasing a black marlin on 2kg line the May Day holiday Monday, finding it and eventually losing the fish after a 9 hour battle.
That same week on the same Mooloolaba grounds, Brett Vercoe speared a black marlin to possibly make him the very first Australian to spear all three marlin species available inAustralia. Sounds like he did it the hard way with his blue marlin coming before his black marlin which you would think would be more accessable.
In other news the Sunshine Coast Team that competed in the IGFA Cabo Rolex Tournament finished mid field in a tournament attracting 62 teams from around the world by invite only. I can just imagine with that crew they may have spent too much time checking out the sights of Cabo San Lucas than being 100% into their fishing over there!
For the next few months gamefishers can expect sporadic action here and there. Black marlin and sailfish are still being caught on both coasts but the blues have gone quiet and no-one is chasing them. The water temperature is still quite high for this time of year so who knows what may happen. On the Gold Coast I would be targeting striped marlin anywhere from the 18s out, with the 42s to 50s being ideal. Yellowfin tuna are also a prospect. Lure make Peter Pakula had them worked out last year by cubing for them. That is something a lot of Queenslanders don’t try. I am sure places like Noosa Canyons would find the yellowfin in target-able quantities. Through winter you may also find some of the larger private boats making trips out to the row of seamounts 100Nm offshore. SunshineCoastboat the 40’ White Cap Keneka has already tried a couple of trips with limited success. After a days trolling or reef fishing I reckon more boats should be putting in the time targeting broadbill swordfish on those calm winter nights. As far as I know and I stand to be corrected, Mick Keeling from the Gold Coast who owns the 40’ Black Watch Black Bart is the only recreational angler to have targeted and caught a swordfish in South East Queensland. I have seen pictures of them as incidental captures but not many people who have targeted them have caught them. By catch will include such species as big eye tuna which Mick has also had caught from his boats over the years.
Winter is also the time of year to catch your gar ready for the next season. By putting in the time at places such as the basin in theMooloolahRiver, catches of 100 a session are possible. If you go 3-2-1 on those hundred gar that should see you with 30 odd tags or captures on gamefish. A couple of big sessions like that cryovaced or bagged in zip lock bags will see you set up for the light tackle season. These are mostly small 3×2 gar with the odd river gar but the biggest models are worth keeping to try on the heavy tackle grounds.