July can be a tough month for gamefishers. Lots of anglers will focus on blue marlin but there is always a chance of a striped or black marlin anywhere big bait schools of slimey mackerel are. Off the Sunshine Coast and waters further north sailfish are a chance any time.
Only one tournament was held over the past month, the Back to Tangalooma Tournament. Unfortunately it ended up a bit of a tuna fest though I think quite a few boats had their chances on billfish. Cool Runnings a 35’ Bertram out of Redcliffe dropped a heavy tackle fish when the leader parted, the crew from Jimmy McKinnon’s 685 Haines Hunter Patriot dropped a sailfish and a black marlin local to the Cape and most of the boats fishing out of Mooloolaba seemed to have one on at various stages, both sails and blacks. SCGFC boat Bring it On scraped in to win with a tagged yellowfin tuna and a line class longtail tuna to go with quite a few tagged mack tuna. Ryan McKinnon of the BIGFC 685 Patriot Aquastition shared champion angler with Mark Bird from the 5.8m Fisher plate boat Thunderbird with an equal number of tagged mack tuna. Debbie Dahl fishing on Bring it On took out the female prize. SCGFC boats to hook but lose billfish included Adrian Wright’s 35’ Bertram Bangalee and Wayne Finlay’s 40’ White Cap Keneka. Once again the Moreton Bay Gamefish Club did a great job of running the tournament from Moreton Island.
Since last month a few billfish have been caught off the Sunshine Coast. It would not be surprising to hear for many people that the two leading boats of the club, Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat Reel Capture and Steve Brooks’ 34’ Black Watch Ymer were boats to tag a billfish or two during the month. Tony Cross towed his 19’ Mustang trailer-boat to Waddy Point on Fraser Island for some R&R and reef fishing but did do a day trolling garfish, picking up a sailfish on Breaksea Spit. Hutchison Shoal will be worth a troll over the next few months for various tuna species and the amberjack and yellowtail kingfish will also start hitting trolled lures. There is also a good chance of a wahoo or Spanish mackerel bite turning it on this time of year.
Down at the Gold Coast the blue marlin were once again sporadic with the odd boat getting one and lots of boats missing out. Barry Alty’s Mistress has been out seeing and tagging a few but the current has swung to the south and dirty green water moved in for them. It is now the time of year I like to fish the 42s and 50s chasing the first and last billfish of the season trophies off the Gold Coast on likely bait schools short of hearing of a good blue bite going on.
It is also that time of year to start thinking about greener pastures and doing trips to Fraser Island, the Capricorn Bunker Group and off 1770/Agnes Waters. Already good bait schools can be found off the two mile bait grounds off the bar at 1770 and the marlin and other gamefish shouldn’t be too far away.
I am finally in reef fishing mode and going ok. The snapper on soft plastics should get better and better on both morning and afternoon trips but at the moment they only want to play in the afternoon. General reef fishing in close has been good so far on bait and putting livies down is being rewarded with gold spot estuary cod, brown Maori cod, amberjack and yellowtail kingfish. To get out with me soon give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au).