June will see gamefishers move into the worst time of year for billfish. There may be sporadic blue bites on both coasts and off Brisbane, sailfish bites off the Sunshine Coast and black or stripey bites off the Gold Coast on the deep bait schools on the 42 or 50 fathom lines. Bottom fishermen floating pillies out for snapper will probably see more marlin than game anglers these next few months but we need someone to crack a technique or spot for these bigger blacks on their return journey north. We also need someone to find a spot like the Port Stephens Car Park as striped marlin do swim past SEQ from NSW and tagging results indicate a lot are caught by longliners off Central Qld. Everyone either fishes inside of 100m of water light tackle or charges out to 200m plus to chase blue marlin but we might have a good crop of striped marlin at various times in the 100-180m zone worth chasing.
Three tournaments were conducted over the past month with the Gold Coast Blue Marlin Classic the first cab off the ranks. Only six eligible fish were tagged in the tournament with two each to Castille III and Mistress, one to Num Nuts and the sixth to Caboom from a 15 boat field. Due to rough weather on the Friday only about eight boats fished a full day with Castille tagging the first fish. They secured their win on the Saturday also tagging the first fish of the day. Boats had up to three chances each over the course of the weekend and Castille and Mistress were in that position along with Sundance from Tweed Heads. Big congratulations to owner Mark Ripper, angler Katie Ripper, captain Dean Beech and deckie Tinker for the win. Champion fish other species went to Eric Carruthers off the 51’ Steber Ocean Dream skippered by Frank Periho I fished on Mistress with owner Barry Alty who took out male angler and last billfish tagged. I rang skipper Brett Alty to get the go ahead to tag along for the weekend and was out with the usual crew of Jeff Flentjar as angler, Rocket at deckie and Mick Stewart as new regular crew. This event was held back at the Runaway Bay Marina, the traditional home of the GCGFC and gamebase was actually back at gamebase. The event was run from marquees at the top of the fingers like in the old days and things can only get better for the club being home.
The weekend following Gold Coast was the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club Billfish Bonanza Tournament and it too was at it’s traditional home of the Yacht Club, now called the SCYC. The briefing and Calcutta saw 22 boats entered in this light and heavy tackle tournament. Day one saw slow fishing with Reel Capture from the SCGFC out in front on three tags from six or so boats on one each. I was to fish on Ymer but copped a 24hour virus and had the day off the water. It turned out a miserable day with showers all day and a washing machine sea even though the forecast was ok. Ymer jumped one off and then fought one for three hours before it was tagged for Dan Smith (no relation). Day two we had a charge at Reel Capture tagging two sailfish and a black marlin and jumping another sailfish off on the bite but they are a form boat at the moment and tagged three themselves plus weighed a 14kg wahoo to assure the win. To complete a near clean sweep for SCGFC boats Tony Cross on his 19’ Mustang Out Quoting tagged a black marlin as well as weighing a 19kg barracuda for the other species category and champion small boat. Dave Trask and his 51’ Riviera Big Business out of Redcliffe stuck with heavy tackle fishing like a couple of other boats as the points were in their favour at the ratio of two to one for a tagged small black marlin just over the 150m deep cut-off for the heavy tackle trophy. Once again a very well put on competition by the MGFC with a lot of work being put in by the Douglass and Jensen families as well as the full committee.
Bribie Island was next cab off the rank on the May Day long weekend. Once again they suffered a poor weather forecast keeping some boats home with a 15 boat field. A tagged sailfish early to BIGFC boat Compromise held on for the win on time with other BIGFC boats to tag a sailfish being White Horse and Hardnup. MGFC boat Animal had their chances and ended up with the one from Sunday but nearly got one on the Saturday as well. Some boats went heavy tackle on the Saturday but with the Mooloolaba grounds the most consistent place to be once again, most of the fleet converged there Sunday.
At the start of the season no-one could have forecast that I would be telling you it looks like the SCGFC will surpass the amount of billfish we tagged last season which was 367 but that is the case as I write this in early May. Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat Reel Capture is now well out on front for end of season trophies with about 75 billfish tagged with Ymer in second place. Jeff Oates individually has tagged over 50 billfish this season and is on track to win the QGFA and GFAA awards for most billfish tagged.
Down at the Gold Coast the blue marlin have been sporadic with the odd boat getting one and lots of boats missing out. Barry Alty’s Mistress has been its usual consistent self on that front and Perry James has landed a couple of line class ladies records on his 32’ Cresta Comocean in recent weeks. Inshore the wahoo are still at the Nine Mile reef but there was a small run of sailfish for a week or so all over the southern end of the coast. I would be getting out to the 42s and 50s and chasing the bigger blacks and stripes this next couple of months if there was no blue marlin reports. Point Lookout seems to be fishing ok but Hutchies is still dead for Brisbane anglers. It has got to come good soon and I had a great May there last year. A drop in water temp might get things moving.
The new Yamaha 150 continues to raise fish and my season tally stands at 52 billfish released from the Stabicraft. Personally on all boats I have been on for the year it is well into the 80s. The mackerel look like continuing well into this month and the water temperatures are yet to drop in any discernable way even though the days are getting short and there is bit of a nip to the air at night. I haven’t reef fished since December but I have a few reef trips booked in this next little bit and all reports point to a good season ahead. 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).