The first Southeasters of the new year put paid to any bumper marlin season continuing. In what is proving a very strange season, Southeasters usually bring in currents loaded with fish but this time the bait all disappeared and with it, the fish. The last few weeks of January are just seeing the bait return and a few fish with it. It is not all doom and gloom as I know about a black marlin caught at Agnes Waters on the Australia Day Weekend so they are still coming south and unusually high numbers of sailfish were caught in the Redcliffe Tournament compared to black marlin which was a surprise for this time of year.
First cab off the rank for tournaments in 2009 was the Gold Coast Gamefish Club’s Riviera Light Tackle Masters. This three day event was shortened to one and three quarter fishing days due to an inclement strong Southeast change. The Phantom (www.thephantom.com.au) always fishes well down at the Gold Coast even though it is a Mooloolaba Gamefish Club boat. It has a previous first place and runner-up trophies under its belt in its old guise as a 40’ Black Watch but this year Captain Ian Walker and crew, Daniel Walker, Jess Walker, Barb Danson and Col Danson got off to a great start with two big tagged black marlin by South East Queensland standards from out wide both on the Friday of the tournament. This gave them the victory on countback in their towered 51’ Riviera. 37 boats entered the tournament but disappointingly only 15 marlin were tagged so it was tough fishing. Captain Bobby Jones of the Riviera/MTU Detroit Diesel corporate 48’ express Fascination IV guided his boat to second place with a fish on Friday and a fish on the Sunday ending up on two as well. Saturday was called off due to the strong wind warning.
The Australia Day weekend saw the running of the Moreton Bay Trailerboat Club Gamefish Section Billfish Challenge out of the Scarborough boat harbour Redcliffe. Witchdoctor the local charterboat took this out with a couple of sailfish on countback from the plate trailerboat Seadog and a couple of other boats on two tagged marlin each. Seadog had a few more chances to win outright but lost them as well as Dave Trask’s Riviera Big Business. The fishing proved reasonably tough for the biggest tournament ever in South East Queensland with 64 boats entered and with something like seven sailfish and twelve black marlin tagged amongst all those boats. A lot of new boats probably fished this tournament as the main draw card was the chance to win a new car in the last man standing draw. One lucky angler got to walk away from the weekend with a Suzuki Jimny 4WD.
Tournaments coming up include the Little Ship Gamefish Club’s Yamaha Classic, the Surfers Paradise Game and Sportfish Club’s All Tackle, All Species Tournament and Mooloolaba Gamefish Club’s Billfish Bonanza Tournament. The Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club’s Classic will have been run and won by the time this report is published and I should have the results of that one for you next month.
On the social fishing scene I managed to get out and get some livebait from a productive bait ground on the Sunshine Coast that no-one had fished for a couple of weeks for one of my charters chasing mackerel. It certainly looked the goods and I was itching to get back there for a marlin fish. The Australia Day weekend was the next time I was back and I had hooked two marlin at anchor on circle hooks on live baits while bottom fishing in the first twenty minutes securing extra bait and having a bit of a bottom fish where we ended up with a nice pearl perch. We successfully leadered and released one of the fish and then proceeded to go in for a mackerel fish. The mackerel season is going great guns so far with the spotties only just arriving on the local scene and juvenile Spanish mackerel having been here in numbers not seen for a long time since December. On the mackerel we ended up with four good bites for one fish in the ice box. We blasted out to the billfish grounds again, jumping one off straight away then leadering the 2nd black marlin for the day for Ken who was a marlin virgin up until then. The next couple of days SCGFC club boats such as Billistic II, Action Men, Bring it On, Blue Murder and Ymer got into the marlin and attendant barracuda whilst I mackerel fished on charter. It was frustrating listening to the radio knowing a good little marlin bite was on the go only a few miles away from me. We were going ok on charter getting nine bites trolling minnows for the mackerel the one day and a half a dozen another. While all this was going on at the Sunshine Coast Fascination IV had a five marlin day at the Gold Coast and it sounds like every boat going heavy tackle down there is tangling with one big marlin a day at least out on the continental shelf. Some big slimey mackerel schools are holding on a couple of reefs down there and these can give very productive fishing around this time of year.
If you want to get in on some of this hot billfish or mackerel action or even general sportfishing charters, jigging trips and reef and deep sea fishing trips give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au).