Just when we had pretty much given up on getting a light tackle bite this year the fish showed up on the Sunshine Coast. These fish were a mix of 30-80kg black marlin and 18-25kg sailfish. Hectares of bait with dolphins and birds signalled the location of these fish with a couple of SCGFC boats having them all to themselves for a couple of weeks before the word got out. The blue marlin action continued on the shelf with some boats getting multiples and others missing out.
Three tournaments were successfully conducted this past month. The Little Ship Gamefish Club ran their tournament on their original dates and in some good weather which is lucky for them. Scheduling it near cyclone season has seen them had their fair share of run-ins with the weather and the alternate dates used quite a bit. In fact last year they had to cancel altogether when both dates were blown out. This year it was great to see the old campaigners on Trevor Clarkes’ 35’ Bertram Sun and Moon take it out with a tagged black marlin each day of the tournament. Trev and Russell attend most tournaments in South East Queensland and are well known around the traps and a break through win was well deserved. Redcliffe Caribbean Cool Runnings had their chances on the blue marlin but weren’t able to take them. This set the scene for some red hot blue marlin fishing the weeks after.
Kicking off the week of big blue marlin after Cool Runnings found them out wide, Dave Trask on his 51’ Riviera Big Business with the Creek to Coast TV crew and Scott Hillier aboard tagged a 700-750lber in the deep. Back on the shelf Absolute a New South Wales based towered Bertram working out of Mooloolaba for a few months got one they called 800-900lb and then Megumi the towered Assegai skippered by legendary captain and TV weatherman Ken Brown got one they called 750-800lb. A week or two later Megumi then had a six from eight day and lots of ones and twos in some unseasonably good weather for this time of year working out of Manly Harbour. Other boats in on the action out off Cape Moreton and the Pt Lookout Canyons included the Cabo Express Cabolito skippered by Peter Jenyns of the famous Jenyns family with ex Cairns deckie Rossy Martin on the deck who had a three from four day and the SCGFC 43’er Bring it On owned by Steve and Debbie Dahl. Meanwhile the action was steady at the Gold Coast as well. Ross McCubbin was getting them on any of the boats he was driving including his usual charge, the towered 34’ Black Watch Lucky Strike he charters from and C-Jig the 47’ Riviera Express. The Bertram Barco was also consistently getting blues as well.
The blue marlin action set the scene for the Surfers Paradise Club All Tackle All Species Tournament held at the Southport Yacht Club. Spots in close were not working so most boats chose to take their chances on the shelf on the blues even though the weather was average. One boat that did was the trailerboat Murphy’s Law. Matt and crew tagged two blue marlin to win the champion boat under 7.5m and also champion heavy tackle team. Charles and crew on Sea Pace had their chances as well but couldn’t take them. Game Day did in the over 7.5m section with a tagged blue and three mahi mahi and light tackle was won by Ripples with wahoo and tuna.
The Back to Tangalooma Tournament was also held during the month by the Moreton Bay Club. They attracted a good field of 28 boats. The boats out of Mooloolaba were always going to be hard to beat with the black marlin and sailfish action but with light tackle fish 1/3 the points of a tagged heavy tackle billfish a couple of blues on the shelf would put someone in the hunt. That is how it panned out with Cool Runnings continuing their form at raising blues, just being unable to get tags in enought to win. Luna from the Mooloolaba Club with the Douglass family aboard made it back to back wins at this tournament. Fishing from their 35’ Carribbean the crew tagged four billfish on the Friday and a couple on Saturday to take the victory. Wayne Finlay’s 40’ White Cap Keneka from the SCGFC pushed hard as well tagging a sailfish and two blacks on the Friday but they raised around 13 for the day with a lot of them being disinterested sailfish.
The best fishing day in South East Queensland since the October sailfish bite was from Scott Trafford’s 36’ Black Watch Watch Ya Problem with an 8 fish day at what is called the Little Ship Grounds. Even though the fish were not there for the Little Ships Tournament this year they chose late March to turn up. Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat Reel Capture did a bait and switch day the day after and tagged 6 fish. The next day Jay Graham borrowed Peter Mathews’ cat Askari and had a four from eight day with Ross Martin aboard. Brent Higgins christened his new Sea Hunt import Walk the Line with a sailfish each to him, his dad Barry and son Leighton for one each and one for each generation that day. Well done guys! Daryl Burnett got his first sailfish on his 5.2m Kevlacat Wasabi with Scott Miller aboard during this bite as well and I did a day out there in my new boat with South Burnett mates Shaun, Johnathon and Richie aboard for the first fish under my ownership which was a 60kg odd black to Shaun. Other boats in on the action were Greg Tuckwell’s 2400 Kevlacat Ofishal Business with some three fish days and I did a social day on Ymer, Steve Brooks’ 34’ Black Watch where we had 6 bites of which we came tight on five and tagged two stubborn black marlin, 40kg for Channon, 50kg for Steve and Mitch’s first sail of 25kg.
With charters from the Kawana Waters Hotel pontoon I’ve been chasing and getting wahoo some trips and Spanish mackerel on others. With the snapper closure over I will be chasing them and pearl perch again though the parrot, hussar and black spot pigfish have been going good. Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au) to come out on the new boat.