The strong winds have been the biggest talking point of this fishing year. Luckily most tournaments have been held on their original dates, a couple on fall back dates, but I don’t think anyone has ended up with two or three days of perfect weather and crews have put up with some average conditions. In between times there has been weeks on end when no-one has been able to get out. Interestingly it is not cyclones and tropical lows keeping us in port, it is prolonged periods of South Easterly winds around the frustrating 15-25knot mark making it just a bit too uncomfortable to put to sea.
On the Gold Coast the blue marlin continue to be very consistent with boats seeing up to nine a day. Their light tackle season has been a non event though other than for the weekend of the GCGFC Light Tackle Masters. As per normal boats getting into the blues off the Gold Coast include Lucky Strike the Black Watch charter boat skippered by Ross Mc Cubbin who had a six fish day, Barco a Caribbean from down there with a few three fish days and in trailerboat land Murphys Law the Hydrofield skippered by Matt Stehman from the Surfers Paradise club has been getting into them too.
Off Brisbane it has been less consistent but radio weatherman Ken Brown’s charge, the 47’ Assegai Megumi has been getting up to three a day. Likewise Matt Wallace’s 36’ Riviera Fish Whisperer has had a three fish day and is leading the charge for heavy tackle boat in the SCGFC end of season awards.
The big news on the Sunshine Coast was the February/March bite at the Little Ships Grounds on juvenile black marlin and sailfish with perennial front runners, Reel Capture the boat to beat. Reel Capture a 7.2m Kevlacat owned by Craig McCulloch had a few seven fish days and amassed quite a few fish under the belt over a couple of week period but the one day honours went to Fish Whisperer who had a 12 from 14 day plus a nice 18kg wahoo. This was a mix of blacks and sailfish. The best weather day of this period the SCGFC set as their QGFA All Ports weekend and with the amount of fish tagged they should be unbeatable to wrap those trophies up. Reel Capture was in the thick of it, as was Blu Reela the 28’ Black Watch. Other boats in on the bite were MGFC trailer boat Galaxy II a 1972 model Haines Formula 233 owned by Jim McKinnon who had a four fish day, Ymer the 34’ Black Watch with a five fish day and Troy Rumbelow’s new 21’ Sea Hunt import who got one solo to christen the new boat, Black Mamba.
On charter I have been chipping away at the mackerel which are a bit hit and miss. I am yet to bag out on the Spanish but I have had some good spotty mackerel bites where we could have bagged out many times over. The time is coming for big Spanish mackerel and everyone here on the Sunshine Coast is looking forward to the return run of spotties. After being down in NSW getting fat all summer they should be a good size when they go back north again in autumn/early winter. We are also well overdue a good wahoo bite at Hutchison Shoals. The Tweed has already had a bit of a bite at the 9 mile and a few have come from the Point Lookout area but Cape Moreton has been very quiet.
Between bouts of strong winds I was able to sneak out for a marlin fish here and there and racked a few numbers up. First trip we were one from two on sailfish on 8kg breaking strain line for 86 years young Ed Martin visiting from the United States. I had a ripper trip with Rob and Cael where we saw about twelve for the day, fighting ten and leadering/tagging five which included Cael’s first billfish and Rob’s first sailfish. Rob had previously caught a black marlin with me before. We also missed a good wahoo that bit a skirt off without popping a rubber band. Another trip with Nathan and Paul we had bad luck as well seeing over seven for the day with about twelve shots total but some were wahoo and tuna. Paul got his first sailfish and Nathan his first marlin and we lost one wahoo to a clean bite off and another found an icey home in the Evakool! The interesting thing this day was the skipjack tuna that was eaten mid fight by a marlin. We didn’t know this but it certainly fought well for it’s size until we had a closer look. It had been speared by the bill at one stage then it was pretty mangled on the sides from being in the raspy jaws of a billfish for a while. No wonder it was a big fight, we had been fighting the marlin hanging onto the tuna for a while!
Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au) to get into the autumn pelagic action or the start of the winter reef fishing action.