It looks like we may as well give up on a good light tackle bite this year. The saving grace is the amount of blue marlin activity on the shelf. There has been no red hot bite anywhere but most boats putting in the effort have been having two to three shots a day on blues. The next thing to look out for is if we get a good bite on the other gamefish species like wahoo and yellowfin tuna this month and May.
This past month two tournaments were successfully slotted in with fishable weather. The Telstra Shop Kawana Waters Sunshine Coast Gamefish Classic was the first cab off the rank. It was also able to be held on its original dates with 12-15knots of Easterly wind most of the tournament. Matt Wallace’s 36’ Riviera Fish Whisperer with ex-Cairns deckie Ross Martin on the sticks got away to a good start with a tagged black marlin for John Dwyer on 37kg line at the Noosa Canyons. Getting an early one is pretty important when you know the fishing is going to be tough and when they hooked up in the afternoon and went into overtime everyone knew it was going to be a tough task to peg them back. Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat Reel Capture gave them a run with a tagged black marlin one day and a tagged blue marlin the next also at the Noosa Canyons but only just over the 150m depth cut-off going for a black. In the small boat category Andrew Yeh’s 2400 Kevlacat Inside Edge tagged a blue marlin on day one and decked a 19kg mahi mahi on eight kilogram line to win the under 6.5m section. On the light tackle front, Tournament Director Tony Cross tagged a black marlin on eight kilogram breaking strain line on his boat Out Quoting to stitch up the light line class awards. Jay and Tim Graham skippering borrowed 5.2m Kevlacat Tanjian certainly saw enough blacks getting bites from one each day and seeing four in total, but they wouldn’t stick for them. In the reverse lucky draw, Jim McKinnon of the Bribie Island club went home with the major prize of the boat/motor/trailer package which was just reward for someone who attends a hell of a lot of the tournaments in South East Queensland. A full tournament report should be available in this edition.
The weekend after Bribie Island conducted their tournament on their fallback dates. Trailerboat Vindicator plate boat Fido got off to a good head start with a couple of good weighed other gamefish species as well as some other tagged smaller ones. Consistent Bribie Island campaigner John Williams and his 34’ Black Watch Blue Black didn’t disappoint tagging the only billfish of the tournament with a tagged sailfish for Olga Mack. A few were lost and a few were tagged by non competing boats in the same waters that weekend but this was the only one tagged by a competing boat. In the final wash up Fido ended up scooping most of the trophies.
Down at the Gold Coast the consistent heavy tackle boats Mistress, Barco and Lucky Strike continue to scratch up a blue marlin a day at least. As per off the Sunshine Coast/Brisbane there is no pattern with where they are or no big bites. One day they are at the Tweed Canyons, next they are on the Riv Grounds/Jims Mountain and then another day they can be at the Lookout Canyons. This is the same for the Sunshine Coast with one day the bite is at the Noosa Canyons while boats can be getting them at the Cape Moreton Canyons and on another day there can be action at the Dog Leg. Socially off the Sunshine Coast I have heard about Mates Rates decking a blue, Bring it On had a one from two day and Finatic missed two on the one day interspersed with some deep water bottom dropping.
New South Wales is having a good season. Queensland boats travelling south to fish Port Stephens have been finding good blue marlin off the Byron and Coffs coast. Kaizen and C-Jig were two such boats. The Coffs Harbour locals were also getting into their local blue population. Off Port Stephens, Sydney and Bermagui the stripes and blues are going well. Congratulations to Dan Smith and team (Conor Lynch and Wade Mickie) who competed in the 80 boat Luhrs Shootout at Port Stephens in Dan’s 5.3m Cruise Craft, Game Plan. They ended up with the Peter Goadby award for towing down all the way from Qld and they also bought in a blue to weight that just missed the $20,000 heaviest fish category by twenty kilograms. Tim Dean’s 43’ Obrien Calypso showed everyone how to do it on his local waters again with another win tagging 10 marlin for the two days. In the days leading up to the Luhrs Shootout the Game Plan boys tagged a couple of striped marlin and in the tournament they tagged a black on day one and on day two they tagged a blue and bought one in. Andrew Yeh and Craig McCulloch are down there too on Inside Edge and have a black so far. Kaizen has a striped so far but are there for a few more weeks as I write this.
With my chartering I am putting together a few trips in the bigger boat Capricorn. It is going a treat after a few initial teething issues. The Kawana Waters Hotel pontoon is working out as a great location to depart from. I’ve been chasing and getting Spanish mackerel and the bonus has been the late schools of spotty mackerel popping up on the surface. For these we have been throwing slugs. On the reef I am chasing parrot and hussar in the snapper closure on one spot and black spot pigfish at another spot. 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.