Well I am back from my extended holiday taking in the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club Sailfish Shootout Tournament, the Hervey Bay Boat Club Gamefish Club Albermarle Gamefish Classic and the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club Billfish Bash Tournaments whilst on leave. In North Queensland the Mission Beach Tournament and the Half Moon Bay Tournaments have been run and won and the Ribbons Ladies Tournament can’t be far off at the time of writing.
On boats I have fished on recently in the South East Queensland Tournaments we have had some good luck as well as terrible luck. In the Sailfish Shootout aboard Ymer we had junior angler Daniel Brooks attached to a Black Marlin only for a leader to give way after the first jump then in the Billfish Bash aboard Fin Atic we did an engine impellor right at the mouth of the Mooloolah River on the first morning of the tournament leaving us limping around on one motor for most of the day. This event was won by Ian Copeland’s big plate boat Splinter with three Billfish tagged from Outer Limits and Cheethah, a couple of outboard powered Kevlacats. Diesel powered game boats are having a hard time of it off Mooloolaba lately but we appreciated the ride and range of the diesel powered Black Watch Ymer in the Albermarle Classic allowing us to fish outside of Breaksea Spit for two of the three days of the tournament tagging four Black Marlin to win.
This tournament was contested in 20-25knots of South East wind each day. To get the boat there we had to punch into 33knot Northerlies and to fish the boat back home to Mooloolaba we had to fish in 20-25knots of South East again. Local 18’ Hydrofield Nag Free did well in the under 7.0m class and were one of only four boats to venture across the bar. The fishing inside Hervey Bay was quite good with most boats in the tournament tangling with one Marlin at least. The trip South for us after the Tournament Presentations was great on the fishing side of things with another four Black Marlin tagged and a few dedicated reef fishing sessions producing Red Throat Sweetlip, Red Emperor, Pearl Perch, Coronation Trout, Grass Sweetlip and Maori Cod.
State-wide the heavy tackle action for Black Marlin off Cairns and Cooktown seems to have slowed up dramatically with many boats having already ended their seasons. The big news of the season was the weighing of a 1,290 pound fish by Diamond Girl skippered by Kim Andersen (www.kimandersensportfishing.com), wired by Stretch and Dougy and assisted by cook Nat Grima for their Japanese client. The other great fish was the 1,091 pound Black Marlin caught by 14 year old Alex Johnston out of his father’s charter boat Shikari for a pending Junior World Record. Both of these fish came from Linden Bank off Cairns. On the light tackle side of things there is no pattern at all this year so far. Townsville Club anglers still had a good bite going at Cape Bowling Green during October, Sailfish and Small Black Marlin were all through the Whitsundays at the same time, Peter Stevens the local charterboat operator out of the Town of Seventeen Seventy was catching a couple a day for his customers only two miles off his local headland whilst Stephen Cheng of Tropic Angler Lures (www.tropicangler.com) doing R&D also off the Town of Seventeen Seventy has been catching quite a few Black Marlin as well. The strange thing is there have been sporadic bites off the top of Fraser Island and inside of Hervey Bay as well as off Mooloolaba yet at their local tournaments not a lot of fish were seen. Maybe these fish are being swept up in strange eddying currents and taken out into the Coral Sea as a lot of people thought occurred last year. The good news is the odd juvenile Black Marlin is being caught off the Gold Coast. Japanese angler Ken aboard Monroe Howser’s Deep V 310 Fair Dinkum was one such person in the right place at the right time recently.