This month sees me with plenty to report on. There have been hot bites at both the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast but Cape Moreton and Pt Lookout waters seem to have missed out on good numbers of fish this year. Three of the big tournaments of the year were also held during this period but boat numbers were way down for some reason. Must be a sign of the times or the Global Financial Crisis is biting fisher people more than we realise. The weather was also surprisingly good for much of the holiday period.
The best action I have heard about on the Sunshine Coast was a boat going eight from nine on black marlin on the local 50m line off Mooloolaba. Cameron O’May was on the helm of a mate’s plate boat that day. I think they backed it up with a three fish day the day after. Reel Capture and Ymer have been the next best with a few four fish days. Both boats are members of the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club and will be battling it out at the top of the club scoreboard along with perennial favourites Keneka and Watch Ya Problem. Steve Dahl’s 43’er Bring it On will also be challenging for end of year trophies and the small boat section should see Jeff Oates’ 4.5m centre console Simple Plan in the lead. Solo fishing is all the rage at the moment out of Mooloolaba and Dave Granville is leading the charge there in his 4.5m Formula Gotimon with a four fish day and Brent Higgins also got one in his side console tinny Kartika the same day. Fish are being caught on the troll and on livebaits with every day different as to whether trolling or livebaiting is better. Across the river with the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club Steven Jensen’s 30’ Black Watch Animal will be way out in front for MGFC points and they also slotted in a tournament win at Bribie Island. Steve and Kelly snatched the lead on count-back from BIGFC boats Compromise and Blue Black who had a late charge but didn’t quite get there. Coming to grips with fishing 8kg line proved interesting for Bush n Beach scribe Frank Oostenbroek who tagged the first fish of the weekend in the tournament then popped a few off learning there is no margin for error in the lighter line classes.
Boats or anglers getting their first ever or first of a season have been plentiful. Within the SCGFC we have seen Dennis get his first marlin aboard his own 6.2 Kevlacat Jabula and Phil Thomson get his first sailfish aboard the Whitley Priceless during the MBBC Tournament. Along with a 15kg wahoo this put them in second place beaten by the Redcliffe 35’ Caribbean Cool Runnings with a black marlin tagged each day of the tournament along with some line class wahoo. In a penthouse to outhouse story, Graeme and his wife Leighann who are regular clients of mine recently bought their own 19’ Tournament boat and have been doing lots of fishing with it. On the day Graeme tagged his first marlin they were rear-ended on the Bruce Highway going home from the Sunshine Coast and their brand new boat/motor/trailer is with the insurers as to whether it will be a write-off or not. Chin up guys!
The fish on the Gold Coast didn’t turn up the week before Christmas which is the tradition. The marlin waited until a week before the pHencit Light Tackle Masters Tournament staged by the Gold Coast Gamefish Club. There were mumblings of bait on the 42 fathom reefs but most of the early action was on the troll between the Water Tower and the Pin Bar. Lucky Strike and Tsunami were into the early action as well as Peter Pakula in his Grady White centre console.
Come the tournament and boats spread far and wide. First to hookup was No-Frills the 5.3m Poly just after the start fishing time. It took them two hours to tag their fish and in the ensuing time Amigo got the first tag of the tournament away followed by the towered Riviera Iceman skippered by Bobby Jones as well as Just Teazin. I fished aboard the 56’ Precision Tenacious and we found some nice columns of bait and started working them getting a double hookup which we were successful on. This took us to the lead for a few minutes with one each for Nick and Tim. On the wander back to the Seaway we hooked up in front of the Water Tower with minutes to spare and tagged our third
of the day at 16:04 in extra time for Theona to put us in the top ten.
The SPGSFC boats were on fire the Saturday morning off Jumpinpin with Saltshaker getting three and at one stage Murphys Law and In Deep were all hooked up together. We did lap after lap on good bait but nothing happened so I talked the crew into the going to Spot X. That is where Five Star got six for the day. We had two bites tagging one for Theona and popping one off on the first run. We also leadered a hammerhead that ate one of our baits.
Next day it was back to Spot X for us and we got the first tag of the day away at 07:34 for Van. Luckily we were out there nice and early looking around and stocked up a good bait tank full of slimeys. Once the boat traffic started they got hard to jig and we would have only jigged maybe half a dozen yakkas and slimeys for the whole rest of the day. The bait went to pieces mid-morning and all the boats there got the wanders up but we stuck it out. They all probably went chasing Amigo who were on fire with triple and double hookups galore all weekend. Our persistence paid off and sure enough the bait formed up and lifted and we went back to live baiting from trolling and hooked up straight away. This one was a big Spot X size black which didn’t do much at the start but got frisky boatside charging the boat. Tenacious is not the niblest thing for juvenile blacks and we lost this fish but the bait still looked good next drift and sure enough we were on again. Theona once again challenging Suzy Clark aboard Iceman for champion female but Suzy had her all weekend with a tagged wahoo for a field goal separating them. By then our livey supply had dwindled and there was an early cease fishing time of 14:00 which came about just as that bite was ending. That put us in fourth place with six tagged marlin for the weekend which we were pretty happy about having never tagged one in a light tackle tournament the last few years with our current crew.
Congratulations to the Amigo (35 Carribean) crew owned and skippered by Tony Painter fishing between the 36s and 42s. 13 tagged fish in tournament conditions was a great effort. John Faulkner’s 44’ Southern Cross Five Star came second with seven tags and Ice Man was third with six tagged black marlin and a wahoo. 73 marlin were tagged and released and only ten other gamefish species were tagged or captured by the fleet over three days of fishing. Kev from Doug Burts Tackleworld took out Champion Angler and the 6.8m Hydrofield Murphy’s Law took out the small boat section with four tags. This was a relief for them after lots of fishing in the lead up for only mahi mahi to the boat and then a miraculous tag shot right on the deadline for extended overtime on the last afternoon.
The week after the tournament the fishing on the Gold Coast really took off for the charter fleet with Fish the Deep Charters’ Careel having a ten fish day and Seaprobe Charters having a nine fish day. Plenty of club boats were into the thick of the action as well with Murphy’s Law having a five fish day being the best I heard about.
Not much to report on the heavy tackle front from either coast with lots of boats reporting zeros. Mistress at the Gold Coast did report having three on in a day but unfortunately none made it to tagging range and one was estimated at 300kg.
By the time you read this I will have repowered the Stabicraft with a 150hp Yamaha 4 stroke thanks to the guys and girls from Brisbane Yamaha. Aaron and team are doing a great job on the fitout and their deal was too good to knock back when it came time to sign my life away. The 150 will be a welcome edition and I hope it raises fish as good as the old motor. So far this season I had caught seven black marlin on my boat and whole pile of other gamefish. The mackerel have finally turned up and I have had a few bag out sessions on the spotties and reasonable hits on the spaniards. To experience some of this fishing action give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au).