We now come to that time of the year where the main conversation is about the weather and not the fishing. Small weather windows a day or two at a time will allow anglers to get out and the fish should be plentiful. The rough conditions give them a rest and time for new stocks to replenish. The first day or so after a blow can be a learning day though as bait may have moved and with it, the predators. Having to do it yourself mid week if no-one has been out can be a pain if you don’t pick the right spot. After the first day and you elimate a few areas plus the fishing reports start coming back all the pieces seem to fall into place on the puzzle board.
The Sunshine Coast Ord Minnet Classic was held on the first weekend of February. The forecast was not the best so the turn out was not the biggest but a few fish were about. Yet again Reel Capture showed everyone how to do it with three tagged black marlin and a line class wahoo. Grant Cooper who normally skippers Jubilado the 25’ Luhrs won champion angler aboard Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat with another Kevlacat, Double Trouble tagging the only other marlin on 8kg for the tournament. Double Trouble being under 7m gave Scott Miller and crew the small boat trophy. By winning overall once again, this gives club captain Brent Higgins yet another invite into the IGFA Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica along with Craig and Grant, his third year in a row. A couple of wahoo separated the minor placings. A fair few more marlin were raised heavy tackle and light tackle but it was hard to get them to bite and then get the tags in. Special mention must be made of the crew of No Name, Tim Bidencope’s 5.2m AMM centre console. Tim and James Robinson gutsed it out both days and were rewarded with the heaviest wahoo winning champion other species and coming runner up in the small boat category.
Redcliffe Peninsula Game and Sportfish Club contested their tournament the weekend before the Sunshine Coast. Most boats entering knew they were getting themselves into a one day shootout with a big change forecast for the end of the first day. Luckily it held off and produced a ripper day on the water. The next two days set down were write offs and day one stood. Bribie Island boat Hard’N’Up, a 37’ Riv owned by Russell Fairey and skippered by John Green set the cat amongst the pidgeons tagging 4 black marlin plus decking a few line class wahoo fishing on the Mooloolaba bait fish grounds. Dave Trask and his 51’ Riv Big Business fished his local grounds and tagged 3 marlin for second. Kaizen, Russel Caporn’s 52’ charter boat out of Mooloolaba made a late charge as well finishing up with three for the day. Dragon Lady, Troy Proctor’s 685 Cruise Craft duked it out with Dan Smith’s 5.2m Cruise Craft Game Plan in the small boat category. Some weighed wahoo being the difference. Dan’s crew of Andy Prosser and Mark Holland tagged three for the day as well but had to disqualify one fish which ate two baits and was fought on two reels which was unlucky for the boys. Andy did get the first marlin of the weekend, twenty minutes after start fishing though. Offering up a car and a boat in the last man standing draw attracted quite a few boats, balanced out by the weather forecast.
Down at the Gold Coast it was Mat and John Stehman’s Hydrofield Murphy’s Law leading the way yet again. With Andrew Morley aboard they had a nine from ten day on black marlin live baiting. Ross McCubbin was into them again and caught 20 for the week following his tournament win.
On the Sunshine Coast MGFC boat Bring it On had a ripper day the same day as the Redcliffe Tournament. Steve Dahl and wife Debbie, along with daughter Brit went six from nine for the day. Other MGFC boats into them waw Ymer the 34’ Black Watch skippered by Steven Brooks. Brooksy put seven year old Harrison Bugg onto a 30kg sailfish straight up and then a couple of black marlin later on which was the idea behind the trip. Mark Bird chimed in with one as well for a pretty good day for the crew.
SCGFC boats tagging fish included Reel Capture which is no surprise. They had a five fish day and a couple of four fish days as well as ones and twos. Dave Lameree’s 445F Haines Hunter Double Haul found a good school of slimeys and ended up two from six on it then called other club boats over for a piece of the action. Walk the Line, Brent Higgins’ 19’ Seahunt capitalised as did Ruff N Tuff, Matt Collinge’s 7.5m plate boat and Misty, the Lee boys 5.0m half cab. These same boats also had a few other hot days of twos and threes for the day over the past month.
I was out the same day and managed to put my guys onto a black marlin from the same school and missed a couple of others. The picture should be nearby. I have been plucking away at one a day when chasing them and having up to four on. We are just not having any luck keeping the hooks in during jumps or breaking hooks etc. My fortune is due to turn around. Mixed in have been lots of trips getting Spanish mackerel and also quite a few yellowfin tuna. All in all pelagic season took a while to get going but now we are in full swing and it looks to be a good year.
Give me a call at Smithys Fishing Charters on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.smithysfishing.com.au) to get out there and get into some of this pelagic action! The jacks will also start to fire soon having a feed up before winter in the estuaries. We caught our first one on charter in the estuary boat just the other day at 37cm.