At the start of this season no-one could have predicted how good it was going to be for gamefish anglers off the Sunshine Coast based on the reports from Cairns and Townsville but things continue to go from strength to strength. The bite off Mooloolaba continued at full throttle even after the dirty water moved in due to the March rains and just as the black marlin bite was tapering off the sailfish decided to turn up in reasonable numbers. Brisbane and Gold Coast anglers have not been so lucky though with only sporadic action here and there.
I was lucky enough to get a ride on Ymer, Steve Brooks’ and Lee Bradford’s 34’ Black Watch one Tuesday during this period and we had a cracking day tagging eight sailfish and also intentionally releasing one which we didn’t realise that the tag didn’t come out on. Along for the day were Karl Winters of Anything in Stainless Steel who had just done some welding on my boat trailer and Michael Guse who finally got his first and second billfish after years of trying. It was not looking good for Mick early on jumping our first couple off and then part of a double hookup where he saw around 800m of line evaporate before his eyes as we chased the second fish. We had three double hook-ups that day and I too also had to go to the front of the boat on the third one and watch over 500m of line disappear off my reel!
Other boats in the thick of this sailfish action included Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat Reel Capture which the leading boat of the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club so far this season, Misty which is the SCGFC leading trailerboat, Simple Plan owned by Jeff Oates who has now released 50 billfish personally this season for himself and MGFC boats, The Animal and Luna Tic. Other highlights of this bite were Grim Reefer a 4.5m tiller steer dinghy getting a black on the troll and two sailfish on liveys the one day, Troy Rumbelow getting his first billfish for the season out of his runabout Rumbelle as he has put in a fair few hours trying, Tom McClean who is 78 achieved tagging his 78th billfish with a nice 60-70kg sailfish on Steve Turner’s 34’ Deep V Bite Me and BJ Tompkins getting his first billfish solo from his 5.8m Fisher centre console Sailfisher. With a messed up booking one day I also headed out by myself and tagged my first black marlin solo fishing from the Stabicraft, all to GFAA rules. It is not really the boat to do it from with big seat boxes in the way of the wheel and a fair stretch to get out from under the hard top but I can now cross that one off the bucket list.
Tournament wise the weather has finally had a big hand in the scheduling of some of the game competitions. Little Ships was not run this year with their original dates and also their fall-back dates blown out. Surfers Paradise ran their tournament on their alternate dates with good weather but with poor fishing reports only eleven boats made the effort. On the first day Saltshaker was the only boat to take a marlin bite but on the second day Ghostrider which was Bluewater IV the 34’ Black Watch tagged a blue marlin and an inshore black was tagged by Shore Power. Next cab off the rank tournament wise will be the Gold Coast Blue Marlin Classic followed by the MGFC Billfish Bonanza then the Bribie Island Tournament followed by the Back to Tangalooma Tournament.
Down at the Gold Coast the blue marlin have been sporadic with the odd boat getting one and lots of boats missing out. Barry Alty’s Mistress has been its usual consistent self on that front. Inshore the wahoo have been the safest bet to get the reels smoking with the odd fish to 30kg present at the Nine Mile reef. Trolling home one afternoon Saltshaker which has been a form boat all season in that end of the world hooked and tagged a couple of sailfish which were big Benny Colvin’s first sails and a nice early birthday present for him.
The new Yamaha 150 continues to raise fish like you wouldn’t believe with a few days where I was getting three sailfish a morning on half day charters in amongst the pack and still trolling up nice wahoo to 14kg. This year looks like being a bumper mackerel year with professional fishermen from NSW still getting into them at places like Coffs Harbour. These fish still have to pass the Sunshine Coast on their way back north over the next couple of months. This sets the scene for some good mackerel fishing coming up and the wahoo are yet to show at Hutchison Shoals in any real numbers. They are on their way though with great seasons at the Tweed Nine Mile and Point Lookout so far. The early indications are that the snapper season looks like being a good one with some good early catches showing up on the fishing website forums and all the run-off from the big rains we had will kick off the circle of life with the nutrient present giving the plankton something to eat and the more plankton should in turn give us more bait fish. Lots of bait present is good for all types of fishing there after. To get out and get into some of these hot bites give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au).