Things are starting to happen in South East Queensland and we may not have to wait until November before the light tackle fish start arriving. Already in August the first billfish of the year trophy has gone off for the Sunshine Coast and Mooloolaba Clubs on small black marlin. Off the Gold Coast it went off for the Surfers Paradise and Gold Coast clubs on heavy tackle fish and as of the time of writing no juveniles have been tagged, just a few being seen down there. At any time sailfish could turn up off the Sunshine Coast as well.
This season is going to be outstanding knowing these fish are here already, the same time as juveniles are being caught off Port Douglas and on the back of the awesome numbers tagged off Cairns and Townsville. Unfortunately for the North Queensland clubs their season is split in two by the end of financial year which signals the start of the fishing year. Southern clubs are at an advantage in that regard for QGFA trophies. The QGFA All Ports Tournament is held on an even footing though with clubs able to hold two rounds, one July to December and one January to June.
The QGFA Annual General Meeting was recently held at Mooloolaba by the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club and they dominated the trophies for All Ports. Channon Arbuthnot won champion angler and Craig McCulloch’s 7.2m Kevlacat Reel Capture won the boat awards. The Gold Coast club was able to break a14 year dominance by the SCGFC for champion club and a year long consistent blue marlin bite really helped them down there. GCGFC angler Barry Alty won champion angler overall from Channon. Barry’s 49’ custom gamefisher, Mistress (www.fishingmistres.com), fishes hard all year and does the Cairns heavy tackle season, racking up the numbers.
At the recent SCGFC awards it was no surprise to see Reel Capture and Channon scooping most trophies. It was the same at the GCGFC awards with Barry and Mistress winning the lion’s share. In the SCGFC small boat category President Brent Higgins came through with a win for his centre console Walk the Line and at the Gold Coast, Chad Holmes from Addixion Sportfishing (www.addixionsportfishing.com.au) bought it home for his 23’ Huntsman Addixion. Already this year Jeff “Phill” Oates has the first marlin of the year stitched up with a black marlin tagged aboard Reel Capture for the SCGFC and over at the MGFC, Nathan Douglass was pack attacked by four black marlin on Luna successfully tagging two of them but two up on a flybridge boat.
These small fish have made it as far as Moreton Island and in the deeper water off Moreton there is also the chance of a bigger black or striped as they are opportunistic and eat a lot of pearl perch and snapper through winter. Three in a day is the best I have heard of off the Sunshine Coast but at the moment most people are fishing for one bite a day. Off Wide Bay Bar they are in better numbers with the local shark net contractor slipping out for a fish recently going four from five and over a week or so seeing a fair few more. There has been limited information from 1770 and the top of Fraser Island though. They are always worth a try and the juvenile blacks were thick through the Whitsundays and down to Yeppoon along with North Queensland. Traditionally off the Sunshine Coast during October with the sailfish run is the start of the mahi mahi run. Wahoo and Spanish mackerel start making their appearances felt down here in about November.
The next tournament in South East Queensland will be the Spring Shootout hosted by the SCGFC. This will be held at the Kawana Waters Hotel on the weekend of the 12th-14th of October. There is $1,000 on offer for the heaviest snapper at this one if you are a reef fisherman not too sure about what a game tournament is all about. You can join up just for that section if you want. After the Spring Shootout Hervey Bay will be running their tournament on the weekend of the 9th-11th of November. MGFC traditionally run their Billfish Bash Tournament on the last weekend of November.
Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.smithysfishingcharters.com.au) to get in on some of this early gamefishing action.