There were a couple of tournaments this past month. The Surfers Paradise Game and Sportfish Club held their tournament at their new venue, the Couran Point Resort and there were a couple of tournaments out of the Moreton Bay Boat Club at Scarborough. One of them was the Moreton Bay Gamefish Challenge where the local boats take on some teams from the CNC Espadon Gamefish Club from France. This was conducted from 9 February to 17 February and took in a number of social functions. The other one was the 2007 Ladies Open Billfish Tournament on the 22nd to the 25th of March.
The running of the Surfers Paradise Game and Sportfish Club Boston Whaler All Species All Tackle Tournament on the weekend of the 17th to 18th of March coincided nicely with the arrival of a wave of Autumn Blue Marlin. The bite that weekend was slightly better at Cape Moreton but Blues were reported from the Noosa Canyons and the Tweed Canyons and all points in between. Branching out and fishing away from the fleet certainly paid off for local 26’ Deep V In Deep having eight chances and successfully tagging four Blue Marlin. One of the lost fish was a spooling of 24kg line so the odd big fish is out there mixed in with the usual 130kg size fish. Jon Norling one of the crew aboard really knows how to fish. Next best result from that weekend off the Gold Coast was Darren Malaquin’s 685 Cruise Craft Wet Dream who went three from six on Blues on the Saturday then fought an absolute donkey in only 130m of water trolling back home on the Sunday for an hour on stand up 37kg tackle only to have it spit the hooks 15m below the boat. That is a great effort for a trailerboat fishing in amongst a full tournament size fleet of diesel game boats on the main recognised fishing grounds off the Gold Coast, only thing was, he didn’t enter the tournament.
Monroe Howser and his Deep V 310 Fair Dinkum is taking over the “Vermin King” title from Mark McKeirnan these days bagging and tagging a good haul of Wahoo to take out the Champion Other Species categories. I was fishing with Mark on Reel Crazy his 35’ Luhrs and we blew two Blues that we solidly connected to on the Saturday then watched a procession of boats hook up all around us the rest of the afternoon. On the Sunday we couldn’t turn a trick having a whole fishing ground to ourselves but no action then on the troll in missing a light tackle Black Marlin and a couple of Wahoo. Oh well. Our luck wasn’t as bad as Nick Rogers and Craig Nykiel. They were coming second in the tournament after day one having tagged three from three on Blues and only being beaten by Albermarle due to the line class they were using. Fueling up at Runaway Bay marina on the Saturday afternoon they noticed a bit of water in the bilge of the diesel powered fibreglass centre cab so beached it before they sank fully. Nick was having problems with the bolts holding the sterndrive leg on and one must have let go again. Let’s hope it resolves itself for the boys as two nicer blokes you wouldn’t meet. They may have made a charge for the tournament if things had gone their way. Frank and Dean and crew kept their usual consitancy going on Ocean Dream the 52’ Steber. These boys are often the bridesmaids or if not in the bridal party and a tournament win can’t be too far away for them. Attending as many as possible like these guys do certainly helps.
On the general fishing scene the Blue Marlin have tapered of from the three or so weeks they were around early in March. David Granville (www.davidgranvillephotography.com) the ex Bluewater Magazine Editor has been putting in the time with Craig “Sparrow” Denham and Dean Butler (www.deanbutler.com.au) chasing a couple of Blue Marlin records but they missed the early bite and then it has been very spasmodic since. A couple of Cairns Charterboats made the most of the bite whilst it was on. Captain Tim Richarson took his beautiful 49’ C&F Tradition (www.traditioncharters.com) from the Gold Coast up to Cape Moreton. One of the days he saw ten, had seven bites and tagged four Blues, all around 400 lbs. The day after Shakara had seven bites in 90 minutes, ending up with 3 or 4 for the day. Captain Luke Fallon of Kekoa the 47’ Obrien (www.kekoa.com.au) picked a good time to come back home from his stay decking aboard Reel Chase at Port Stephens. They had a day off Point Lookout which is proving a productive spot at the moment with 14 Blue Marlin raised for nine bites and four tags. He left what could have turned into a good Blue Marlin bite off Port Stephens with Bobby Jones on the 51’ Riviera Corporate boat Fascination II tangling with a few one week.
Here is a summary of what happened on just one weekend off CapeMoretonfor Sunshine Coast Club boats alone. On the Thursday Outside Edge a 34′ Black Watch was all 0s. Friday, Black Tie a 40′ Black Watch was four from four. Saturday Outside Edge was five from thirteen, Keneka a White Cap 40′ four from eight, Bangalee a 35′ Bertram was one from six, Palagero a OB 43′ was four from nine including a couple by a junior, Ymer a 34′ Black Watch was two from four, Misty a 17′ trailerboat was three from five, Slack Attack a 15′ cat was zero from six, Free Spirit a 5.2 Kevlacat two from five. On the Sunday, Outside Edge all 0s again, Black Tie three Blues, Misty 2 Blues. The week before before Luminata 35′ Carolina Express was one from six early, Kajiki a 40′ C&F had at least five shots early and Fin Atic a 35′ Bertram was 3-2-1 with a tagged Blue at 350lb and then a 600lber charge them and spit the lure. Outside Edge one from two as was Big Business a 51′ Riv.
Little Blacks are still around off the SunshineCoast. Watch Ya Problem got five one Saturday on the way home from heavy tackle. They went out the Sunday accompanied by Ymer with Watch Ya Problem tagging four and Ymer three. Ymer had a big day on Wahoo and Mahi Mahi in close on the Saturday with a sick crew and managed a Black Marlin tagged at the death before pulling in their gear and running. I wasn’t onboard Ymer those day but I have done two days light tackle with them since my last report. Both days were crackers. I had an RDO Friday out there where we saw six at the back of the boat as well as a freejumper and tagged two from five to take Ymer’s season tally to 45. Streaking in front is Watch Ya Problem with a progressive tally of 60 billfish tagged so far. They were one from three that day and Keneka ended up with 3 from five.
Our best Ymer day was six from eleven plus some Wahoo and Tuna. I got together a team of my fellow Kingaroy Sportfishing Club Members to fish the ANSA Brisbane Sportfishing Club Interclub. It is a five species comp so we were actually out there to try and get a few Striped Tuna, Wahoo, maybe a Mahi Mahi, possibly a Black and then whatever else bit to make up the 5. We would then try for Spotties, Schoolies, Mack Tuna and Longtails on the Sunday out of Scotts plate boat we towed down.
Well the plan started off ok. A double on Striped Tuna, one on 6kg line and the other on 4kg. I could see Steve shaking his head in bewilderment allready, three of the five outfits we were trolling were levelwinds, the 320 GTI Penn with 4kg aboard was on a rod with no gimbal so sat upside down, a Tica with 6kg looked more like a Barra reel, my little 4kg outfit was at least on a Gary Howard Interceptor rod, one 6kg outfit was fine sporting Stren line on a TLD-15 and the shotgun was one of the 8kg boat outfits. A Wahoo went away sporting a little yellow streamer a short while later then we had our most boring period of the day, a whole hour and a half of it. From that time on we were unhooked for no more than five minutes at any time for about the next four hours. At the end we had waits of 20 odd then 30 odd minutes. Certainly made up for those fishless days.
Starting off Scott lost a Black Marlin on 6kg straight under the boat. I said to fight on the button for a bit of extra drag. Maybe with less line out it was too much or the mad jumping at the start had seen it or another fish knick the line. We could only fish 1.5 times the rod length of leader and double combined under ANSA rules for the weekend. A far cry from the 4.5m length of leader allowed under gamefishing rules. This fish was on a current line with a bit of bait. Then we saw it. A mass of birds and Dolphins. All we had to do then was go from bird flock to bird flock. All this activity was right on a current line. Next to hook up was Glen or Clint. Anyway they both got one on 6kg in the final wash up. Then the unthinkable happened, Glen was on on 4kg. I had a 4″ Christmas Tree out targetting the Tuna on one of the 4kg outfits on one side and a minnow on the other side. The Christmas Tree was just sort of slipping along on top of the water, not breathing and smoking like a normal Marlin lure. The minnow must have looked good to a Marlin as we had one up on it so we wound it out of the way (we didn’t want to fight him on trebles on 4kg as we knew what the inevitable result would be) so he switched straight over to the Christmas Tree whilst we were clearing it. A good little fight ensued and we had him. Top marks to everyone. I think after the tag went in someone locked up on him on the leader and we got the lure back. All in all a quick fight. A bit of hook bending and that lure was back in action accounting for one of our only hookups where the fish spat the hook after the first run once again on the 320GTI a short while later.
Somewhere in there we must have switch baited a fish on a dead Yakka Steve rigged and pitched. Scott took over and waited for the bite before bringing the lever up to strike slowly on the circle hook leading to the first of his three on 8kg. A while later we had a good solid hookup on the good 6kg outfit from the right rigger with Clint on strike. Another fish was in the pattern so we tried for the double pitching. It faded away and by that stage Clint had lost a lot of line on the light outfit and we popped on water pressure. Clint was up next on the 6kg level wind outfit and this one gave us some grief. I took a few miracle deep tag shot chances instead of waiting early on and by missing those couple of early opportunities we ended up pulling hooks over an hour and a half later. If we had tagged that one in record time who knows how many we could have ended up with on the day? Anyway we will never know. It was all to do with the Karma thing. No top line lures were swum on the day, we didn’t want to donate them unnecessarily but you could imagine the result, we wouldn’t have done any good on them the way our day was going.
Gradually we replaced the 4kgs as it seemed there were no other species out there other than Black Marlin. What a shame! We also started to switch bait running hookless teasers. Only thing is the last couple of hookups came on the lures still with hooks in them. Anyway once we raised a couple of Wahoo, with one claiming one of my good Moldcrafts run hookless and nearly getting one off Steve the decision was made to head in. An awesome day on the water in great conditions – miles better than the forecast.
On Sunday we fished for Tuna with the boys tagging some Mack Tuna on 2,3 and 4kg. They were too good for them on 1kg and any Longtails that were cast to weren’t interested in anything we cast including slugs, plastics and poppers. A Schoolie Mackerel on 3kg for Glen that was lost at the boat would have allowed him to clean up in the points but it wasn’t to be. No Spotties were sighted but someBrisbanemembers did manage to spin up some Frigate Tuna. We all crossed Caloundra bar for the first time and headed down the Passage to Spinnaker for the weigh-in for a full circumnavigation of the island for the morning. Clint made up part of the winning Kingaroy team, Scott won Offshore Tagging and most of us walked away with something from the raffles or lucky door prizes. A top weekend.