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Larva Lure - Change it, lock it, catch it

Any Aussie boats fishing the Blue Marlin World Cup this year? (Yes it’s already July 4 in Aus!)  Word from Cape Verde this morning that Captain Ronnie Fields’ Big Oh weighed a 1254lb blue marlin for angler Gray Ingram on July 3, so high hopes for teams fishing over there!

More Gold Coast Blue Marlin

Back on the Gold Coast, some of local clubbies have already recorded the first blue marlin of the season. Mana (Loyal to the Game) was fishing with Ian “Rocky” Pollard on his boat Ka Ching on the 1st (Wednesday) to open their account with a fish around the 160kg mark. He then followed up with his own for Loyal to the Game on Thursday with a fish around 180kg.

Mana says that the weather is great and there’s not much current around so here’s hoping the fish keep hanging around.

The Broome Recapture-er

The sails are still running hot in Broome!  And particularly for Jeda Ellen’s Makaira Game Fishing who just recorded their third recapture of the season!

Over the last 7 days of fishing Jeda has released 39 sails including his 3 recaptures. And even more surprising two of the recaptures were their own fish that they originally tagged last season! (Photos top.)

The first recapture was made by angler Will Heath on Monday. The original tag was on 13 May 2014 for Aaron Rhodes and estimated it at 15kg. When recaptured they estimated the fish at 18kg with the recapture was roughly 15 miles from original tagging location.

The second recapture was made by Geoff Ellens yesterday. The fish was originally tagged on the 23 June 2014 for Rolf Czabayski and estimated at 17kg. When recaptured yesterday they estimated this fish at 25kg. This recapture was made on the exact GPS coordinates it was originally released last year!

Jeda’s still waiting on information from the 3rd recapture.

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Fishlife Mag

Report from Captain Chad Mills’ Blue Lightning Charters in WA who have found the black marlin in the North West where they are running their live aboard charters from Dampier to the Montebello Islands.  In very windy conditions they had a great day on the little fish – all that Chad put in the 30-50kg range – ending up 5 from 6 black marlin.

They are back out and to the islands today for the first time of the season and hopefully getting into some more!

I knew there was a battle on for the end-of-club year point-scoring but but talk about going down to the wire with some absolutely crazy awesome June winter fishing.

(Warning, pun ahead!)

It’s the Sunshine Coast vs the Gold Coast in a epic SEQ battle. And the winner is… Queensland fishing!

With the end of month, out came the previously secret reports from the Gold Coast’s never ending blue marlin bite.  Mat Stehman’s Murphy’s Law tagged a total of 9 fish in their last 3 days of fishing (4 stripes and 5 blues).  Their last blue of the season went to Sunshine Coast committee member and one of the leading point-scoring anglers for the SGFC club Michael Lassen, which Mat put at an easy 180kg.

Mat tells me there were also more then 50 fish seen over the last 3 days, but the stripes played havoc with all the boats bringing in some terrible conversion rates.

We’re still expecting Murphy’s Law‘s total season tally which he expects to be around the 100 fish mark, but in the meantime, plenty of other Gold Coast-ers have been posting some awesome numbers. Jesse Hill who spent his season dividing his time between Jugs, Dimitri’s Estate and Mabuyu, tells me his end of year tally was 168-142-89 which was made up of 24 blue marlin and 65 black marlin from only 43 trips, 4 of which were donuts.  (Just to clarify, Jesse’s tally is not his as angler, but rather boat totals from when he has been on board various boats this season – a great reflection on the Gold Coast season).

And on the light tackle record hunt, Garry and James Holt and their support team on board French Look III switched (with either the fish eating the bait or hooking up) to 62 blue marlin and over 50 blacks as well as 1 sail and 1 stripe.

Then, on the Sunshine Coast…

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Sunshine Coast GFC Club Captain Brent Higgins reports that their club members have been responsible for 31 juvenile black marlin tags in June (in JUNE!!) and at the front of the pack is Jay Graham’s Chaos (which we last saw at Cape Bowling Green last year on it maiden journey home and just fresh off the ship!)

And now their secret is out too! In the last trip alone fishing off Fraser, Jay and his crew added another 19 black marlin to their season tally (4 on Wednesday, 5 on Thursday, 10 Friday last week) bringing them up to a season total of 103 billfish for the season. That’s 6 stripes, 81 blacks, 15 blues, 1 sailfish (plus another DQ black that ate two baits). And that’s on top of the previous 12 (yes the entire 31 juvie black marlin tags belong to Chaos!) from a previous trip.

Jay said although it paid off in the end, the Fraser trips also involved a fair bit of work (and play I see!) They did a total of 9.5 days fishing with it taking him a couple of days to find the fish.  They also did two days heavy for just the one raised fish that didn’t bite.

Jay also said that most of the juvies were between 3 and 9kg and that it was mostly a morning bite, averaging 8-12 bites a day.   When they found it the bait was top to bottom for a few miles consisting of yakkas, pillies and herring. Last Friday they fished just the 5 hours until the weather got really bad and went 15-12-10 switching on 6kg line!

Jay has previously found the juvies at Fraser in June (on Kamikaze in 2013) so was confident they would be there.  And they were!

Club Capt Brent reports that what makes the Sunshine Coast numbers even more impressive is what an inconsistent year it has been.  Looking back myself over the numbers on the DPI books it was back in 2012/13 that the Sunshine Coast boats last had the battle going right down to the wire (and over the 100 fish mark) between Reel Capture and Kamikaze. Updated: Last year it was Paddy Diamond’s Cat-a-pult and the 5m trailer boat Misty that ended a tight end-of-season tussle on top in the vicinity of 89 tags with only line class points separating them with Reel Capture third.  [Thanks to Rob Smith for refreshing my memory with reference to my own report! The SCGFC teams certainly do a lot of fishing and know how to make it competitive within the club with it going down to points again and again, year after year!]

Some photos above and below from Shaun Battye of the little black marlin action!

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North Queensland was another write-off due to the appalling weather.

On the Gold Coast it’s the season that never ends and keeps producing!  There is a bit of club-level healthy competition happening with the Queensland point scoring season ending today so we’ll keep the awesome fishing secret one more day. But several boats have been having good number encounters over the past week particularly in the leadup to the cutoff.

Capt. Ross McCubbin tells me that the fish are mainly blues with a few stripes mixed in and that there are plenty of sauries and gannets in 300m with the fish all around them!

Down south the tuna reports are incoming as well. Merimbula based Head Hunter captured two nice bluefin at 50kg and 75kg and released two more around the 50kg mark on Sunday. Nathan also reports other local boats in on the action with Reel Jem starting the ball rolling on Wednesday with two at 94.5kg and 60kg as well as a 59kg yellowfin.

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Over in the west, the action never stops. Exmouth GFC has just wound up their annual Reef Fishing Classic but that doesn’t mean the local charter operators have let up on the billfish.   Peak SF’s Eddie Lawler had Dutch angler, Ingmar Boersma on board on Saturday and went 2-2-2 on black marlin which followed up from a 4-4-4 the day before (1 black marlin and 3 sailfish).

Meanwhile off Broome, Makaira GF’s Jeda Ellens has been hitting the sails. As we saw they went14-11-8 on Wednesday and 8-6-6 on Thursday including some double header action (photo below). On Saturday they finished up a trip with regulars the Czabyaski family (here’s a report from their trip last year – a bottom). Jeda reports the boys tagged 6 from 7 sails in the morning then they put a potential WA record sail for junior Sam in the boat that went 25.02kg on 8kg line. (Update: top day with another 12 releases yesterday!!)

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Fishing the 2015 International Cap Cana Billfish Shootout in the Dominican Republic, Australian captain Tim Richardson and mate Garrett Penley steered a team of 4 novice anglers from Detroit (who had never caught a marlin before), to win the Dewars Division of the IGFA rule tournament.

The tournament is 4 days of fishing with 4 angler teams overseen by an IGFA observer on board each boat.  And it is quite a prestigious event with some of the best east coast and Caribbean crews in attendance. For this year’s event, the 20 boat fleet accounted for 125 billfish releases (101 white marlin, 22 blue marlin and 2 sails).

On board Tradition (Prime Time) taking into account the novice anglers the team switched to a spread of 3 small lures and a flat line ballyhoo (garfish) to take out the daily on Day 1 (most teams run entirely dead bait spreads), and stayed in the hunt for the next 2 days. On the final day they didn’t miss a beat to claim first place in the Dewars division with 5 white marlin on the last day. Along the way they also picked up the division’s awards for tagging the most fish, top crew and top captain.

For another perspective on the event, I enjoyed Charlie Levine (who also spent some time on board with Tim during the event)’s recap on Fishtrack here. And a second pictorial report and photos by Richard Gibson is here.

For those wondering the difference in the two division (for those of us Aussies – we do it different over here!) as far as I can tell it’s the participation in the calcutta or not.  Anyone care to elaborate on that?

DEWARS DIVISION STANDINGS (top 3):
1    TRADITION / PRIME TIME    2650
2    UNO MAS    2510
3    SHARK BYTE    2210

The Alina (owned and operated by Eric Mansur of Aruba) won the Barcelo Rum Division of the Shootout and also scored the most points overall.