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With a huge thanks to Ben Knaggs for the report and the committee who are juggling timelines between events and that pesky cyclone that is heading down the West Coast (Olwyn, not to be confused with Cyclone Nathan who is about to do a U-turn over the top of Lizard Island). We hope that Olwyn, which is currently predicted to head right over Exmouth the day before Gamex starts as a Category 3, doesn’t not cause too much damage.

Stay safe everyone – our thoughts are with you all over there!

The event was held over March 8th – 12th with three days of fishing and considered a warm up to the famous EGFC GAMEX tournament. It is a marlin only tag and release tournament featuring light, medium and heavy tackle categories. Competitors fishing in the heavy tackle section are required to fish beyond the 100m depth contour.

The weather remained fair to good throughout the three fishing days of the tournament, with the fishing also along the same lines… by Exmouth’s lofty standards that is!

Day one of fishing on (March 9) saw the field of 31 boats straight into numbers of small black marlin, plus a few non-scoring sailfish and the odd much bigger blue marlin out wide. The crew on Rockall shot to a big early lead tagging 8 fish for the day, also a personal best for the team on board.  Overall total of 58 marlin were tagged for the day.

Day two saw a further 33 tags added with little change to the leaderboards. The small blacks again made up the majority of the numbers, but with the omnipresent chance of one of Exmouth’s monster blues or blacks jumping on, conversion rates from most competing crews weren’t great, as statistics for the first two days of fishing show — 281 raised, 188 hooked and 91 tagged.

The final day of fishing began with Rockall holding onto a healthy 4 fish lead in the Champion Boat Overall section; a lead which turned out to be insurmountable.  Mick Callan and his crew on Rockall took out both Champion Boat Overall and Champion Boat Heavy Tackle with 10 marlin tags for the tournament.

Hindsight took out Champion Boat Light Tackle with 6 fish tagged, while Goldstrike II won the Champion Boat Medium Tackle award with 7 fish tagged.

Day 3 saw a further 39 tags added forhealthy total tournament catch stats of 383-263-130.

With the first day of fishing for GAMEX 2015 scheduled for this Sunday the 15th (pending a current cyclone warning for the Gascoyne region on Friday the 13th), we can expect to hear plenty more out of the west over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

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Pakula Lures

Gold Coast Blue Marlin

And a couple of big fish encounters among the smaller fish. Glanville, on board his Ocean Instinct (and fresh back from a Cairns marlin season where he spent time on board Viking II with Capt. Bill Billson) encountered a fish that he put well over the 800lb mark yesterday. Encountered is probably the wrong word though..read on!

As Glanville puts it, a dream nearly came true yesterday with this blue marlin that he says blew any fish he’s ever seen off the GC out the water. Unfortunately they just couldn’t budge the fish, which didn’t even know it was hooked for first 15mins (with 14kg of drag) and then proceeded to put on an aerial display of greyhounding jumping which gave them a good look from every angle only 30m away from the boat. The fish then proceeded to nearly empty an 80w whilst being was chased down. They managed to get the line back, slogging it out in the deep but eventually pulled the hooks.  As Glanville says, it was an absolute beast, a once-in-a-lifetime fish. “But it’s not a 1000 if it’s not on the scale but that was him!”

He ended the day with another great 3 from 8 (blues).

Seems like a few more around with Capt. Ross McCubbin’s Lucky Strike also accounting for another fish to put him on 116 fish for the season (with Ross also reporting an amazing 21 bites just in his last three days of fishing!)  Ross says that Towcam’s John Faulkner’s Four Star  went 3 from 5 and I also saw that Lochlan Saville’s Watchtower went 10-5-3 while Gavin on Sea Probe reported a nice blue one for his guests as well.

NSW bite continues

blackmarlinAl McGlashan has sent me some more great pics from action off Sydney. They caught a solid solid spearfish (that measure out 1.76) in just 75 fathoms off Sydney on Sunday then on Mondaybacked it up with this solid black which was a first for marlin virgin Patty (another visiting ‘yank’ as Al likes to put it ;-) )

Catch up videos from the south coast here (close encounter with a marlin) and here (crazy bait bail action).

Exmouth Marlin Blast

According to Exmouth GFC, the Marlin Blast – which is marlin specific pre-cursor to Gamex which starts this weekend – is off to a solid start. 58 marlin were tagged on Day 1 with Rockall taking the lead on 8 tags.  The Marlin Blast is a 3 day tag and release only billfish event whereas Gamex that also features a range of capture sections as well as other gamefish species.

Just in case you don’t remember (how could you not!), I’d like to remind you that Gamex in 2014 averaged 100 billfish a day (a day!)  Here’s a bit more about the whole Gamex experience in case you are thinking about it for 2016 like me.

I’m sure looking forward to hearing how it fishes this year!

krank

soloWith the successful release of the first blue marlin on the new boat on the weekend, David Granville took advantage of the very next opportunity to get out there again yesterday – this time off the Gold Coast. And this time he checked another box with a very enviable first solo blue marlin!

I was joking with Dave that if he managed to catch it and photograph it as well solo then I would be amazed. But that exactly what he did. Congrats Dave, amazing effort! And some more great photos at top and below that David took while he was out.

And aside from the amazing solo effort, there was some amazing two-up fishing nearby.

thunderbirdMatt Caelli was fishing (two-up) with Mark Bird on his boat Thunderbird. While they had a later than planned start after some engine problems, when they did get out there, it was straight into the action. They got their first bite at 12:00 and it was non-stop thereafter with the duo finishing the day with a 9-8-8!

Matt said that that number included two double hookups and they enjoyed some crazy action including pitching lures to free swimming blues while fighting another!

Truly awesome fishing!


Also back out yesterday was Glanville Heydenrych’s Ocean Instinct who got off to a good start with a 3 from 3 by 9am. Then his own set of engine dramas put a hold on the bite, and after a temporary fix, the conversion rate took a hit as well.

Glanville said they broke the next fish off when it jumped on the line, then got bitten off by a marlin on the bite (through 600lb leader…..!), broke an outrigger on a bite which in turn got the lines tangled around the rod which they couldn’t wind with the fish nearly ending up in the boat. Then to ‘top’ it all off, they pulled hooks on a double header. Good start and frustrating end resulting in 3 from 7.

oceaninstinct

But still a good day (as is every day you catch a marlin!) And David tells me that Ben Godfrey’s Krank recorded a 2 from 4 as well (top photo).

And a catch up report from another with the good captain Ross McCubbin telling me he wishes he could be out there fishing 24/7 at the moment, such is the bite. Ross reported 3 from 12 on Sunday with lots soft bites among them and is out there and at them today!

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South East Queensland

David Granville kicked off the reports from what was by all accounts, a simply amazing weekend in SEQ.  David fished Noosa Canyons in his boat Cover Shot on Saturday for 3 blacks and a blue. It was the first blue marlin for the new boat and also a first for angler Kaspar Lenigas.

Some more awesome David Granville pics above and below.

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Off the Gold Coast, the sheer numbers of fish encountered was awesome.  Capt. Casey Dent’s Zulu went 3 from 5 (Sunday) and Capt. Matt Johnson Gypsy went 3 from 4 (Saturday).

And all on Sunday: Matt Stehman’s Murphy’s Law reported a 7-6-4. Glanville Heydenrych’s Ocean Instinct a 2 from 6 (hooking all 6). Ryan Goding reported a 7-5-3 on God’s Hands (including a good one with 2.77 short length and 1.53 girth). Ben Caelli reported 2 from 8 on First Priority while Matt Caelli and Jesse Hill reported 3 from 4 on Jugs.   Jesse also said that one of their fish was around the 200kg mark (and on the other end of the scale, jumped one off about 40kg) and that they missed the good bite because they went looking for the tuna early. I think that if you can ‘miss’ the bite and still end up 3 from 4, that’s an awesome day!!

Reminders
Surfers Paradise GSFC All Tackle All Species 13-15 March
Gold Coast GFC Garmin Blue Marlin Classic 10-12 April
Gold Coast Blue Marlin Shootout  1-2 May
Have a tourney to add to the calendar?

Coffs Harbour Blue Bite

And Rick O’Ferrall tells me that the slow summer turned a corner off Coffs on Saturday as well (although Rick does point out that one good day’s hot bite does not a turnaround make!) Still, they had more action Saturday that the whole rest of the summer.

The EAC finally stopped behaving badly, and brought a big pulse of 29C water down from SE Queensland, and a lot of marlin with it. Multiple boats off Coffs raised blues, blacks and even striped marlin. Most of the blues were fairly small in the 100-150kg class with one exception. Rick heard about a big fish behind Rob Lang’s Black N Blue and attacked a lure completely airborne. The fish didn’t stay hooked up, but Rob and his crew got a good look at it in the air right behind the boat, and Rob said it was easily 800lbs.

Still, good news for the upcoming Solitary Islands GFC Heavy Tackle Challenge that’s coming up over the weekend of 28 and 29 March.

redhotPort still gold

Another good weekend fishing with the good ship Calypso finding another pot of gold yesterday recording 6 from 8 (3 blacks and 3 stripes).

And Red Hot Fishing Charters’ Simon Rinaldi tells me it’s been a solid month on the water and have just hit 50 marlin for their shorter season (Simon is on his last week at Port before heading down to Portland to start his southern blue fin tuna season) so far for the season ranging from in shore blacks to line burning blues south of the Carpark (photos).

Capt. Scotty Thorrington’s Freedom has likewise hit the 70’s – good numbers for the reliable Port!