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Larva Lure - Change it, lock it, catch it

loyaltothegameA bit more from the Gold Coast: Mana (Loyal to the Game) braved the weather on Sunday (though it turned out to be  beautiful day) on the Riv grounds.

By 7am they were onto their first blue and once again, it didn’t stop all day. They ended ended up with 12 strikes, 9 hook ups and tagged 5 – all between 120 to 200 kg.

Mana says there didn’t appear to be as much bait as last Thursday and not as many birds, but the water condition were fantastic. They saw 3 other boats there and we were all hooked up at one stage including a trailer boat named Viking that was a12-9-4 when LTTG left the grounds at 3pm to head home. Once again a great trip out! (I bet!)

From Coffs Harbour: With the Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club’s Heavy Tackle Challenge looming large on the horizon (March 28-29, which is the weekend after this coming one), competitors will be heartened to hear that the blues remain at Coffs in numbers. The BoM pulled a wrong turn with Sunday’s weather report (again), with only Better Than Vegas braving the horrendous conditions, which proved to be glamour until the southerly rolled through at 3.30. With just two on board a 38 footer, in a five hour bite window they went three from six, on fish ranging from 140 to 180 kilos. Skipper Pete said the result could have been even better with more hands to help out.

Entry details are available from the club’s website:

From Exmouth:  Ryan Goding who is in Exmouth for ‘the Gamex that isn’t Gamex’ reports a 4-2-2 blue marlin fishing on Sea Eagle on Sunday.They are fishing an ‘unofficial’ comp today – good luck to all competing!

Tournament report from Jess Sams (Ulladulla) to come.

Simrad Broken Bay Invitational

The club report that 62 boats and 272 anglers lined up for this years Simrad Broken Bay Invitational and while the fishing was unfortunately cancelled for day 2 (weather).

Tag and Release: Mauna Kea took champion boat from Runners Up Hold Up.
Capture Division:  Hot Head won champion boat with The Cuban runner up as well as taking home the winner’s cheque for Heaviest Marlin over 150kg with a 178kg blue marlin on 37kg line.

Fishlife Mag

A quick one on this Monday: a few (awesome!) reports while we wait to hear about the weekend tournaments.

jugsFrom the on-fire Gold Coast again, the Caelli’s (Guy, Matt and Ben) and Mat Stehman on Jugs yesterday reported a jaw-dropping 9 blue marlin tags from “well over 20 fish raised”.  Matt Caelli tells me it an incredible day on the water and that they had four shots at tagging number 10, and dropped another two at the boat.

You know its a good day when you have to pull out the red jocks to make up the final tag flag! ;-)


I also heard that Matt Sander on Megumi released 4 fish (3 blue marlin and 1 black marlin) – 2 blues and a black for Gail, and 1 blue marlin for Laurie Smith.

Meanwhile Port Stephens is likewise not surrendering as a contender for hottest fishing for March either with Capt. Tim Dean’s Calypso now up to 49 marlin (blacks and stripes) in the last 15 days of fishing.

Over the weekend Jess Sams (Ulladulla) and Broken Bay tournaments were held and hopefully reports to come soon.

Lastly, the sad announcement that Exmouth’s Gamex tournament was cancelled due to the after effects of cyclone Olwyn, which essentially left the hosts dealing with not only the damage to their own homes and businesses, but without the necessities for the event to go ahead (ie. access and power).  Thoughts are with everyone over there at the moment – I’m sure it was a very hard decision to cancel the event after a full 12 months of preparation. I understand that there will be some informal activities and fishing for those who made it to Exmouth already so we look forward to hearing how they go.  Bring on Gamex 2016!

I didn’t even realize it was Friday the 13th until I wrote that. But we fisher-people are not a superstitious mob are we?!? When the fishing is this good – all the way along – it just doesn’t matter what day it is!

NSW: Port Stephens

Post Interclub the fishing has been getting better and better and boats are easing closer to the magic 100 fish season mark. But when you’re notching up 37 marlin in a week’s fishing (!) you go through the numbers pretty quickly!

Capt. Tim Dean’s Calypso recorded 37 for the week this week with the best day at 9 fish.  Tim says that it’s a mixed bag of blacks and big big stripes and that he expects the season to go back to normal and fish really well right through April.

NSW South Coast

It’s been a little more hit and miss since the hot bite of the previous couple of weeks including over the weekend at the Bermagui Alliance Tag & Release Tournament. Capt. Nathan Brown’s Head Hunter was one of the boats that headed up to Bermi to fish the tournament and after striking out on Day 1, tagged a black and a stripe on Day 2 to put them behind the lead boat on count back.  But alas it was not to be and they could not convert the winning fish with the Champion Boat award going to Swoopa who tagged two fish on the first day of the tournament.

On the way back to Merimbula they tagged another stripe on Monday and Nathan also reports that the bites seems like it was back on at Bermi on Wednesday with boats reporting multiple fish. If you’re after detailed reports from down that way, follow Nathan’s blog for all the full details.

NSW Coffs Harbour

It had to be a matter of time really with the number of blues on the Gold Coast, that they started to trickle down to the waters off Coffs. We got a preview the other day, but I hear that its just been getting better and better. Rick O’Ferrall tells me that “the appearance of blue marlin last week turned out to be anything but a flash in the pan” (I love that, had to leave it as is!). Four boats fishing yesterday scored a collective 10-7-3 in the space of 90 minutes – all in a couple of square miles just beyond the continental shelf off the Coffs Canyons.

While the bite was quiet before midday, thanks no doubt to the moon, the fish got hungry again at the tide change just after lunch. Foreign Exchange, Black N Blue, Hemingway and Stickybeak all found fish within sight of each other. Two boats even hooked up blue marlin within a couple of hundred metres of each other at exactly the same time.

Rob Lang’s Black N Blue went 2 from 3, Hemmingway had 1 from 2 shots (with skipper Marcus Balckwell doing it all solo – go the solo blue marlin!), and Foreign Exchange got the wooden spoon going zero from 4, with hooks pulling near the boat.

Rick reports the fish ranged from about 175lbs to 500lbs plus and another very positive sign confirming the late summer bite that had been predicted for the Coffs Coast, and hopefully, perfect timing for the Heavy Tackle Challenge coming up here in less than two weeks.

QLD Gold Coast

In case you were wondering if there was another Gold Coast blue marlin report coming, the answer is ‘of course’.  For those having to actually work a 5 day 9-5 week it has been torture and I’m afraid this report is not going to make that any easier for those who’ve been counting down the hours until the weekend (and also with the weather report not looking particularly friendly).

Mana Stack and crew (Kane Stack and Ian “Rocky” Pollard) on Loyal to the Game had the kind of day that Mana describes as (in possibly the longest text message I’ve ever received too thanks Mana!):

“Well what can I say. Some fisherman would say we had an average day, others would say a good day, and the last group would say we had an awesome day. Well in my book, we had an AWESOME day.”

loyal-to-the-gameBy 7:30am they were already tagged to a solid blue which they tagged by 8 at est 140kg for Rocky. 8:30am mayhem as 3 solid blues exploded behind the boat. Triple hookup! Two of the fish finally jumped off but Rocky got stuck into his 2nd blue and tagged her soon after. A great fish around the 180kg mark.

By this stage they were enjoying a few beers to celebrate, but not for long as the blues kept coming. But for the life of them, they couldn’t keep the hooks in them (just how many beers were there Mana? ;-) )

They finished the day with 16 strikes, 9 hook ups and 2 tags.

Mana says while they would have loved to tag ore of the fish, they are still really happy with the day’s action (that is after all, blue marlin fishing) having fished his entire life and have not seen so many blues in one day, he can’t wait to get back out there.  They also took a 14kg dolphin fish home for dinner and  were fishing just inside the Riv grounds.

And back to the solo blue marlin, great short clip from David Granville from his solo blue on Cover Shot:

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!