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Blue marlin reports came in from all the way to Sydney over the weekend. And more great inshore black marlin reports off Port Stephens. But in the meantime, the hot fishing continued for the Solitary Islands Heavy Tackle Challenge off Coffs. Official report below with thanks to the Solitary Islands GFC and big congrats to the winners and all who competed!


Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club president James McGinty reports that the club’s blue marlin-specific Heavy Tackle Challenge held over the weekend was a massive success. 22 boats fished out of Coffs Harbour under beautiful conditions, and the blues came out to play. All up, there were 134 strikes for 29 blue marlin tags, with two small blacks also putting in an appearance on Sunday afternoon. Paperwork for two blues wasn’t submitted in time, and another fish was given a short back and sides by a mako after tagging, so the grand total was 34 all up.

Champion boat was Mustang from the Port Macquarie Game Fishing Club, who were head and heels clear of the pack with five blues on day one and two on day two. Second placed was the recently repowered Seaborn from Solitary Islands with two blues on day one, and two blues on day two, with a bonus black thrown in. Third placed was Reelistic from Port Macquarie with a pair of blues on both days.

Most of the action occurred just wide of the shelf and to the north of Coffs, in a pool of slower moving water out of the main current flow. It’s nice when every boat in a tournament has a couple of marlin bites, which is how it panned out for the competitors. Unfortunately, the blues exhibited very un-blue marlin-like behaviour at times, content to just tap, push and prod at the lures, then at others they crash-tackled them like the fish we know and love.

Miss Claddagh weighed the only fish of the tournament, a solid 43.5 kilo yellowfin tuna to Glen Aylward.

All up, there was $12,000 in cash and prizes won, and the raffle and a percentage of the calcutta money raised over $1,000 for the club’s designated charity, the Leukaemia Foundation.

Fishlife Mag

Coffs Harbour/Solitary Islands

With just one day until the Solitary Islands Heavy Tackle Challenge, a final leadup report via Rick from Matador. Although it was an unpleasant and sloppy day beyond the shelf, the blue marlin still wanted to play on Wednesday. Sultan Linjawi and Steve Marshall on board Matador ending up 4-2-2 blue marlin and a bonus 40kg yellowfin. Rick says that while the tuna have been largely absent most of the summer but as with the blues, the timing couldn’t be better with this weekend’s tournament!

matador

Gold Coast Blue Marlin

And Ash Hurley sent me some information for those of you interested in taking on the Gold Coast’s run of big blue marlin at the start of May with the private Blue Marlin Shootout (ie. not club affiliated) to be held on 1-3 May. They are hoping to have final numbers around the 50 boat mark fishing which would put the prize money around $50,000 cash! You can se the full details/rules/entry form on the tournament page but Sam Williams from the Pelagic Network will taking samples of the captured fish for his research and the food bank on standby for any leftover fish.

Catch up clips:

Robert “Smithy” Smith (Smithy’s Fishing Charters) sent me a clip from his two tagged blue marlin in the MGFC Billfish Bash Tournament in December caught below. And at bottom, Amanda has sent a clip recap of the build of the brand new 54 Assegai Zulu. As Amanda says, the boat was built by Barry Martin and his team at Assegai Marine in Horizon Shores, and took 21 months to build, launching in December 2014.

Enjoy!

The Surfers Paradise GSFC held its (initially weather-postphoned) All Tackle, All Species tournament over the weekend.  Unfortunately though with the number of boats on the water high due to the ATAS and also boats fishing in the Back 2 Tanga, the bite was considerably slower than it has been over the past few weeks.

happyhookerStill some great results. Nick Hanlin from on board the winning team (over 7m) Team Simrad on board Predator, sent me the pic below of them in action fighting one of their 3 tagged blues for the comp.  They also fought another bigger fish for over 2 hours on Sunday unfortunately pulling the hooks 30m from the boat.

Nick tells me they are fishing this weekend’s Solitary Islands Heavy Tackle comp so we look forward to hearing how they go (below).

Happy Hooker was champion boat under 7 m Heavy Tackle (and thank you Jaco Erasmus who sent in this pic of their blue marlin on the Saturday) while Kanyana, was Champion Boat other species.

simrad

Coffs Harbour

Meanwhile at Coffs, Rick tells me there is no sign of the bite slowing down.  Every boat out there is raising blue marlin regardless of weather. But the conversion rate is the same as the GC boats have been enjoying ( :-) ) Ian Kemmis’ Juggernaut went 8-4-1 on Friday, while all the other usual suspects including Black N Blue, Better than Vegas, Ruckus, 666, and Sea Devil came in with last least one tag from multiple hookups over the weekend.

solitaryIt continued through Sunday, with every boat that could find some heavy tackle out there trying their luck. Rick tells me that one raging optimist who shall remain nameless actually threw a 15kg rig in the water in blue marlin country on the deep side of the shelf, and inevitably got a hookup followed by the equally inevitable spool job!

On Monday, only Black N Blue went out, but did nicely at 5-4-3 after a squally start to the day. At one stage, Rob Lang had a lucky escape when his long rigger line got tangled around the rod tip… he was retrieving the line hand over hand when Murphy’s Law delivered a big blue marlin that smashed the lure just as the line took a triple wrap around Rob’s hand! Fortunately, he threw the line around something and managed to bust it off just as the fish headed for the horizon at speed and managed to avoid the multiple finger guillotine job by a fraction of a second. The lure went bye-bye with the fish though!

Photo: Nigel Watson with his blue marlin from Sunday – still biting even in the lousy rain and nasty swell.

Solitary Islands GFC’s Heavy Tackle Challenge this weekend.

Bermagui

Report from Murray Stoddart (aka Muzza) who fished Bermagui last week on Bill Collector for a few days. Murray says that although the fishing wasn’t spectacular it was consistent with most boats getting a fish or two a day with the fishing good from Tuross down to Eden. The current was pushing pretty hard keeping the bait deep most of the time making the tide changes very important as most bites occurred during these periods. The ‘Kink’ and the bait hole and 12 mile all saw some action. Picture below was caught by Brett Hooper on 24kg tackle in a 30 knot North-easter late on last Tuesday afternoon.  Also on board enjoing the action were Paul Nemes (Bones) and Bob Weight.

billcollector

Cairns

And lastly a video from Cairns Giant Black Marlin Season 2014 on board Little Audrey from Capt. Daniel Carlson.
Bring on Cairns 2015!

Conveniently we are just traveling past Lockhart River in the north and telephone service just in time for a quick Monday morning report! So here it is:

Capt. Tim Dean’s Calypso, switching to Brad Curtis on the wheel, went 6 from 8 black marlin inshore yesterday to put them on 99 (and not out) marlin for the season with plenty more in it!

MBGFC Garmin “Back 2 Tangas 7”

The Morteon Bay GFC’s Back 2 Tanga 7 was held over the weekend and Nick Currey kindly sent me the report.

The tournament was hosted over the weekend from the club’s Moreton Island club house and attracted a fleet of 29 boats including teams from the Gold Coast, Little Ships Club, Redcliff, Mooloolaba and Sunshine Coast GFC’s – and a total of 78 senior male anglers, 10 senior female and 14 juniors.

kaizen

The recent hot blue marlin bite off the Gold Coast lured many of the fleet who elected to fish south with the rest of the fleet on the grounds of Cape Moreton. Captain Russell Caporn’s Kaizen was the only boat electing to fish NE of Barwon Banks and in lumpy conditions, celebrated that decision by tagging the first marlin and went on to tag 1 black and 3 blue marlin on HT for Team Shamrock for the day. Wayne Thompson’s Team Garmin, also tagged a small black on 37kg.

Meanwhile down the Gold Coast the Blue bite seemed to have shut down, with a few boats raising fish but also dropping them and Brad Glenn on Razo tagging a blue. Under Cape Moreton the boys found a school of micro marlin about 500-600mm long that were hungry and tagged several. Sokia hooked a huge blue on 37kg and fought it for 4.5 hours and ended up on sunset for 20 minutes before it broke off at 7:15pm into the night.

Stats on Day 1 were; 30 strikes, 21 hook-ups and 11 fish tagged or boated.

Day 2 saw better weather and Kaizen called in another black and a tagged dolphin fish. Megan Thompson on Team Garmin also caught a blue on 37kg to take the ladies lead. A few more bites down the Gold Coast saw Razo and Galaxy 11 both tag blues. Up at the Cape, Sophie Currey tagged a micro black on Aluhra as did Tony Ford on In Disguise.

It was another good day with 35 strikes, 21 hook-ups and 14 fish tagged and landed.

For the tournament all up, there was a total of 13 marlin tagged including 6 blacks and 7 blues with the Champion team award going to Captain Russell with Team Shamrock Civil on Kaizen in a convincing win with 5 marlin tagged.

Many thanks to all the teams who participated, the sponsors, committee and members who volunteered time to help out preparing great food and support during the tournament. With “Full House” band rocking well into the early hours and bar open, there were a few slow starters for Sunday morning presentation.

Final winners list:

Champion Boat over 8m Kaizen
Champion Boat under 8m Razo
Champion Male Angler  Clinton Huff
R/Up Male Angler  Brad Glenn
Champion Female Angler Megan Thompson
R/Up Female Angler Sophie Currey
Champion Junior Angler Max Proctor
Champion Angler –Other species Troy Proctor
Champion MBGFC Angler Clinton Huff

A quick note from Lachlan Tuckwell who was on board (and sent me the picture above) and on deck for Russell with Ben Kelly. Lachlan said they had a great comp and put anglers Michael Ham and Lam Dein Dang onto their first blue marlin at 450lbs a piece while Clinton Huff caught his first blue at 300lb and first two blacks at 60lb and150lb. They notched up 5 from 11 for the weekend.

ruckus

If you are on the newsletter list, you will have already read about the Soldier On Deep Sea Roundup, organised by Capt. Tim Dean (Calypso) that was hosted out of Port Stephens on February 26.  11 boats hosted 40 returned servcie men and women. The event will be back bigger and better in 2016 with Capt. Tim telling me of plans to have 20 boats hosting up to 100 returned service men and women for a day of fun and fishing on the water.  Read the details of this year’s event in the newsletter.

Tim told me that everyone stepped up and he didn’t receive a single no when it came to organising the day on which they enjoyed some good fishing great weather — topped off by a flyover from the RAAF F18 jets after cease fishing.

Solider On is an organisation supporting Australian service men and women who have been wounded, physically or psychologically in contemporary conflicts.

The Solider On Deep Sea Roundup will be held again in 2016 in February (likely) date to be advised. If you are interested in being involved in 2016, email Tim.

Coffs Hot

Also in the newsletter, a few tidbits from Coffs who are enjoying the blue marlin action in the leadup to the Solitary Islands Heavy Tackle Challenge.

ruckus2Rick O’Ferrall told me that only three boats fishing raised 13 blues, hooked 11, and tagged 8 with Ruckus being the standout, going 4 from 7. Stickybeak got the conversion prize at 3 from 3, including one that measured up at a healthy 530 pounds beside the boat. While Rick’s Foreign Exchange also tagged 1 from 3.

I heard from Justin Squires (Wet Line Adventures) on board Ruckus too, who sent me the great shots above and right. Justin said that for them, the past two weeks fishing off Coffs has been exceptional.

On this trip on Thursday they had 2 clients from Whyalla on board hoping for their first blue marlin. Check! All the fish ranging from 110 to 160kg and were caught on lures and released happy and healthy.  Justin also told me that one of Sticky Beak’s blues was estimated at about 240kgs and was nearly the same length as his trailer boat!

This weekend’s tourneys include the Back to Tanga and Surfers Paradise All Tackle, All Species – so very much looking forward to hearing how the competitors fair.

I’m on the boat and traveling and will be in and out of range over the next few days. Updates when we next have service!