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While the weather in SEQ courtesy of ex-tropical cyclone put paid two at least two tournaments (my thoughts are with all affected by the cyclone and associated flooding), the biggest tournament on the NSW calendar did go ahead despite early fears the weather would affect it too.

An update from the first weekend is coming very soon.

But first…

Marlin in Victoria

Not a phrase that you hear every day though it is not the first time they have been caught that far south. (There was even one caught off Tassie in recent years!) But Victorian anglers have been enjoying a pretty good bite courtesy of the same current that has been pushing the good water along the NSW south coast…and across the border.

Lee Rayner tells me that following reports from a few mates on the gas rigs in Bass Strait of loads of baitfish, and a few marlin swimming around the rigs, anglers made the most of a break in the weather to get into the action.

Lee and mate Julian Coyne headed off Lakes Entrance on Wednesday along with about half a dozen other boats. They found ‘wall to wall’ bait inside the shelf with the action starting not long after.

By the end of the day everyone had seen and hooked fish with most having landed one
each.  On Lee’s boat, they experienced some fishing that Lee said was as good as you would hope to experience anywhere!  They had 10 fish up for the day, hooked six and tagged three.

The following day there was plenty more seen, hooked and caught as well.

As Lee said “I love catching marlin at any time and any place but to get into them in Victoria, while fishing around huge gas rigs is something else.”

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Fishlife Mag

Some more great photos have come in from the Shootout from the Band of Brothers’ Team Simrad and Central Coast GFC’s Topaz:

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And also a video from Topaz as well. Daniel Bryant tells me that it was a first marlin for angler Kirean on a great day with the team tagging 4 marlin (3 stripes and a blue) – the blue being Daniel’s first blue marlin!

The monthly newsletter also went out on Tuesday. You can read it or subscribe here.

Talk about following the progression of the little blacks down the coast – its been a great 7-8 month run so far. Lets see how much more there is in it!



While the stripies may not have made their presence felt, the small black marlin (and sometimes not so small!) certainly put the contest into the Cabo Hatteras Billfish Shootout held out of Port Stephens over the weekend.

I got my crash course into point scoring for the event (thanks Daniel!) that saw the fleet split with boats in the T&R category mostly fishing inshore for the little blacks, and boats in the Capture category chasing the big fish jackpot (minimum weight 150kg) get out the heavy tackle gear and head wide.

Overall, 113 boats and 530 anglers competed and in the two days with a total of 254 marlin tagged.  The breakdown was 218 black marlin (85%), 10 blue marlin, 21 striped marlin and 1 short bill spearfish. (Thank you to Nigel for the breakdown!)

Sydney GFC were very well represented in the results. On the Capture side, 5 marlin weighed with the largest going to Sydney GFC team on Loose Crew with a 191.8kg marlin on 37kg giving them the $12,500 prize money.

At the top of the T&R list was the team on Sydney GFC’s Hoodlum with 17 tags. (The top 10 placing T&R teams also took home some cash prizes.) Runners-Up went to another Sydney GFC team on board Casey who also took out the Champion Under 8m award.

The Sunshine Coast team on Game Plan scored a coup for the Queensland clubs sneaking into third place with 12 tags. This was great fishing for the boys on Daniel Smith’s 5.3m Cruise Craft who only arrived in Port a few days before (having trailer-ed the boat down from the Sunshine Coast). Conor tells me that they caught 6 each day and also hooked a random blue marlin in 38m of water on 20lb, lost after an hour’s fight and also hooked a big stripie in the same spot!  They tagged a total of 19 fish over the couple of days before and during the tournament (18 blacks and 1 blue).


The ever consistent team on Central Coast GFC’s Freedom were fourth with 10 tags followed by NPS GFC teams Billistic, Kaos, Makajiki and Born Free, the latter coming from behind with 8 tags on the last day in some trying conditions (though the first day was glamour!)

And two teams from Sydney GFC again took out the final two placings with identical points on countback – Smartbill from Gale Force. On Gale Force Daniel tells me they likewise went the wrong way on Day 1, but came home strong on Day 2 with 7 tags.

Photos: David Finn who was fishing on board Kaos captured the awesome action shot of Gunrunner fishing nearby at top. And the underwater tag shot from Dave Tucker which was one of 3 stripe marlin tagged onboard Topaz from Central Coast GFC during the Shootout mid way down followed by another great Claire Jones action pic of Play Penn below.

Point scoring FYI (tagging): Each marlin tagged on 10 gets 12500 points. 15 gets 11500 points and 10000 for 24kg line (rules).


The official point scores are (read on for the full list):
Read the rest of the report…

I’m still waiting for a few details for the tournament reports which will hopefully be up soon, but in the meantime I finally have my Al McGlashan fix, I mean report, from last week fishing off Narooma.  Al was also able to enjoy some similar great action to what Richie and team did as previously reported and has the photos to go with it!

With young Locki Nichols (Locki’s father Stu runs the charter boat Big Pig out of Eagle Hawks Neck) on board, they caught one in Sydney heads before heading south to fish the Kink off Montague Island.  And Al said that it was some of the best striped marlin fishing he has ever seen.

On one day they fished for just half an hour to release 2 double hook ups (and then spent the rest of the day jumping in on bait balls). They followed it up the next day with 9 from 10 trolling one bait!

As Locki put it as he reluctantly boarded the plane home, “Well the greatest week of my life has come to a end!!”.  In 4 days of fishing they caught 25 striped and black marlin with Locki accounting for a dozen himself!

No camera jinx on this trip, the footage should be amazing!

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Another big tournament and a big weekend of fish! Hopefully the tourney reports will come in soon in the meantime a few tidbits for you.


Port Stephens

We shared this spectacular Claire Jones pic yesterday from Day 1 of the Shootout when Claire was fishing with her Dad in their 4.3m centre console Kracka Tinny amongst the tournament fleet. This pic is of Play Penn hooked up and fighting nearby.  Claire says they went on to find two for herself for two perfect releases, the first marlin on the boat.  Awesome work Claire!

Big fish numbers for the NPSGFC 2015 Cabo Hatteras Billfish Shootout and big boat numbers too with 113 teams competing.  Although I don’t have the final numbers or breakdown, I heard that the marlin tags were overwhelmingly of the black marlin variety compared to mostly stripes in recent years. But also a great variety with four species of billfish accounting for points by lunch on the first day (black, blue and striped marlin as well as spearfish).

Gold Coast

And the opposite is true on the Gold Coast with attention turning away from the little blacks inshore with some heavy (and light tackle) blue marlin accounted for on the weekend.  The team on Jugs went two from five blue marlin.

And Garry and James’ Holt and team on French Look arrived back on the Gold Coast and got straight back into the record hunt to a successful end yesterday – James with a 157.8kg blue marlin on 6kg line which is a pending Australian (missing the world by less then 20kg). Well done on a great fish!

More to come!