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NQ’s Grander Blues


The Australian game fishing community took note in late October when reports started filtering through that Australia’ s first grander blue marlin was to be weighed in Townsville by the crew on board New Zealand boat Ultimate Lady. Although the fish, which topped the scales at 1080lbs, will not officially take the mark due to propeller damage incurred during the fight, kudos must go out to the team who consistently make the effort to try out new places and bring information back to the rest of us by covering thousands of sea miles each year in search of the holy grail.

Already in 2008, the Ultimate Lady team have spent more than 6 months travelling the pacific and have had a number of encounters with big blues. But it was on their trip back to north Queensland from Vanuatu for the heavy tackle black marlin season, inside Australian waters close to Mellish Reef, that they hooked up on this fish of a lifetime. According to skipper Captain Tom Francis, the fish took off on the 5:30pm bite – at one stage coming close to spooling the 80lb tackle – without a single jump. It wasn’t until the it was on the leader, after an hour and a half’s back breaking effort, that the team realized the true size and confirmed that it was indeed a blue marlin.

This capture and other recent sightings have given notice Melanie Kisbee’s 997lbs (452.2kg) all tackle record may be close to toppling.

Captain Dan McCarthy reported an encounter with a blue marlin during the recent Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic that he put at 1200lbs – 40 miles east of Escape Reef north of Cairns and in the same area that he hooked the big black marlin he weighed in 2007 (1140lb). Running lures as he returned to the reef from venturing out wide, Capt. Dan watched as it exploded on the lure on the bite. Despite some fancy maneuvering of the boat while the fish greyhounded on the surface, Captain Dan was unable to get in front of the fish before it sounded and spent close to an hour with the peg marker on the reel while the fish, although quite visible, continued to stay out of reach of the leader. Finally when the opportunity came, their worst fears were realized when the hooks pulled as they tried to gently leader the fish to the surface.

Both fish have however given renewed confidence to Captain Graham Johnson who at the helm Broadbill has been putting in the hours chasing the grander blue, which would mark son Alex’s third species over 1000lb. At the time of writing, Graham had plans to put in another 20 days to Christmas in the hunt for this elusive 1000lb blue marlin milestone but so far has had to be satisfied with releasing another grander black marlin as the quest continues.

Kelly Dalling

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