Solitary Islands Heavy Tackle Challenge

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.