Port Stephens Marlin Fishing Guide: Home of the Australian Marlin Grand Slam!
Port Stephens is home to Australia’s largest gamefishing competition, the NSW Interclub, held in February/March every year. Blue, black and striped marlin are prolific in these waters and a marlin grand slam – all three species in a single day – is not uncommon.
Typically the Port Stephens marlin season starts over the summer months (as early as Christmas) and runs through until April/May.
Capt. Tim Dean, Calypso Fishing Adventures
Getting here: Either via car from Sydney airport and a two hour drive up the freeway (can be considerably longer if left side of road is not taken)! All major airlines service Newcastle airport however only one from Sydney (Rex). Port Stephens is also one hour from Australia’s premiere wine growing region The Hunter Valley. Great restaurants, shopping and wine tasting some of the best wines in the world! The Calypso is conveniently located at The Anchorage Marina which is Port Stephens only 5 star lodgings. Walk out your door and step aboard…. The fishing is best from January-May.
The Continental Shelf
What you’ll find: Striped marlin, mid-range black and blue marlin.
Fishing the top of the shelf anywhere from 140 to 180m looking for signs of bait schools and baits working. Once you find the slimies, you’re going to find the blacks, blues and stripes.
Although in recent times the fishing has mostly been from the Carpark South, the fish can be anywhere from Seal Rocks south.
While it can starts about the beginning of December, it generally hots up from late January when water temperatures are anywhere from 21 and a bit, to 24 degrees.
Once the current picks up and the temperature hits 25 degrees (usually current is running hard) and you can kiss goodbye to the stripes, but there’s a good chance of throwing spearfish into the mix out on the edge.
How to fish: Lures, live baits, dead baits and switch-baiting.
It is quite easy to jig large slimeys out on the grounds using the large Sabiki style jigs. (Some of the professional boats make their own heavier duty ones using small flies.) Bycatch jigging on the bait schools can be leatherjackets.
Otherwise slimies and yakkas can be caught at Mrs. Murphy’s on the Southern headland and off the reefs behind Big Island. Bait fish that can be caught at Cabbage Tree include gars, yellowtail and slimeys. Bonito can be caught at Little Island and the north side of Fingal Light. (Check your zoning maps!)
Broughton Island, The Lighthouse, The Gibber, Seal Rocks & anywhere in between
What you’ll find: Considered more light tackle with smaller blacks, its not uncommon for mid-range blacks and striped marlin to frequent.
How to fish: The fishing is mostly live baits or switch baiting but you can catch them on dead baits.
Some years the fishing inshore can be brilliant and other years almost non existent. Occasionally sailfish are caught in the stretch from Broughton Island through to the Gibber.
Resources for fishing in Port Stephens:
- Newcastle/Port Stephens Game Fishing Club home.
- Port of Plenty on Fishtrack Online – words and photos by David Granville.
- Read all BMFB Blog reports for Port Stephens.
- Popular Post: Port Stephens is Back.
- Juvenile black marlin healthy release tips.
Marinas and Boat Ramps