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Blues on the shelf
  |  First Published: December 2010



The gamefish action continued right through October and into early November for Southeast Queensland anglers. The Mooloolaba sailfish kept going for the first three weeks of October and once they started to give out a run of blue marlin came in on the shelf. A week of strong northerlies followed by a week of strong southerlies put paid to further trips just as the current seemed to crank up and sweep them south.

The blues were at their best on the Cape Moreton Canyons but action was experienced all the way down the shelf as far as the Tweed Canyons. The best day was experienced by the SCGFC Carribean Bangalee who had a four from five day on the blues with one of their fish estimated over 500lb. Their four bites that stuck all came on the corner lures making for some great visuals.

The next best was the visiting towered American Bertram from Sydney, Absolute. In three days of fishing they saw 19 blue marlin, tagging six.

Other boats getting in on the action off Cape Moreton were the Redcliffe Riviera Big Business who went one from five, and on the same day the SCGFC Black Watch Ymer went two from three. One of their fish was Conor Lynch’s first blue marlin, and he is currently the leading angler for the SCGFC this season.

Down at the Gold Coast, the usual heavy tackle boat Barco, a 35’ Carribean, is getting a blue most trips and the trailerboat Express was one from four on blues at the Tweed Canyons. Mixed in with the blues have been some good size mahi mahi and most crews have been happy to take home a feed of these great tasting fighting fish.

On the light tackle scene the sails virtually disappeared overnight even though they were reported from off Fraser Island to the Tweed at various times while they lasted. The juvenile black marlin are quiet so far with only a couple of reports from off the Sunshine Coast. Mack tuna have been around on the troll and the wahoo have turned up at Hutchison Shoals and the Sevens reef.

Tournament-wise, I attended the Hervey Bay Gamefish Classic recently aboard Matt Wallace’s 36’ Riviera Fish Whisperer. We caught the second billfish of the tournament with a striped marlin for Matt, his first heavy tackle fish. Wayne Finlay’s 40’ White Cap Keneka snuck in before us with a blue marlin on the shelf as well for David Hinde. Stubbie Holder tagged a juvenile black marlin from the inshore grounds and on day two, eventual winners from us on time count back, White Horse II tagged a sailfish to go with a heap of field goals. This is an ominous sign for the light tackle season ahead after Cairns and Townsville experienced a poor run of small black marlin as well.

That said, the Sunshine Coast did have a cracker of a season on two-year-old and three-year-old fish last year so it will hinge on the bait situation and the movements of the pilchard and slimy mackerel schools.

Off Cairns and Cooktown it looks like the heavy tackle boats chasing the spawning run of giant black marlin are having a great season. Kelly Fallon’s (Dalling) black marlin blog makes for essential reading each morning when the season is on (www.blackmarlinblog.com.au). I know a lot of marlin fishers make it their home page so it pops up every time they get on the ‘net.

This season I expect we will see lots of new boats on the water. With the weakened US dollar it seems every second person you talk to is bringing in a boat from America or thinking about it. This is not a good thing for the Australian boat building industry or the price of boats in the second-hand market, but it is exciting times for the new owners.

On charter I have had a terrible run of strong winds and haven’t gotten out much. Not real fun when you are trying to make a living from the water. I was still getting cobia, who have hung in pretty late this year even though they started early, and I’m currently waiting for the pelagics to arrive in force. Around this time last year we were having some great days casting at spotty mackerel schools.

Hopefully by the time you read this I will have my new boat. No final decision has been made but I am looking at a couple of bigger vessels. Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website (www.sqcs.com.au) to keep up to date with what I am catching.

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