Mighty Month for Marlin
  |  First Published: October 2011

October is the fishing month of the year so get your skates on and get amongst it. This is the month when all forms of fishing are hitting 5th gear  and you should see some very impressive results whether you are wetting a line inshore or offshore.

Starting at the top of the list - it’s marlin time and reports have been increasing nicely to this point. As expected it has been an early start to the year with decent marlin captures as early as mid August.

The competitive nature of the sport is highlighted in the next month or so with the running of the Lizard Island and Port Douglas black marlin tournaments. This is where you’ll find the most expensive congregation of fishing vessels all competing for the highest of angling honours.

This month we’ll see a string of reports about big black marlin being tagged with quite a few 1000lb beasts suspected. Statistically around 85% of the world’s 1000lb marlin are caught along our pristine stretch of the Great Barrier Reef.

The light tackle fishing action will be just as sensational as the marlin action. Hard body lures, skirts and garfish rigs will be smashed by a variety of ocean speedsters including sailfish, wahoo, dolphin fish, Spanish mackerel and yellowfin tuna. This sort of action is best experienced along the outer edges of the continental shelf amongst the marlin activity. The rich blue waters filled with bait are like a beacon to a variety of big fish species and I’ve seen many an angler kill it on light tackle in the morning and follow it up with a marlin or two in the afternoon. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Not everybody has the budget to experience the above but the smaller boat brigade can enjoy equal success  on the outer and inshore reefs using light tackle gear. We normally see a good run of Spanish, spotted and grey mackerel in the region and longtail and mac tuna schools can provide a bit more angling variety. Some days you don’t need to travel far with the action happening as close as our nearest inshore reefs and islands. Busy bird activity hovering above the water is your best indicator as to where these pelagics are working over the bait schools.

The reef fishing is also firing with breeding activity at the forefront of proceedings. The coral trout have already  been congregating at certain times and will continue to do so over the next month. The word is the spawning process will be well and truly completed by the first of the reef closures in late October around that new moon phase. Once spawned the trout are ravenous and become easy pickings if you can find them still congregating in numbers. They will however disperse once spawning is done.

Other than trout there are other valuable species to be targeted in good numbers at this time of year such as nannygai, red emperor, trevally and sweetlip. The weather is generally kind during October and presents many an opportunity to head east offshore to the Great Barrier Reef. I’m sure many agree that there is a real sense of anticipation that something big will happen when heading offshore at this time of year.

As the days warm up dramatically, the fishing in our rivers and creeks follow suit. We’ve already seen water temperatures spike during the past month, which saw the return of the barramundi along with other favourites such as mangrove jack and fingermark. There’s just one month left to legally keep a barra before their closed season kicks in for a few months at the beginning November.

There’s been some handy catches of big queenfish in our systems along with some impressive sized javelin fish caught across the flats. This month or so prior to the wet season is probably the most consistent and favourable conditions you’ll get to explore the entirety of our rivers systems. The fish are generally active, the water clarity is good with plenty of salt water pushing in from the ocean and it’s not too hot on the water just yet. Bait supplies are healthy after a big wet season early in the year.

Looking for more motivation? Type ‘Port Douglas Marlin Fishing’ into YouTube - it’s blood pumping, spine tingling stuff !

The Port Douglas Marlin Challenge will be conducted November 2-7 and promises to be an epic battle.

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