It’s been a long waiting game
  |  First Published: November 2012

Reels have been serviced and spooled with fresh mono, rollers checked, lures re-rigged (and a few ‘must haves’ added to the near-bursting lure roll); now all we need is for the game fish to arrive en masse to make all this pre-fishing preparation worthwhile.

They’ve certainly made us wait. As the copy deadline for this issue loomed, it was looking like this column might be making use of ‘creative white space’, as there really wasn’t anything of substance to write about.

In the past few days, though, it’s all started to come together quite nicely.

The Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club’s first in-hours pointscore for the season was well attended, with seven boats fishing from The Hole to Sawtell Canyons and out to 2500 fathoms.

Unfortunately, all they found was disgusting green, cold water with nothing in it. A new boat in the club, the aptly-named Free Jumper, did have a striped marlin do precisely that, free-jump across the wake, but that was the sum total of the billfish activity for the day.

Paradoxically, the best water was in 40-45 fathoms, with slimies and mackerel tuna in attendance, but given what we get over Summer you wouldn’t rave about the quality.

A week later, in an attempt to prove the sea surface temp charts wrong, local charter boat Black n Blue pushed well wide and north looking for warm, blue water but found only more of the same green pus.

There was, however, a scattering of bait and a few birds and on a seemingly insignificant 0.3° temperature break one of the outfits begin to scream and a short time later 35kg of future sashimi hit the deck.


The Solitary Islands Club’s second pointscore day was blown out but Hoo Kares, Foreign Exchange and Seaborn took advantage of the better conditions on the Sunday, with the latter two boats pushing north up to The Hole south-east of North Solitary Island in an attempt to find better water.

They certainly found it, with 23.5° registering on the gauges. The blue colour and a bit of bait breaking the surface raised the anticipation levels on both boats.

Seaborn lost a lure when an unseen fish attacked the snap swivel and bit it off, then they were briefly connected to what skipper Clayton Livingstone described as the smallest striped marlin he’d ever seen.

Of course, it wanted the second-largest lure in the spread, which is never a good combination for a secure hook-up.

Foreign Exchange’s bite was a blind strike out in 300 fathoms but after the hook pulled, the Hollowpoint lure came back with a substantial new scuff mark on the head and paint missing off the 8/0 Jobu hook, so no surprises as to what the culprit was.

Both bites came within minutes of each other at the top of the tide, in 65 and 300 fathoms respectively.

Closer to Coffs in green but clear water, Hoo Kares came across a lit-up striped marlin working in with a pod of dolphins smashing sauries, but it was only interested in live food, not plastic.

So the fish are here at last, although not in great numbers.

You just get the feeling, though, that it’s all about to bust loose around here. Hopefully next month’s column will have a bit more body to it!

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