The weather hasn’t improved much so you need to be very clever at picking your days, but there have been a few game fish scooting past Coffs Harbour.
In early November Seaborn from the Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club recorded the first big blue marlin encounter of the season. This was a stupendous fish, estimated at 280kg-300kg and junior angler Nic ‘Lambchop’ Edwards was on the rod.
They got pretty close after 50 minutes but then the marlin went deep and couldn’t be shifted. Lambchop’s dad took over at the two-hour mark and not long after, the 37kg line broke.
A 47kg yellowfin tuna weighed and another lost the same day were all good signs for the Coffs Harbour Game Fishing Club’s Hot Currents tournament, which started a week later.
Thirty-eight boats headed far and wide, trying to squeeze in some fishing before an impending southerly change. And when it hit, it came away big-time.
Those boats that made the tactical move to run south to come home with it discovered that the easy ride they’d expected was anything but.
To top it off, pelting rain made for a real miserable day on the water and most of the fleet had retired by mid-afternoon to lick their wounds and find somewhere to dry out.
Still, a few fish were caught, with blues of 157kg and 189kg weighed and yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi tagged.
Commonsense prevailed on the Sunday, with only one boat putting to sea, but it returned to port fairly promptly; conditions out there just weren’t fishable.
Monday, however, was a lovely day, with light winds and blue water, although not a lot of current.
A bill-less marlin of 157kg, caught by David Crutchfield, was presented to the weighmasters and, given its size, it was initially called as a blue. Further consultation with Dr Julian Pepperell revealed that it was in fact a striped – and what a striped!
At that weight it’s up there with some of the biggest caught in Australian waters. Missing its hooter certainly didn’t affect its performance or growth potential, but it makes you wonder just how it went missing.
A couple of boats got among the mahi mahi and wahoo around some trap floats and the yellowfin were on the prowl, too. Double Trigger ran into a mess of ’fin to 44kg, the biggest of the tournament, was caught by champion female angler Karen Wright.
By Tuesday, however, the weather had gone to poop again. When the BoM says it’s blowing from the north at 15 knots at 500am, you just know it’s going to be a tough day at the office – and it was.
The tag-and-release section was still wide open, with a number of boats on one marlin release, while some had built up a handy buffer with additional mahi mahi, yellowfin and wahoo.
Marlin proved scarce with only a couple of bites, although Nic Edwards did tag a nice blue that made up for his loss the previous week and helped secure him the junior trophy.
Ultimately Chicka, from Port Macquarie, prevailed with one marlin and a number of other species to collect the $5000 tag-and-release cheque.
Optional Extras also collected $5000 for champion boat capture with a nice blue on 15kg plus a 38kg yellowfin, while the heaviest marlin was a blue of 219.4kg caught aboard Casey.
Meanwhile, Coffs game fishers are sweating on the arrival of the baby black marlin, which surely must pay us a visit this year given the numbers of fish massing to our north.
Hopefully there will be some good news on that score next month, along with reports of big blues, mahi mahi and wahoo.Reads: 921