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Magic marlin months
  |  First Published: December 2013



As we enter into probably the hottest month on our tropical calendar it’s time to sit back and reflect on what has been one hell of a marlin season over the past month or so!

In October proceedings took a little time to warm to the occasion but by around mid month things were into full swing.

Further north the Lizard Island Marlin Tournament with 32 contestants kick started the marlin run and by the end of the competition they had successfully accumulated 93 tag and releases with many more unlucky tales attached.

Following the tournament a lot of the boats remained north to fish along the Ribbon Reefs knowing, or hoping, that there was much more in store. For those that chose this strategy it paid off in spades because the middle Ribbons exploded with activity.

For days on end the marlin were thick in numbers and there were plenty of horses amongst them. Vessels were registering up to six giant marlin a day, which is absolute red hot fishing.

Skippers that arrived back from this phenomenon said it was mind-blowing stuff and what dreams are made of.

Roughly at around the same time further south the famous Linden Banks put on one its legendary hot bites and marlin were being registered left right and centre. There were plenty of big black marlin well in excess of that magical 1000lb mark and the airwaves were alive with chatter.

This period set the tone for the weeks ahead with a steady flow of fish on the march. By mid November many were calling it one of the years to remember and there was still potentially another 3-4 weeks of good fishing remaining into the early parts of December.

The marlin will continue to be registered for a little while to come probably dropping off during the middle parts of the month.

However there will still be some really great action with yellowfin tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi and even sailfish on offer leading towards the back end.

On other fronts the reef fishing was a bit up and down as the days warmed, which was to be expected. The best days fishing have been when the coral trout have come on the bite. This occurred following their spawning period at the start of November. They’d really come on the bite, then dropped right off for a few days but then come back tenfold. When they were on the chew so were the spangled emperor and sweetlip.

The large-mouth nannygai have been harder to come by but when they were caught they were of absolute quality.

Other species to value add to the esky have been colossal reef mangrove jack, cobia, occasional stonker red emperor and there’s been sufficient numbers of Spanish mackerel caught on the floating rigs.

The coming month is generally extremely hot on the water and you must keep your fluids up to avoid dehydration. The best opportunities will occur on the turns of the tides so fish smarter and not harder. Make sure you are in your preferred zone and on target for when the change in water movement occurs. The deeper waters should offer more quarry as opposed to the shallows 25m or less.

Rivers and creeks

Our local rivers and creeks should be peaking this month. This is probably one of the last periods before systems can be turned on top of their heads when the wet season arrives.

As the days have sky-rocketed in temperature the best fishing has occurred on the more neapish and making tides when the water clarity is at its premium.

The big tides around the moons, offering a lot of water movement, have really stirred up the water making the fishing far more challenging, especially closer to the entrances.

The upside has been a lot of salt water pushed right into the upper reaches taking with it a lot of fish, including grunter golden and giant trevally, and tarpon.

The golden snapper and mangrove jack are biting best in the lower reaches and there’s no substitute for using quality live bait, especially if fishing at prime time on dusk or after dark. Avoid the draining midday sun and work the low light periods.

In summing up, what a marlin season? And we are still yet to announce the fallout of a couple of major events in the area. When the overall great fishing in the region is backed up by the best fishing on the planet for the ultimate goal – you’ve gotta get up here at some stage.

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