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Game on track for Xmas
  |  First Published: December 2013



Gamefishers in South East Queensland are looking forward to another good season based on the fishing in North Queensland during their winter light tackle season. It may not be as good as last year but it won’t be a non-event either.

The bonus this year may be a mix of year classes with the juvenile black marlin mixed in with the usual summer blacks that run at 20-25kg. There may even be a good run of 35-45kg fish with them. In next month’s report there should be plenty to talk about hopefully.

Things seem on track otherwise for a great season.

The Sunshine Coast had a small run of sailfish during September and October, which it traditionally sees, and mixed in were some small black marlin. The main wave of black marlin usually hits town right on or slightly before the MGFC Billfish Bash Tournament in late November. The Gold Coast did not get an early run of fish like last year, which was a total anomaly. Traditionally they turn up there the week before Christmas. Last year they disappeared very early for the Gold Coast though. A later start may see them hang in longer.

Boats at the Sunshine Coast getting off to good starts for the season include Grant Cooper’s 25’ Luhrs centre console Jubilado crewed by Lachlan Downes, who is the leading SCGFC angler so far.

Not far behind is Paddy Dimond’s 3100 Noosacat, Cat-a-pult. Paddy was looking good for the win too during the recent SCGFC Spring Shootout Tournament with the first fish of the weekend, a black marlin tagged to Paul Jones on 8kg line. However, in the last hour a double hook-up to visiting Gold Coast boat Zeus with a SCGFC crew aboard saw the event taken out in great style. The sponsor boat added to the one they had tagged in the morning on Sunday to finish on three tagged sailfish for the win.

Cat-a-pult came in second and the vessel I was skippering for the weekend, Old Salty Dog, a 40’ Luhrs came in third with a tagged sailfish for Steve McLaren.

A great roll up of 29 boats on the new pontoon at the Kawana Waters made for a very social grand final/long weekend. I expect this format to continue and it is great to finally get a long weekend in the second half of the year.

Over at the MGFC Tim Starling has continued where he left off last season with his Barcrusher Big Wave Dave. Tim has really been amongst them or any boat he fishes on. Alex Fenwick’s Cruise Craft Never Home has also been into them as well.

Down at the Gold Coast the action has all been heavy tackle. Lots of fish are being raised but very few are turning into tags. The best action was aboard Pisces, a 40’ Cabo with the Game and Leisure boys aboard. Ben Colvin and Graham McCloy put owner Steve onto three tagged blues and about eight hooked.

Darren Malaquin’s 26’ Striper has been into the action down there on Adios, as well as whichever boat the Caelli family are aboard for the day.

Mixed in have been some great size yellowfin tuna for the southern boys and girls. Not much to report on the heavy tackle scene off Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast though; trailerboat Misty saw one and 24’ Huntsman Addixion saw three fish during the SCGFC tournament on the heavy grounds.

This time of year is also the peak time for the Cairns heavy tackle season. Many South East Queensland boats are up there this year from the charter boats to the privateers.

Going up for the first time in his own boat from the Sunshine Coast is Wayne Finlay and his 40’ White Cap Keneka. He will be joined on the reef by 33’ Obrien Kamikaze, another SCGFC boat. MGFC charter boat Kaizen is on the reef again with new deckies this year.

Keeping a low profile this year on the black marlin fishing blog (www.blackmarlinblog.com) is Noel Jones’ custom Dick Ward built Kajiki. This is Noel’s first trip up there since 2006. They will be knocking around with Captain Bobby Jones on Iceman the big Riviera charter boat who is having a ripper season. In fact most of the big name charter boats are doing well this year.

Reading the blog each day is like a who’s who of fishing, both Australian and international visitors. Just today I saw a picture of Craig Lowndes the racecar driver who had just released a nice 700lber on Iona.

On charter, the snapper have hung in nice and late for me. Not many bag-outs, just lots of days where my customers were getting three each instead of four each. We also caught my best snapper of the last six years of full time charter fishing. Kyle with a crew from Caltex Energy caught the beast that was 96cm long and back at the dock after being bled weight 9.98kg. It was caught on a Berkley Nitro Jighead and a Gulp curl-tail, and the drift beforehand he also landed a 93cm one but it only weighed 6.7kg. We even used the SCGFC gantry to do the weighing but with my little electronic scales, not the big certified scales.

On the very same day he also landed a 10.5kg mahi mahi, my first of the season and very nice fish.

That snapper spot produced for a couple of weeks for good pearl perch up to 58cm as well. Interestingly I was there about a month beforehand and got a few little pearlies but nothing substantial. When they turn up there, they turn up in good sizes and numbers. It was also my best big snapper and pearly spot from two years ago but did not produce at all last year. Figure that one out!

Like the Gold Coast, we have also had a bit of a run of jobfish this year, both rosies and gold bands. Some days I am also getting good runs of tuskfish, and the kings and amberjack have been reasonably reliable on their spots.

Mixed in with the AJ and kings this year have been a lot more school size snapper this year.

On the 4.55m Seajay, summer whiting to 42cm have been the main catch in Bribie Passage. On the right tides we have also been trolling up a few flathead.

Now we are into jack season I will be chasing these guys quite a bit when conditions allow, most likely in the Maroochy and Noosa systems. Hopefully a few stray barramundi, mulloway and king threadfin salmon get in on the act.

On the big boat we are now into pelagic trolling season. Let’s hope the spotties turn up this year in good numbers. We are well overdue a good run in close of these guys.

Give me a call at Smithys Fishing Charters on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, www.smithysfishing.com.au to get out there and get into some action!

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