Waiting for kick-off
  |  First Published: December 2013

At the time of writing the light tackle season is yet to fully kick off. The odd black has been caught in with some wahoo and mahi mahi, but there has been no consistency. Things have been all over the place with regard to water quality, temperature and bait. As things settle down into a normal pattern the fishing can only improve.

Two tournaments were conducted during this period. The Hervey Bay Tournament was a repeat of last year with Rob Wood’s 340 Deep V Black and Blue taking it out the big boat section and Run, Josh Saunders’ Striper taking out the small boat section with both boats on 10 each. Viking, Chris Thirkettle’s 2400 Kevlacat made a late charge on the third and final morning, tagging 7 fish at a hot bite at the 4-mile bar crossing.

Most of the action was at the 13-mile bar crossing. The 18 teams ended up tagging 58 black marlin, 5 sailfish and 4 blue marlin, which was not red hot fishing but a reasonable amount. With lots of the blacks going 8-12kg there were a lot jumped off as well.

The first weekend of December saw the MGFC hold their yearly Billfish Bash Tournament. A total of 11 teams fronted with a dubious weather forecast. The Saturday morning was the only good period before a 30 knot southeast change hit the fleet. Luna, a 35’ Bertram from the MGFC club, was able to tag a blue to mostly scoop the pool for angler Connor Lynch. Reel Action, Col Hombsch’s 56’ cat, also caught a blue for junior Trent Rooney to win the junior category.

On the same weekend as the Hervey Bay Tournament I fished with a crew of Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club anglers off Breaksea Spit as well. We just did an overnighter to keep the cost down on Matt Collinge’s 7.5m plate boat Ruff N Tuff. For 2 days we saw about 13 billfish behind the boat as well as at least 4 free-jumping sailfish a day. We ended up tagging a sailfish for Matt, his first on 8kg, a black for BJ on 4kg, a black for me on 6kg, one for Tim on 6kg and another pitch-baited black on 8kg for Tim off a Shimano Baitrunner spin reel. Matt also landed a respectable mahi mahi on 8kg, Tim landed a nice cobia on the same line class and that night we stayed on the reef and put a few reefies in the ice box.

The second day, after finding the best bait I had ever seen off Breaksea Spit, we invented new ways to lose fish. BJ hooked a 30kg sailfish on 4kg line that we popped off about 50m later with no real tag shots. Both Tim and I jumped a black off each on 6kg and we generally had a bit of bad luck and missed the bite fighting the sail for so long. Photos should be nearby from this trip.

On the local scene all the talk has been about blue marlin. Grant Cooper’s 25’ Luhrs centre console Jubilado crewed by Lachlan Downes opened their heavy tackle account with a striped marlin. Paddy Dimond’s 3100 Noosacat, Cat-a-pult and Old Salty Dog, Nick van de Merwe’s 40’ Luhrs are locked in a head-to-head brawl for heavy tackle honours in the SCGFC end-of-year points race with Nick on 6 blue marlin and Paddy a handful as well.

Over at the MGFC, Tim Starling is still Mr Consistent with his Barcrusher Big Wave Dave. Tim has been getting a few light tackle fish when others have been struggling. Alex Fenwick’s CruiseCraft Never Home landed their maiden blue marlin recently as well. Off Brisbane it has been quiet but Reel Action did get a couple of blues at the northern Cape Moreton Canyon recently.

Down at the Gold Coast everything has been heavy tackle as well. Ross McCubbin fresh from his Cairns season has been straight into the marlin down there, with heavy tackle blacks and blues on whatever boat he is driving on the day. Matt Stehman christened the new Murphy’s Law tri hull with a multiple blue day.

Other boats getting fish down there include Ryan Goding’s Trophy God’s Hands, and Sam and Andrew Lythgo’s Albemarle, Sea Eagle. Traditionally the black marlin turn up the week before Christmas on the Gold Coast, so by the time of my next report they will hopefully be there in force.

On charter there were a couple of days when the spotty mackerel made their presence felt. Before they turned up we had a couple of good days on the Spanish mackerel as well. The reef fishing has been tough however, especially on half days, so chasing pelagics over summer is going to be the best bet. Give me a call at Smithy’s 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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