The juvenile blacks have finally hit town and everyone is rejoicing. If you venture further out you’ll find that blues are still on the shelf and some little blacks and the odd striped marlin are with them.
This year has seen a massive run of mahi mahi, far more than we normally get. There was no run of early ones in October like some years, but by mid-November, out in the cobalt blue water, they were about in droves.
Two tournaments were conducted during this period. Ross McCubbin skippering his 34’ Black Watch charter boat Lucky Strike, owned by Mark Moreland, gave everyone a fishing lesson during the 37 boat field Gold Coast Tournament. Ross and crew of Elliot along with his charter of Dave McCallum and mates went 11-10-9 over the 3 days. One fish lost was a good black but they did get the tag into a nice striped marlin around the 100kg mark. That is the problem with fishing the Spot X area of the Gold Coast – in those depths, one minute you’re tagging a 15kg black marlin and the next you’re fighting a 70kg specimen which really makes you work on 8kg breaking strain line.
Matt and John Stehman’s Hydrofield Murphy’s Law won the small boat category and came third overall which was a good effort.
Bribie Island postponed their tournament from the first weekend of January to the same weekend as the Gold Coast comp. A few fish were tagged there, mostly from the trench. That weekend saw the fish fire for anglers on the Sunshine Coast. Reel Capture kept up their form from last year with 4 fish tagged followed by Jubilado on 3 on the Saturday.
A host of boats tagged 2 that weekend, including One Way, Reel Hunter, Luna, Bring It On, Misty, Compromise and Double Haul, the 4.45m Haines Hunter with the Lamarees aboard who were 2 from 6. A host of us were on 1 each including Ruff N Tuff, Walk The Line, Fish Fingers, Filthy, Dragon Lady and Reel Action.
The weekend before that was a better one for the MGFC with Big Wave Dave, Tim Starling’s Barcrusher going 4 from 7 on the Sunday live baiting and trolling, then Luna went 5 from 7 on the troll on the Monday. During the Christmas holidays Matt Wallace’s Fish Whisperer was seeing 3 a day on average at the shelf, he was just having trouble keeping the hooks in. Around the same time a couple of SCGFC boats were getting the odd sail, Double Trouble and White Horse amongst them, and Reel Capture got the monkey off their back for a bit of a quiet spell with a black marlin for Brent Higgins.
At the Gold Coast it was more heavy tackle action than light. Their green water hung in for longer and further out. There was a mix of species with blues, blacks and stripes all being encountered as soon as their boats hit the blue water around Spot X or slightly wider.
One weekend read like this for their boats: Num Nuts went out light tackle, 3-1-1 on little blacks, Vince on Barco 6-4-0 heavy, Murphy's Law 6-4-0, Ross on Lucky Strike 2-2-0, Matt Caelli on Jugs 5-3-3, Chris Thirkettle’s Kevlacat 2400 Viking 6-2-0, Glen Whitehead’s Boston Whaler 1-1-1, Ryan Goding’s Trophy God’s Hands 1-1-1 and Barry Alty’s custom Mistress 3-2-1. The big talk from there just before that action was the 896lb blue marlin that Barco caught on 60kg chair tackle and died on them after a 4 hour fight. It was not claimed as a Queensland record but a super impressive fish all the same. A grander blue is due for Australia soon!
That same weekend off of Cape Moreton Liquid Assets, Peter Distel’s Riviera went 12-6-2 then on the Sunday Dave Trask and his 51’ Riviera Big Business went 11-5-4, comprising 3 blue marlin and 1 mahi mahi.
Around that same time I snuck out myself over 3 days out wide off the Cape in around 150m for 3 from 5 on billfish 2 of the days. The first day we got a 24.4kg mahi mahi, a 13.8kg yellowfin tuna as well as a couple of other smaller fish of the same variety and missed a blue that hit the teaser. Another day fishing with Peter Wright of Wright Lures we got a blue on 24kg on a Pakula then a stripy on one of his lures. The next day we had a shot at a grand slam missing a stripy early, jumping a blue off then getting a 50kg black on 37kg gear. We got the slam but over 2 days instead.
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!Reads: 2023