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Hot on the light
  |  First Published: July 2014



As I write this, amazingly the Sunshine Coast is in the middle of a hot light tackle bite. We have not seen action this good for May or June since probably the super hot years of 90s. The negative is the blue marlin have been very hit and miss when everyone was expecting a good year. We are now well overdue for a big run of blue marlin on the shelf.

One of the last tournaments of each season is the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club’s Billfish Bonanza Tournament, which is always held around Anzac Day. This year it was a blue bite and not a sailfish bite that determined the winners. There were quite a few light tackle fish about but not everyone took their chances.

Dave Trask and his 51’ Riviera out of Redcliffe called Big Business did make the most of his chances heavy tackle and went on to win with two tagged blue marlin. Champion boat under 7m was Troy Proctor’s 6.85m Cruise Craft Dragon Lady. Troy is showing up on the podium a bit lately and will be one to watch next season.

The Gold Coast club also conducted their Garmin Heavy Tackle Tournament and it was the Sunshine Coast team from the 34’ Black Watch Outside Edge who held on to win with three tagged blue marlin. They actually tagged four but reloading the tag pole at one stage they realised the tag didn’t come off the applicator and had the fish boat-side on the leader. Rules are rules so they didn’t count that fish but they got their win on count-back.

Surfers Paradise boat Ripples, Lance Ripley’s Haines Hunter, also tagged three to take out the small boat section and they did well fishing two up in the small boat over the course of the weekend where the weather was not really favourable. The blues luckily turned up for the Gold Coast Club that weekend with 31 heavy tackle fish being tagged.

Boats tagging blues at the Gold Coast during this bite period were usual suspects, Mistress, Murphys Law, Jugs, Gods Hands, Lucky Strike, Unreel, Ocean Instinct and Gemma III. Murphys Law the Stehman family trailer boat made the most of it with a nine strike, eight hook-ups and five fish tagged day on the blues around that time.

Across the other side of the earth a host of Australian teams were competing in the Offshore World Championships at Quepos Costa Rica. Unfortunately no Aussies finished on the podium this time but some epic fishing was experienced all the same. 2,314 billfish were released over the course of the tournament. The winning Angolan team released 76 billfish in just four days to win. The team representing the Sunshine Coast had a prefish day and were able to release 14 in a day on one of the gun boats, which was their highlight. The boat draw is the biggest factor in those types of tournaments and then you have to take all of your chances.

Up at the Sunshine Coast the light tackle fish kept coming. The battle for end of year trophies developed into a two horse race for quite a while with Catapult and Misty duking it out, fish for fish but after a seven week lay off due to a faulty exhaust manifold, Reel Capture are back in the mix. 14 fish over one weekend, which included an eight fish day, certainly put them back in the mix. Things will go down to the wire over the next three weeks at this rate. Catapult had close to 80 tagged billfish and it is only the points differential due to line class separating the boats.

Other boats getting in on the action up the coast include Mick Lassen and his red centre console Jim Bob and 575 Cruise Craft Never Home skippered by Alex Fenwick. Mick will be one to watch next season if he fishes as hard all season as he did at the latter part of the year. Alex put his fiance Kourtney onto her first blue marlin recently that was truly up there over 500lb. Kourt had been working out to take on a blue and knocked it over in around 40 minutes. The day before Dan Smith and his 530 Cruise Craft Game Plan weighed a 540lb blue marlin that died on them after only taking 300m of line and Megumi the charter boat out of Manly Harbour released one at 400lb the day before that so there were some definite big fish getting around that week. Special mention also has to be made of Mick and Nicki Reeves from their Trailcraft runabout Dunno who on Easter Monday christened their boat after a few false starts. They went on to tag three for the day. Another 530 Cruise Craft newly launched for photo journalist David Granville and now called Cover Shot captured seven billfish on his first outing chasing them which was a great way to christen it.

With these billfish hanging in so late, so to have the mackerel and on charter we have been getting quite a few a day. The snapper are yet to show up with the warm water about but I did have one good afternoon chasing them with five after dark and three of the five true snapper size. During the billfish action I snuck out one Wednesday getting the first for Chris with the hot action only every second day then steady fishing the days in between. That fish bought up my 40th for the season.

Give me a call at Smithys Fishing Charters on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.smithysfishingcharters.com.au ) if you were wanting to go out on charter, either offshore in my 7.7m vessel or inshore on my 4.55m Seajay Nomad barra punt.

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