Playing the gamefish
  |  First Published: April 2016

Terrific fishing has been had out off Sydney’s north, with more mahimahi and plenty of marlin landed from inshore and offshore locations. Some fish have been sighted very close to Sydney Harbour with a list of great reports coming in.

Sydney is in the midst of one of the best marlin seasons I can remember – small blacks are being sighted and targeted by trailer boat fishermen with huge success. Not to be left out, the kingfish fishing is still right up there with many anglers confronted by some brute fish. Land-based fishers have also been getting right into the action.

The guys over at Oceanhunter Sportsfishing have recently landed four marlin from as many trips, with plenty of mahimahi as well and some fish up over the magic metre. This outfit has been very successful lately and certainly worth a call if you looking at popping that marlin cherry.

Hooked and Hunted’s Andy Young ventured out in his 5m inflatable to a local FAD targeting mahimahi. Upon arrival he started to cast surface lures around on his 15kg outfit and it didn’t take long before he hooked a ripper mahimahi that once boated measured in at 1.37m. These fish are the fastest growing in the ocean and can go aerial during the fight. Pretty good effort out of an inflatable. Some of these fish are in pretty close and certainly worth chasing while the East Coast Current is local.

Scooter Kerstens fished aboard Murrifin with Rod Findlay and Mike Brown chasing marlin at the 100 fathoms mark off Terrigal, and it didn’t take too long before the young angler was onto a 40kg striped marlin on a 10kg outfit. With the fish subdued, it was brought aboard, and after a quick tag and a photo or two it was released. This fish fell to a small skirted lure on the troll, however live-baiting slimy mackerel has also proved very successful this season. If you’re heading out to chase the bigger fish a couple of slimies in the tank will go a long way to ensure a better hook-up rate. Out of the harbour, these baitfish have been holding at The Spit, Balmoral and The Artificial just outside of South Head.

Deliberately targeting marlin out of a trailer boat is an attitude that has been adopted by lots of anglers on the north side currently. With the fish so close it doesn’t take long to get in the zone. Brennan Webster is one angler who has been right in the thick of it. Brennan went out to chase smaller black marlin, and it didn’t take too long to land a beauty. Trolling a small skirted lure on a 24kg outfit in 300 fathoms turned out to be a good recipe for action with a 50kg fish soon hooking up. Once landed, the fish was quickly photographed and returned to the sea in a healthy state.

Reports of small marlin hook-ups are coming in frequently, and plenty of anglers use spin outfits like Shimano Deep Jig rods matched up with Saragosa reels and corresponding braid. You don’t always need a heavy trolling outfit, but it does make the fight easier on bigger fish. Working in a big tackle store, customers often remark that they aren’t after big fish, but we don’t get to choose what size fish takes our bait and the old analogy of ‘elephants eat peanuts too’ is a classic example with plenty of guys hooking a billfish while chasing mahimahi at the FADs.

The Harbour is firing at the moment with kingfish, mulloway and some good bread and butter species on the chew. Rob Haslam and I headed out on the yaks to chase kings recently and had a cracker day on the rats, but also landed some good-sized fish. Rob hooked a decent whiting of 44cm, which of all things took a lure intended for a mulloway. We also caught snapper to 35cm and trevally to 46cm. With excessively warm currents around, now is the time to get out there. Any local captures that you’d like to see in the mag can be sent to --e-mail address hidden--

Tight lines until next month!

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