Marlin reports on the increase
  |  First Published: April 2017

The warm water temps are still with us, and some terrific reports have been coming in this month from both offshore and inshore. Some good fish are also being caught from the stones, and the estuaries have been holding their own as well.

As the warm east coast current nudges our coastline, marlin reports are on the increase. Some great fish are being caught on skirted lures and live baits. Schools of striped tuna are also present, along with a variety of sharks. With the water temperature offshore up to 26°C, it’s a fishy playground for bluewater anglers. Trolling small skirted lures and baits are proving very successful techniques for hooking these fish. Zane Levett was one of the anglers getting into the action, hooking and landing a black marlin on a recent trip out wide.

Some mahimahi are still on the wide FADs and always provide for some mad visual fishing. These fish are easy to see in the clear offshore water, and you should offer them your biggest live baits first. This may deter the smaller fish just long enough for a healthy size model to find your bait. Don’t hesitate put out a big cowanyoung or oversize slimy.

Closer inshore on the local reefs, schools of kingfish have been prolific all summer. Various methods like downrigging, popping, live baiting and trolling have all been proving successful at times. Some of these schools have had big numbers and sizes of fish, and there have been many captures of metre-plus fish in recent weeks. Light jigging combos have been suitable for the smaller models up to 90cm, but heavier kits to 80lb are the norm for the bigger fish, particularly in shallower water.

Some good-size snapper are still being landed offshore by trailerboat fishers, with most fish being between 45-70cm. Big baits fished deep and the bigger soft plastics are favourable options. I recommend using a solid 30-40lb braided outfit with suitable 30lb+ leader.

Warmer than expected days have had the barometer spinning, and this has certainly brought the fish out to play. Some terrific captures from within the harbour have made anglers hungry for more. Anthony Ocsing fished from his kayak around Manly and landed a very healthy 84cm female flathead on a vibe lure. After a couple of quick photos the fish was released.

Kingfish are on the prowl around the headlands, with trolled yellowtail and hardbody lures working for Dom Poletta and Mike Nielson who landed four fish to 86cm near Middle Head.

If it’s live bait you’re after, there are plenty of squid available around most of the local kelp beds, and schools of yakkas at Balmoral are readily taking bait jigs. Drifting around the Spit Bridge has been successful for bonito, and they have been readily taking metal and hardbody lures on the troll at North Head.

Whole unweighted strip baits and rubber vibes worked along the bottom are accounting for some good flathead around Quarantine on the drift, while Middle Head and the Clontarf moorings have been yielding squid on the 2.5 size squid jigs. Customers have also been getting whiting from the Grotto Point sand flats on king worm baits from our store.

I have a couple more customer catches to report. Nick Williams landed a feed of flathead using 4” soft plastics and bladed lures fishing around the Clonny drop-off. West of the Spit Bridge, Nathan McManus and his brother Joel fished with their dad recently using live squid, and Nathan landed a 66cm king on light tackle in amongst the moorings. A solid school of kings were sighted under the boat harassing small tailor, and after a couple of photos the captured king was quickly released to fight another day.

The excessively warm water temps around the shallows may have some species heading deeper to cooler water, so be prepared to fish a little wider of your favourite spot this month. With the weather still good, early morning popper and stickbait sessions have been popular amongst anglers chasing kingfish. Just remember that surface lures work best before sunrise. As the sun gets higher the fish will go deeper, and you’re better off switching to sinking stickbaits, either hard or soft. All those moorings around The Spit bridge in Middle Harbour have been good places to go looking.

Slimy mackerel are still available in the harbour, so it’s worth moving a couple of times from baitfish locations to see if you can raise them in your berley trail. This species is a cracker bait for many species, from kings to flathead and even big snapper.

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