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Marlin make the move
  |  First Published: November 2007



The outlook for November looks great, all the fish have arrived including the barra, sailfish, marlin and wahoo. The fishing is exceptional at Monduran dam with barra averaging over the metre mark. There are still plenty of small ones around the 80-90cm, but it’s great to see the big ones hit the surface.

Game Fishing

This is a really good time of year to catch pelagics and billfish. On my last trip to The Spit, the water temperature was 21.5oC and things didn’t look great.

We started out running heavy tackle lures just south of Lady Elliot Island. We saw nothing by 11am so decided to come in closer towards The Spit and see what the light tackle fishing had to offer. I was very surprised to see a large sailfish swim right up to the boat and not even look at the lures.

We decide to change tack and switched over to garfish baits. Swimming and skipping, this had an immediate response with some micro size marlin coming straight up and wolf pack our baits. These fish were around the 5kg mark and, to tell you the truth, I don’t now how these fish survive.

It’s like no one had told them they have this large bill near their mouth that will impede their eating habits. They are the worst at attacking baits; they play with them, speed through the bait spread and then generally miss the hooks – very frustrating. We were continually wolf packed by fish all day and these fish were slow as hell.

Eventually, we had a sailfish come right up into the spread. He came, he went back and forward, and after repeated frustrating attempts to bite, he came out of nowhere and hit the bait – finally we had broken the curse.

We went on to try everything with these fish. Interestingly, the school of micro marlin suddenly disappeared and then, out of the blue, a medium sized black came up and hit the bait. I stopped the boat and floated a live bait back past the shot gun, the fish hit the sinking lure on the long rigger and ran for 200m and then dropped the bait.

The bait swam around frantically on the line, which I took for a good sign. I removed my thumb from the spool and the fish slowly moved away. I fished for what seemed like an eternity, eventually it broke the surface and another hour later the 60kg black was in the boat.

I was so surprised to see such a large fish schooled up with all the micro marlin. I certainly will be doing a lot more live baiting to tempt that extra shy fish from the school.

This season has been a bit of a late starter with fish not showing at 1770 until recently. We can only hope that the fish stay north for as long as possible.

Reef Fishing

The reef fishing has been excellent, and we have had some outstanding times fishing the wrecks and reefs around Bundaberg and Fraser Island. The best fishing is to locate a bump on the bottom anywhere in the ocean or to look for the contours on your chart plotter. Work these areas with a drift and you will accelerate your fishing time on the water by fishing with live baits.

Most people anchor up once they have found their spot, I find it easier to cover more ground on drop-offs, wrecks, gutters by reversing on a spot and holding position. As the fish bite let the boat drift off.

This is quite a difficult technique when you first start. However, you will find it creates a disturbance in the area that encourages many other fish to come in. It also reduces the amount of unwanted fish that build up around the bottom where you’re fishing.

It’s always worth a slow troll with baits or livies because large predatory fish often hang around the outskirts of your fishing area and don’t require too much tempting to bite. In fact, I have had some great results with big fish hook-ups after a good live bait reef fishing and jigging session.

Barra Fishing

Last month I was definitely not feeling positive about the possibility of catching a barra at Lake Monduran. Our local Gin Gin ambulance man, Steve Bechley, called in to tell me he caught some barra on the weekend and invited me for a trip out in his boat.

We went all day and we revisited the spot where Steve caught his fish the week before. We had caught nothing all morning and had only seen a couple of whirls in the water near our lures. After trying other hot spots, we came back about three in the afternoon and as soon as we arrived I hooked up a metre plus barra.

We chased this fish around for about ten minutes until he managed to tangle me on a tree he had swam around twice (a very smart fish). Steve hooked up not long afterwards and did manage to land a nice 114cm barra. We persisted for another hour but we hooked and lost another three fish. We did finish the day on a high with a nice 90cm fish that we took home to put in the MASA viewing tank.

Steven Cheng, of Tropic Angler Lures, has been doing some barra fishing and has modified his Tropic Angler gold floater lure with some great results. He customized these gold floaters with a black permanent marker, to create tiger stripes across the back. I guess we will see this on the shelves of tackle stores soon.

Steven recently helped me with my light tackle game fishing seminar held on my boat. This was a very successful seminar that gives the novice angler an introduction to light tackle techniques, bait and lure rigging.

We will be doing more through some of the local tackle stores very soon.

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