A humbling experience
  |  First Published: April 2004

HAVE you ever been spooled by a fish? It really is a very humbling experience.

When you see the colour of the spool shaft showing through the last few remaining metres of line, you know your arse has really well and truly been kicked by the fish.

I've even been spooled straight down by fish, which is doubly frustrating because when the line is pointing dead vertical, there is nowhere you can move it to gain line. You've just got to sit there and watch the reel empty, which is exactly what happened.

The fish in question was a huge blue marlin which managed to leave a Penn Inter 50W and then a Tiagra of a kilometre of 24kg line. I was fishing wide of the continental shelf in super-deep water when the blue struck the lure. One minute the fish was greyhounding across the surface 500m away with the boat hot in pursuit then, what seemed like seconds later, the line was pointing straight down and I was getting wiped out big-time.

God I love those blue marlin! I hope those fish survive those power dives and from that day on, all my game gear was cranked up to 37kg minimum. I don't get to do that much game fishing nowadays but each year when April and May come around I think of those big blues and their screaming surface runs and blistering power dives.

When it comes to marlin nothing compares with those big blues. I'd prefer to hook one big blue than 30 smaller striped or black marlin. They really are that special.

This is the time of year off the Central Coast that appears to be best for these fish. The striped and black marlin fishing has tapered off and a lot of the boats have put away their marlin gear until next Summer. But it seems the tail end of the season is the best time for those oversized fish, with April and May prime time. So remember, it's still worth putting in the time for the bigger blues and often they are not alone.

The biggest striped marlin I have caught has been in the cooler months and I once caught a sizeable blue marlin while fishing for yellowfin tuna with live slimy mackerel in the very middle of July. Just remember, if you are very serious about this, 37kg gear really is a minimum if you want to get fish boatside. You can be lucky on lighter gear but sometimes even 37kg is just not enough.


This all reminds me of how fortunate we are here. Within a couple of hours from home you can be tangling with anything from bass to big blues.

In April we also have the annual mullet run, which seems to trigger a lot of fish movement up and down the coast. When mullet schools start to head north, they seem to have following them a whole entourage of other species ranging from bream and huge tailor right up to big jewfish and sharks.

The beach and rock fishing can be great at this time, with the prime bait being mullet. April is also a great month for bream right through our estuaries and river mouths with great hauls possible as they start to school up before moving to sea.

The really big flathead seem to disappear this month but there should be plenty of fish up to a couple of kilos still hanging about.

This is prime big-jewfish time with those over-size fish seeming to appear at the beginning or the end of the season.

Often hairtail show up in April around Broken Bay with the area between Little Box and Big Box a good place to start looking. In the past they appeared to be nocturnal hunters but nowadays it seems the middle of the day is as good a time as any to try for them.

Hairtail turn up where they turn up, so it pays to move around heaps and watch your sounder for strange-looking fish schools in mid-water. Because they appear to spend most of their time swimming vertically, they are relatively easy to pick up on your sounder as the schools appear quite unlike a conventional fish school. It would be great to see a good showing of these fish this year.

There is a lovely cross section of species available to the Central Coast angler at this time of year – far to good to pass up.

A beautiful 25kg Hawkesbury River mulloway prior to release.

Michael from Kamtech with a jewfish caught in truly tranquil water.

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