Tune into Townsville
  |  First Published: September 2008

Typical of mid winter, there isn’t too much to report on the gamefish front from southeast Queensland. However, there has been striped marlin tagged or seen on the wide offshore grounds by both gamefishers and bottom fishing anglers.

The best areas have been in the deeper locations, such as the 50 fathom reefs off the Gold Coast, Deep Tempest off Moreton Island and the Hards off the Sunshine Coast. For the purists, focus on areas with bait schools, the most popular being off the Sunshine Coast for a sailfish, or Spot X off the Gold Coast for a black marlin or striped marlin from 50-100kg.

If you still wanted to target gamefish and not necessarily billfish, cobia would have to be one of the best options at the moment. Captain Luke Fallon of the Gold Coast based 47’ Obrien, Kekoa, found nine for his customers the other week with one over 80lb, four over 70lb and none were under 40lb. Just for good measure Luke has also been getting onto some cracking good snapper.

Sean Munro was another person to get onto a big cobia out of his blue Stabicraft. It was around 38kg and was caught off the Gold Coast. Cape Moreton and Moreton Bay will also come into contention for a good cobia come September.

Off the Sunshine Coast most bait schools will have a tuna in attendance. I have been landing a few and getting smoked by the odd bigger longtail tuna on soft plastics meant for snapper. The tuna are always around in winter, just feeding deeper and not visible on the surface like they are in summer and autumn.

What has got everyone excited in the gamefish world is the news filtering down from the Townsville grounds of black marlin. Cape Bowling Green has fished reasonably well for anglers when the weather has allowed people to get out there, and Leigh Obrien’s new 26’ Obrien, named OB26, took the honours the first weekend anyone could get out in July with four black marlin tagged for the weekend.

Magnetic Island based Riviera, Red Rose, had their chances skippered by long-time Townsville Gamefish Club member Mick Meirs, but with 19 shots I don’t think they managed that amount of fish. Recent boats to get some fish up there included; Anthony Florences’s Cruise Craft, Flo-tation, and the Cairn Custom Craft, Mojo.

Most boats are now gearing up for the Cairns heavy tackle black marlin season. I will be decking on the Redcliffe based 51’ Riviera The Phantom for the season, from September to late November. It will be interesting times ahead for all the glamour boats with the weak world economy and record high fuel prices. Will the customers come and can they all fill their diaries for the season?

The waters between Cairns and Lizard Island, including Cooktown, are still the best place in the world to tangle with a fish greater than 1,000lb. Even though bigger sized fish turn up at places like Kona at Hawaii, Madiera and Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean, but with nowhere near the regularity of the spawning aggregation that occurs off the Great Barrier Reef each spring.

I’ll be back into chartering our local waters from December onwards. Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, www.sqcs.com.au . Also get in touch if you want prices for The Phantom for the Cairns season.

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