The first southeasters of the New Year put paid to any bumper marlin season continuing in what is proving a very strange season. Southeasters usually bring in currents loaded with fish but this time the bait all disappeared and with it the fish.
The last few weeks of January saw the bait and a few fish return. And it’s not all doom and gloom as a black marlin was caught at Agnes Waters on the Australia Day Weekend, so they’re still coming south. Likewise, unusually high numbers of sailfish were caught in the Redcliffe Tournament compared to black marlin, which was a surprise for this time of year.
First cab off the rank for tournaments in 2009 was the Gold Coast Gamefish Club’s Riviera Light Tackle Masters. This three-day event was shortened to one and three quarter fishing days due to a strong southeast change.
The Phantom, a 51’ Riviera, always fishes well down at the Gold Coast despite being a Mooloolaba Gamefish Club boat. It has previous first place and runner-up trophies under its belt in its old guise as a 40’ Black Watch, and this year Captain Ian Walker and crew (Daniel Walker, Jess Walker, Barb Danson and Col Danson) got off to a great start with two big tagged black marlin from out wide on the Friday of the tournament. This gave them the victory on count back.
Despite 37 boats entering the tournament, only 15 marlin were tagged – so it was tough fishing. Captain Bobby Jones of the Riviera/MTU Detroit Diesel corporate 48’ express Fascination IV, guided his boat to second place with a fish on Friday and a fish on the Sunday ending up on two as well. Saturday was called off due to the strong wind warning.
The Australia Day weekend saw the running of the Moreton Bay Trailerboat Club Gamefish Section Billfish Challenge out of the Scarborough boat harbour. Witchdoctor, a local charter boat, took out top spot with a couple of sailfish on count back from the plate trailerboat Seadog and a couple of other boats on two tagged marlin each. Seadog had a few more chances to win outright but lost them, the same thing happened to Dave Trask’s Riviera Big Business.
The fishing proved reasonably tough for the biggest tournament ever in South East Queensland with 64 boats entered but only seven sailfish and 12 black marlin tagged.
A lot of new boats fished this tournament, as the main draw card was the chance to win a new car in the last man standing draw. One lucky angler got to walk away from the weekend with a Suzuki Jimny 4WD.
On the social fishing scene, I managed to get out and get some live bait from a productive bait ground on the Sunshine Coast that no-one had fished for a couple of weeks. It certainly looked the goods and I was itching to get back there for a marlin fish.
The Australia Day weekend was the next time I was back and I had hooked two marlin at anchor on circle hooks on live baits while bottom fishing in the first 20 minutes. Securing extra bait we also ended up with a nice pearl perch. We successfully leadered and released one of the fish and then proceeded to go in for a mackerel fish.
The mackerel season is going great guns so far, with the spotties only just arriving on the local scene and juvenile Spanish mackerel having been in good numbers. On the mackerel we ended up with four good bites for one fish in the icebox.
We blasted out to the billfish grounds again, jumping one off straight away then leadering the second black marlin for the session. Over the next couple of days, SCGFC club boats, such as Billistic II, Action Men, Bring it On, Blue Murder and Ymer, got into the marlin and attendant barracuda whilst I was stuck mackerel fishing on charter. It was frustrating listening to the radio knowing a good little marlin bite was on the go only a few miles away from me.
We were going okay on charter getting nine bites trolling minnows for the mackerel the one day and a half a dozen another. While all this was going on, the Sunshine Coast Fascination IV had a five marlin day at the Gold Coast and it sounds like every boat going heavy tackle down there was tangling with at least one big marlin a day.
Some big slimey mackerel schools are holding on a couple of reefs at the Continental Shelf and these can give very productive fishing around this time of year.
Tournaments coming up include the Little Ship Gamefish Club’s Yamaha Classic, the Surfers Paradise Game and Sportfish Club’s All Tackle, All Species Tournament and Mooloolaba Gamefish Club’s Billfish Bonanza Tournament. I should have the results of the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club’s Classic for you next month.
If you want to get in on some of this hot billfish or mackerel action or even general sportfishing charters, jigging trips and reef and deep sea fishing trips give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, www.sqcs.com.auReads: 2552