Offshore touch and go
  |  First Published: April 2009

What a season of highs and lows it has been this year for game anglers. Being at the right place at the right time will reward you with some great fishing but in between are plenty of days of zeros.

Unfortunately the quiet times have landed on a few of the tournament weekends with the recent Back to Tangalooma Tournament won with a single sailfish tagged. Poor fishing was also experienced at the Gold Coast, Bribie Island, Redcliffe and Sunshine Coast Tournaments. But on the plus side, Mooloolaba and Little Ships were blessed with great fishing.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better than Tsunami’s eighteen tagged marlin effort on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast 5m trailer boat Askari came close on Tuesday 3 March. Askari ended up going sixteen tagged from twenty-five hooked with just two aboard. Owner Peter Matthews and mate Jay Graham must have really had their work cut out for them dealing with that many fish in that short a time. Jay should be well placed to have a serious crack at the GFAA Sir Garrick Agnew Trophy for the angler tagging the most billfish in Australian waters in a fishing year.

Other boats to get onto the hot bite off the Sunshine Coast included Scott Trafford’s 36ft Black Watch, Watch Ya Problem with eleven tags on the same day, Keneka, Wayne Finlay’s 40ft White Cap ended up with seven and Tanjian a 5.2m Kevlacat two solo to owner Heath Irvine.

I had about fifteen to twenty bites for the day with around eleven confirmed billfish, tagging six and also had one skirt chopped off by a wahoo. I ran a minnow all day going for wahoo and had it hit by bills at least three times. I also snapped two SL12S Gamakatsus for the day that had only been swum once before and had zinc anode tape on them like all of my Gamakatsus. That is one day all of us on the water will remember for a long time and the weather was close to perfect to boot.

The day after Tanjian nailed it with a full crew aboard tagging seven from ten, Steve Brook’s 34ft Black Watch Ymer switch baited four, tagging three and saw ten to twelve for the day and BJ Tompkins’ brand new Fisher 5.8m centre console Sailfisher got christened with three. Keneka got another two, I tagged two, dropping another two at least that were on and jumping around and got a bit of revenge on a wahoo. First fish of the day I also dropped a mahi mahi around 12kg.

Roger Bayzand’s 280 Express Black Watch Blu Reela tagged three black marlin on the Friday with two from in close and one out wide, and no-one fished on the Thursday because of the wind. On the Saturday of the same week Tanjian was on fire with Heath solo yet again and he ended up with seven tagged fish for the day and his tally during that period to twenty-one marlin tagged. Bring it On, Steve Dahl’s 43ft along with Askari ended up with four a piece but then the cyclone came and changed things.

Down at the Gold Coast a bit of a heavy tackle bite occurred while the small fish were biting on the Sunshine Coast. The highlight was the 35ft Caribbean Barcoo raising nine blue marlin in a day for seven bites and four fish tagged. Boats like Lucky Strike went one from four during the same period and the towered 40ft Black Watch charter boat, Watchdog ended up with two tagged blue marlin in the one day around this time. Num Nuts, Trevor Slaughter’s 40ft Precision won the Surfers Paradise Game and Sportfish Club’s All Tackle, All Species Tournament with a few blue marlin tagged over the course of a weekend and I think the new venue of the Southport Yacht Club proved a hit with competitors.

Since then things have gone reasonably quiet with Blu Reela doing the best of anyone I have heard of going one from three on livebait on the Sunshine Coast. Other than those multiple chances it has just been ones to Keneka, Steve Jensen’s 30ft Black Watch, The Animal and myself on Triton IV on both coasts. Along with Jim McKinnon who owns the 6.8m Haines Hunter Aquasition, I have been getting into some quality wahoo on trolling charters and some good amberjack and yellowtail kingfish on jigging charters.

While trolling, plenty of other tuna species have been getting into the action to keep the reels singing in between wahoo and yellowfin tuna bites. I did partake in some skipjack tuna sashimi aboard my boat the other day and it was pretty good. There are certainly plenty of those small tuna out there if that is your thing.

If you want to get in on some of this hot billfish or wahoo 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.au.

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